COKLAT nise, a sweet candy, stands as an authentic and legendary delicacy renowned in Kelantan from the olden times right up to the present, but despite its popularity, production has dwindled as not many are interested in the trade.
For confectionery entrepreneur, Roziah Hussein, making ‘Coklat Nise Man’ is a challenging task, given that this small business is conducted in her home kitchen, with assistance from her fifth child, Ros Amira Romli.
“I learned the craft of making this sweet product from my mother, Limah Jinal, 80, who dedicated almost 40 years to it in Kampung Beris Panji.
“I had helped my mother since childhood, and assumed control of this business over a decade ago when she fell ill.
“However, currently I have to operate it from home due to the constraints of not having a dedicated space and sufficient capital,” says Roziah, 59, who manages the business at Taman Desa Kemumin, Padang Tembak in Pengkalan Chepa.
In an interview with Bernama, Roziah said she would commence daily production as early as 5am, to produce 4,000 pieces or 100 packages of Coklat Nise a day, catering to the demands of wholesalers, particularly the traders at the popular Pasar Siti Khadijah.
According to this mother of six and grandmother of 13, among the ingredients used are ‘nise kerek’ (palm sugar), wheat flour, coconut milk, peanuts, and some salt.
“I adhere to the traditional and entirely manual approach, without any machinery.
“The wheat flour undergoes toasting until it reaches a crisp texture, followed by sifting, while the peanuts are first stripped of their skins before being fried.
“Originally, I used a wood stove, but now it has transitioned to a gas stove, requiring nearly two hours to transform the ‘nise’ from solid pieces into a liquid state.
“Subsequently, peanuts and coconut milk are introduced – the mixture stirred until achieving a thick consistency,” she said.
Roziah added that making these sweets was an intricate process, requiring swift action due to the high temperatures involved.
Any delay in the process could cause the ‘nise’ syrup to harden, making it challenging to form the required shapes.
She said upon the ‘nise’ having reached the desired thickness, it must be carefully lifted and poured onto a wooden surface dusted with wheat flour, creating a pool-like shape.
After allowing it to cool for a bit, the ‘nise’ would then be meticulously shaped into elongated rectangles.
Elaborating, Roziah said the elongated shape would then be cut using a ‘kati’, or betel nut cutter – a skill requiring high expertise to achieve the desired size of the sweets.
After that, wheat flour, meant to absorb heat and prevent stickiness, would once again be introduced before the sweets got wrapped in colourful kite paper.
“Though the process of wrapping the sweets may appear simple, it demands delicate skills and can consume four to five hours.
“As my children are occupied with their own work, I employ others for the packaging and marketing processes.
“Coklat Nise is retailed to wholesalers at RM180 per 50 packages.
“Its demand remains steady, not only in Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur, but has also reached international destinations such as Ireland and Brunei,” she said.
Roziah highlighted that as the demand for ‘Coklat Nise’ was exceptionally high and in pursuit of innovation last year, she invested over RM20,000 in a specialised machine for technological advancement.
Unfortunately, it proved unsuitable and could not be utilised.
She related a touching moment when, in November 2014, she received an invitation to personally demonstrate the intricate art of cutting and wrapping ‘Coklat Nise’.
The audience comprised a delegation from Brunei and Kelantan royal family members, who gathered at Kampung Kraftangan. — Bernama