This post taken me back to five years ago, the day I went to Bubunan, Singaraja (in the north of Bali). It was one of my not ‘everyday’ days. I had got the lucky opportunity to see the making of Kaliadrem, one of the Balinese cakes in a traditional way. Really. It was a traditional way. I was not in any intention of taking picture nor ‘observing’ someone in making this traditional cakes. That is why, I caught the photos using my (not really qualified) old handphone.
Above is a picture of Kaliadrem, one of the Balinese cakes. When it is just cooked, it is tender inside, crispy outside. These sweet treats are round and golden-brown with a small hole, looked like doughnuts. Do I have to tell you, it is best eaten warm with a cup of coffee?
Uwak (elder aunt) Murtani, a Kaliadrem seller in the Bubunan market (and actually, is the aunt of the Bali Governor, Made Mangku Pastika) allowed me to follow her to her cooking area. I could not say it was a kitchen, it was not a room at all. Under something that look-liked a rough hut with palm roof without any walls, she made her stove by assambling some bricks with an open front as fire wood. I saw her combined some glutinous flour, coconut milk, palm sugar and a pinch of salt. No scale, no measurement, Wayan Murtani did the work by her practical knowledge, using her hands and ‘what you can find’ tools.
When she thought the dough was good enough, she put a small amount of the pliable dough on a piece of banana leave. Patted it into the thickness she wanted and then put it into the pan with hot coconut oil. Where was the hole? It would not a Kaliadrem without a hole. Before my mouth burst any foolish words, she stuck the middle of the dough using a stem of bamboo that long enough for her to stay not too close with the heat of the oil and firing traditional brick stove, but had all control to her cake. She spinned the dough as it was cooked in the oil. In seconds, she made the hole! Someone should have told me about this spinning trick before. When it was already golden brown, she removed it from the frying pan, still using the bamboo, she dried the cake from oily excess by inserted a stick of bamboo to its hole and hung it over the pan. The bamboo looked like a finger and Kaliadrem as its wedding ring.
She told me that she usually takes her Kaliadrem at Bubunan market and sells it for 500 rupiahs a piece. She could use the money for buying her simple needs in life. In the end of my visit to her airy kitchen, I thanked her and amazed by her way of making such delicacy with moderate ingredients and simple tools. Even, now, I am still.