By Farah Diyana Samsuddin
Maseniah Awi, 57, is making good use of her retirement from the civil service by running a home-based traditional kuih business under the Ohh Omma brand.
She retired in 2017 after working more than 33 years working as a civil servant.
“In the beginning, I made traditional kuih only for the children to eat and donated to neighbours and friends as well,” she said when met by New Sarawak Tribune.
Soon, demand for the kuih grew from her family members and friends.
Encouraged by her children, Maseniah started selling her cakes in Kuching City.
“Omma is what my grandchildren call me, so to remember, I use this brand name in the market,” she explained.
Kuih Seri Muka and Kuih Talam Keladi Berlauk are two types of traditional kuih that became the starting point for Maseniah to create traditional kuih under the Ohh Omma brand.
Unexpectedly, her delicacies also found a place in the hearts of local representatives.
“Several elected representatives, including the wife of the former Chief Minister, the late Pehin Seri Adenan Satem, namely Datin Patinggi Puan Sri Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu, often order my kuih.
“This is an achievement and a source of pride for me,” she said.
Customers need to make reservations two or three days in advance because Maseniah does not accept late bookings or rushed orders.
“Time is needed because all the basic ingredients for the kuih have to be fresh.
“For example, the main ingredient is coconut milk essence,” she said, adding that her cakes were made from fresh coconut milk and not instant coconut milk.
“There is a significant difference in the taste of kuih made with natural coconut milk and those made with instant coconut milk.
“Natural coconut milk will make the kuih creamy and very tasty. Cakes made from instant coconut milk will not be creamy,” said Maseniah.
However, she said natural coconut milk could not be bought in advance or stored for too long.
“I will buy it after morning prayers to make kuih, so usually the kuih can only be prepared in the evening,” she said.
After selling Kuih Seri Muka and Kuih Talam Keladi Berlauk for a year, Maseniah decided to introduce several more traditional kuih to the market.
Among them are Kuih Cara Berlauk Daging (Beef) or Ayam (Chicken), Kuih Bingka Talam, Kuih Bingka Lapis and Kuih Bingka.
“The Kuih Bingka that I introduced, especially the Kuih Bingka Petola and Kuih Bingka Durian, remind me of my late mother.
“When I was a child, my late mother often made Kuih Bingka Petola, so I am continuing the legacy of making the kuih so that it does not disappear with time,” she said.
She makes and sells Kuih Bingka Durian only during the durian season.
“I only use real durian filling to produce it,” she said.
Kuih Bingka Durian are sold at a relatively high price because they are not easy to make.
Maseniah admitted that she set up the Ohh Omma business with the hope that it would be inherited by her three daughters one day.
“I often advise them if they do not continue the legacy, they will lose the skills of making traditional kuih.
She is proud her daughters can make several types of kuih under her supervision.
“I will hand over Ohh Omma to them one day when they are ready,” she said.
Besides making cakes, Maseniah also engages in Keringkam embroidery work.
Ramadan is a time for her to make money because of the many orders pouring in for her delicious kuih.
Reservations for her kuih can be made via (WhatsApp) 01112002045. You can also leave a message on Instagram @Ohh.Omma.