Martabak Manis is an Indonesian dish consisting of sweet and chewy pancakes that are made with tapioca flour and topped with a choice of toppings such as milk chocolate, peanuts, and condensed milk. This dish is a popular street food in Indonesia and is enjoyed as a dessert. In Indonesia and surrounding countries, it is known for its distinct texture and customizability.
Although this dish can be a challenge to get perfectly right, that does not stop it from being enjoyed across Indonesia, Southeast Asia, and some parts of Arabia. Made using a heavy-bottomed frying pan and a technique of constant movement over low to high heat, along with the essential tapioca flour, Martabak Manis has a crispy outside and a gooey, fluffy inside.
If cooked properly, there will be a honeycomb texture within the pancake and the tapioca flour gives a chewy sensation.
There are many topping combinations that you can use to customize your Martabak Manis. A mixture of chopped peanuts and chocolate is the most popular on the streets of Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, but it is easy to make other toppings at home. Some other combinations include bananas and chocolate, bananas and cheese, chocolate and cheese, and peanut butter and jelly. As long as you do not forget the butter and condensed milk, you’re in for a sweet treat!
Origin & Cultural Significance
Although Martabak Manis is known for its popularity in Indonesia, it actually has an origin far from the Southeast Asian island nation. Martabak Manis, whose name originates from the word mutabbaq (meaning “to fold”), was originally introduced by Arab traders. Today Martabak is an internationally beloved dish, often seen on the streets of Saudi Arabia, India, Malaysia, Thailand and more.
Due to its diffusion along former trading routes, there are different names and recipes for this dish according to the country of origin. The “manis” in Martabak Manis refers to its sweetness, however, other cultures prefer their Martabak to be more savory, using meats and cheeses instead of chocolate and peanuts.
The specific style of this dessert has evolved into new creations and might be confused with Apam Balik in Malaysia or Min Jiang Kueh in Singapore. However, the textures and tastes of these dishes are indeed quite different from Martabak Manis, ensuring that the dish remains distinct from its many close cousins.
Indonesian Martabak Manis Recipe
Martabak Manis is an Indonesian dish consisting of sweet and chewy pancakes that are made with tapioca flour and topped with a choice of toppings such as milk chocolate, peanuts, and condensed milk.
- All-purpose flour - 2 ¼ cup
- Granulated sugar - ¼ cup
- Tapioca flour - 2 tbsp.
- Eggs - 2
- Water - 1 ¼ cup
- Vanilla extract. - 1 ½ tsp.
- Baking powder - 1 tsp.
- Baking soda - 1 tsp.
- Water - 3 tbsp
- For chocolate peanut filling:
- Unsalted butter - ½ cup
- Condensed milk - ⅓ cup
- Granulated Sugar - 2 tbsp
- Roasted peanuts, crushed - 1 cup
- Milk chocolate, chopped - ½ cup
- Make the batter. In a medium size mixing bowl, stir the all-purpose flour, sugar and tapioca flour until combined.
- Making an indent in the center of the dry mixture, place the eggs, vanilla extract and water. Beat and mix together until smooth.
- Once smooth, keep stirring and beat the butter mixture to allow air into the forming dough. Press it against the sides of the bowl as you mix. Keep doing this for about 10 minutes until the mixture is sticky and slightly gooey.
- Set aside and leave it to rest in a warm temperature area for about 1-2 hours.
- Once the batter has rested, divide it into equal three parts and prepare to cook.
- Heat up your frying pan (recommended to have an 8-inch, heavy bottom pan) on medium-high. Test if the pan is ready by sprinkling a drop of water into it. If it almost immediately evaporates, the pain is ready.
- While waiting for your pain to heat, combine ⅓ of your baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl. This should be a little over ¼ tsp of each. Add in 1 tablespoon of water and stir until powders are dissolved.
- Combine this mixture with the batter, mixing until fully incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the frying pan and, being careful of your speed, rotate the pan to evenly spread the batter into a layer that goes nearly halfway up the sides of the pan.
- Cook on medium heat while continuing to move the pan, to ensure equal heat distribution.
- When the pancake is halfway cooked and begins to bubble, cover with 1 teaspoon of sugar and cover the pan on low heat. Keep rotating the pan.
- Once fully cooked, carefully peel up the edges with spatula and put the pancake onto a flat surface. Spread butter and condensed milk on it, then some of the chopped chocolate and chopped peanuts.
- Now cut the pancake along the middle and fold over in half.
- Spread butter on both sides and then cut into fifths or sixths.
- To cook the remaining batter, simply follow steps 7- 14 again.
The goal is to get a fluffy, bubble-filled pancake by the end. Even and constant heat distribution is crucial for this: make sure you are continuing to move the frying pan as the pancake is cooking.
Whisk the batter for 10 minutes. The gluten in the batter will provide a nice chewy texture and the mixing makes this happen. You cannot overmix this batter.
Allowing the batter to rest allows the gluten to activate and give that chewy texture.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 182mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 13gProtein: 7g