The way the Putu cake seller calls out to customers is very unique, which is like a high-pitched whistle as if the sound of a sad cry. Why is that?
If the meatball seller used to give a sign with the clink of the bowl against the spoon, the dumpler with the bamboo gong, how did the putu cake seller tell his customers? Yep, of course with his distinctive “whistle” sound, shrill like a cry!
Anyway, even though it is considered very Indonesian and often found in snack box jakarta, Putu cake is not native to the country, you know. It is believed that the cake made from steamed rice flour was first known in mainland China. This is the reason why you can also find these cakes in other countries such as Singapore and Malaysia.
At the China Silk Museum, you can really see the history that says Putu cake was used as breakfast in China in the 16th century. In fact, it is estimated that this cake has been known to the people of the Ming dynasty, which dates back to around the 13th century.
At that time, this cake was known as Xian Roe Xiao Long which means cake from rice flour. like the putu cake in Indonesia, rice flour dough is put in bamboo, then filled with soft green beans, then steamed.
Kue putu is thought to have entered Indonesia at the same time as many immigrants from China who came to the archipelago to trade, one of whom was Admiral Cheng Ho who had stopped in a number of areas while in the country.
In one of the classical manuscripts of Serat Centhini, the name kue putu is believed to have existed since the time of the Mataram Kingdom. In the fiber written in 1814, while traveling in 1630, Syekh Amongraga found Puthu cake as a breakfast dish in Wanamarta Village, East Java.
Customer Caller “Cry”
So, why does a putu cake seller use a shrill “cry” sound as a means of calling customers? Apart from being a kind of identity, this voice is closely related to how the Putu cake is made.
You need to know, putu cake is ripened by steaming or steaming. The way is unique! The dough that was placed on a bamboo sleeve (now a pipe connection) is placed in the hole where the bottom is filled with boiling water so that hot water vapor escapes from the hole.
Well, in addition to baking cakes, water vapor is also channeled into a kind of chimney that is made in such a way that it makes a shrill sound like a whistle or a person’s cry. In the past, this shrill sound meant the cake was ripe. It looks like a pressure cooker! Ha ha.
In Indonesia, kue putu underwent a slight modification. If in China the filling for this cake is green beans, the Indonesian people replace it with Javanese sugar, according to the existing ingredients. In fact, to enhance the aroma, Indonesian typical putu cakes are also given the aroma of pandanus and coloring.