It’s almost Ramadan. Here in Indonesia, supermarkets are busy stocking dates and kolak ingredients on their shelves. Kolak is a compote consumed during the break of iftar, which occurs after sunset.
Many writers categorized kolak as a dessert, but we often eat it before meal, does it still make it a dessert? The concept of “dessert” is foreign to us, actually. We eat “small meals” prior to or after the main dish. Be it a dessert or finger food. There’s no standard rule.
Kolak can be served hot, or cold with chunks of ice. It may contain some (or all) of these ingredients: bananas, tape (fermented cassava), kolang-kaling (fruits of Arenga pinnata), yam, and ripe jack fruits.
I always prefer to have hot kolak. Scooping the hot coconut milk, the scent of ginger and Pandanus leaves catch my nostril. Palm sugar is used to sweeten this compote, which often leads to a tinge of brownness in the milk.
Many people sell kolak on the streets during Ramadan, but I’ve yet to come across one with a decent taste. Sorry. The soup is too thin, and they only contain small amount of fillings. But don’t take my words for it, though. There may be some nice tasting kolak out there. And sometimes, having a kolak is better than none.
Bad kolak might contain half cooked kolang-kaling, unripe banana, uncooked yam, sourly-smelling tape or kolang-kaling, and many more. Be warned with these bad kolak signs. Your tummy may have a problem if you eat it. It may not lead one to death, but mild diarrhea can be annoying.
Although it is tasteless if eaten as is, properly cooked kolang-kaling tastes yummy in kolak. There’s also a similar fruit called siwalan, which has a bigger size, softer texture, and sweeter taste.
We still have occasional rain down here. I think hot kolak will win over the cold one.
Main image credit: 1001info