(Monday Reflection) : Sticky Sweet Life as Kue Keranjang (Nian Gao-年糕)

IMG_20160207_101146Sweet but sticky
Sticky and sweet
Sweet things are always part of any celebrations. Such sweets as dried dates, snow white, nastar (pineapple filled bites), rose biscuits, candies, dodol and much more in Eid Celebration. While the same things are also available in Christmas celebrations. Sweets are everywhere since it’s invented centuries ago.

Dodol (or Javanese calls it jenang) is one of typical traditional Nusantaran sweets since long time ago. It consists of coconut rice, jaggery, rice flour or sticky rice flour and sometimes added with sesame or some nut for adding more flavours. Meanwhile in innovative versions, the dodol can be fruity, chocolaty, cappuccino and much more. Even dodol’s ingredients can be mixed up with fruits like apple, jackfruit, soursop, snake fruit, durian etc.


In Chinese new year there’s surely available such dodol and nian gao (年糕) or in Indonesia is called kue keranjang (literally basket cake). Sticky and sweet as it is believed can make kitchen god (竈君公 cau kun kong) for bringing good news to the heaven. Nian gao is usually served as offering besides for given to everyone. In Indonesia itself, nian gao is produced mainly in Tangerang, Tegal, Bogor, Sukabumi and Yogyakarta (mostly in Java cities). Sweet and sticky is symbolized as life will be as sweet as nian gao or kue keranjang. Kue keranjang is traditionally wrapped with leaves and it costs more expensive than the plastic wrapped ones. The flavour is no longer monotonous, I find myself in some stores nian gao with choco milk, vanilla and even green tea (matcha) flavours.

By the way, usually kue keranjang is fried with egg batters and flour for snack. But I just eat little as its sweetness.

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Another sweets I find out served for Chinese New Year is locally called Kue Ladu. It’s also sticky and very sweet, but the difference is its sandy texture which reminded me to jenang krasikan (traditional dodol from Klaten, Central Java) but kue ladu is brighter coloured while krasikan tends to be darker. Sticky, sweet and oily as result of coconut residual oil. The seller told me that life is expected as sweet as the cake. It’s also part of offerings besides kue keranjang, grapefruit, orange and others.

Well, wish for sweeter life and stick to it in order to face the unpredictable year (monkey, right?).

I forgot to buy green tea nian gao and when I returned to the market, it’s already sold out. Only original and choco milk. *sigh*


Tangerang, 8 February 2016


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