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  • Writer's pictureM Smith

Martabak Manis Indonesian Thick Sweet Pancake

During the pandemic, I did a lot of scrolling on Instagram, and I don't know why but there were so many videos of people eating Martabak Manis from street carts. Pre 2020, I had never heard of this iconic street food.

I first started researching recipes and techniques in April 2021. The results were good, but I was still missing the defined honeycomb texture. After a few trials and many errors, I figured out my mistakes, and today February 27, 2022, I made the most delicious Martabak Manis! Approvals from everyone in the house - even my mother-in-law who came by to drop off some items.

Here's my tip: Dissolve the baking soda into the water before adding it to your batter... even distribution means honeycomb texture throughout your Martabak.

So what is Martabak Manis?

Martabak Manis is a thick pancake, but I find it closer to an English crumpet than a pancake. There's no baking powder and baking soda is the primary levelling agent. The Martabak has a honeycomb texture that traps all the melted butter, cheese, chocolate and condensed milk into its nooks and crannies.

Yes, I said cheese. I used mozzarella, but I heard it's incredible with sharp cheddar cheese. So don't skip the cheese. On another note, the chocolate itself has to be good quality Chocolate sprinkles (This is because of Danish - Indonesian relations/early colonialism) - don't skimp on the quality of sprinkles.

I think my sister Lien would love this recipe, as it's easy to make and even yummier to eat. Maybe when we reunite this March, it will be one of the recipes we try together.

I hope you all try the recipe and Enjoy!

Martabak Manis: Thick Indonesian Pancake


  • 225 grams of bread flour - sifted

  • 30 grams of white sugar

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 tsp of vanilla extra (optional)

  • 250 ml + 3 tablespoons of warm water

  • ¼ teaspoon of water dissolved into the water

  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved into 1 tablespoon of warm water

  • Extra sugar for sprinkling onto the Martabak


  • Butter

  • Chocolate Sprinkles

  • Mozzarella Cheese

  • Condensed Milk


  • Sift your flour, add your sugar, and stir to combine in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of your flour and sugar mixture, beat in your egg, and stir to combine. Add your vanilla if you're using it.

  • Dissolve your salt into 3 tablespoons of water. When dissolved, add it to the flour and egg mixture. Slowly add the remaining 250 ml of water, and stir until smooth. The consistency of the mixture should resemble a loose pancake batter. Cover and set aside for 1.5 to 2 hours.

  • After 2 hours, dissolve your baking soda into your water and add it to your mixture. Stir until combined.

  • In a pre-heated hot non-stick pan, on low heat, add half of your batter (if you want a not so thick pancake, or the entire amount if you want a thicker pancake). Make sure you swirl the pan for even distribution of batter.

  • Use a spatula to spread the batter to the edge of the pan to make a "lip". You will begin to notice bubbles coming to the surface of the pancake.

  • When the surface of the pancake is covered in bubbles, sprinkle sugar over the top of the pancake. Cover with a lid and let steam on low heat for 5 minutes. Check on the pancake regularly.

  • You will know when the Martabak/pancake is done when the sides and bottom of the pancake are lightly brown, and the middle of the pancake is lightly springy and no longer sticky.

  • Immediately remove it from the pan and spread the pancake in butter. Coat one side with cheese, the other with sprinkles and drizzle with condensed milk.

  • Slice in half, sandwich together and cut into squares to serve.


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