A tour of traditional Indonesian cuisine

By Alvianni Nur Mahmudah

In Bali, ‘Nasi campur’ is a scoop of rice, accompanied by small buffet-style portions of other dishes. The image above demonstrates some combinations of dishes served with Nasi campur.

(1) Satay lilit or Minced Meat Satay is an Indonesian dish originating from Bali. The meat for satay lilit is mashed, then wrapped onto a skewer. Using a lemon grass stalk as the skewer releases the aroma when grilled, providing more flavour than if bamboo was used. One bite into Klepon causes a sweet sugary explosion of brown sugar in your mouth

(2) Telur semur, meaning ‘fragrant egg stew’, is a common Indonesian dish, as the ingredients are easy to find. It uses sweet soy sauce alongside spices such as garlic, onions, cinnamon and nutmeg. All of these are common staples of Indonesian food.

(3) Betutu is chicken marinated in Base genep (Balinese spices). The spices can include shallots, garlic, turmeric, ginger, wild ginger, galangal, candle nuts, chilli peppers and shrimp paste. The chicken is then steamed or grilled using an instant pot pressure cooker or a traditional stove. Each region in Bali has its own unique way of making Betutu.

(4) Kering kentang translates as ‘crispy dry potatoes’ and they are served everywhere in Indonesia. Unlike potato wedges or fries, the crisp potato is sliced very thinly, providing the potatoes with a very crunchy texture.

(5) Sambal matah is a Balinese condiment. Matah means raw. All of the ingredients, such as lemongrass, shallots, garlic, ginger, coconut oil, and chillies, are simply chopped and mixed together.

According to Javanese, yellow symbolizes ‘gold’ which represents riches and prosperity

Nasi kuning, ‘yellow rice’, is a dish that originates from Java, in Hinduism empirically to be precise. The tumeric used gives this dish its yellow colour. According to Javanese, yellow symbolizes “gold” which represents riches and prosperity, thus yellow rice is often served at custom ceremonies. These ceremonies express gratitude, especially to God, and are similar to American thanksgiving. However, yellow rice can be served for any occasion, including everyday meals. According to Javanese, yellow symbolizes ‘gold’ which represents riches and prosperity.

Klepon is a sweet snack from Indonesia. Klepon is made from glutinous rice flour with a brown sugar filling and coated with grated coconut. The natural green food colouring is made from Suji and Pandan Leaves. One bite into Klepon causes a sweet sugary explosion of brown sugar in your mouth as you chew.

One bite into Klepon causes a sweet sugary explosion of brown sugar in your mouth

Yogyakarta night street food is often known as gudeg mercon culinary because they’re open only at night. Gudeg is made from young jackfruit, so you can call it jackfruit stew. Traditionally, gudeg is cooked by simmering young jackfruit for hours in a Javanese traditional clay pot alongside spices and teak leaves. The teak leaves will give gudeg a brown colour. Yogyakarta’s dishes tend to taste sweet and have brown colouring, as they are cooked mostly with soy sauce and brown sugar. However, there are also spicy foods that are still cooked with sweet soy sauce or brown sugar, giving a more sweet and spicy taste.

Kopi is not an americano or longblack. It’s just a hot black coffee. Yup, that’s right. Indonesia is one of the largest producers of coffee in the world, producing several varieties of coffee beans, including Robusta, Arabica, Liberica, and Excelsa. Arabica and Robusta are the most well known among them. For instance, Aceh Gayo is Arabica which has a sour aftertaste, meanwhile, Kalimantan Robusta has a bitter aftertaste and Flores Robusta has a chocolatey aftertaste. They are unique depending on the varieties and where they are grown. It is very simple to enjoy coffee in Indonesia, only brewed with hot water. Hot black coffee. Every region in Indonesia places its own cultural value on coffee. In Borneo, coffee has a meaning of safety, so we are likely to drink coffee and not refuse it if we’re visiting them. Meanwhile, in Bali’s traditional Javanese culture, coffee is often served with a food offering for worship or custom ceremony.

Image: Alvianni Nur Mahmudah

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