Sweet Memory in the Kitchen

We do not remember days,  we remember moments – Cesare Pavese, The Burning Brand

When I was a  young girl, I was one of those preppy growing up  girls who refused to work in the kitchen unless it involved munching. But I loved watching my mom cooked in the kitchen.

One of my sweet memories ‘working in the kitchen’ with my mom was when she cooked  a special dish for me named ‘Gadon’. This dish was cooked whenever I got sore throat or stomach-ache (of course without the chili on it) since it has soft texture and high nutrition. 

I used to be fascinated by the unique taste of ‘gadon’. That memory has left me with an eternal soft spot for this ‘savoury soft beef cake’, a Javanese dish made from ground beef mixed with spices, egg and coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed.

People say childhood memories last forever, they may be right, because since then, whenever I cook ‘gadon’ for my family, somewhere unknowing to myself a flash of that moment with my mom snaps back.

So, that takes me to today’s recipe,  it is a dish very near and dear to me



  • 300 grams minced beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4 red chilies, thinly sliced or whole bird-eye chilies
  • 100 ml thick coconut milk
  • Banana leaves for wrapping (note:  in modern cooking, we can use aluminum foil)

Smooth ground spice mix

  • ½ – 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon palm sugar


  • Mix well the minced beef with coconut milk and egg
  • Add the smooth ground spice mix
  • Add in salam leaves and kaffir-lime leaves
  • Take one table-spoon-full of the meat-mix and put it on a piece of banana leaf
  • Top the meat with the chili slice (if you want it to have a kick)
  • Wrap the meat-mix with the banana leaf and seal it with a tooth pick  (some people even use stappler).
  • Arrange the wrapped meat- mix on a steamer and steam for about 30 minutes or until well cooked
  • Serve warm

This was  how my mom made gadon:

And this is how I made ‘gadon’

Similar but not the same ……


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