Monday, May 28, 2012

Vegan Martabak - Indonesian Savory Stuffed Pan Fried Bread

Baked martabak filled with spiced soy meat and scrambled tofu.  Served with spicy pickled cucumbers and mint chutney.

One of my blog readers asked me for this post after reading my blog of Vegan Martabak Manis - Indonesian Sweet Stuffed Pancake.  I finally have the time to post this veganized Indonesian snack.  This is another dish called Martabak but the savory kind.  Martabak, Murtabak or Mutabbaq is originally from Saudi Arabia but it has spread as street foods in Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. Originally, it is made of minced mutton, garlic, onions, green onions, and a lot of eggs but I veganized it to use ground tvp  or veggie burger bits or soy crumbles and scrambled tofu. The soy meat is spiced with chili, garlic, ginger, cumin, garam masala, and coriander (Arabic/Indian spices).    I used a lot of cilantro/parsley and green onions for the herbs.   I served it with spicy pickled fresh cucumber(called Acar in Indonesia) and mint chutney.

This is another popular Indonesian street food.  I ate this often in my growing up years.  We always bought it from a street vendor since it was cheap and it was hard to make at home.  We could have not made it the way the vendor made it.  It required a special flat and large griddle (such as the Mongolian BBQ's large and  flat griddle).  It also required a special skill to make the very thin dough.  You will see that it is very exciting to watch the martabak vendor making this savory dish.  This is one of the youtube videos showing the real street vendor making it: Martabak Telur (egg Martabak) which is the kind without the meat, eggs only.  The vendor kneaded the dough and made it very thin (as thin as phyllo dough) and threw it to a hot oil.  He then added the filling and folded the thin dough over and over (mutabbaq means fold).  As you can see that this dish is super greasy.  I can't believe I used to eat something like that.

This version below that  I made is vegan and much healthier. I don't think I can go back eating this dish from the street again.  It is so greasy and unhealthy.  I tried hard to make it healthier at home.   I have 2 options in making it healthier: 1) bake it (as pictured above) which is the healthiest and 2) pan fried it (as pictured below) which is less healthy but it is very delicious as anything fried with oil is usually delicious.  I used grape seed oil and my oil was clean and fresh.  I would not eat anything fried using dirty oil such as what the food vendor in the youtube used.

Pan fried with oil martabak. Served with spicy pickled cucumbers and mint chutney.
The first version, the baked one, I used Phyllo Pastry Dough for the wrap.  For the 2nd version, pan fried with oil, I used whole wheat tortilla or wrap.  I used Rudi's Organic Bakery 7-Grain Flax Wrap  If you prefer a gluten free one, I believe such products are available such as: Ivory Teff Wraps from La Tortilla Factory or Food for Life Brown Rice Tortillas.

Vegan Martabak - Indonesian Savory Stuffed Pan Fried Bread
Makes 6-8 martabak pockets/packages
Note: see the variations for martabak filling at the end of the recipe.

Scrambled Tofu:
14 oz firm tofu, water packed, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/2 tsp salt
Oil to pan fry (grape seed oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil), 2-3 tsp
  1. Make the scrambled tofu first by draining the firm tofu completely.  Crumble with your hands into a bowl.
  2. Add all the spices and mix thoroughly into the crumbled tofu.
  3. Drizzle about 2-3 tsp oil onto a hot flat frying pan.  Add spiced crumbled tofu.
  4. Pan fry for 15 to 20 minutes until  all the water from the tofu evaporated and crumbled tofu is brown some and dry.  Set aside and let it cool.
Martabak Filling:
1 cup chopped leeks, the white part only
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped parsley or cilantro
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 to 2 fresh green chili or red chili, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 small tomato, chopped
12 oz frozen Boca Crumbles
Note: Other kind of soy crumbles can be used such as Lightlife Smart Ground, Gimme Lean Beef Style, or reconstituted tvp
1/2 tsp salt, only if the soy crumbles are not salty
Note: if using reconstituted tvp, add several tablespoons of soy sauce or tamari
2-3 tsp oil
From top left, clockwise: chopped green onion, chopped parsley, scrambled tofu, chopped chili, and chopped leeks.

  1. Heat oil in a shallow frying pan.  Add leeks, chilies, garlic, and ginger. Saute for a few minutes until soft. 
  2. Add turmeric and combine.  Then, add cumin seeds, garam masala, and coriander.  Stir fry a few more minutes.
  3. Add chopped tomato and saute until the juices from the tomato are evaporated.
  4. Then, add the soy crumble/tvp.  Break the crumble with a spatula.  Combine all the ingredients thoroughly.  The filling has to be kind of dry.  Continue to pan fry until all the liquid and juices evaporated (15 minutes or so).
  5. Add the parsley or cilantro and all the green onions.  Taste and add salt if necessary. Combine and take it off heat.
  6. Set it aside and let it cool before assembling the martabak.
1/2 pkg. Phyllo Pastry Dough (follow the instructions in the box to thaw and to save the rest)
1/2 pkg.  Whole Wheat Tortilla or Wrap (about 9 or 10 inch diameter), make sure that it is pliable and not too thick. Use the kind that can be made into a burrito

Oil to brush on Phyllo or more oil to pan fry.

Baked Martabak (version 1):
  1. Combine scrambled tofu and martabak filling above in a bowl.
  2. Take 3 layers of phyllo dough onto a cutting board and cut into a 9 or 10 inch square (meanwhile make sure the rest of the phyllo dough is covered tightly or else it will dry up).   Take a brush and brush a thin layer of oil on 1st layer, top with the 2nd layer and brush a thin layer of oil, and then top with the 3rd layer.
  3. Scoop some filling (about 3/4 cup) onto the layered phyllo dough and wrap it like a package.
  4. Brush with oil and turn over the bundle and brush with more oil.
  5. Continue with the rest of the phyllo pastry and the filling.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F.  Bake martabak packages on an ungreased cookie pan for 30-45 minutes or until brown.  Serve warm.
Martabak, wrapped into a package and brushed with oil.
Turn it over and brush with more oil before it is baked.

Pan Fried Martabak (version 2):
  1. Combine scrambled tofu and martabak filling above in a bowl.
  2. For each whole wheat tortilla, scoop filling on to the tortilla and wrap into a package such as pictured above (the one with phyllo).  Do not brush with oil. Use water to glue the seams together and carefully lay each package flat with the seams on the bottom. 
  3. Continue to make the packages with each whole wheat tortilla and all the filling.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 inch of oil into a cast iron or heavy duty frying pan.  Heat oil into 350 F.
  5. With the seams down, take each package and immerse carefully into the hot oil.  Flip to fry the other side.  Fry about 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until it is brown.
  6. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil.  Serve warm.
Spicy Pickled Cucumber or Acar

Spicy Pickled Cucumbers or Acar (can be made ahead of time)
1 1/2 cup chopped English Cucumber
1 fresh red chili, chopped
3/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp white vinegar
  1. Combine chopped cucumber with salt and sugar.  Add chopped fresh chili, combine.
  2. Add white vinegar.  Set aside for 1 to 2 hours before using (keep in the fridge).

Mint chutney

Mint Chutney(can be made ahead of time)
2 cups cilantro or parsley, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh mint, roughly chopped
1 to 2 green chilies, roughly chopped
2-3 cloves shallot, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
juice of 1 fresh lemon
  1. Combine parsley/cilantro, mint, green chilies, shallots, salt, and sugar in a food processor.
  2. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped.
  3. Take the processed ingredients into a bowl.
  4. Add lemon juice and combine thoroughly.
  5. Set aside for 1 to 2 hours before using (keep in the fridge).

Variations to the fillings of martabak:
  • For more 'eggy' version, double the scrambled tofu so there are more scrambled tofu than the 'meat' filling. 
  • Use the scrambled tofu only (double the amount above) for the filling and use green onions, cilantro/parsley and the filling spices(without the extra turmeric, tomato and the soy crumbles).
Enjoy another Indonesian streed food, veganized!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Indonesian Vegan Street Food Tahu Ketupat - Tofu and Rice Cake with Noodles

I am introducing another Indonesian street food.  Lately, I've been missing Indonesian street food type of meals, the dishes I grew up eating.  Now, if I go back to Indonesia and consume any street food that is sold there, I'll probably end up in a hospital with diarrhea and all kind of bacteria that my body cannot take anymore.  Back then my body had all the natural anti bacteria and it was ok eating in a street food environment.  Now, living in a more sterile environment in the US, I don't have those protections anymore.  It was amazing that my family ate street food almost every day when I was growing up and we didn't get sick.  I am recreating this dish at home, in a more sterile environment, but I still have all the fond memories of eating all kinds of street food back then.

Lately, I watched this YouTube video:  Jakarta Street Food 239 Tahu Kupat Solo  (unfortunately there is no English subtitle).  This is a true street food, prepared on a street and was eaten on the side of a street.   The guy/seller used a push cart loaded with a propane gas stove, a wok, utensils, dishes, ingredients, and a  money box.  He would push this cart and rang his bell (hitting a plate with a utensil) to attract customers (see him in action at the end of the video).  Then, customers would call upon him, place an order, and sit or stand by the street eating.  This video brought a lot of fond memories of me eating and growing up in Indonesia.

The dish, Tahu Ketupat/Kupat (Tahu = tofu and Kupat/Ketupat = rice cake), is a garlicky dish consisted of fried tofu, rice cake, noodles, cabbage, beansprouts, peanuts, green chili, kecap manis, beansprout fritters, rice crackers, and fried onions.  I decided to recreate this delicious Indonesian vegan dish at home and to recreate my fond memory.

First, I would like to talk about the rice cake or  Kupat or Ketupat which is eaten in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore.   It is made of rice that is poured into a woven palm leaves casing, boiled, and then becomes a compressed rice cake.  I am going to talk about it in 2 parts:   the Traditional Way and the Modern Way of making the rice cake.

The Traditional Way of making Ketupat:

Kupat/Ketupat/Puso casing or pouch
The making of a traditional ketupat casing is a dying art and an interesting origami using palm leaves.   I used to be able to weave ketupat casing but I have long forgotten this skill.  I found 2 You Tube videos of ketupat casing weaving:  Ketupat Weaving Tutorial (5 min. 19 sec.) or  How to Make a Rice Pouch Filipino Style (2 min. 45 sec.)  Raw rice is inserted into the casing and boiled for hours.  As the rice cooks, they will expand and fill up the pouch into a compressed rice cake.   Using a knife, the casing is usually cut open in halves and the rice cake are cut into cubes.  This comical You Tube video from Calamity Chef (with Singaporean English accent):  Ketupat: the making of shows the traditional way of making the casing and the rice cake (3min. 45 sec).

The Modern Way of making Ketupat:

Now, you don't expect me to make ketupat the traditional way, do you?  I don't think so.When will I have the time to weave each casing and where will I find and buy suitable palm leaves to use?  I prefer the modern way which is faster.   That is boil-in-the-bag rice cakes.  It is available now in Asian markets.  This is the brand that I usually buy: Ketupat Nona   It is available on-line also.  It is very easy to make it by boiling the rice cake in the bag like any boil-in-the-bag rice method.  It usually takes about 60 minutes to boil the rice cake and more hot water has to be added while it is simmering and as the rice cake is expanding.  The rice cake needs to be cooled before the bag is cut open (watch the video How to make boil-in-the-bag ketupat below) and then it is ready to be cut into cubes.

Boil-in-the-bag ketupat

Or, the most economical way is to make your own boil-in-the-bag rice cake.  Seriously?  Yes! This lady bought boil-in-the-bag rice that is available in any market, cut the bag open, mixed the rice with Thai Jasmine rice, refilled the bag half way, and then sealed the bag with a candle.  Smart!  Watch this video:  How to make boil-in-the-bag ketupat

Tahu Ketupat (Indonesian Vegan Street Food: Tofu and Rice Cake with Noodles)
Serve 4

4 cups (about 1 lb) fresh yellow noodle(no eggs) or  1 pkg dry Chuka Soba, boiled
4-5 cups fresh beansprouts, steamed for 3-5 minutes
4-5 cups cabbage, sliced thin, steamed for 3-5 minutes
1 bag boil-in-the-bag ketupat (such as Ketupat Nona), prepared and cooled

Boiled-in-the bag ketupat, prepared, cooled, and cubed.
3-4 cups fried tofu cubes
Fried tofu cubes I bought at an Asian market.  
A lot of times, I also use super firm tofu cubes and oven fried them.
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup coarsely ground roasted peanuts
1/4 cup kecap manis
1/4 cup chopped or sliced green chili (such as Serrano chili or Thai chili), optional
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Toppings: celery, peanuts, kecap manis, green chili, green onions.
Fried Shallots, optional
Indonesian Rice Crackers with no shrimps (poppadoms), optional
Indonesian rice crackers or Indian poppadoms are a great crunchy topping

4 cups vegetable broth ( I prefer using Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base)
2 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
2 Tbsp. kecap manis
Salt to taste (if the vegetable broth is salty, omit salt)

Making the sauce/broth:
  1. Combine the sauce/broth ingredients above and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Keep it warm.

Beansprouts and Carrots Fritters:
It is optional to include the deep fried beansprouts fritters. However, it is delicious with it.  My husband loves these deep fried fritters and just can have them as snacks by themselves.  It is similar to pakoras or bird nest Japanese tempura.

3/4 cups all purpose flour or unbleached white flour (can be substituted to chickpea flour)
2 Tbsp. chickpea flour or besan flour
2 Tbsp. rice flour
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup fresh beansprouts
2 cups carrots, julienned or coarsely shredded
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil or grape seed oil for deep frying

Making the fritters:
  1. Combine all the fritters ingredients above in a bowl.  When adding the water, add 1/4 cup first, then add a little at a time while mixing until it becomes a thick batter that can be scooped with a spoon.  This is like making pakora or a bird nest tempura.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan to350F.  Using a spoon, scoop fritter batter into the oil and deep fry until brown.  Do not overcrowd them
  3. Drain them onto a paper towel to remove excess oil.  Cut into pieces before serving.
Frying beansprouts fritters

Assembling the Tahu Ketupat, for each bowl or serving:
It is easy to assemble or serving this dish after all the ingredients above are ready.  They all can be made ahead of time and then be reheated or they can be kept warm until serving time.  I think this is the reason that this dish is sold on the street because the seller can easily have everything ready and reheat the dish at the last minute when the customers put in the orders.  I usually prepare everything and store the ingredients in plastic containers.  Then, I assemble for each serving by warm them up with a microwave or steamer just before serving time.  The sauce/broth can be reheated in a pot just before serving.

On a serving bowl or soup plate, layer rice cake cubes (1/4 of a bag of rice cake) on the bottom.  Then, add warm 1 cup noodle,  1 cup each of steamed cabbage and bean sprouts. 
Cut 2-3 beansprouts fritters into 2 pieces and add them on top.  Slice 1 cup of fried tofu and add them on top), too. Then, add the toppings: chopped celery, ground peanuts, green onions, and green chili.  

Finally, pour about 1 cup of hot broth/sauce over the dish.  It should not be soupy but it should have enough broth to wet all the ingredients in the bowl.   Add fried shallots, Indonesian rice crackers, and  kecap manis.

It is best to mix everything up when eating this dish(as was seen in the you tube video) and add more of each topping or condiment as needed.  Perhaps add more chili, kecap manis, or ground peanuts? 

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Vegan Martabak Manis - Indonesian Sweet Stuffed Pancake

I seldom blog desserts but today I am blogging about veganizing Martabak Manis which is a popular Indonesian street food sweet snack/dessert.  I can translate it to English as Indonesian Sweet Stuffed Pancake.  In Indonesia it is called Martabak Manis, Martabak Bangka, or Kue Terang Bulan.  Terang Bulan is translated to English as full moon and kue means cake.    It is going to be a Super Full Moon  2012 or perigee moon of 2012 tonight (check out the bright full moon tonight) which means that the moon will be 14% larger and 30% brighter than any other full moons in 2012.  This is the reason why I veganized this snack today.

I called it pancake but it is a snack or dessert instead of a breakfast food.  Indonesians do not eat pancake in the morning, we eat it for snacks and buy it on the side of the road like how it is served as street food in this youtube video: The Making of Sweet Martabak   The video comes with the background noise of cars, motorcycles, horns honking, customers talking, etc.  It's hilarious and so real!   In the video the pancake is a large round like a full moon.  Then, fillings are added, pancake folded into half moon and cut into pieces.  It has been years since I buy street food snacks like this.  This video really brought a lot of childhood memories.

In the youtube video there are a large amount of fat (butter or margarine) that was added on top of the pancake.  This dish is not for those who are on a diet to lose weight.  It is full of fat, sugar, and eggs.   I cut down the fat by not using THAT much fat and veganized it with no eggs.  The pancake I made is also thinner because eggs were not used.  The thinner pancake does not absorb too much fat.  I also replace some of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour.  I haven't tried it with all whole wheat pastry flour yet but I don't see any reason why it should fail.  You can see that I am trying really hard to make this snack healthier without sacrificing the flavor. 

In the youtube video, processed cheese was also added as a filling as a savory pancake.  It is unhealthy to eat processed cheese, in my opinion.   I decided not to do that nor to try to find a substitution for it.  Maybe someday I'll blog about a savory martabak, a different kind of Indonesian street food.

Every martabak manis recipe I found in the Internet uses eggs.  I replaced the eggs with EnerG Egg Replacer.  This is also a yeast pancake batter.  After the yeast is added, the batter needs to be proofed such as in proofing yeast bread.  All you need in proofing  is about 1 hour of warm temperature area in your kitchen (oven with the light on should do it) to let the yeast works its magic.

I prepared some vegan fillings/toppings for the pancake (from top left clockwise):  vegan chocolate sauce, chopped salted nuts, chopped roasted hazelnuts, and vegan Dutch chocolate sprinkles (De Ruijter brand) and vegan dulce de leche (Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe or video).

Vegan Martabak Manis (Indonesian Sweet Stuffed Pancake)
Makes 3 large pancakes

Batter ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
 Note:  you can use 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour and not use the whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups warm non-dairy milk (can be soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk)
1 tablespoon dry yeast (about 1 pkg dry yeast)
3 1/2 tablespoons vegan sugar, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 drop of yellow food coloring (an optional)

Eggs replacement ingredients:
1 tablespoon EnerG Egg Replacer
4 tablespoons water

1/4 cup vegan butter or soy margarine, melted
cooking brush

Vegan Chocolate Sauce ingredients:
Any other kind of  vegan chocolate sauce can be used as a filling or make this one.  This can be made ahead of time.

1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
1 cup and 2 tablespoons vegan powdered sugar
3 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder
  1.  Sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder together with a fine sifter.
  2. Mix coconut milk and sifted sugar and cocoa powders in a medium sauce pan.  Stir well to combine.
  3. Heat it up in a medium heat until mixture starts to boil.  Lower the heat to low and let it simmer in 25-30 minutes until it is thickened.  The mixture should resemble a condensed milk or gravy.  Let it cool.
Other fillings/toppings:
Any or all of the topping below are great.  I usually combine chocolate sauce above+chopped peanuts for 1 pancake and dulce de leche+chocolate sprinkles+chopped hazelnuts on another pancake.  Sesame seeds, pistachio nuts, almonds, walnuts are also great toppings.
1/4 cup chopped salted nuts
1/4 cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup dutch chocolate sprinkles
1/4 cup vegan dulce de leche (I followed Bryanna Clark Grogan's recipe)

Preparing the batter:
  1. Warm milk to 120 degrees F.  Pour about 1/2 cup of the warm milk on top of 1 tablespoon dry yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar  in a large bowl.  Mix and let the yeast works itself into frothy mixture (waking up the yeast).  This takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the flours, the rest of the sugar (2 1/2 tablespoons), baking powder, salt.  Combine well with a whisk.
  3. Pour the rest of the warm milk into the yeast, milk, and sugar mixture.  Then, add the flour mixture (step 2) and combine well.  Yeast should start to work and creates bubbles.  Cover and let this mixture sit in a warm temperature area about 1 hour.  See the picture below.
  4. About 10 minutes near the end of proofing the batter process, combine the EnerG egg replacer with water(egg replacement ingredients) in a small bowl.  Using a hand blender with the top speed, mix and blend the water and egg replacer until it is frothy and soft peaks formed.  It usually takes at least 6 minutes.
  5. Gently fold the foamy egg replacer into the pancake batter. At this time, I added 1 drop of yellow food coloring.  Mix well.
  6.  The batter should be foamy and light.  The consistency should be similar to a pancake batter.
Making the pancake:
The best tool to make the pancake is an 8-inch or 9-inch cast iron frying pan with a lid.

  1. Heat the cast iron pan on a medium high heat until really hot (wait about 2-3 minutes).  Use a cooking brush to brush a generous amount of melted vegan butter all over and around the frying pan.
  2. Pour 1/3 of the batter  onto the frying pan.  It should sizzle (if it doesn't, that means that the frying pan is not hot enough).  Traditionally, martabak manis has a round crisp edges.  To do this, tilt the frying pan and let the batter runs around the frying pan to create the edges such as in this picture above.
  3. Immediately, turn the heat to LOW.
  4. Once the batter is bubbling and the top looks firm.  Cover with a lid and set a timer for 10 minutes. Note:  it is important to cover with a lid to let the pancake cooked and the bottom crispy.
  5. After 10 minutes, the bottom of the pancake should be brown and crispy and the middle of the pancake is cooked.  If the bottom is burned that means the heat is too high or too strong.  If the pancake is not cooked, that means that the heat is too low.  The key in making the pancake correctly  is the amount of heat and everyone's stove is different unfortunately.
  6. Lift the pancake with a spatula or a pancake turner onto a cutting board.  Brush some melted vegan butter on top (this is optional).  Pour some chocolate sauce and sprinkled with chopped nuts.  OR pour some dulce de leche, sprinkled with chocolate sprinkles and top with chopped hazelnuts.
  7. Fold the pancake into half (look like a half moon).  Cut into 4 to 5 pieces.  Serve warm. Continue making the rest of the batter.  Use a different combination of toppings/fillings each time.
Enjoy the vegan martabak manis and super full moon 2012 or any full moon!