Friday, November 9, 2012

angsle, savings for a rainy day

I must admit, I was a scrawny little kid when I was young. Getting me to eat anything, be it during meal time or snack time, was a task. It's actually quite astonishing when I think about how much I love food now, so much so that I had to start my own food blog to channel it all. But, my preference will always be more with the savouries.

It was only the other day my sister said to me, "So you're basically like me now, except that you do savouries, and I do sweets and desserts". She recently procured a thermomix and a kitchenaid, and can now be found in her kitchen in a desserts/snacks/sweets baking euphoria, to say the least.

These days I'm still picky with my snacks. I always thought of myself as a meal-eater, not a snacker. In saying that, there are some that I would make exceptions for.

Like one that is served in a shop called Ronde Titoni est. 1948 in Malang, East Java. Considering the shop (and recipe) is more than 60 years old, the current owner (and his helpers) is young and hip, with his hockey(?) shirt and white baseball(?) cap. A friendly chap, who is always ready for a chat about anything and nothing in particular.

But that night I wasn't keen for a chat, torrential rain has been pouring since 3pm, the sky was dark and angry, and everything was wet and miserable. What I wanted was a bowl of sweet and comforting angsle. A concoction of boiled green mung beans, steamed glutinous rice and slices of plain white bread. In the bowl, you'd also find fluorescent pink mini tapioca pearls, which are colloquially known as mutiara. And petulo (also known as putu mayang), pink noodles made from pushing a dough of food coloured rice flour and coconut milk through a sieve. All is then doused with warm coconut milk broth that is both sweet, but not too sweet. Enough to make me go for another spoon and another...

Angsle - Rp 5,000

As the chills gradually seeped out of me, I started to appreciate my angsle more and more. What a textural adventure it was, and is. The white bread would be soppy from the broth, the grean mung beans powdery under the pressure of the tongue, the glutinous rice chewy and soft at the same time, and the tapioca pearls swimming inside in my mouth as I slurped and chewed and said to myself "thank you, you've done well".

My father doesn't hold as high reverence for angsle as I do. He is rather partial to a bowl of properly made kacang kuah, a dish that is made by simply boiling raw peanuts in water with sugar, pandan leaves and sometimes also ginger, until the broth is starchy and almost porridge like, and the peanuts are mushy but still retaining most of their shape. He likes his kacang kuah very gingerry, most often than not he'd ask the owner to ladle in an extra ladleful of ginger broth from the ronde broth pot.

Kacang kuah - Rp 5,000

Ronde basah - Rp 5,000
One last dish on offer is the aforementioned ronde basah (or simply ronde). This dish is firmly chinese influenced, might be known by the name of tāngyuán (chinese simplified: 汤圆). Warm broth of ginger is sweetend with sugar and accompanied sporadically with roasted peanuts, in it swims various sizes of glutinous rice balls (locally known as ronde) and tapioca sticks. The larger sized ronde are stuffed with palm sugar, the smaller ones are not. The fluro pink tapioca sticks here are more square than rectangular, before added to the ronde broth, they are soaked in water, doubling in size in the process. 

Cakwe - made by deep frying rolls of dough until they are golden brown and puffy, not unlike a larger cousin of churros - is a great accompaniment to any of the dishes Ronde Titoni is offering. It dulls the sweetness, and soaks up the broth, yet light enough to not weigh the stomachs down.

While we were enjoying the dishes and the warmth they give us, we were accompanied by the practiced movement of the owner as he poured various things into bowls and plastic bags. When a takeaway is ordered, various ingredients and broth are poured into clear plastic bags, small enough yet large enough for a single portion. The bags would then be secured tightly, in a swift circular motion, with a rubber band. As the content of the small plastic bags would be filled with still hot liquid, they would then be placed inside another plastic bag, this time with two ears as handles to carry home.

Angsle and kacang kuah are great to have when chilled, since Ronde Titoni only dish them warm, it serves as an excuse to also have them as takeaways. Although, ronde is not so good to have chilled.

Ronde Titoni
Jalan Zainal Arifin 3
Open 7 days 5pm-midnight

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