Kacang puteh used to be a common sight on the streets in Singapore, as pushcart vendors peddled roasted, steamed and fried nuts, beans, crisps and more. The savoury snack was Singapore’s answer to popcorn.
What is kacang puteh?
Introduced by Indian immigrants, kacang puteh resembles the Indian street snack chevdo or chana
(chickpeas). Meant as a healthy treat between meals, the vendors gradually added fried, roasted and sugared nuts, as well as an assortment of beans, peas, and crisps, to the selection. You can opt for one (or few) snack in a cone. Prices usually start at $1 a cone.
(Photo: Priyanka C. Agarwal)
Singapore’s last kacang puteh seller
Once a fixture outside cinemas like The Cathay, kacang puteh stalls are more likely to be found at pop-up pasar malams, random hipster cafes or weddings. The only permanent, dedicated stall we know is located at Peace Centre (35 Selegie Road).
The stall belongs to Amirthaalangaram Moorty, who took over the business from his father when he decided to retire to India. His wares are handmade from scratch. The stall is open Monday to Saturday, from 10.30am to 8pm.
(Photo: Priyanka C. Agarwal)
Make kacang puteh at home
Making your own allows you to decide how much of each snack to include, and the balance of sweet, spicy and salty flavours. It’s easy and fun – perfect for some parent-child bonding moments during the weekend. Here’s what you need.
1 Newspaper/magazine squares to form cones
The only way to serve kacang puteh is in a paper cone. Learn to make one yourself with this nifty YouTube tutorial.
From there, you simply assemble your kacang puteh mix. You can purchase pre-bought ingredients, throw them into a mixing bowl, and with a large spoon mix everything up before adding it into a paper cone.
2 Steamed white beans
Chickpeas (or kacang kuda) are the healthiest of kacang puteh. Steam pre-cooked tinned chickpeas and flavour with a bit of salt and lemon.
3 Sugared Peanuts
Easily the favourite among kids, these can be found at grocery or convenience stores. Try Camel Sugar Peanuts, $1.45 for 140g.
4 Flavoured mixed nuts
For something more adventurous, try fun flavours like Chilli and Lime, and Coconut and Lemongrass by Wholesome Harvest ($6.90 for 140g) via Redmart.
(Photo: Harvest Box)
5 Party Mix
Party Mix refers to all your favourite crunchies, such as peanuts, broad beans, chickpeas, green peas and cracker biscuits. Tong Garden is the most widely available ($3.50 for 400g).
6 Tapioca chips
Plain, chilli-flavoured, or with chilli and ikan billis — scour supermarket aisles for your favourite. Our preferred is Sambal Kerepek Ubi by Ban Hock Brand ($3.95 for 35g).
(Photo: Ban Hock Brand)
Essentially twisted fritters made of rice and lentils, murukku come in all shapes and may be flavoured, spiced, and even curried. Opt for different varieties to keep it interesting. FairPrice Murukku comes in fine and thick varieties ($1.30 for 150g). Camel’s Round Murukku ($1 for 130g) can be eaten whole or broken up into smaller pieces.
Tong Garden’s crispy Broad Beans in onion and garlic flavour, or Crunchy Coated Green Peas (both, $2 for 180g) make very worthy kacang puteh additions.
(Photo: Tong Garden)
Ingredients are available at most Fairprice and Cold Storage outlets.