Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Kolak Panna Cotta
"Any idea to use up some coconut cream?" I murmured to B on the phone while standing in front of the open fridge.
"Mm," he stopped for a while, "Kolak?"
It's my turn to be silent. "Sounds good.. But I don't really have much left."
"Well, it's coconut cream anyway. Thin it out a bit with water, that's fine..."
Kolak is quite a signature food of Indonesia. It is basically fruit cooked in pandan-infused coconut milk and sweetened with palm sugar. It is not eaten as dessert, but more as a snack. When we say "kolak", we mostly refer to "kolak pisang" (pisang is Indonesian word for banana). As long as I can remember, I have never eaten any kolak which does not contain bananas. It is kind of the "standard" of kolak, the base recipe which you can later throw any add-ins. The most popular add-ins for kolak are root vegetables (cassava and sweet potato), toddy palm seeds, durian, and jackfruit slices. Some people like to add mung beans or red (adzuki) beans too, or even tapioca pearls.
A friend once told me that kolak was originally served cold, sometimes with ice cubes. As this dish got more widely-known throughout Indonesia, people start to adjust the way the serve kolak to their preferences. I myself like it warm on cold winter days, although most of my friends prefer it cold on hot summer days. To me, the richness of the coconut milk is just way too much for a hot day, but anyway, that's just a personal preference.
"So? Kolak it is?" B stopped me from daydreaming.
"Well, it's the easiest way to use up your coconut cream." I surely believe he was craving for kolak, but not wanting to admit it!
But kolak is kinda boring. And it's even more boring to take photos of. It doesn't have stunning color or texture; only mushy fruit slices in a sweet soup. I'll have to make it more attractive... Uh, hang on, aren't deconstructed desserts quite popular these days? I guess... I could do a twist to this traditional recipe...
Kolak Panna Cotta
for the coconut-pandan panna cotta:
100 ml coconut cream
30 gr caster sugar
1/2 pandan leaf, torn into 3-inch pieces
pinch of salt
1 tsp gelatin
50 ml water
1. Bring coconut cream, sugar, pandan leaf, and salt into boil. Let steep for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile lightly grease 5 moulds or muffin pans with vegetable oil. Bloom gelatin in water.
2. Strain coconut cream, mixture. In a bowl over simmering water, rewarm the coconut cream. Add gelatin mixture and cook, stirring, until gelatin is dissolved.
3. Divide evenly onto prepared moulds and refrigerate until set (2-3 hours).
for the caramelised banana:
40 gr palm sugar
1 tbsp water
10 gr butter
1 banana, sliced
1. Cook palm sugar and water until it starts to caramelise. Add butter and let it melt. Add banana slices and cook until soft.
1. Spoon a little sauce on plate. Place panna cotta on top of sauce.
2. Top with caramelised banana and serve.
"What's that?" B asked me as I took those plates to my "studio".
"Well, weren't you asking for kolak?"
"I don't get it."
"It's coconut panna cotta infused with pandan, topped with bananas caramelised in palm sugar..."
"Oh." Another silence. "Fancy that."
He ate two in one day. One more the next day. I guess that explains enough.