Feast the Javanese Way: Red and White Rice Pudding (Bubur Merah Putih)

Happy valentine's day.

In every feast of traditional Javanese serves a two-colored rice pudding. We called it 'bubur merah putih' (red and white rice pudding) in Indonesian—even though it is not actually red, but more of a brownish. The given name might be derived from the use of palm sugar, which here some time some one might call it red sugar (if translated literally).

Red itself figuratively speaks wealth, beauty, bravery, fortune, passion and happiness in eastern culture, as far as I can remember. While white, is often associated with purity and death. According to that, I can only assumed the two colors represent the celebration of life. Or so.

Bubur merah putih.

Not only in Java, this dessert can be found in several region of Indonesia. And, in Malaysian cuisine too. Regarding we are from the same tribe, the malay. Long story short, wear your apron and get ready.

Bubur Merah Putih
(Javanese red and white rice pudding)

  • 100 g rice 
  • 50 g sticky rice (can be substitute with glutinous rice flour)
  • 1 pandanus leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 500 ml water
  • 400 ml light coconut milk
  • 100 g palm sugar (you can use brown sugar, but I think palm sugar taste better)
  • 1½ tablespoons cane sugar

Preparation method:
  1. Soak rice and sticky rice (if using) in water for 15 minutes, then coarse-ground it with food processor or blender. Boil with pandan, salt and water into purée. If you're using flour, it is better to mix with water first before pour it in to pan to avoid lumps. Stir constantly.
  2. Add coconut milk and continue to cook in simmer—it is important in order to keep the texture. Continue stirring, and turn off the heat prior to your desired consistency. Divided into two.
  3. Refine palm sugar and cane sugar, into a half rice pudding and stir well in simmer. Arrange it in a plate or bowl to your taste, serve while still hot.
Yield 6 portions.

The result.

Some of you probably wondering why in a sudden I share this dessert, on this day. I mean, valentine's is practically chocolate. Then, what, are we celebrating this rice pudding for?

Well, not necessarily. We can celebrate anything, anything that we have in mind. Me, I'll go with my blog transitions: the new concept, name and home. Not to forget my friend's birthday, Niken, whom now stays in the Hague studying—may this (pictures) make her feel like home. I wish us all a happy healthy life along with this salty sweet pudding. Love is in the air.

How about you?

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