Indonesia: Recipes and Cuisine

Country | Indonesia | Dancer

Indonesia — a vast archipelago often called the Spice Islands — sits at the crossroads of many cultures. Indian, Chinese, Malay, Dutch, Portuguese — all these culinary traditions have influenced the cooking of Indonesia. From snowy mountains to steamy rainforest, Indonesian cuisine is marked by a use of bold spices and herbs, the calming creaminess of coconut milk and the sweet touch of palm sugar.

Image Creative Commons by thebonbongirl

Rice is the most common starch in Indonesia, supplemented by a variety of rice and wheat noodles. A variety of vegetables are simmered in stews or tossed in cooling salads. Mild and spicy sauces, called sambals, add flavor to most dishes.

Indonesian Recipes

Acar Ketimun

Ingredients | Cucumber, Sliced

(Indonesian cucumber pickle)

Pronounced "a-CHAR keh-TEE-moon," this simple, quick pickle is served as a side dish in Indonesia for grilled foods, especially satay ayam. Sometimes spelled atjar or achar. Read more »

Ayam Goreng Kuning

Poultry | Ayam Goreng

(Indonesian turmeric fried chicken)

Fried chicken is so popular in Indonesia that they have their own franchise chain called "Mbok Berek," sort of like an Indonesian KFC. The similarities end there though. Indonesian fried chicken is first marinated and then simmered in a flavorful mixture of spices and herbs. Only then is it fried to golden, crispy perfection. Read more »

Es Apokat

(Indonesian avocado smoothie; see Sinh To Bo variations)

Gado Gado

Salads | Gado Gado

(Indonesian vegetable salad with peanut sauce)

Gado gado is a popular salad in Indonesia with a number of regional variations. At its base, gado gado is a composed salad of cooked and raw vegetables, topped or tossed with a peanut sauce. Gado gado is an excellent addition to a buffet or rijsttafel. Read more »

Kecap Manis

Sauces | Kecap Manis Image

(Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

Kecap manis (pronounced like "ketchup") is a ubiquitous ingredient in Indonesian cooking. If you are unable to find it at your local Asian market, this recipe is an approximation. This soy-based sauce is the origin of the word "ketchup," even though the original Indonesian version contains no tomatoes. Read more »

Mie Goreng

Pastas | Mie Goreng

(Indonesian stir-fried noodles with vegetables)

For a quick, nourishing meal, Indonesian mie goreng is a great choice. Also spelled mi or mee goreng, this stir-fried noodle dish is a great way to use up items in the fridge. Use your imagination! Popular in Malaysia too. Read more »

Pilus

Ingredients | Sweet Potatoes Image

(Indonesian sweet potato puffs)

These scrumptious little sweet potato fritters are a popular snack on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Mashed sweet potatoes are mixed with flour, egg and a touch of brown sugar, and spoonfuls of the mixture are dropped into hot oil. The lightly sweet, browned puffs are a perfect accompaniment to an Indonesian meal. Read more »

Pisang Goreng

Desserts | Pisang Goreng

(Indonesian batter-fried bananas)

These banana fritters are very popular in Indonesia and are excellent served with ice cream and drizzled with honey. You can also serve them in a dish with a little coconut cream. Read more »

Rendang Daging

Meats | Rendang Daging Image

(Indonesian beef simmered in coconut milk)

Rendang is a "dry" meat curry that originated in the Padang cuisine of west-central Sumatra. It has become popular throughout the Indonesian archipelago, as well as in Malaysia and Singapore. Rendang is an intensely flavorful dish often served on special occasions. The ingredients used to season it vary widely from region to region. Pick and choose as you have available. Read more »

Sambal Kacang

Ingredients | Peanuts Image

(Indonesian peanut sauce)

This famous Indonesian peanut sauce is pronounced "sahm-bal kah-CHANG." Another name for it is bumbu satay. Serve with satay ayam or gado gado. Read more »

Satay Ayam

Poultry | Satay Ayam

(Indonesian chicken skewers with peanut sauce)

Satay is a great Indonesian street food that has become popular throughout southeast Asia, especially Singapore and Malaysia. Most often made with chicken, beef or lamb, satay is commonly served with sambal kacang, a spicy peanut sauce, and acar ketimun, a simple cucumber pickle. Sometimes spelled sate, sateh or saté. Read more »

Sayur Lodeh

Ingredients | Cabbage, Chinese Image

(Indonesian vegetables in coconut curry)

A variety of vegetables are simmered in a milk coconut milk curry to make this popular Indonesian side dish. Also popular in Malaysia. Read more »

Tahu dan Tempe Bumbu Rujak

Ingredients | Tempeh Image

(Indonesian tofu and tempeh in spicy coconut sauce)

This tasty vegetarian curry uses tempeh, a fermented soybean cake popular in Indonesian cuisine. The lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal are for seasoning and are not meant to be eaten. Remove them before serving if you like. Read more »