HOT AND STICKY GOODNESS
One did not necessarily want to eat during the day, but that it was not possible was a burden. Right around teatime one would get up, sponge off, and regretfully realize that there was no cardamom coffee, no ginger tea, no horrid sweet softdrink with electric green or red fake colour, and entirely no food at all to be had. One would grumble in concert with one's stomach.
At sundown one walked toward the mosque, hoping that the vendors would have set up shop before magrib prayers ended, drifts of fragrance from their fires tempting the faithful in the courtyard. Tungkoludi was not a particularly exciting place, and food was one of it's sparse charms.
During Ramadan, that charm was only evident at night.
Sop Manok Mi = Chicken and noodle soup with fried tuber-chunks, mildly curry flavoured, with oily red chili sambal and huge wedges of cucumber. Lime wedge on the side.
Krawan = Goat meat and liver marinated in lime juice with garlic, ginger, and turmeric, flame-broiled, served with sweet-soy sauce and lime wedges.
Kurok Magureng = Frog marinated in vinegar and lime juice, deep-fried and served with a sambal of chilies, soy sauce, and sugar.
These and other quick dishes (sate kambing, krupok urang, tjao kangkong, luomi, pitjil batawi) were all quite delicious.
One would've hoped to have had a chance to enjoy them before dying of starvation.
Not in Tungkoludi.
The one thing that was both perfect for the time of day and the place was katupat. The hot packets fresh off the coals and smelling of scorched banana leaf, that one pulled apart with burnt fingertips, revealing a gooey sweet mass inside, were the very best way to start the night.
A quick snack, scarfed down greedily, which raised the blood-sugar level back to normal and kept one from killing the innocent natives.
Step back, bitch, these are mine!
3 cups glutinous rice.
1 - 1½ cups golden cane sugar.
Either two bananas, peeled and chunked.
Strips of meat from two young coconuts.
Banana leaves for wrapping
Soak rice in water for two hours. Drain, and grind to a smooth doughy consistency. Mix the sugar and the banana or coconut into the rice dough.
Wipe banana leaves clean, and pass over the fire. Cut into squares about the size of a plate.
Spread the rice mixture thinly over half of each piece of banana leaf, then roll into a sausage shape. Grill over coals till the inside is hot and goopy and the outside somewhat singed.
Makes about two dozen pieces.
Have them with cardamom coffee.
Ramadan ends today.
Eid mubarak, y'all.