Tuesday, May 30
09:18 AM

Indonesian cuisine – a play with sugar and spice

2 Aug 2022 indonesian cuisine

Indonesian cuisine, a combination of various regional cuisines is significantly flavourful, fragrant as well as visually stimulating. Try these few popular dishes infused with ‘sugar and spice and everything nice’.

Rendang (Beef stew)


1 kg beef – cubed

3 cups coconut milk

3 stalks lemongrass

4 kaffir lime leaves

For curry paste

200g galangal – chopped

4 large cloves of garlic – minced

100g shallots – minced

100g red chillies – minced

2tbsp coriander seeds

¼tsp turmeric powder

2.5 cm piece ginger

½tsp salt

1tbsp coconut sugar

2tbsp coconut oil


Blend all the curry paste ingredients together until smooth. In a wok, saute the curry paste with coconut oil until fragrant and then add the coconut milk. Bash the lemongrass stalks and add to the wok. Stir well and then add the beef. Cook over medium heat and bring the coconut milk to a boil before reducing the heat to a simmer.

Cook on slow flame until the meat is tender and the color turns dark brown (around 3 hours). Add a little water, after about 15-20 minutes, if the gravy dries up. When the meat is tender, Rendang is ready.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng (Fried rice)


4tbsp vegetable oil

2 shallots – sliced

2tsp cornflour/cornstarch

¼tsp salt

1tsp shrimp paste

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 red chilli – minced

1tsp fish sauce

1tbsp brown sugar

1tsp tamarind paste

1tbsp tomato puree/paste

2tbsp dark soy sauce

800g cooked long grain rice – cooled

5 spring onions – chopped

5 eggs


Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large wok or frying pan until hot. Dust the shallot or onion slices in cornflour and add to the wok. Cook, for 5-6 minutes until browned and crispy, then remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

Turn the heat down to medium and add another 1tbsp of oil to the wok and add in the shrimp paste, garlic and chilli. Heat for one minute until fragrant, then add in the fish sauce, brown sugar, tamarind, tomato puree, and soy sauce and heat for a minute.

Now add the rice to the wok and cook on a high heat. Use a spatula to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and move the rice around so that it’s all getting reheated.

Once the rice is hot (about 5 minutes), push the rice over to the side of the pan and crack one of the eggs into the space. Making sure this bit of the pan is over the heat, fry the egg, giving a mix with the spatula until the egg starts to cook and look scrambled.

Now mix the egg into the rice. Add the spring onions, a pinch of salt and the crispy onions and mix it all together. Reduce the heat to low.

Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and heat until hot, then fry the remaining four eggs until the white is crisp at the edges, but the yolk is still runny. Divide the rice between four bowls and top each with a fried egg, then serve.

Satay Maranggi

Satay Maranggi (Beef skewers)


600g beef

100g palm sugar powder

3tbs sweet soy sauce

20 fruit skewers – soaked in water

Ground spices

1-2 red onions

8 garlic cloves

1½tsp coriander powder

2tbsp concentrated tamarind water

1½tsp salt


5 green chillies – crushed

1 red tomato – chopped small

2 red onions – thinly sliced

1tbsp vinegar

2tbsp sweet soy sauce


Cut the beef into cubes – 2cm. Then mix with powdered palm sugar, sweet soy sauce and spices, stir well. Leave for 30 minutes for the spices to infuse

Skewer 4-5 pieces of meat in each skewer. Finish until all ingredients are used up. Preheat the grill, and grill the satay, basting with the marinade frequently.

For the sambal, mix ground cayenne pepper, tomatoes and onions in a bowl, add vinegar and sweet soy sauce, stir well.

Put the satay on a serving plate, serve while hot with soy sauce.

(The same recipe can be used for chicken satay)

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