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DODOL: Sticky Delight of Hari Raya preparation

By Annie Khan

The traditional dodol will always be one of the main dishes during Hari Raya. Dodol has a unique, sweet flavor and creamy taste of fresh coconut milk. During the entire cooking process, the dodol must be constantly stirred in a big wok. If you are to pause in between, it might cause it to burn, and will spoil the taste and aroma,This sweet sticky toffee-like candy is equally popular in other parts of the world such as Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines (especially in the Luzon and Mindanao), Sri Lanka and Myanmar where it is called mont kalama.In Goa, dodol is eaten during Christmas. Dodol is called halwa in India. Halwa is usually made with sugar, milk and plain flour, whole wheat flour, semolina and even corn flour. In Bali, dodol is sold in dried corn leaves. This traditional delight has also made its way to Middle Eastern countries. Whatever its name, the technique to making dodol is often similar, with coconut milk, brown sugar or gula melaka and rice flour as its ingredients.

Besides the common brownish dodol, there are many other flavors available. The most popular is the durian-flavored dodol called lempuk. This is yellow in colour and is popular in Thailand, Kelantan and Terengganu. Durian dodol is also popular in Medan and other Sumatran cities.rnThe invention of the dodol mixer machine has a great help to save time making the delicacy. However, even with the dodol mixer, you still have to be on guard to make sure you get the right consistency of the dodol, Irrespective of whether one uses a dodol mixer or stirs it manually, both methods are time consuming. The process is quite tedious and has to be systematic with proper timing. The first stage is to extract the coconut milk.

The coconuts have to be of the ripe age because they have more coconut milk. Coconut milk is extracted by grinding the coconut with warm water for maximum output.The rice flour is added to the coconut milk and you have to keep on stirring the mixture on low heat. Brown sugar is later added to the mixture and all these ingredients are cooked until the mixture is dense. Once done, the cooked liquid is poured in a container and left to cool,The dodol is completely cooked when it is thick and firm, and does not stick to one's fingers when touched.The best time to prepare it is a few weeks before Hari Raya. However, some people prefer the fresh taste of soft dodol while others like it slightly firmer.

In the olden days, dodol was packaged and wrapped in different ways like in a coconut shell,(made of tree bark) or weaved (pandanus leaves) and from the Palas tree but these days we find them packed in small triangular attractive packets. This is one of the popular items to be presented to each other's on Hari Raya.

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