Tuesday, February 12, 2013

surabi imut, a serendipitous find in klojen

After visiting a few jajanan (traditional snack) stores in Pasar Klojen, having no luck in finding serabiI tried one last store, which looked promising with its large spread of jajanan. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, the store owner didn't have serabi either.

What he did have was a tip about a warung opposite his shop that makes fresh serabi pancakes. I've never had fresh serabi before, naturally I was intrigued, especially when it's recommended by a local.

Serabi is a pancake like snack, made up of mostly rice flour. There are a two  different styles of serabi. You can eat it dry, topped with all kinds of toppings like bananas, chocolate sprinkles, etc. The other version, the one I love, is when the pancake is bathed in pandan infused sweet coconut milk, best served when the coconut milk is chilled to dull its sweetness somewhat.

Making the dry version of the pancake is similar to the wet version. The pre-prepared batter is poured into the specialised serabi earthenware that has been pre-heated slowly over charcoal. What's so special about the earthenware is half-sphere shape resembling a mini sized wok, giving the serabi its signature shape.

A drizzle of condensed milk sweetens the serabi. My order was serabi with sweet ripe banana that has been deftly sliced and pushed into the slowly bubbling batter. Replace the lid for a few minutes until the serabi is cooked. I was particularly reassured to see the vendor requiring no timer to know that it's cooked.

Once the lid is removed, the serabi pancake is lifted off the earthenware using a curved  spoon-like spatula with wooden handle. Plating up consists of no more than plopping the serabi on a patterned melamine plate, the top surface of the pancake cracking ever so slightly as the curved bottom flattened itself on the plate. The pancake is then slicked up with more condensed milk as if it could do with even more sweetness.

Surabi pisang - Rp 2,000
I do like it. It's sweet, sticky, messy, slightly charcoally.

But I couldn't help being nostalgic of another place and another time, when an old lady in kebaya with a round bamboo tray atop her head, selling her wares from shop to shop, house to house. Among her offerings was a small clear plastic bag, inside was two serabi, next to it was sweet coconut milk contained in a separate clear plastic bag secured with a rubber band. The combination of which is ready to be poured into a small bowl and enjoyed by a small scrawny kid.

Surabi Imut

Jalan HOS Cokroaminoto
Open 7 days 11am-9pm, closed every second Sundays
location on google maps

The small shop is located in the ubiquitous gang (alleyway). Opposite Pasar Klojen find the sky blue painted gate that leads to the alleyway. Go through the gate, the shop is almost immediately on your left. If you have difficulties finding the gate, it is located in between a masjid (mosque) with a tall green tower and a store in barbie pink colour.

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