Preserve and Promote Indonesian Cuisine
'Kue ape' is also known as 'serabi Jakarta'. (Good Indonesian Food/File)
Jakarta is home to a multitude of snacks that are worth a try. Besides the popular kerak telor (spicy omelette), there is also kue ape (soft-centered crispy pancake). Perhaps not many are familiar with the name, but once you catch a glimpse of its serabi-like (rice flour pancake) shape, childhood memories are sure to emerge of stopping to snap up some kue ape on your way home from school.
Kue ape is also known as serabi Jakarta. While the serabi we all know and love is serabi Solo, which is made of rice flour and coconut oil, serabi Jakarta is a concoction consisting of bread flour, coconut milk and artificial green coloring. The method to prepare it is strikingly similar to serabi, as they both use the same equipment. However, the dough of the kue ape does not form in the middle like a serabi, but is spread out toward the edges of the pan. Once cooked, the crust is crunchy, while the center is soft in texture and savory in taste.
(Read also: 5 perfect traditional snacks for a get-together)
According to some sources, the name kue ape was coined from how the Betawi people would ask about something. The story goes that one day a Betawi man saw someone selling a soft-centered round cake with a crispy crust. “Kue ape ini, bang?” (“What cake is that?”), he asked. Nonchalantly, the seller replied, “Ya, ini kue ape.” (“Yes, this is what cake”). Nobody knows whether this is fact or fiction.
Although it trails behind its “sibling” kue cubit (sweet “pinch” cake) in the popularity stakes, it is still quite easy to get your hands on kue ape. You can still find kue ape sellers outside elementary schools, in hawker centers and traditional markets. They not only sell the common green ones, now you can also stumble upon sellers who have come up with a white variation of the kue ape that tends to be topped with chocolate sprinkles, which lends a sweet taste to the proceedings.
You could also make your own kue ape at home; the recipe is rather simple and the cooking process is quick. That way you can modify its taste to your preference, come up with a different color and add an assortment of toppings. (kes)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.