The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Monday, 9 August 2010

Indonesian snack

It seems that the office is plotting against trip to the Philippines has also been changed, and hopefully somebody else will go in my place. Dammit! And that was even a place I had never been before...oh well. Never mind...

My most eastern experience so far has been Indonesia, Java which is the biggest island of the country - most of you I am sure are familiar with Bali. The rice paddies are a real symbol and are everywhere. Don't worry about mosquitoes because they use a type of fish which jumps around in small streams and eat them. You could walk around there for hours.

There is always a celebration going on, a funeral (which involves months' preparations and is a joyful event as the person leaves all material things and goes to heaven, or at least this is what they hope!), or a wedding. The beauty is in the details. Of statues on the side of the road, of buildings, of tiny shrines with flowers...

Wonderful and friendly people, fantastic fruit, interesting and testy food, and amazing what more can you ask? If you're lucky, and you should be, you might bump into a group of Gamalan players. It is always made up of men of different ages. The way the turbant they wear is folded and tied around the head represent their social and maritul status (with one knot means they're single! Good to remember). The music is very slow in Java but very frantic in Bali.

Jakarta is a busy, noisy and smelly city. However, at every corner, hidden away, are some unexpected gems and paradises of tranquillity. The trick is to know where they are!

My favourite snack (or meal, quite heavy as a snack, at least for me) is something called Martabak. Marta ke? Come on, this is easy pronunciation! Make an effort! So, going back to my Martabak. Last time I was down there I made sure I stopped in Jakarta and see my friend Heni.

Heni's mum is a guru at authentic local food. And she taught me how to make Martabak Telor - Telor means savoury, to distinguish the same base from the sweet one, called Mani, normally giving you the annual intake of sugar your body needs (it has condensed milk, bananas, chocolate, sugar, cream...all at once!). Slurp!

Anyway, as I didn't want to feel guilty for the following month, I decided to ask Heni's mum to teach me the "dietetic" version of Martabak. I think you can find it as a great snack or starter for parties as it is really easy to make and very testy.


For 6 people (makes 12 pieces)


> 300g mince meat; 2 spring onions; 1 white onion; 5 garlic cloves; wanton paper or filo pastry; 1 egg yolk; sunflower oil; salt & pepper.


1. Chop very finely the vegetables. Salt the mince meat and fry the garlic, then the onions, and then add the meat. Mix well in the frying pan and when it is cooked and golden, remove it from it and set aside.

2. Chop the spring onions. In a bowl beat the egg and add the spring onion, then the meat cooked previously. Salt & pepper to your teste.

3. Cut the pastry into small squares (5cm) and fill each square with some of the filling. Fold it and close the sides well, if necessary with some of the yolk (if you have any left). 1 egg makes 5 tbsp of filling so you can add more according to the quantities.

4. Fry the filled squares in hot sunflower oil. Remove and drain on a kitchen paper.

I hope one of my readers - who are not many for the moment... - will try them and tell me if they were good. I love them!! You can have them at every market stall and those are one of the safest food you can buy on the street as they are piping hot. Trust me!

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