Friday, August 17, 2012

Indonesian Banana Rice Tamal, August 17

The first time I tried Indonesian cuisine was at an Indonesian breakfast, and I thought the peanut sauce the meat was cooked in was incredibly exquisite. Now I have the chance to try a smooth rice flour concoction, filled with fresh bananas. and which closely resembles Latin American tamales. The idea of wrapping them in banana leaves probably came from Asia, as the banana tree was brought to America from that continent in the 1500's...
Indonesian Independence, August 17th
Indonesians celebrate their independence from the Netherlands on this day in 1949. The declaration was made in 1945, and the Indonesians fought for four years to become independent. Today, this date is celebrated by decorating buildings in red and white, and holding special events, and even sales in stores. Banners with the words "Long live Indonesia" are hung in many places, and many play a game where adults and children try to climb a slippery tree trunk (covered with clay and oil) to reach prizes such as bikes and television sets that are hung at the top.

5 bananas
1 cup rice flour
2 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Banana leaves

Slice bananas in half. Mix flour, coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a pot.  Cook over low heat, constantly stirring until mixture is very thick and smooth. 

Spoon 1 to two tablespoons of the mixture onto the banana leaf.
Place a slice of banana on mixture, and cover the banana with another 1 to 2 tablespoons of mixture.
Wrap mixture with banana leaves neatly. It is better to use banana leaves; however, if it's hard for you to find them, you could use aluminum foil like I show below.
Press the dough firmly before continuing to roll.
When you are finished rolling, press the dough firmly on the left and right side of the tamal.
Steam over medium heat for 25 minutes, or until cooked.

Serve warm or cold.


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