From Indonesia With Love – Part 1

September 17, 2008

I’m baaaaaack! Did you miss me? I know, I missed you too!

Already; enough with the silliness. Let’s get back to the yummy at hand. My trip back to Indonesia was, as expected, highlighted by meal after meal of all the well known Indonesian dishes I loved growing up there. Now, for those of you who haven’t visited Indonesia yet, the country is smack in the middle of the equator, which means that the weather is for the most part unbearably hot and humid. To compensate for this, Indonesians pile on extra spices and rich ingredients to each dish to intensify the flavor. If it’s not extra sugar, it’s bathed in coconut milk (I just checked the caloric content, and it’s about 500 calories per cup – yikes!), more coconut milk, deep fried, soaked in butter, and just for variety’s sake, covered in crunchy coconut bits which I’m sure is deep fried in pure butter! And I’m just talking about the bite-sized dessert snacks!

Anyway, news of my arrival spread amongst my Mom’s female friends, most of whom can cook up a storm, so new dishes were being sent to our house daily. Oh, the torture! :) Here’s one from Auntie Bobo that I particularly loved – a dessert called Kolak.

Pop quiz: Class, what’s that milky liquid you see? Why yes, it’s coconut milk sweetened with palm sugar! The orange balls are sweet potato dumplings, the gray ones are tapioca dumplings, pieces of jackfruit, and two varieties of attap seeds (oval jelly like fruits from mangroove palm trees) – all swimming happily together in tropical harmony. Well, you can’t just photograph a tropical dessert without some suggestion of water and palm trees in the background, right? So I went into amateur shutterbug mode and decided to do a Bali-style shoot. I know, I’m totally obsessed with photography right now, and felt the need to bring along my trip not just my Canon DSRL, but also an additional macro lens, a tripod, my point- and-shoot Canon Powershot, as well as a new camera I bought my sister. The tripod was stowed along with my luggage, but the rest I carried with me on the plane, so I was getting a lot of odd looks by the security personnel when I put my carry on bag through the xray machine. But now that I’m looking back at the magic of the Kolak forever captured in a picture, it was all well worth it!

Where was I? Oh yes, the Bali-style picture. We’re lucky that our house in Indonesia has a pool with a balcony right above it, so I set the bowl of Kolak gently on the edge of the balcony and started shooting.

That’s not exactly a palm tree in the background, but it’s still foliage nonetheless! Hmmm, something is still missing. I know, I’m missing a flower! So a few minutes of tearing through the garden later, I present to you the final masterpiece.

Tropical enough for you? :)

I love how the hibiscus matched the sweet potato balls, and it’s a version of hibiscus I usually don’t see.

From what I read, hibiscus flowers are also edible.

Thanks, Auntie Bobo! The Kolak was definitely a labor of love, and I ate it up very lovingly!

I’ll post more pictures of my adventures in Indonesia in the coming days.


Room Candy – always yummy!


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