Exploring Important Ingredients in Indonesian Food

Talking about Indonesian food, some characteristics just can’t be missed. First of many, Indonesian food recipes are usually rich of spices as Indonesia is a country where spices are one of the most important values in food preparation and cooking. Indonesia has so many types of spices that make the food taste unique and delicious.

Nevertheless, spices are actually not the only important ingredients in preparing and cooking Indonesian food. In so many food recipes, some other ingredients are very common and significant too. What are they? Let’s talk about three crucial ones (the one that can be found often in the recipes).

Indonesian Dark Sweet Soy Sauce (Kecap Manis)

Sweet Soy Sauce

                Sweet soy sauce is the first on the list for me. Indonesians use kecap manis in various dishes. The main example is the famous Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng). There are many types of fried rice from many Asian countries with different ingredients showing different countries’ culinary. However, the one from Indonesia is the one prepared and cooked with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce).

Not only fried rice, kecap manis is used in many other dishes such as meat semur, Chicken satay, tempeh, roasted chicken and so many others. Additionally, there are even Indonesians who just love to add kecap manis into the food they are cooking and eating simply because they love the taste.

Coconut Milk (Santan)

Yellow/Turmeric Rice

Coconut milk is also another important ingredient to prepare various Indonesian food. I know that in Europe, coconut milk is not a common ingredient to use in cooking European dishes. However, in Indonesia, it’s definitely one of the most used ones.

The dishes using coconut milk (santan) in their preparations include the famous Indonesian beef rendang, soto, nasi uduk (coconut rice), yellow/turmeric rice (nasi tumpeng) and many other recipes.

Peanut Sauce (Saus Kacang)

Ketoprak with peanut sauce

The third ingredient that I’m going to talk here is peanut sauce. Yes, we Indonesians use peanut sauce a lot in many dishes. Not only as ingredient (as normal sauce), we also prepare spicy peanut sauce by adding chili into the sauce as another option for chili sauce.

Indonesian food recipes that use peanut sauce in the preparations include the famous Chicken Satay, Gado-Gado (Indonesian salad), Ketoprak, Pecel, Tofu Thek (from egg and tofu with peanut sauce) and many others.

All these three ingredients are included in uncountable Indonesian dishes in their recipes. When we see dishes that include any of these ingredients, I can assure you that the dishes are Indonesian (with 99.99% possibility).

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