vegetables and fruits
foundation of an authentic Indonesian meal is
(nasi). In fact, rice is such an important
part of an Indonesian meal that all other foods
served with it are simply seen as an accompaniment.
Rice is usually plainly boiled or steamed, or
is sometimes cooked with coconut
milk and spices. The Indonesian version
of fried rice, called Nasi
goreng, is another popular way to enjoy
made from rice or wheat flour, are also used
in dishes such as mie goreng (fried noodles)
or added to curries.
tropical climate throughout most of Indonesia
makes it green and lush, and ideal for growing
a wide range of vegetables and fruits.
vegetables most commonly enjoyed include onions,
garlic, scallions (spring onions), chili, bell
peppers (capsicum), cucumber, shallots, celery,
potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, sweet
potatoes and carrots. These vegetables are eaten
in curries; used to make soups, salads and flavorsome
side dishes; or added to fried rice and noodle
are typically enjoyed as a dessert and snack,
and are sometimes used to add a sweet accent
to savory dishes. Popular fruits include bananas,
mangoes, papaya, lychees and more exotic varieties
such as durians, mangosteens and rambutans.
is made up of over 13,000 islands, so it's little
surprise that fish and shellfish are eaten regularly.
A countless variety of fish are eaten, and popular
shellfish include shrimp, scallops, crab, squid,
oysters and mussels.
and shellfish are enjoyed in many ways: wrapped
in banana or pandanus leaves and barbecued or
steamed; added to curries, fried rice and noodle
dishes; marinated and grilled on skewers; or
added to soups and salads.
chicken and eggs
red meat is eaten sparingly throughout Indonesia.
When beef, lamb or goat is eaten, it's often
in the form of a curry such as Rendang,
or it may be marinated and cooked on skewers.
is eaten regularly and is enjoyed in rice and
noodle dishes, curries, and soups (such as the
spicy chicken soup Soto Ayam). A popular
Indonesian appetizer is chicken
sataymarinated chicken pieces grilled
on bamboo or wooden skewers and eaten with peanut
are enjoyed in moderation. Sliced boiled eggs
or strips of omelet are often used to garnish
rice dishes and salads.
(beans, peas and lentils) are used regularly
in Indonesian cookery. Bean curd (tofu), which
is made from soy beans is used in a variety
of traditional dishes. Tempehmade from
fermented, coagulated soybeansis also
popular. It has a nutty flavor and a firm meaty
texture, and it soaks up the flavors of the
foods it's cooked with.
beans are a popular addition to salads, vegetable
dishes and curries. Bean sprouts are also eaten
regularly and are commonly added at the last
minute to hot dishes for a contrasting crunchiness.
are typically used as a garnish (either crushed
or whole) or ground into a paste and mixed with
spices and coconut milk and water to make peanut
sauce. This rich sauce is used as a satay dipping
sauce or is drizzled over Gado
gado (a colorful salad of mixed vegetables
with contrasting flavors and textures, garnished
with sliced boiled eggs).
Indonesian cuisine relies on hot, salty, sweet
and sour flavors. Soy
sauce and sweet soy sauce (kecap
manis) add richness to hot and cold dishes,
and are used in marinades and as a condiment.
(shrimp paste) is a dark brown concoction of
salted and fermented shrimp, and is used to
enliven and add depth-of-flavor to food.
fiery heat of chili is an ever-present part
of Indonesian cookery. Chili is either thinly
sliced and used fresh, or ground into a paste
to make a hot chili sauce such as sambal
Indonesian curries rely on ground spices such
These spices are also used in sauces and marinades.
Other common seasonings include garlic, ginger,
lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, basil, cilantro,
and lemon and lime juice.