Wingko Babat

drawing, recipe
Bright, bold colors - the illustrations of Jessie Hartland in her illustrated Julia Child biography inspired me.

Bright, bold colors – the illustrations of Jessie Hartland in her illustrated Julia Child biography inspired me.

Last week, I rediscovered a dessert.


We were attending a party at my aunt’s, celebrating my nephew’s 13th birthday party. We were about to leave when my aunt told me that I should wait for the second dessert, which was being baked in the oven. It is wingko babat. Years ago, I have tasted wingko babat. I remembered the taste quite well although I haven’t eaten it for at least 10 years (it is amazing how our memory of tastes is very sharp, isn’t it?). I was not fond of it, in my memory it was dry and rubbery, and this was also the reason that I didn’t made an effort to find it.

We waited, and finally the wingko babat was ready. Without waiting until it completely cooled down, my aunt cut it into small pieces and served it. I had  low expectations … but this wingko babat was actually really nice. It was soft and chewy, and the coconut mixture just melt in your mouth. And it was also not overly sweet. Lrrr could not have enough of it. As you can see here, it was so soft that you cannot make neat pieces. Just before somebody grabbed the last piece, I took its picture with my iPhone.

Warm wingko babat. It was still soft when my aunt cut it.

Warm wingko babat. It was still soft when my aunt cut it.


What is this wingko babat, anyway? It is basically a mixture of grated coconut, eggs, and glutinous rice flour, baked or roasted on charcoal. It can be found in parts of Central and East Java, and the most popular one, the one that was dry and rubbery,  comes from Semarang. The aroma of the baked coconut dominates the taste, and the glutinous rice flour should stick the coconut together.


Some guests went to my aunt and ask for the recipe, me included. She wrote it down in a little piece of paper, in a mixed Indonesian-Dutch language. And in case you are guessing, she did not learn it from her great-great-great grandmother. She got it from an Indonesian lady who owns an Asian shop nearby.

Resep Wingko Babat Handwritten

I have not made any plans to make this wingko babat soon. However, keeping a little piece of paper is risky. I don’t want to lose the recipe, and a personal blog is also a place where you could keep your personal things. So, here it is.


Wingko Babat, a coconut based soft cake


2 cups glutinous rice flour

2 cups grated, desiccated coconut. Fresh grated coconut can be used, but the desiccated one gives a richer taste.

around 16 g of vanilla sugar (I guess this can easily be substituted with around 15 g of sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract)

1 large or 2 small eggs (+1 egg white)

1 tsp salt

1.5 cups water

1 egg yolk, whisked, to use as a wash


Heat the oven at 150 oC. Line a rectangular form with parchment paper. Do not put any grease on the paper or form. Mix all ingredients. Pour the dough into the form. The thickness of the dough should be around 2 cm. Bake at 150 oC for 30 – 40 minutes. Brush the egg yolk on the surface. Put the cake back into the oven. Again, bake the wingko babat at 150 oC for 30 – 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven, let to cool a bit, cut to small pieces of around 3 x 5 cm, and if possible, serve warm.


On Food


Have you ever stumbled across an old recipe in a food blog, and suddenly remember that a while ago you made that dish quite often? Until new recipes came and filled your monthly rotation and your memory, and some dishes were pushed to the edge of our brain, nearly forgotten? I have.

That is why I am starting a new tag: On Food. The posts tagged under this name are records of dishes I cook and interesting recipes I find, so not all recipes are tested. I believe keeping recipes in a blog is a better alternative than bookmarking an web page, or even worse, keeping loose pages you get from your aunt or colleague.

The first post will be published later today. Have a nice sleep!

Grateful, despite everything


Summer in Zwolle, edited 72dpi

Update: I scanned the drawing above and adjust the color using Photoscape. After finding Photoscape, I am no more satisfied with iPhone picture. It depicts Zwolle in a sunny day.

Nearly two weeks ago I left my job as an project/process engineer. Not having a job is never easy, especially because you’ll never know when will you have a job again.

During my 1.5 years working here, I have realized since the beginning that this is not the job I want to do for the rest of my life. However, when I was applying for this job, I also realized that despite my long study years, I have gained little experience on life outside academia. I have taught chemical engineering subjects and supervise plant design, I had no idea about the real “engineering”.

Now I know. And that is a valuable experience. Now I really understand how money is being made in the engineering. I have learned to apply my engineering knowledge. Being a foreigner, I have mingled well in a “very Dutch” environment. Not unimportant, now I really can say that I know what the heck “project management” is. Looking back, I am sure that it was very good and healthy for me to do a job that was completely different than what I have done so far (researching, writing, teaching). It has enriched me. The fact that it was a relatively small company was also an advantage, as they let me do the real work directly without first following several courses, as that would be the case in large companies.

I also need to mention that the financial support I gained from this job was great. The salary was not really high, but good enough. Usually I don’t have many expenses but at the moment I finished my PhD contract, I was busy with my driving lessons. My motoric is not very good, so I needed many hours.  The salary allowed me to finalize my driving lessons and get my license without being broke. And I could spare some money to buy my very first car.

This job did not challenge me intellectually and it turned out to be a good thing. Whenever I came home, my body was exhausted but my mind was not … so I still had some brainpower left to write my thesis (with the help of energy drinks). My PhD advisor was not so happy that I took this job before finishing my thesis, but hey, I was not the one who had 25 PhD students (and hence no time to check the chapters).

But I cannot avoid disliking my job. It is not only that I missed the chance of learning new things (I will talk about this in the next post), I also had the feeling that my time here is not blessed. It is like the one above is telling me “you should be here right now, but this is not your place”. Why did I thought that I was ought to do the job? Because of this: when I started working, my first client was a research institute that just ditched my job application. I felt like somebody was making a joke of me. And why did I realize that it was not my place? Because all but one projects I have been working with eventually turned into a no-go. There were no big issues (failure in fabrication or so), mostly they just suddenly thought that the project was too expensive and they didn’t want to continue. Or they just lost interest in the project, which was quite possible as the projects were mostly research-related.

So when the engineering manager said that “your future is not here, you have many capabilities but you cannot apply it here..” before saying that he was not going to prolong my contract, it was a curse and blessing at the same time. My original plan was to quit after finding another job. However, it would also give the impression that I am ditching them because they are not good enough for me, so this could leave a bitter aftertaste. This is not an ideal ending since they have treated me very well. Not to mention that it would feed my arrogance. But now we can say “goodbye” in a courteous way. No guilty feeling on my side.

As Lrrr have said it, I am free. I felt relieved.

When the manager finally broke the news on my last week via the mail, it came as a surprise to my colleague. Some colleagues gathered round my desk and said that they were sorry to see me go. Very sweet.

The last day was rather difficult – I have prepared to say goodbye, but it was not easy to prevent my tears from falling. I cleaned my desk, than started shaking hands. First I said goodbye to the technicians in the construction hall. I have spent many long hours with them, so they knew me quite well. Then to fellow engineers and the managers. I have worked closely with some of them. Too bad that at that day my direct superior was in Russia for a project, and the engineering manager was ill. My direct superior sent me an email from Russia, and the manager even called me to apologize that he could not give the farewell speech. Both were thanking me for the work I have done, and mentioning that they will sent me a reference letter. I have not received the letter, but it was good enough that I could use their names as my referees.

Then I took a last look of the company, wiped my tears, and drove home.

I am grateful that I have been given the chance to do the job, that I have decided to took it, and that it ended well.