Picture from: barin99.livejournal.com
I am feeling Green today…….
Remember the old popular song sung by Tom Jones named Green Green Grass of Home? Just like Tom Jones, today I am dreaming of the “Green Green Snacks of Home”
In my country, we have a habit of snacking….and we simply love snacking…. There is no specific timing for snacking, basically we snack all the time. Therefore we have so many traditional snacks which we call Jajanan Pasar
And some of the traditional snacks are ‘green snacks’ …..
Why green snacks?
I call them ‘green’ snacks because they are literally green (in color)….NOT because they are made of environmental friendly ingredients.
But, wait a minute….in a way these ‘green snacks’ contain ‘green’ ingredients, literally as well as ‘environmentally’ and the ‘green ingredients’ are pandan leaves to get the ‘sweet fragrant aroma’ and/or suji leaves to get the ‘green’ color.
Nowadays, people are hardly making traditional snacks or cake using real pandan and/or suji’s leaves. Many, especially those who make traditional snacks for commercial, choose to use synthetic pandan paste or food coloring instead. It is more practical, of course.
During my childhood, I remember my Mom made the effort when she needed pandan aroma and/or suji ‘green’ color to make the green traditional snacks. She actually had this mortar and pestle made of heavy iron to pound the pandan and/or suji leaves to get the aroma and color she wanted. She had to strain and squeeze the mashed leaves to get the clean green liquid. It’s quite hassle and takes time.
Let’s Explore a Bit on Pandan and Suji Leaves
Pandan leaves are the leaves of the plant Pandanus amaryllifolius and are sometimes called fragrant screwpine. Fragrant pandanus leaves grow easily in tropical climates and are used widely in both savory and sweet dishes. These blade-like leaves grow up to about 50 cm in length but are often sold trimmed. They have a strong but very pleasant, almost woody perfume. To the Asian Chef, the pandan leaf perhaps what vanilla essence is to his/her Western counterpart. Cooks often add pandan leaves to the pot when cooking rice for their subtle, sweet fragrant – rice cooked this way tastes like it has been newly harvested.
Picture from : green.kompasiana.com
Suji leaves are the leaves of Dracaena angustifolia or Pleomele angustifolia, an annual plant which the leaves can be used for natural food coloring. Suji leaves give natural green color to foods but they don’t have sweet fragrant aroma like Pandan. The green color of suji is darker that of Pandan leaves
Picture from: kesehatan.kompasiana.com
Pandan leaves are sometimes tied in a knot and simmered in a sweet dish to gently release its heavenly flavor. Their flavor can also be extracted by cooking whole sections of leaf in a savory dish and removing it after cooking.
Let’s Go Back to the Green Green Snacks of Home
During my childhood, my Mom often cooked me Indonesian traditional snacks and my favorites are the green ones. Now, there are so many great snacks around but I really miss the Green Green Snacks of Home so much today. These ‘green snacks’ are very tasty desserts and drinks – perfect for an unforgettable ‘snacking moment’.
In this post, I explain a bit and show the pictures of my five favorites green snacks and the top two include the recipes.
Klepon (sticky rice green dumpling)
Klepon (pronounced Klê-pon) is a traditional Indonesian rice cake, from Javanese cuisine. It is a boiled rice cake, stuffed with liquid gula jawa (palm sugar), and rolled in grated coconut. Klepon is green because it is flavored with a paste made from the pandan and/or suji leaves which are used widely in South East Asian cooking.
Surprise, surprise I found one recipe of Klepon at the least expected website for this traditional Indonesian snack – it’s at www.nigella.com/recipes/ and klepon is called glutinous rice balls and this is the recipe:
- 150 ml pandanus juice
- 2 tbsp water
- 200 g palm sugar finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 75 g grated coconut
- Combine the glutinous rice flour , pandanus juice and water into a medium sized bowl kneading well to form a smooth pliable dough.Cover the dough with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Bring a pan of water to boil , then lower the heat so that the water simmers gently.
- Pinch out a dough about 2 cm across flatten it into a disc and drop it into the simmering water. When the disc is cooked and rises to the surface, lift it out with a slotted spoon , shake off the water and knead the cooked dough evenly back into the main dough. If dough seem too sticky , knead in another 1 to 2 tbsp glutinous flour.
- Mix the salt and grated coconut together and place on a plate.
- Pinch off small balls of dough the size of small limes ( 20 g each ) and roll them into your palms to form smooth balls. carefully make a small well in hte center of each ball and fill with 1 tbsp of the palm sugar .
- Pinch the dough together to seal the palm sugar inside tightly, then roll the ball gently to smoothen and , as you make each one , drop it into the simmering water.
- When the dough balls floats to the top , carefully remove them with a slotted spoon and allow the water to drain off.
- Then roll the balls in the grated coconut to coat evenly. Transfer to a serving plate.
And this is the picture of Klepon which I saw from Nigela Lawson’s website:
Picture from: resephidanganhijau-mikhlaskautsar.blogspot.com
Serabi, surabi or called srabi is an Indonesian pancake drizzled by sweet syrupy sauce. It is made from rice flour and coconut milk or just plain shredded coconut as an emulsifier.
Each province in Indonesia has various serabi recipes corresponding to local tastes. Like in Bandung they sell serabi with chocolate or cheese or sweetened condensed milk and raisin as toppings.
Picture from: resepmakananhalal.blogspot.com
But for me, the classic green serabi with sweet sauce is the best.
Recipe of Green Serabi
- 200 gram all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 300 cc coconut milk
- 50 cc natural green coloring made from suji leaves
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Olive oil for brushing the pan
- 400 cc coconut milk
- 5 tablespoons of palm sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 pandan leaf, knotted
- Combine flour and baking powder then sift on a big bowl.
- Whisk egg and salt until foamy.
- Whisk in coconut milk and the green coloring until well combined.
For the serabi:
- Gradually pour egg and coconut mixture into flour bowl, fold it until the batter is soft and lumps free.
- Let it rest for 2 hours.
- Brush serabi pan or a very small round pan with olive oil.
- Heat it over low heat .
- Once the pancake surface is pored then put the lid on.
- Cook it until the pancake is set.
For the sauce:
- In a saucepan, mix all ingredients and boil it until the palm sugar is melted.
- Keep stirring to avoid coconut crumbled.
Serve the serabi with the sauce and this is the look of green serabi of the above recipe:
Picture from: belzyskitchen.blogspot.com
Picture from: ketela.wordpress.com
Cendol is a traditional dessert drink originating from South East Asia which is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and Thailand. There is popular belief that the name “cendol” is related to and originated from the word jendol in Javanese, Sundanese and Indonesian language which means “bump” or “bulge” which refers to bumpy sensations of the green worm-like jelly passed through the mouth during drinking es cendol. This green cendol dessert drink is liked by many people including President Barak Obama as you can see from this picture:
Picture from: kaskus.us
Dadar Gulung (Indonesian pancake with coconut filling)
Picture from: flickr.com
Dadar Gulung is one of popular snacks in Indonesia, especially in Java. Dadar literally in Indonesian means pancake while gulung means ‘to roll’. Inside has sweet grated coconut as a filling, and usually the pancake has green-color which comes from suji leaves.
Green Pandan Cake
Pandan cake is a light, fluffy cake of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Philippines flavored with the juice of suji leaves. The cakes are light green in tone due to the chlorophyll in the leaf juice.
Wow………………how can you resist such sweet green temptations?
Just looking at the pictures of these green snacks, I get home sick and miss my childhood ‘green snacks’ so much that I am singing along with Tom Jones……..”Yes, they’ll all come to meet me, arms reaching, smiling sweetly …….It’s good to taste the green, green snacks of home…………….”
- Nigela Lawson website
- belzyskitchen’s blog