There’s no ants in this nest, but it’s a must during Gawai Dayak

Monica Paul has been making the "Kuih Jala" or "Kuih Sarang Semut" for the past 40 years. -dayakdaily.com

KUCHING: No Gawai Dayak celebration is complete without this intricate-hive like delicacy.

Popularly known as kueh jala among most of the Iban community, yet this hive like delicacy can also be found in several areas in the Peninsula and it is known as “kuih sarang semut” or literally translated as “The Ants Nest”.

During Gawai Dayak celebrations, it is safe to assume that almost every villages, will serve their own rendition of the dish.

But for 70 years old Monica Paul, a good kueh jala should be crispy and almost melt in your mouth once you bite into it.

“The taste should not be overly sweet and should give you a nice after taste of palm sugar,” said Monica when met by dayakdaily.com.

Monica who has been making “Kuih Jala” for the past 40 years, also receives orders from other community.

“I am not only making this kueh jala during Gawai but also during Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, as I do get orders for other festive occasions from my friends,” Monica added.

On the ingredients for making kueh jala, Monica said the cake is only made up of rice flour, sugar, palm sugar and water, all mixed together to form a nice batter that could easily run through the holes on the mould made from coconut shell.

“It is the texture of the batter that determines the crispiness of the cake,” said Monica, who had just delivered the last order for her kueh jala.

Next, she will be making the orders for Hari Raya and that will begin in a week’s time.

Whatever names it is being called, this intricate net-like or hive-like texture of the delicacy is a tradition that needs to be kept alive for the generations to come. -dayakdaily.com