Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bika Ambon

Chad brought this remarkable thing back from North Sumatra called Bika Ambon; Ambon being an island that's nowhere near Sumatra, and bika apparently being a cake made out of rice flour. What's remarkable about it is its complex structure, which reminds me of the diagrams of hydrophobic and hydrophilic membranes we studied in high school biology class.

Bika Ambonicus side view

Cross-section of Bika Ambonicus showing irregular columnar structure

Bika Ambon is pleasantly chewy and has the sort of eggy-custardy-coconut flavor that's very popular in Indonesian desserts. The other interesting thing about it is the warning on the box, which informs us (in Indonesian) that after 3 or 4 days Bika Ambon will "experience a process of hardening." We can attest to this, since our small remaining piece now resembles some kind of construction material. The suggested remedy is steam, but I suspect our remedy will be to let it hang around in the fridge for another week and then toss it.


michele said...

despite your pseudo-scientific presentation, this cake sounds yummy. i love coconut and custard...yumm. i'm also hungry right now. where's mine?

perhaps an alternative remedy to your last bit of hardened bika would be to hang it from a string for the next holiday celebration.

crawdaddy said...

So cool.
Your challenge from now on is to find deserts that you use as practical materials and tools. Bika Ambon foundation blocks, fruit leather vests, twizzlers for lashing and binding...
Like Willy Wonka meets Survivor.
Good luck.

ace said...

perhaps you can use it to prop the wobbly fridge.

Robyn said...

Bika! We like bika Minang, which is a less (than your bika) leavened batter poured into half cup-like molds lined with wild pepper leaves and then baked in a makeshift oven. Very cakey, not too spongy, nicely coconuty, not too sweet. Found them in Padang and then many more in the Bukittingi market.

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