Last Saturday was a special day for every muslim around the world. As the Indonesian tradition, we usually ask forgiveness from relatives and friends after the Eid-ul Fitr prayer. Also, we have a tradition which we call for mudik. It happens due to urbanazation where people usually work and live in the Indonesian big cities and they came from small cities. Before the day of Eid-ul Fitr, people will go back to their hometowns where their relatives (including parents) are reside. This event often causes crowdedness at the airports, train stations, seaports, and bus stations, while some who do traveling by car are trapped in traffic jams for hours, mostly in Java island.
A tradition who applies to the little children, as well as forgiveness they get some money as a gift from their relatives. That is what we call for angpau sometimes, just like the Chinese tradition to celebrate their Chinese New Year.
Another tradition which the Indonesians call for Takbiran and we usually do at the night of the last day of Ramadan. People, from little children to old men celebrate Takbiran by reciting the takbir with a microphone and sound speakers in a parade. They parade around the town and usually they hit ‘beduk’, a large drum, as a background music of the takbir.
Surely we have special food to celebrate that day. My relatives usually make gulai kambing (goat curry), opor ayam (chicken in spiced coconut milk), ketupat (cooked rice in coconut leaf wraps) or lontong (cooked rice in banana leaf wraps), lodeh sayuran (vegetables in spiced coconut milk), sambal goreng hati dan udang (fried sambal with chicken/beef liver and shrimp), also bubuk koyah kedelai (spiced soy ground) and koyah kelapa (spicy desiccated shredded coconut) as condiments. Lots cookies, peanuts, emping crackers and cashew nuts are served and waiting on the coffee table every time we visit our neighbors and relatives houses. I bet you notice that we use lots coconut milks for almost everything in those food. Yeah, after that day some people say they should do diet due to the cholesterol level after eating those all.
Upsss, I blabbed away and dreamed of those food too much. Last year I made checkerboard cookies and marble cookies which was made from leftover checkerboard cookie dough, this year I didn’t have enough time to make cookies. Since It’s easy to get fresh banana blossom in Winnipeg and I was tempted to try and adapt a lodeh jantung pisang recipe of mbak Lia of Dapur Gue, which I followed her tips to add smoked fish in; Thank you, mbak. Almost all Oriental/Asian markets in Winnipeg are sold fresh banana blossoms. At Van Loi, one of oriental supermarkets in Winnipeg even sells fresh sliced banana blossoms.
1 banana blossom (you can use sliced banana blossom ready to use)
1 smoked goldeye fish (it can be substituted for any other kind of smoked fish), baked/ toasted/ pan-fried for couple minutes
600 ml coconut milk
salt as desired
1 tsp sugar
2 Indonesian bay leaves (salam leaves)
Grind into a paste:
2 red chilies (add more if you like spicy)
3 cloves garlic
2 cm fresh galangal
1 cm fresh kencur (it is also known as kaempferia galangal), you can substitute for ground or dried kencur
5 candlenuts, toasted
2 tsp coriander seed, toasted
To prepare the banana blossom
Remove dark outer petals to expose the pinkish bulb. Cut lengthwise and chopped into thin slices. Cook in 500 ml boiling water for 5 minutes and drain. Repeat that method by bringing another 500 ml water to a boil, add the banana blossom, cook for 3 minutes, drain. Banana blossom now is ready to be used.
1. Heat coconut milk, Indonesian bay leaves and ground spices in a pot at medium-high heat, stir occasionally until boiling.
2. Add smoked goldeye fish, banana blossom, salt and sugar, stir and reduce to low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, serve warm with ketupat and sprinkle over the koyah kedelai.