5 must-have ingredients for Indonesian food

5 must-have ingredients for Indonesian food

Indonesian cuisine is known for its bold, complex flavors and use of exotic ingredients. If you're new to Indonesian cooking, it can be overwhelming to figure out which ingredients to use. Here we list the 5 must-have ingredients to enrich the authenticity of your Indonesian dish:

  1. Kecap Manis

Kecap manis is a sweet soy sauce that is a staple in Indonesian cuisine. It's made from soy sauce, palm sugar, and spices like garlic and star anise. The result is a thick, syrupy sauce that is both sweet and savory. Kecap manis is used in many Indonesian dishes, from stir-fries to marinades to dipping sauces. It adds depth of flavor and a hint of sweetness that is unique to Indonesian cuisine.

  1. Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste, or terasi, is a pungent condiment made from fermented shrimp. It has a strong, salty flavor and is used as a seasoning in many Indonesian dishes. Shrimp paste is often fried in oil before being added to dishes like curries and sambal, a spicy sauce made from chili peppers. It adds a depth of umami flavor that is hard to replicate with other ingredients.

  1. Candle Nut

Candle nut, or kemiri, is a nut that is native to Indonesia. It has a high oil content and a creamy texture, making it a popular ingredient in Indonesian cooking. Candle nut is often ground into a paste and used as a thickener in curries and stews. It adds a subtle, nutty flavor to dishes and helps to create a thick, velvety texture.

  1. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a fragrant herb that is used in many Southeast Asian cuisines, including Indonesian cuisine. It has a citrusy, slightly sweet flavor and is often used to add a fresh, bright flavor to dishes. Lemongrass is usually chopped or crushed before being added to dishes like soups, curries, and marinades. It's also often used to make a tea or infused water.

  1. Salam Leaves

Salam leaves, also known as Indonesian bay leaves, are a common ingredient in Indonesian cuisine. They have a slightly sweet, floral flavor and are used to add a subtle, herbal note to dishes. Salam leaves are often added to soups, stews, and curries to infuse them with flavor. They can also be used to wrap fish or meat before grilling or steaming, which infuses the dish with their flavor.

By using these ingredients in your cooking, you'll take your Indonesian dishes into the next level. Happy experimenting :) 

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