With historic influences from the Dutch, Chinese and the Middle East, Indonesia boasts one of the most eclectic and exciting cuisine in the world. Expect vibrant flavours from the island of spices and a diverse cast of ingredients.
Nasi uduk is an aromatic coconut rice dish which originated from Jakarta. The rice is boiled in coconut milk with a mix of spices which include clove and lemongrass and steamed with pandan leaves, imparting its distinctive fragrance. The rice is topped with fried shallots and accompanied with common side dishes such as tempe orek (fried tempeh stir-fried with soy sauce), telor balado (hard-boiled egg with sambal sauce), turmeric fried chicken and bakwan (fried corn fritters).
One of the most famous Indonesian dishes worldwide, rendang is considered one of Indonesia’s national dishes. The meat dish has its origins in Sumatra in the 16th century before spreading in popularity throughout the archipelago. Rendang commonly uses beef, though there are variations of lamb or goat rendang. The meat is cooked in coconut milk and a mix of spices such as chilli, garlic, shallot and lemongrass over slow fire for hours until the gravy is almost boiled off. Rendang is usually served as a main dish with plain white rice or ketupat(rice cakes).
One of Indonesian’s most popular salads is gado gado, a tantalising dish found across the archipelago. A platter of blanched vegetables such as cabbage, potato, spinach, kangkung, string bean and corn are accompanied with slices of boiled eggs, fried tofu and tempeh and smothered with a rich and decadent peanut sauce. The sweet and spicy peanut sauce is made from fried peanuts, palm sugar, chilli, dried shrimp paste and tamarind juice. Try your hand making this delicious and healthy salad with our simple recipe!
A classic comfort food, there are all kinds of sate in Indonesia to satisfy the pickiest eaters. The most common meat used are chicken, beef, goat and lamb, though there are other variations using pork and fish. Cubes of skewered meat are slow-marinated in various spices before being grilled over charcoal fire to crisp and juicy perfection. The barbecued meat is served with a variety of sauces, though the go-to sauce is a mixture of peanut sauce and Indonesian sweet soy sauce. Perfect with lontong (rice cakes) or steaming white rice.
Nasi goreng is the Indonesian’s take on the humble fried rice dish. Like most Indonesian dishes, a cast of spices is involved. Minced garlic, shallots and chilli are sautéed in oil till fragrant before rice is added and stir-fried with eggs and cooked chicken. Liberal helpings of Indonesian sweet soy sauce (and sometimes fish sauce) is added to impart the characteristic sweet and umami flavour of nasi goreng. For toppings, the usual suspects include sprinkling of fried shallots, a handful of kerupuk (crackers) and cucumber-chilli pickles. Happy days.