What is Martabak Manis?

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A big shout out to all the sweet and dessert fascinators around the world. We all know the instant drools, the daydreaming triggers, and the midnight cravings associated with sweets. But what if I bring up a twist of taste to your usual sweet treats with an added dash of history and tradition?

Well, here in this article, I’ll give you a culinary ride all the way to Indonesia and explore its traditional and very popular sweet, Martabak Manis. So, fasten your seatbelts because together, we are flying to the historically rich territory of the Middle East and exploring this exotic sweet treat. Watch out.

What is Martabak Manis?

Martabak Manis is perhaps an off-beat name for those who throw nods of affirmation to everything sweet. But if you go to Indonesia, it is one of the most popular sweet dishes available there. Martabak Manis refers to a thick pancake filled with condensed milk, cheese, chocolate shreds, crushed nuts, sesame seeds, etc.  

The pancake is like the traditional pancake but a bit thicker and should have a hollowed space in the middle where they place the traditional filling. It is an Indonesian street dessert rich in sweetness and healthy toppings. However, you’ll find Martabak Manis with a variety of names in other Arabian and Southeast Asian territories like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Yemen, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Thailand, etc.

From the Pages of History

If you turn the pages of history, the origin of Martabak seems to appear in Yemen, and then it got introduced in Southeast Asia by South Indian Muslim traders. The term ‘Martabak’ has an Arabic origin. The word came from the Arabic word ‘Mutabbaq’ that loosely translates into ‘folded’.

However, in Indonesian culinary traditions, Martabak reports its origin in Bangka Belitung Island. Hoklo or Hokkein immigrants, an ethnic Chinese tribe, are believed to have introduced Martabak Manis here. They apparently named it “Hoklo Pan,” and the recipe included simple traditional toppings of roasted sesame seeds and sprinkled sugar.

Martabak has seen lots of transformations since then, and today’s Martabak Manis is a sweet pancake soaked in sugar and butter and filled with a variety of stuffing and toppings.

Nomenclature and Different Forms

Martabak Manis has a lot of different names and forms in different regions of the Asian continent. In Indonesia, Martabak Manis had emerged as “Martabak Bangka” because of its origin in Bangka Island. Apart from that, it got the name “Martabak Bandung” when Mr. Bong Kap Djun, a gypsy from Bangka region brought Martabak to Bandung region.

The Martabak Manis uses baking soda as an essential ingredient to get the dotted texture. Sugar gives the glazed bright appearance. Therefore, the pancake resembles the shape of a bright full moon, and in some Indonesian territories, it has the name “Terang Bulan,” which translates into the full moon.

How to Prepare Martabak Manis

If you wish to make this wonderful sweet dish at home, then here is the detailed recipe of Martabak Manis.

Ingredients for the Pancake Batter

·         All-purpose flour

·         Sugar

·         Egg

·         Salt

·         Water

Ingredients for the Baking Soda Mixture

·         Baking soda

·         Water

Ingredients for the Topping

·         Cheddar cheese

·         Roasted and crushed peanuts

·         Dark chocolate

·         Unsalted butter

·         Roasted sesame seeds

·         Condensed milk

Detailed Recipe of Martabak Manis

Here is the step-by-step recipe of Martabak Manis.

Step 1: Prepare the Pancake Batter

·         Take a bowl and take eggs and add sugar.

·         Stir and whisk until they combine together well.

·         Add water and mix properly.

·         Add all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt.

·         Whisk everything until the batter achieves a thick and runny texture with no lumps.

·         Put it aside in air-tight condition.

Step 2: Make the Pancake

·         Preheat the oven.

·         Take a small amount of water in a bowl and add baking soda to prepare the baking soda mixture.

·         Take the batter and add the soda mixture.

·         Mix properly until there is no lump or bubble.

·         Take a thick baking pan or a Martabak pan and warm it.

·         Pour the batter into it.

·         Spread the batter to the edge of the pan to make the edges lift like a crust.

·         Put the pan into the oven and let the bubbles come on the surface.

·         When the Martabak Manis is half done, sprinkle sugar all over the surface.

·         Let it bake until the pancake becomes golden brown.

Step 3: Add the Toppings

·         Take out the pancake and soak it into unsalted butter evenly.

·         Shred some chocolate and spread over half of the surface of the pancake.

·         Spread shredded cheddar cheese over the other half.

·         Add roasted and crushed peanuts and roasted sesame seeds.

·         Cut the pancake in halves.

·         Flip one half onto the other half like a lid.

·         Cut the Martabak Manis into pieces.

Your Martabak Manis becomes ready to serve.

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