May 13, 2020

Indonesian Cookbook 'Bijbel van de Indonesische keuken'

The Indonesian cookbook 'Bijbel van de Indonesische keuken' by Maureen Tan next to pink klepon made by me

End of last year Maureen Tan contacted me if I was able to help her with an idea for her upcoming, and now published, Indonesian Cookbook. The cookbook 'Bijbel van de Indonesische keuken' is part of a series by Carrera Culinair and although the format is similar for every book each author makes the book trully their own. Maureen Tan explained she was making the book with recipes written down by her mother and complimented with recipes by others. Her wish was to include Batiks in the book.
When I heard it was a book on almost all Indonesian islands, I thought it would be nice if it would not be just Batiks featured in the book as decoration, but that the textiles used for the book would actually match with the location of the recipes.
With an list of possible places of recipes that would make the book, I started looking for the best matches. Because I do not own textiles of all Indonesian islands, I asked my dear friends Rachma Sri Mulyani Saloh and Ine WawoRuntu if they had textiles I could borrow.
Ibu Rachma is very active as a dancer in the dancegroup Wahana Budaya Nusantara, gives wonderful workshops to mostly Indonesian students in both dance and cooking. She is from Kalimantan and lives already many years in the Netherlands. Her knowlegde on places in Indonesia and their traditional wear is really remarkable. She had so many nice pieces and a small selection made it into the book. For example a beautiful silk sarong from Kalimantan is used for that chapter on page 132. On page 80 you find a great bright red woven piece with tiny beads from North Sumatra from her collection.
Ibu Ine is very active in promoting Indonesian culture in the Netherlands and does great work with her Stichting Hibiscus in Indonesia. I know her for many years and we try to help eachother when possible. I was so happy she could lend me some textiles, I or Ibu Rachma did not have. For example the small, but so lovely ikat from Lombok used on page 387 for the Chapter 'Kleine Soenda-eilanden'.

Selecting Indonesian textiles for the book at Ibu Rachma.
Although I have many textiles, my collection is mostly Batik.
So for the cookbook I was very lucky I could borrow textiles from my dear friends!

Book open on page 80 - 83, Chapter 'Sumatra'.
Showing a woven fabric with white beads woven into the textile on page 80.
On page 82 an orange woven fabric with red, green and blue accents and goldcoloured thread.
This fabric was one of the fabrics I could borrow from Ine WawoRuntu.
It matched perfectly with the sambal!
The book is photographed on the same fabric.
Terima kasih banyak, dear Ine for lending out your Indonesian textiles for this book!

All gathered Indonesian textiles.
With the help of Iby Ine and Ibu Rachma I was able to collect Indonesian textiles
to represent all regions featured in the book.
For every region, we had multiple options,
so that on the shooting day the best matches could be made

Book open om page 169, Chapter 'Sulawesi'.
For this chapter a yellow sarong with purple stripes
that is apart of the traditional wear Baju Bodo from Makassar, South Sulawesi.
It is photographed on a similar sarong with an orange base

In January I headed to Amsterdam with a trolley filled with Indonesian textiles. Maureen Tan was making in a few weeks all dishes in her home, every day about 15 recipes were made, styled and photographed. On the day I came, all covers for the chapters, most sambals and a couple of basic recipes were documented for the book. I was trying to get big folds out of the fabrics, but we luckily all agree that it would be nicest if you could clearly see that it were actual textiles. So kept the ironing to a minimum, and also becauce most woven textiles can not be ironed at all. In the afternoon we shared a lunch of all the things that were made that day and Maureen even made some extra for the vegetarians (me) at the table.

Photographer Sven Benjamins checking the photos he took.
The endresult is shown in the next photo, page 207 in the book

Book open on page 207, Chapter 'West-Java',
showing a peanut sambal on a Batik Tulis by batikworkshop Luminutu in Lasem.
The unfinished Batik had only its first colourbath, blue.
The mainmotif in de 'kepala' are two peacocks representing fidelity.
The book is photographed on top of the same Batik Tulis
Busy in the kitchen, from right to left: Chef and author Maureen Tan,
food-stylist Caroline van Beek and cookbook-kitchen-helper Rick Veenboer

Book open on page 202, Chapter West-Java, showing a Batik Tulis from Cirebon
which I could borrow from Rachma Sri Mulyani Saloh.
She also gave me the beautiful natural dye on which I photographed the book, also from Cirebon.
Dear Rachma many thanks for lending us your Indonesian textiles for the book!

Food-stylist Caronline van Beek is placing a sambal on a Batik.
The final photo you find in Chapter 'Oost-Java en Madura' on page 297.
The Batik Cap with motifs of bikes and coffeleaves is made by Batik Rolla in Jember, East-Java.
It was inspired by the designers background, her Dutch grandfather and coffeegrowing father

The book was published on 24 April, of course not with any big launch event and that is such a pity. But you can enjoy almost daily post by Maureen Tan on her Instagram and Facebook in which she shares recipes from her book with cooking instructions.
I also tried for the very first time to make 'klepon'. A favorite when I am on Java and on any Indonesian event in the Netherlands. This sticky riceflower balls with sweet palmsugar inside covered in cocos are not only jummy, but very pretty. I wanted to me the orginal green ones, but at the local toko it was all sold out {Me and Maureen both wonder how many people are trying out her recipes, please comment below if you have the book and made something from it}. So I bought the next in line 'Coco Pandan', which turned out to be the bright pink one. I also bought palmsugar from the toko without realizing I normally avoid any palmproducts. On Facebook I got this great tip for next time, palmsugar by Red Ape, which actually protects orangutans in the process {:(|)
Me and Koen spend last Sunday making the 'klepon'. I added first too much to the mix, then way to much cocoswater. I created a bowl full of what looked like very sticky bumble gum. Koen coached me through it, haha, and in the end we manage to make a huge amount of 'klepon'. Our neighbors and Koen's colleagues already enjoyed a batch and the rest I froze in to share on a later date with my family.

Thank you Maureen for including me in your wonderful project :)))
It was also a great learning experience exploring different textiles from all over Indonesia.
You can now buy 'Bijbel van de Indonesische keuken' by Maureen Tan, check out your local bookstore on or offline.

Book open on page 349 - 351, Chapter 'Bali',
showing a Batik Tulis with the Goddess of Water and a Karbouw,
made by an artist on Bali in the 70's,
on top of a Batik by the same artist with Dewi Sri, the Goddes of Rice.
Both Batiks were gifted to me by a lady who lived on Bali and wore these to the beach

 Recipe to make 'Klepon'
Chapter 'Oost-Java en Madura'  page 340 
Book surrounded by the ingredients

My 'Klepon' result! First try making this,
made many mistakes, like not follow the quantities to well,
and ended up with pink ones, but still very jummie!

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