Jaje bendu : Balinese sweet cake

Bali is renowned for its rich culinary tradition. A large variety of food and sweets, or jaje Bali in the Balinese language, are usually served at a variety of occasions — from temple ceremonies to more profane celebrations. Delicious and colorful sweets become wonderful treats for guests at any family gathering. One of the most delicious sweets is jaje bendu. The sweet is served during wedding parties or ceremonial events.

Jembrana regency in west Bali is believed to be the home of the jaje bendu and one of its specialties as it tastes different from those produced in other places in Bali. The making of jaje bendu has been passed on from one generation to another throughout the years. I Nyoman Sukadana and his wife, Ni Kadek Sukarni, actually natives of Karangasem in east Bali, have been making jaje bendu for 16 years in their home in Penyaringan village in Mendoyo, Jembrana.

“We learned to make jaje bendu through trial and error,” said Sukadana. Jaje bendu is made of sticky rice flour mixed with a spoon of salt, palm sugar and grated coconut. The rice flour is mixed with squeeze of hibiscus flower to make sticky dough. Then butter or coconut oil is placed on a pan to fry the thin dough, making what looks like a crepe. The fried dough is filled with palm sugar and grated coconut. After that it is wrapped in young banana leaves.

“We never use chemical food additives or coloring. We use natural ingredients, such as pandanus leaves, hibiscus flowers,” he said. It takes two hours to make jaje bendu. Every day, the couple produces more than 150 cakes. “During big celebrations, we can receive orders to make thousands of jaje bendu.” To maintain its taste, Sukarni processes the dough very carefully. “I will not let anybody, even my husband, do this job.”

She also pays very close attention to making the filler to create a delicious caramel. Jaje bendu is now becoming a favorite sweet at wedding parties, otonan (the celebration to observe a baby’s sixth month) and other occasions. If you want to taste traditional Balinese cakes, jaje bendu is definitely recommended.

source : bali daily

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