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Recipe for Jaja Matahari and Jaja Sirat

By: Mila Shwaiko

This article was originally published in Latitudes magazine, a renowned bi-monthly magazine focusing on Indonesian culture. The magazine hailing from the island of Bali previously existed in paper form and was especially known for its in-depth critical articles and beautiful photography. As a tribute to all contributors of this magazine presents a selection of articles published in the years 2001-2004.

These are two recipes for traditional Balinese cakes: Jaja Matahari & Jaja Sirat.

Recipe for Jaja Matahari

½ kilo rice flour
Grated flesh of one coconut
3 cups of water
¼ cup of sugar
A few drops of vanilla
A few drops of red food colouring
Coconut oil

Combine the water and grated coconut and knead the mix until the water is blended with the liquid from the coconut flesh. Using a strainer, separate the liquid from the coconut solids and add it to the flour. Mix the flour and the liquid together until no lumps remain. Add the vanilla and food colouring. Mix well to a smooth batter.
Heat enough coconut oil to fill the bottom of a wok or frying pan to a depth of around 2cm. Place the special matahari mould into the hot oil and allow to rest for several minutes until the metal is well-heated. Dip the mould delicately into the batter until the bottom is coated—don’t allow the batter to cover the whole mould! The batter should adhere to the hot iron and hiss on contact. Dip it into the hot oil and agitate until the jaja detaches from the iron. Cook it for another twenty seconds, then remove and drain. While it’s still hot and not yet hard, place the jaja over the base of an upturned glass and gently press it down until it ‘opens up’.

Makes around 30 pieces.

Recipe for Jaja Sirat

Handful of young hibiscus leaves
2 cups of water
½ kilo rice flour
½ kilo of liquid palm sugar
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil

Take the hibiscus leaves and mix with water. Work with hands until the leaves have been pulped and the mixture resembles a watery paste. Mix the flour and palm sugar in another bowl and knead into a dough-like consistency. Add the strained hibiscus water very slowly to the mix—not all of the water will be needed, just enough to make it into a batter.
Heat about 2cm of oil in a shallow pan. Dip your fingers into the mixture. Quickly hold your hand over the pan, so that the ribbons of batter hit the oil in a round lattice shape. Cook for 20 seconds, remove and drain.

Makes 25 pieces.

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