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Martabak Manis - (Indonesian Sweet Pancakes)

Well I do not know where to start about this dish. Its one of my most favorite dishes I have tried from all the places I have been too. Not just because I am a sweet tooth person but also because its actually  a dish which is awesome and heavenly in every sense. I had these when we visited my uncle in Indonesia during one of our Christmas breaks. I had many dishes during our visit, savory and sweet but this is one dish which has left a mark on me. I remember going out at midnight on the streets in Indonesia and seeing these amazing food stalls all packed to serve delicious street food. Thats when we had one of these giant pancakes which had a cheesy, chocolaty, nutty filling inside them. I love this martabak manis so much because they are so soft, spongy, and I just like biting into the crunchy peanuts with chocolate and savory cheese. The sweet and mild savory combination was truly amazing!!!

We have all different kinds of pancakes with different names all around the world. These thick sweet pancakes are known as Martabak Manis or Martabak Terang Bulan, in Indonesia.  It is certainly known by many names in other countries such as apam balik in Malaysia. Min Jiang Kueh or peanut pancakes in Singapore.

In Indonesia there are two types of martabak-  
Martabak Manis(sweet version) and Martabak Telor (Savory version). This time I am sharing with you about Martabak Manis (sweet of course )

The pancake is made with flour, eggs, sugar, milk and yeast and filled with sweet decadent stuff like chocolates, condensed milk, margarine or butter,  cheese, ground peanuts. The pancakes are known for its honeycomb texture and soft sponginess.
The filling is also very flexible. Whatever you have in pantry you can add as filling. Traditionally, condensed milk, chocolate sprinkles, cheese and peanuts are used as filling. My kid only wanted chocolate and condensed milk in there. But I have added chocolate chips, Some cheese and little bit of peanuts. Topped it up with some Hershey's Chocolate syrup too.  Margarine is more often used in Indonesia compared to butter. I used butter because I only had that. You can use either, whichever you like and have. I guess I have said enough. Lets dig into the recipe and see how its done. I have uploaded Step by step images for your reference. 

Ingredients : for 1 big martabak with diameter 28 cm - 11 inch
  •  250 gram (2 cups) all purpose flour 
  • 10 gram (2 tbsp) granulated sugar 
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder 
  • Active instant yeast (2 teaspoon ~ 7 gram) 
  • 350 ml (1½ cup of warm milk)
  •  2 medium size eggs 
  • pinch of salt 
For Filling: 
  • 1 cup of toasted peanut, ground till fine (can be substituted with peanut butter spread) 
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate rice or chocolate chips or shaved chocolate or Nutella spread 
  • 3 tbsp sweet condensed milk 
  • 2 tbsp butter/margarine (use butter to increase the milky aroma and it will taste more delicious) 
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese + 3 tbsp sweet condensed milk (for salty martabak) 
  1. First mix instant yeast, sugar into 350 ml warm milk and keep aside for fermentation. The fermentation takes place in about 15- 20 minutes 
  2. Add Flour, baking powder, salt in a mixing bowl and mix well
  3. Make a well in between the mix and add 2 whisked eggs. Start combining slowly the egg and flour. 
  4. Once a little thick, add half of the milk- yeast mix. 
  5. Start mixing and gradually add the rest of the milk slowly and mix well till it turns into a nice batter. 
  6. Cover this batter with a tea towel and rest it aside for further fermentation in a warm place for about 45 mins to 1 hr. 
  7. During this time, prep your filling and keep ready. Also keep the pan ready in which you are going make the pancake. 
  8. After 1 hr take out the pancake batter and you will see its well risen and leavened. 
  9. Heat the pan on medium - low flame and test if its hot by adding little water. If the water instantly sizzles, your pan is ready. 
  10. Add the batter (see notes) and swirl it around slowly in the pan to create crispy edges. 
  11. After 5 min, you will see bubbles in the batter. At this stage sprinkle some sugar all over.
  12. Close the pan with a lid * and cook on low flame for about 10 mins or until a skewer in the middle of the batter comes out clean. 
  13. Once done, take it out carefully and place it on a large plate or chopping board
  14. Spread margarine or butter generously on the hot pancake
  15. Cut the pancake carefully into half. 
  16. Add filling of your choice all over. I have used chocolate chips, some cheese, peanuts, and some chocolate syrup. Spread over nicely. 
  17. Fold the pancake into half, spread more butter on top 
  18. Cut carefully into pieces and serve hot. 
  • I recommend to use medium-sized non-stick frying pan. You do not need martabak pan for making these and achieving a great texture. If you do not have a big pan, you can make in 2 small pans. 
  • There are many recipes which uses baking soda to make these instead of yeast. I have used yeast along with some baking powder and have got the same texture and taste. Maybe next time I can try with baking soda and update in here. 
  • The heat factor is extremely crucial. Heat the pan at medium-low heat. Don’t overheat the pan, or else it will burn. Test by adding some water to the pan. If the water sizzles, you are good to go. So always remember to control the heat. The pancake needs to be cooked over medium to low heat to make sure it cooks evenly and you don’t end up with burnt pancakes
  • You need to let the batter rest for at least 1 hour. 
  • Use a non-stick pan that has a lid. Transparent lid is recommended so you can monitor without disrupting the cooking process by opening-closing the lid. We need to cook and “steam” the pancake to make sure it cooks evenly. 
  • Spread margarine or butter as much as you want, till you feel its right. Remember this is a dish which you need to have without being guilty about it. Maybe on a cheat day 
  • Classics toppings are chocolate, cheese and peanuts. If you like to go a little more fancy, try some KitKat, Toblerone, Nutella, Ferro Rocher, etc. My son asked me add banana also in to his slice and it taste yum. You can experiment with the filling. 
  • Last but not least, never give up! Making Martabak is about patience and many, trial-and-errors. I had mine perfect in the second go. Its not difficult but few things have to be kept in mind always. Just focus on the tips given above and you will be able to achieve it. 
I really hope you will try this recipe atleast once and get to enjoy the deliciousness I am talking about. If you happen to make them, please do share your feedback and keep sharing with your loved ones. 

Any concerns or questions you have, plz drop in me a mail or comment on the post below and I will try my level best to solve them. 

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