APCA Indonesia teaches modern take on traditional dishes

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IO, Tangerang – A current trend in the culinary world is to remake and deconstruct classic recipes in order to create new and unique variations without losing the original characteristics of the classic dish. Other than these unique flavors, these dishes also have “Instagrammable” visuals that serve as an additional attraction to Millennial diners. Such modern touches, for example in martabak manis 8 rasa (“8-flavor sweet martabak or martabak terang bulan”) and kue cubit topping kekinian (“pinch cakes with hip topping”), take these traditional dishes to the next level, especially in urban areas. This is why the culinary business now thrives.

To commemorate the Republic of Indonesia’s Independence Day, the Academy of Pastry and Culinary Arts (APCA) Indonesia, as an internationally-prominent pastry and culinary school reintroduces traditional Nusantara dishes with a modern touch. APCA Indonesia’s instructors are professional chefs, which means that they can provide the best training that will allow student chefs to master the basics and make their own creative variations. Four of them, Chef Andy Ramadhan, Chef Christian Dewabrata, Chef Caesar Andry Priatno, and Chef Glenn Nethanael Peter, talked about the nostalgic value of traditional dishes. They showed how to deconstruct and remake these traditional dishes with a modern touch using advanced cooking techniques in the “APCA Indonesia Media Special Cooking Class” held in APCA Indonesia’s campus in Alam Sutera. They presented these modern takes of the Archipelago’s classic dishes: bhinneka bahari dabu-dabu, archipelago chocolate, black glutinous rice gelato, and klappertaart (Colonial Dutch-style coconut tart) petit gateau.

Chef Andy Ramadhan showed off Indonesia’s maritime wealth through his modification of the classic Manadonese sambal dabu-dabu (fresh chopped salsa), the bhinneka bahari dabu-dabu (“varied seafood with dabu-dabu salsa”). He used ingredients like red snapper, shrimp, and octopus meat with the dabu-dabu instead of the classic squid. Other than having an unusual texture and flavor, octopus also has high protein content. The tart, spicy sambal dabu-dabu is a perfect complement to fresh seafood. The modern dabu-dabu used advanced cooking techniques, such as by processing the tomato into a comfit by slow cooking in oil, or extracting basil into oil and then using the oil to make mayonnaise, or smoking cabe rawit (small green chili pods) and paprika before making sauce out of them.

Chef Christian Dewabrata served the Archipelago Chocolate, which is chocolate pralines stuffed with uniquely Indonesian stuffing: the wedang ronde, rempeyek, bajigur, and nasi uduk. These dishes and beverages are made by using the natural wealth of ingredients and spices that we can find every day in our Archipelago. Furthermore, using these means that there will be less need to use artificial flavoring. The Chef used special techniques to extract ingredients such as coconut milk, lemongrass, peanuts, fried shallots, and orange leaves to be mixed into the ganache.

Chef Caesar Andry Priatno served cold dessert in a modernized form of black glutinous rice porridge as a gelato – all without losing the authentic flavor of this homely Indonesian dish. He sought to recall the favorite snack his mother used to serve to him in his childhood, the black glutinous rice porridge. We have always known this dish as a sweet dessert that can be served either hot or cold. Chef Caesar used the black glutinous rice porridge as the basic ingredient of his gelato, mixed together with grated coconut flesh and pandanus leaves. The Italian ice cream gelato has a softer texture than ordinary ice cream, as well as being more dense and creamier. This is because gelato is made using low fat milk, soft mix, and soft ice. These additives concentrate the ingredients and soften them, and are safe to consume.

Chef Glenn Nethanael Peter showcased the traditional Manado-Dutch classic dessert, the klappertaart, by serving it as a modern petit gateau (individual cake). He updated his family’s heritage recipe by chilling it instead of baking it. As for the ingredients, the klapper or coconut remained the star filling – but it shared billings with chocolate. The chocolate was also used as a unique presentation point for the klappertaart: the Chef shaped it to become coconut shell that covers the creamy, delicate coconut filling and created contrasting flavors and textures.

APCA Indonesia’s Director and Executive Chef Louis Tanuhadi hopes that with this event, the media can help inform the public about what we all can do with traditional dishes, telling them how to update and have fun with old favorites. “Nowadays, not many chefs specialize in Indonesian culinary arts. As an international-level culinary school, APCA Indonesia seeks to present our traditional dishes to diners all over the world,” Louis said.