Oh, how food can be so nostalgic. It takes you to the time and place where your heart is. Is it that romantic or is it just me?
I was born the youngest of seven children and we had a dearest nanny we considered as our second mother. I mean, seriously. I remember everytime she had to go mudik, my sister and me, as the last youngsters under her caretaking- yes, she took care all seven of us since we were newborn babies- my sister and me would cry unstoppably, scream, kick, temper tantrum all the way, didn't wanna let her go, couldn't handle her going away. I still remember the feeling. It was like half of your soul was forcefully taken away from you, hurt and dying. She was wonderful to us. She loved us dearly and genuinely just like her own children, no fakeness, no politics. Unconditionally, just like my Mom did. And she remained our closest "family" until the day she died at a very old age, possibly more than a hundred.
She used to make many kinds of delicious weird traditional snacks made from leftovers, such as keripik biji nangka, kerak goreng which i later knew as rengginang, koretan sambal, manisan belimbing wuluh, tahi minyak.. haha, this tahi minyak was totally good, I tell 'ya!
Sagon was one of those delightful snacks she used to make often for us, for me, particularly, being the last baby to embrace the joy of kids snack. This Sagon was the powdery one, not the cakey one. She would pounded soggy uncooked rice until it became powder, then toast it in my mom's giant wok, and I wondered what she cooked 'coz it didn't resemble anything like cuisines which usually a wok would be made use for. Then she would toast the coconut, also in this big wok, put them all together with a sprinkling of sugar and salt.
Then came the best part. She would put the warm sagon in a paper cone she made from bread paper, or any clean paper, cut the pointy end a small hole, and said, "Here, eat from this side." I held up the paper cone above my face, open my mouth, and let the stream of good toasty coconutty powdery slightly sweet and salty Sagon fall into my mouth. "Don't talk," she would warn, "you'll spray the Sagon." I, of course, most likely would laugh and there it goes, the spray! :D
Until now I still think it is the best way to enjoy powdered Sagon. To eat it and talk and spray it and cough :D It was so fun that my good friends and I, one afternoon in junior high years hangin' out in the terrace of my parents' house, purposely ate it to spray it to each other! Holy fruitcake, one of the best times! It was probably the last time my Bibik made it for us, before age forced her to retire and go back for good to her hometown in Gunung Kidul, Yogyakarta, where she spent the rest of her life being a farmer and a constant inspiration to us all. We love you, Bibik Parjinem. May Allah dedicate a palace for you in heaven, amiin, Allahumma amiin.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Bogor with Nadrah Shahab and Eka Arei Shanti to attend the grand opening of Gracia baking shop, where we held a cake demo and I gave a short introduction to food photography for the guests and audience. We took a stroll afterward to one of Bogor's culinary spots, Jl. Suryakencana, and while we were grabbing some uncooked opak crackers, I spotted packs of powdered Sagon among their cakey variants. Yea, I grabbed them right away, no question about it. And it was gone in less than 2 days. Oh, dear.
The next day, you guess right, I craved it. Craved, craved, craved it. I started reminiscing my childhood times, in the kitchen watching my mom and bibik making all the goodness my world was lavished with. I reminisced that afternoon with my friends, and the unique delicious nice sweet and savoury powdered Sagon, with all the spraying and coughing that go along with it. So yeah, I made it, made it, made it. I threw in the whole bag of rice flour I had left and most of my toasted coconut from a big jar and had party night after night nibbling this delight while watching Masterchef US 4 and The Voice 5 and Dexter finale reruns.
I am grateful, happy and teary.
500 gram rice flour
Toasted coconut from 1/2 coconut
Powdered sugar to taste
Granulated sugar to taste
Salt to taste
- Toast the rice flour until creme in colour. Let cool.
- Mix together all the ingredients, taste it. You can use granulated sugar only, but I found that adding powdered sugar and granulated sugar together gives the best result because the Sagon will be slightly sweet without too much grittiness, but still gritty enough to keep the crunchy element in the texture. You don't want it too sweet, so watch out for that. A little saltiness here and there will add interesting contrast.
- Put it in a jar with a little spoon.