Thursday, December 27, 2007

Junk food of the week: Kue Keranjang

Kue Keranjang (KWEH krrAHNjahng) is a Chinese New Year's cake, known as nian gao in Mandarin (you're on your own with Chinese pronunciations). It looked delicious sitting in tidy rows in a little market in Glodok, Jakarta's Chinatown.

What I didn't foresee was the problem of getting it out of its plastic wrap. Nian gao is made mostly of glutinous rice flour and sugar, steamed into an unbelievably dense and sticky glob. If I pulled with all my strength I could budge the plastic, but I couldn't pull it off. I tried slicing through it, but the cake itself proved impenetrable.

Finally Chad and our friend Mike managed to wrestle some of the nian gao free from the wrapper, and we tossed it in a pan and fried it as recommended. It was good, in a sort of toffee-ish way, but I couldn't help feeling we'd gotten something wrong. Most people don't need biceps of steel just to eat their New Year's cake, do they?


elyani said...

Right...they stick like the bubble gum :) I prefer the home made version where the kue keranjang (sweet rice cake) was wrapped in banana leaves instead of plastic. The other way to eat kue keranjang is cut them into cubes, steam them with grated coconut and a bit salt. Happy Christmas !

Lewi Tanjung said...

Ehmm, looks really yummy!!