Tuesday 17 June 2008

sorbat susu

Sorbat Susu is a warm, sweet, spiced milk from Indonesia. At least I think it is.

I have only drunk it here in Sydney (Badde Manors Café in Glebe to be precise) and Googling the recipe has proved fruitless.

I know susu means milk in Indonesian, but what is sorbat? Can anyone shed some light on this?

My recipe is a take on what I drank at Badde Manors: sweet and warm gingery milk spiced with black pepper. The original recipe serves the ginger in the milk but this creates difficulty for the drinker, so I decided to infuse my milk and strain it before serving. It’s a much more pleasant experience this way.

Sorbat Susu

Anna’s version of the Badde Manors drink. Serves 1.

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons condensed milk
½ tablespoon grated ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat all ingredients over low heat. While heating, use an egg beater to whip milk into a slightly frothy consistency. Taste as it may need sugar.

2. Strain into a cup and top with a little freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot.

This is a perfect winter warmer, which suits me wonderfully these days as the rain and wind howls outside and curl up on the sofa under a blanket and get my Battlestar Galactica fix (I am completely addicted).

Some recent birthday presents are also proving inspirational.

First was Tia Bicky’s purchase of Creole, a Caribbean cookbook by Babette de Rozières.

I don’t know much about Caribbean food, but the book contains some really interesting recipes such as lamb in turmeric and wasabi, cocoa mustard rabbit or conch ravioli. It also touches on Caribbean classics such as salt cod acras, swordfish ceviche and Creole-style pigeon peas. Papaya jam, coconut flans and mirliton tarte tatins (choko/chayote) are among the exciting desserts.

And then last night Shamu delivered her gift to me, The Secrets of Red Lantern by the Nguyen family who run an exquisite Vietnamese restaurant in Sydney, where I have enjoyed many a meal.

The book covers some of my favourite dishes from the restaurant, such as Bò Tái Chanh (lemon-cured sirloin) and Muc Rang Muôi (salt & pepper squid) but also includes classics like Goi Ðu Ðu (green papaya salad) and Thit Kho Trúng (caramelised pork). I am also fascinated by the exotic Dua Cai Chua (pickled mustard greens), Ôc Luôc (steamed periwinkles), Che Trôi Nuóc (sweet mung bean dumplings in ginger syrup) and Kem Trái Bó (avocado ice cream).

But what’s even more wonderful about this book is the family stories sprinkled throughout, containing everything from migration to Australia, to moving family estrangement and coming full circle in a bittersweet reunion. I’ve already shed a few tears.

Drinking the sorbet susu and leafing through these great new cookbooks has been a wonderful experience, and checks off three of my 2008 Food Resolutions!



  1. I've had that drink from Badde Mannors before.

    Those cookbooks look good. I saw the red Lantern one the bookshop and though it cou;ld be interesting.

  2. Anna, I think the beverage you made here, it is called Bandrek in Sundanese. It's very popular beverage in some Indonesia highlands, such as in Puncak (West Java) and Karo (North Sumatra.

    My mind can't recall what Sorbat is.


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