Melaka Chetti community sells all 220 Deepavali hampers consisting traditional delicacies to fund education programmes

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The young and old making Bunga Rampeh by slicing pandan leaves and plucking flowers into small pieces. — Picture via Shanmugam Raja.
The young and old making Bunga Rampeh by slicing pandan leaves and plucking flowers into small pieces. — Picture via Shanmugam Raja.

PETALING JAYA, Oct 26 — The Melaka Chetti community based in Klang Valley have sold all 220 Deepavali hampers consisting of traditional delicacies to support the community’s education programmes.

Malacca Chitty Cultural Association in Selangor president Shanmugam Raja told Malay Mail that the initiative was done to help fund education programmes to deserving students in the community.

“We didn’t expect many people to support and buy our hampers in a short period of time once we put it up on social media.

“During previous years, our Malacca Chetti temples played an active role in giving loans to a student to pursue their higher education through our food stalls initiative and other fund-raising activities.

“But due to Covid-19, temples have been running low on funds and that was when we decided to gather the best cooks among us to teach the art of making delicacies like kueh tar and kueh bangkit.”

He added that the money from the sales of the Deepavali gift sets would be used to purchase books, stationeries and other materials for the Chetti children.

Since earlier this month, the community have gathered on weekends to catch up on lost time and to teach the younger generation to value their recipes passed down from one generation to another.

“It was a vibrant time when we met these past weekends cutting chillies, cucumbers, ginger, carrots for our traditional acar cili or plucking flowers to make our potpourri.

Acar cili is a common delicacy among the Chetti community where it would also be served for occasions like Bhogi Parchu (celebrated the day before Ponggal).

“It is an important delicacy in our Chetti community and it requires a lot of work such as marinating it, making sure the vegetables are cut properly and making its authentic sauce.”

He explained about Bunga Rampeh, a fragrant potpourri made from fresh ingredients such as pandan leaves, three different flowers and a special aromatic oil.

“The potpourri is also made as a souvenir for Chetti festivities including when visiting graveyards.

“One has to have the patience to slice the pandan leaves into very fine pieces to make the potpourri.

“We all had a good time making these recipes and bonding with each other. It felt good again to come out of our homes and to appreciate our tradition. “

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