Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Celebrating Eid ul-Fitr

Happy Belated Eid Mubarak! 

I was thrilled to be able to celebrate the end of the Ramadan Season with my cousins and grandparents. It has been years since the last time we all gather and feast on Ketupat and Opor Ayam. All that I can recall is that the last time I celebrated Eid ul-Fitr with my big family was when I was still in Elementary School. Back then, my cousins and I were wide awake on the Eid ul-Fitr Eve, watching The Ring and fighting over which anime is cooler - Pokemon or Digimon. The next day, I was beyond terrified by the fact that nobody was around when I woke up. 9-year-old-me thought that a ghost kidnapped everybody and left me at my Grandpa's house all alone to be tortured. It turned out that they just went out for a bit to pray at the Mosque. "YAY, YOU'RE BACK," 9-year-old-me shouted.

This year, my big family celebrated Eid ul-Fitr at my house. On that particular Sunday morning, the dinning room was jam-packed with food. My neighbor who celebrated Eid ul-Fitr gave my Mom and I a basket of Ketupat and Lontong, along with Opor Ayam and Sayur Labu. My other neighbor stopped by and gave us three jars of her homemade snacks, which were spicy cheese sticks, garlic crackers, and shrimp crackers, and a bowl of her very own Dodol Betawi. Dodol, made out of coconut milk, jaggery, and rice flour, is a traditional gooey and sticky snack from Indonesia that tasted sweet. My neighbor just finished her last batch of Dodol that morning, which was given to us, and it was still hot and beyond gooey when I scooped a bit to be consumed. Let's just say, breakfast was darn sweet.

Ketupat for all!

Ketupat and Lontong are the main stars in every celebration of Eid ul-Fitr. Both are made out of rice wrapped in a leaf, Lontong uses banana leafs while Ketupat uses woven palm leafs. As these two cooks, the grains started to expand and fill the leaf pouch and the rice becomes compressed. Ketupat and Lontong are pretty much shaped rice, yet Eid ul-Fitr will not be completed without the existence of these two. Rendang, Opor Ayam, and Sayur Labu are three of the most common dishes to eat Ketupat and Lontong with. In this year's Eid ul-Fitr celebration, we got all of them.

Some Ketupat from my lovely neighbor

The Dynamic Duo: Ketupat and Lontong

Slice them Lontong to pieces

My aunt, cutting some Ketupat to small cubes

My Mom started to decorate bowls and plates with her dishes. There were white and red rice, combined in one bowl, in a shape of Indonesian flag to celebrate Indonesia's Independence Day. Rendang and Krecek were also available that afternoon, both of them were cooked by my Mom and they tasted great!

White and Red Rice to celebrate Indonesia's Independence Day

Rendang is an Indonesian traditional dish that originated from Minangkabau, West Sumatra. The main star of this dish is meat, but my Mom loves to add mini potatoes alongside the meat. Coconut milk and spices are the basic ingredients to make Rendang. It takes days to make a pan of Rendang because we have to cook the coconut milk, along with the other foodstuff, until it gradually evaporates and become oily. When Rendang is well-cooked, the coconut milk has already evaporated and the meat is covered in glorious mouth-watery spices. The process of cooking this particular Sumatran dish is pretty complicated and time-consuming, therefor it requires patients from the chef. Have I mention that the dish tasted epic?

Mom's epic Rendang!

Don't you just wanna claim them yours?

Other than Rendang, my Mom also made a big bowl of Krecek. Krecek, you see, is another Indonesian traditional dish, which originated from Jogjakarta, Central Java. "Krecek" literary means "Fried chilly paste, with fermented soybean cake and cowhide kerupuk", where fermented soybean cake is commonly known as Tempe. The dish is really spicy and delicious, especially if my Mom cook them with her homemade chilly paste, or Sambal Terasi. 

This is how Krecek looks like

We didn't have Tempe back then, so Mom used soybeans instead

Later on in the afternoon, my aunts came and each of them brought their own homemade dishes. Tante Uwie, my Mom's sister, brought a bunch of her cooking, including her famous cow tongue dish. Despite it sounded really bizarre, cow tongue tasted great! It tasted like how cow meat tasted like, only a bit lighter and more chewy. The one that my aunt made was smothered in soy sauce and chilly, which made the dish itself deserved a two thumbs up. 

Tante Uwie's Cow Tongue Dish that tasted superb

Those slices of cow tongue, I like it!

Tante Uwie also brought two giant plates of Strawberry Mousse. Good Lord, it's like Christmas in August. Stella Mousse is the name of the place where my aunt bought epic and awesome. For those who are not familiar with this particular dessert, mousse is a fluffy and creamy food made out of whipped cream, or whipped egg whites. It is very light and airy and it tasted sweet, depending on what kind of mousse it is. The ones that Tante Uwie brought were Strawberry Mousse and both of them made me go "SON OF STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE!"

Stella Mousse's Strawberry Mousse was very very delicious! Although I'm not a big fan of strawberry syrup, I couldn't say that I'm not enjoying every single scoop of it. Made from two layers of whipped cream, sandwiching a generous amount of strawberry syrup, topped with cookie crumbs, and decorated with another strawberry syrup and some slices of fresh strawberries - it tormented me all day long. The mousse was beyond scrumptious and finger-licking good, but I ate too much of it until I'm sick of it. 

Behold, the sight of Stella Mousse's Strawberry Mousse

Scoop them creamy mousse

Ibu Ila, my Mom's sister, also came and brought two dozens of her homemade cupcakes, Red Velvet Cupcake and Cheese Cupcakes to be exact. The Red Velvet Cupcake tasted great, despite it lacking of its' all-time partner in crime, Cream Cheese. The Cheese Cupcakes, on the one hand, were also delicious and firm, unlike those airy cupcakes that you can find at some cake shop. 

Ibu Ila's Red Velvet Cupcakes and Cheese Cupcakes

Generous amount of shredded cheese, decorating the top of my aunt's Cheese Cupcakes

Soon, my other relatives came, and we feasted like kings! The more people arrived at my house, the more food served on the table. At first there were countable dishes, but then I started to lost sight of where's what and what's where. Mom's Rendang were devoured, along with Tante Uwie's Cow Tongue Dish and Ibu Ila's Cupcakes. Some stayed until the evening, some even slept over at my house. There were leftovers, but my cousins and I finished most of them in the middle of the night, while we were playing Slender game. It was the best Eid ul-Fitr celebration so far, and I enjoyed every second and every scoop of it!

Another dish that my aunt made, Spicy Liver With Prawns and Quail Eggs

Another famous dish by Tante Uwie, Ayam Paniki

Spicy Anchovies and Nuts, an awesome creation made by my aunt

Opor Ayam, suitable to be eaten with some Ketupat and Lontong

Happy feasting!

If you're interested in finding out how awesome Stella Mousse's Strawberry Mousse is, you can contact her on her Twitter here. All those glorious whipped cream is just a call away!

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