Indonesian Sweet Pancakes: Martabak Manis (Guest Blogging Special!)

When I received Raymund’s email to do a guest blog posting, I was both thrilled and honoured! I’ve always been a fan of Filipino cuisine and Ang Sarap is my “go to” blog whenever I had a recipe in mind. I love how he explained the origin of each dish and then proceed tempt me with his wonderful photography and culinary skills!

Please visit Ang Sarap to view my guest post!

When I was asked to create a dish representative of my culture, I was torn between my two halves. I’m of Southeast Asian descent – namely Singaporean and Indonesian. Although the food in both countries are largely similar and carry heavy influences which were sometimes based off one another, they also differ in many aspects. Like all other cuisines, each is unique and boasts their own signature dish.

After much contemplation, I settled on Martabak Manis (Coklat Keju), loosely translated to Sweet Indonesian Thick Pancake (Chocolate & Cheese). It is also known as Terang Bulan amongst the locals. Martabak Manis is a common street food that can be easily found in the streets of Indonesia. If you were to ask my dad what his favourite dessert in the world was, his answer in a heartbeat would be Martabak Manis. Speaking of heavy influences, a similar pancake in Singapore and Malaysia exists in the name of Apam Balik / Ban Jian Kueh.

The sweet filling sandwiched between this pancake traditionally consists of condensed milk, chocolate, cheese, fruits and crushed peanuts. Lately however, the increase in modern bakeries gave rise to a variety of fusion flavours, including Blackforest and Tiramisu Martabaks! mmmm! Possible blog posting idea!

The texture of a good Martabak Manis has to to be soft and chewy with its distinct honeycomb texture visible.


It also needs to be evenly browned at the bottom. Undoubtedly, this is easier made with a special martabak pan but a non-stick teflon works just as well! Without further ado, please enjoy my very own martabak recipe. Ahhh, and yes since I’m staying true to tradition, this will not be one of those “diet recipes”…

Martabak Manis Coklat Keju

heavily modified from Ny Prudianti Tedjokusuma - 525 Kumpulan Resep Mak Nyusss!
Makes 2 small Martabak Manis (4 inch) or 1 large one (8 inch)
  • 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 1 cup warm coconut milk
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp margarine (and more for brushing pan and pancake – best if you have Indonesian Blue Band or Wijsman Dutch butter!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp water

Possible Filling Combinations

  • Margarine
  • Condensed milk
  • Peanuts (crushed)
  • Chocolate rice ( Ceres brand if you can find it)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a small bowl, mix yeast with warm coconut milk and let it sit for 10 minutes or until bubbles form.
  2. In a large bowl, sift sugar, salt and bread flour.
  3. Mix in coconut milk mixture and allow to rise for 2-3 hours in a warm place. You should be able to see a lot of holes forming on the top.
  4. Beat eggs with melted margarine. (make sure the margarine is not hot so it does not cook the eggs)
  5. To the egg mixture, add baking soda dissolved in water and mix well.
  6. Combine egg mixture with coconut milk mixture, beating for about 30 seconds on medium / low speed until well blended.
  7. Preheat the skillet or griddle with LOW HEAT. Grease the pan and sides with a little margarine. Pour the batter, cover and cook until you can see bubbles start to form. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes or until top is full of holes. Ensure that your heat is LOW so that the skin doesn’t burn. The level of the batter should not exceed half the height of the skillet.
  8. Spread margarine on top and finally sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Remove from the pan and fold it in half immediately like the shape of a semicircle. This will prevent the cake from cracking.
  9.  Spread the outer surface with margarine to keep the cake moist. Best served warm!

I won’t deny the fact that this is probably the most irritating pancake to make! And you can tell why it requires such a bigger time commitment than your usual Sunday brunch pancakes… Yes, it’s the yeast! Rarely do locals attempt to make this when they can easily purchase it even in the wee hours in the morning. However, to many Indonesians overseas, this is a childhood favourite, akin to donuts! Imagine immigrating to a foreign country with no donuts! I bet I’d be making a lot of my own! 🙂

I’d also like to point out that although most Martabak recipes online recommend all-purpose flour, bread flour gave it a much “chewier” texture that was more similar to the ones sold on the street. I hope you enjoyed my Martabak recipe! Thanks Raymund, for having me at Ang Sarap! And I’m sure we all know what this blog name means! In Bahasa Indonesian we would say “Sedap Sekali!”