Friday, January 1, 2016

Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak), with Yeast

Welcome 2016! And here’s something sweet and buttery to start this year: Martabak Manis!

This thick pancake is one of the most devilish street foods you can find in Indonesia. It is so evil because it consists layers of carbohydrates and butter spreads along with whatever filling you crave; from sweet condensed milk, cheese, chocolate sprinkles, peanut butter, jam, sugar, to the trendy flavors such as Kitkat, Oreo, Nuttella, or Ovomaltine. And here’s to adding more sins: the Martabak stalls are usually open at night so we Indonesian usually eat it as night meal after dinner. Despite the health problem you could possibly get if you eat too much Martabak Manis, the rich, buttery, sweet taste, fluffy, gooey texture, good feeling if you munch Martabak is worth the guilty pleasure.
Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||

The popularity of Martabak Manis never drops; right now in Bandung, West Java, Martabak Manis is a growing business that you’ll notice stalls of Martabak Manis with various batter and unique toppings are everywhere. Sometime Martabak Manis is referred as Martabak Bandung, and I think it’s still related because Bandung, West Java, is the city where Martabak Manis was creatively developed. But, is it really Bandung origins? And how is it different from Martabak Bangka?

Many Indonesian culinary enthusiasts believe the fact that Martabak Manis actually came from Bangka Island, one of the destinations of Hokkien immigrants, so that’s the history behind “Martabak Bangka” term. The Hokkien or Hoklo immigrants were creating food that was popular with the locals as “Hoklo Pan” or “Hokkien people cake”, which presumably is the earliest form of Martabak Manis. This ancient Martabak Manis was simple, filled only with roasted sesame seeds and sugar.

It was a nomad from Bangka, Mr. Bong Kap Djun, who first brought Martabak Bangka to Bandung at 60’s. As years went by, he could expand his Martabak Bangka and launch his brand, Martabak San Fransisco, which is still popular until now. From Martabak San Fransisco, local tourists that came to Bandung would then remember it as Kue Bandung or Martabak Bandung. So, basically there are not much different between Martabak Bangka and Martabak Bandung.

Another name that is also popular for this cake in some Indonesian regions is “Terang Bulan” that means “Full moon”, probably because it resembles the shape of full moon when it’s unfolded (Yes it has lots of aliases that it was confusing for me to decide what I should type as a title here haha). To say it’s an Indonesia origin is may be dubious as pretty similar cake is also available in Malaysia, known as Appam Balik, although the Indonesian version is thicker and vary in topping choices.

There is no fixed standard on how to make the original Martabak Bangka, the historical note about it only calls for roasted sesame seeds and sugar for fillings, the main batter ingredients are unknown for exact. Recipe ingredients you’ll find on the internet are also varied; from coconut milk to water, from baking soda to yeast as leavening agent, etc. So I decide to use coconut milk as it will richen the taste, and fill it with chocolate sprinkles, peanut butter, cheese, and sweet condensed milk.

The key to make a successful Martabak Bangka is to fill the batter with air as much as possible to make it spongy, notably if you’re going to use the usual non sticky pan, not the cast iron one. Knowing the fact, I did some modification on this recipe ingredient by using both instant yeast and baking powder to help. Also, to fit my recent daily schedule, I made the batter in the early morning, leave it fridge-fermented as I went work, and cook it on the night. :)

The yeast affected the martabak so it turned out cakey-like. If you go to Indonesia, there are two form of martabak, the usual martabak manis that use no yeast and the second is martabak bolu. This recipe is pretty similar to the second. Recipe for the no yeast martabak manis is coming soon! :)
Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||

Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak/Martabak Bangka/Hoklo Pan/Terang Bulan), with Yeast
Yield: 3 batch (20 cm pan size)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 2 cup thin coconut milk (substitute with: 2 cup milk or 2 cup water)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tbsp yeast, crush with the back of spoon until fine
  • 2 ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp butter
- Filling:
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Sweet condensed milk
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Peanut butter
  • Butter, room temperature

  1. Heat coconut milk, salt, and vanilla essence until warm. Skip this step if you’re using milk
  2. Using wood spatula, mix flour, yeast, egg, and sugar. Add one ladle coconut milk mixture at a time while keep on folding
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  3. Strain the batter to remove the remaining lumps.
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
    The good martabak batter should be look as smooth as this picture below
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  4. To ferment-fridge: cover the batter with plastic wrap, sit in the fridge up to 15 hours.
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
    To ferment in room temperature: cover the batter with clean damp cloth, rest for 60 minutes or until little bubbles formed on batter’s surface
  5. After fermented, add baking powder to the batter and whisk until it bubbles
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  6. Set non stick pan on the lowest heat. Make sure that the pan is heated evenly. Melt butter on pan, spread to cover all pan side surfaces
  7. Pour the batter into pan, do not exceed 1 cm in thickness. Spread the batter all over the pan surface
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  8. Cook on lowest heat until bubbles formed on top and the cake looks spongy and dry (see picture below), about 10 to 20 minutes
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  9. Remove from pan, spread 1 tbsp butter on top, sprinkle with grated cheddar or chocolate sprinkles or sweet condensed milk or whatever fillings you wish
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) || homefoodstory.blogspot.comMartabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) || homefoodstory.blogspot.comMartabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) || homefoodstory.blogspot.comMartabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  10. Fold the cake in half, brush with butter, divide into 8 square pieces
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) || homefoodstory.blogspot.comMartabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||
  11. Have a pleasant sinful supper!
    Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Martabak) ||

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