Dessert First

The idea of writing this post was triggered by a  book “Confessions of a prayer wimp” written by Mary Pierce. In one of the chapters titled “the resolutionary war” she wrote about her new year resolutions and one of the resolutions is “this year I will eat my dessert first”.

What she wrote in that particular chapter has impressed me so much that I almost remember most of what she wrote on page 77 and 78 as follows:

“Don’t fill up on those cookies, or you won’t have room for dinner.”, our mothers used to tell us. What kind of a threat was that? What normal kid would respond, “Gosh, Mom, I didn’t realize what I was doing! Of course I want tohave room for the brussels sprouts. I’ll stop eating this chocolate cookie right now.” Fat chance. A normal kid will take the cookie every time. And I”m a normal kid. All my life I’ve heard that little nagging voice in my head (can you hear it too?) that tells me I have to clean my plate before I can have the dessert. I have to finish my brussels sprout before I get to the good stuff. Well, I’m through listening to that little nag, as of this year.

I was amazed on how the culture of eating dessert can have such an impact on one’s life. And I definitely agree with her that dessert is the reward of life, the delicious, satisfying sweet treat in life.  We’re not waiting until the end to have it. We’re not saving it until we’ve been through all the icky stuff. Yes, we can have dessert first!

Why dessert first?

Unlike in most western countries, in my country it is not our custom to serve dessert after meal. Desserts or sweet dishes are regarded simply as snacks, to be eaten when and where you have the need for one.

Desserts also have a social function as well…….
they are for serving to guest who drops in or comes visiting…….. they are for eating at any family gathering, formal or informal,……  and they are there too, simply as  a self-indulgence, when you are having a cup of coffee or tea.

Being Indonesian, I consider myself as more fortunate than Mary Pierce because I can enjoy different kinds of desserts whenever and wherever I feel like it.

And the best place for desserts is also right here in my country.

Indonesia sure has a comprehensive list of recipes for delicious desserts. With abundant tropical produce such as coconuts, lots of Indonesian desserts use Santan or coconut milk.

Often I deliberately eat dessert as my main meal. It maybe not very healthy, but it has really sweetened my life.

Check out some out of the so many ‘drool worthy’ Indonesian desserts:

Bubur Pacar Cina (Tapioca Pearl Dessert)

This tapioca pearl dessert is very popular in Chinese community and its even called “Pacar Cina” which literally means “Chinese Lover”.  Cooking this dessert is not difficult, but is quite tricky. They would turn soggy if overcooked, or else the middle part is not cooked through without enough cooking time

Kue Centik Manis (Pretty and Sweet Dessert)

Centik comes from the word Cantik which means pretty while manis means sweet. The name of this dessert literally means Pretty and Sweet which reflects the look and taste of it. It’s very easy to make, no steaming or baking process. Centik manis is also popular during Ramadan (fasting month) in Indonesia.

Kue Lapis Sagu (Layered Coconut Cake)

This cake with its mysterious layered structure is not as difficult to make as it looks.

And here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 180 gram glutinous rice flour
  • 180 gram tapioca
  • 400 gram sugar (or depends on the desired sweet level)
  • pinch of salt
  • 900 ml coconut milk
  • 5 sachet (40 gram) vanilla
  • a few drops of pink food coloring

Direction:

  •  mix all ingredients except food coloring to abatter, divide into 2
  • dye one part with a few drops of pink food coloring
  • pre-heat a steamer and wrap the lid with a clean tea towel to capture the steam
  • spoon a thin layer of uncolored batter into a spring-form cake tin
  • steam for about 5 minutes it sets and looks shiny
  • add a thin layer of pink batter to the tin and steam again
  • continue the process alternately until all the batter is used up
  • the whole process may take up to 3 hours. the final layers may have to steam longer around 10 minutes
  • allow to cool completely before cutting into thin slices

Kolak Pisang (Banana sweet soup)

Kolak is an equivalent of sweet soup. The soup is made of palm sugar and coconut milk. To the soup we can banana or other ingredients such as jackfruit, pumpkin, or cassave. Could be served either warm or cold

Kue Putu

Everybody will notice easily if a vendor of Kue Putu passes by. It is because he has a special whistle that toots along the way. Usually, the vendor bears two cabinets using yoke or rides a bicycle.

Kue Putu is a traditional cake made of rice flour with palm sugar filler. The taste is plain outside but sweet inside. Added with steamed grated coconut makes the taste richer. The color is white or green and the shape is like a cylinder.

Onde-Onde (Sesame balls filled with mung bean paste)

Onde-onde is one of traditional cakes in Indonesia, and particularly being famous in Mojokerto (East Java) since Majapahit era. We can find Onde-onde in traditional market or in some stores or even in fancy restaurants. Moreover, we can find this cake in China town in Indonesia or in every corner of the world.

References:

  • confessions of a prayer wimp by Mary Pierce
  • the real taste of Indonesia, a culinary journey – 100 unique family recipes – Hardie Grant Books, Australia
  • asiafinest.com
  • bandungholic.blogspot.com
  • indonesiantravelguide.com
  • sotokudus senayan

3 responses to “Dessert First

  1. onde-ondenya enak jadi pengen, tar sore beli ah onde-onde isi kacang ijo

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