I couldn’t agree more with Devi Asmarani (one of my favorite writers) who wrote in one of her articles in Weekender (one of my favorite magazines) that ‘Food, like music, has a way of staying firmly in our memory, linking tastebuds and emotions’.
When I was still in elemetary school, there was a sticky and sweet snack I loved as a child. It is made of sweet potato mixed with sago flour (or tapioca) boiled in water and palm sugar and then served with coconut milk called ‘biji salak’ which literally means ‘the seed of snake fruit’.
I have no idea why this snack is named ‘biji salak’ because it has nothing to do with the seed of snake fruit whatsoever. Probably because the size and shape of the sweet potato ball looks like the seed of snake fruit.
The sweet memory of my childhood favorite snack still sticks in my mind up to now. I remember when my Mom was making ‘biji salak’, I used to help shaped the sweet potato into a small ball. It was really fun, because I got my palms all sticky after that. And imagining what it would be like after it is done really make it even more fun and exciting.
This sticky and sweet memory of my chidlhood snack has driven me to browse to internet looking for recipe of ‘biji salak’. After going through some recipes, I found the following recipe by Yasa Boga which I think closest to what my Mom used to make.
- 750 g sweet potatoes, steamed, peeled, and divided into 4 parts
- 125 g tapioca/sago flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 liter water
- 200 g brown sugar/palm sugar
- 3 pandan leaves tied into a knot
- 1 tablespoon tapioca/sago flour diluted with a little water
For the coconut milk sauce
- 350 ml thick coconut milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pandan leaf
- Take 3/4 part of sweet potatoes, mix with tapioca flour and salt, knead until even and form into small balls.
- Boil water, and palm sugar and pandan leaves
- Put in the small balls and cook until they float.
- Add the remaining 1/4 part mashed sweet potatoes and tapioca flour and stir
- Remove from heat and put into a bowl
To make the coconut milk sauce:
- Put the raw coconut milk in a saucepan
- Add the pandan leaf
- Cook on low heat and stir lightly until boiled