Saturday, May 31, 2008

My favorite Indonesian desserts

Before we left for Chicago, E and Y gave us some Indonesian desserts that I haven't had in a long time: martabak manis (sweet thick pancakes) and bika ambon (honeycomb cake). Last month they told me one of their relatives were going to visit from Indonesia, and if I wanted anything from back home. Without any hesitation, I immediately requested for these.

I had put them in the freezer and decided not to eat them until we returned home from Chicago. Not because I didn't want to indulge them immediately, but I just wanted to make sure that my stomach was in perfect condition for tasting PH's creations. I have a pretty sensitive stomach, so I'm afraid to eat any food that my stomach isn't used to have anymore.

The martabak manis was amazingly delicious, the taste was as good as I remembered. This one was filled with chocolate, peanuts and cheese. It is also sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with condensed milk on top of the filling. Martabak manis is one of my favorite desserts since I was young, but unfortunately noone here can make martabak manis as good as this particular one. If you are wondering what it tastes like, here is the answer: the taste is similar to a pancake, but thicker, softer, fluffier, sweeter, tastier and richer :-)

Kue Bandung Jagalan: Martabak manis - coklat, kacang, keju (another view)
Martabak manis - chocolate, peanuts and cheese

I tried making these several times, but the results were still not as perfect as the original ones that are usually sold by street vendors in Indonesia. The ones that I made, the taste was good, but the texture was only okay. I thought it was because I didn't use the special pan for making martabak manis. My big brother, who loves me very much, even brought me 2 regular martabak manis pans and 1 small one, complete with the special range and pipe for it. The only thing I needed to get before I could use the range was the propane that is usually used for cooking if you go camping. Unfortunately when I made the martabak manis again using this pan, I was still not satisfied with the texture. I guess if I want to eat a perfect martabak manis, I need more practice or just wait until I visit Indonesia.

Rica Rico: Bika ambon (another view)
Bika ambon

The bika ambon was awesome, it was soft but chewy at the same time, rich and fragrant, I could smell the kafir lime leaves in it. The best bika ambon I've ever tasted back in Indonesia was the one that was bought from Medan. This one was not from Medan, but it was still very good. I've never tried to make this cake myself since I heard that it's not easy to get the perfect texture -- that "honeycomb" look. No wonder I haven't found anyone who sells bika ambon here.

It has been several years since I ate a very good martabak manis and bika ambon like these. I love them a lot, especially the martabak manis. My husband like them too, but not as much as I do. Thanks again guys, I really appreciate it!


fkbloona said...

I agree with you on the martabak manis thing...can't get a good one here in the US. I miss having this while its fresh from the 'abang2' thanks for the post.

Mochachocolata Rita said...

I've tried making martabak manis/kue bandung 2 x and failed miserably T_T

I want kue bandung jagalan sooo much I could cry T_T