As absences go, this has been a long one. But blog writing to me is a hobby, a thing which I do out of pleasure not need. The story of the Indian States that I had been weaving in the past few posts remains incomplete. To be frank I am a little tired of sticking to one culture, one which I know so well. Fret not for we will come back to the lands of the Ganges and Gandhi, if not immediately. Today we look at the archipelagos of Indonesia.
Here is the background music for this post, pop from the Nation.
It is ironic that in my quest to explore cultures beyond India, I end up with a nation whose name springs from the name of the Indian Subcontinent. Even the cultures are not very dissimilar due to the common Hindu influence. The 4th most populous nation in the world Indonesia, is also the largest Islamic country in the world (by population). This may be surprising to you if its the first you have heard of it. But it is testimony to how immigration impacts culture. Homo Sapiens have inhabited these parts for the last 30,000 years. The early people, the ancients of the nation are believed to have impressive naval abilities. The people from here are thought to have achieved travel to Australia and other distant island groups, quite early on. As South India gained strength just before the middle ages, trade with India prospered. Among other imports were Hinduism and Buddhism which began shaping Indonesian culture. It was much later in the medieval times that Islam came to this country, again via trade. The history of most countries in the area : Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore were intertwined. Trade, agriculture and culture progressed in similar directions. As other nations embraced Islam and tweaked it to suit local customs so did this country.
Nearly every Asian nation came under the yolk of Imperialism sometime, its only who dominated them a few decades back that decides what kind of curry they eat today. The Dutch were the masters of the region up to the 20th Century. The Japanese occupied the region during the 2nd World War and are considered responsible for the millions of casualties during the time. At the end of the war, Sukarno a nationalist leader became the first President of Indonesia. Attempted coups, attempts by the Communist Party and other political skirmishes turned violent before the New Order was established under military rule. The economy saw major upheavals in the 1990’s which led to the stepping down of the President.
Agriculture remains the main source of income for the nation and the primary occupation. You shall find influences of Chinese, Indian, European and Middle Eastern cuisine in the food here. Perhaps not as globally popular as Thai cuisine, the love of chilies, coconut milk and rice is shared by this culture too.
Mie Aceh : Thick yellow noodle are served with slices of beef, goat meat or seafood, such as shrimp or crab. They are served in rich, hot and spicy curry-like soup. The noodle and spices are cooked with bean sprouts, tomato, cabbage and celery. They may be fried (Goreng – here) or soupy (Kuah).
Source – Silangmonas
Babi Guling : The consumption of pig meat is frowned upon by Islam so this festival dish of roasting an entire pig is confined to the small pockets of Indonesia where Hindus or Christians are in majority. This dish is popular in Bali.
Source – beautifullyBali
Lawar : Lawar is a dish created from a mixture of vegetables, coconut and minced meat mixed with rich herbs and spices, originating from Bali, Indonesia. The ‘Red’ Lawar you see here might be product of mixing Pig’s blood in the dish.
Source – DatedMango
Sate Ayam Madura : Grilled Chicken Tenders served with creamy roasted peanut sauce. Satay is a technique very common in this part of the world so most dishes with ‘sate’ in them are often referring to something like this.
Source – TheEndangeredSartorialist
Arem Arem : Parboiled rice, stuffed with veggies or a chili sauce, wrapped in banana leaves and then boiled. Its like the poor vegetarian’s sushi. Also find the recipe in the link below.
Source – CatatanNina
Bakwan Malang : Indonesian style egg noodle soup with meat ball, fried wonton, tofu & vegetables.
Source – GrandTopic
Recipe – Sajiansedap
Rawon : a strong rich tasting traditional Indonesian beef black soup. Originally from Surabaya in Indonesian province of East Java. It uses black nuts/keluak (Pangeum edule, fruits of kepayang tree) as the main spice which gives the strong nutty flavor and dark color to the soup.
Source – Bubblews
Longton Balap : This consists of rice cake , bean sprouts , fried tofu , lentho , fried onions , soy sauce , and chili sauce.
Source – ChizzysLife
Longtong Kupang : Rice cakes with white mussels. Rice as you can guess is a very common component in Indonesian cooking.
Source – Sijagomakan
Sambal Terasi : Shrimp paste, a common ingredient in various South Asian cuisines. In South China, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. Here its known as Terasi. It can range from the wet texture you see here ( Mixed with Sambal) to condensed blocks.
Source – DailyCookingQuest
Opor Ayam : Chicken in coconut milk. A dish enjoyed during Ramadaan, fasts are broken on this. The source lists along with a few great Indonesian recipes.
Source – DesireToEat
Pecel : A Vegetable salad with Peanut chili sauce. Sprouts of course show up as a matter of routine.
Source – Corlena
Serabi : Indonesian pancake that is made from rice flour with coconut milk or just plain shredded coconut as an emulsifier. One of the few posts in English on Indonesian Cuisine, this one shares a wonderful recipe too. The blog is a treasure trove of edible things from this country.
Source – belajarIndonesia45
Nasi Liwet : Nasi liwet is a succulent rice dish cooked in coconut milk and chicken broth, from Solo, Central Java. Common steamed rice is usually cooked in water, but nasi liwet is rice cooked in coconut milk and chicken broth, thus giving the rice a rich and succulent taste.
Source – Didinpurnama
Klepon : a traditional rice cake, popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. It is a boiled rice cake, stuffed with liquid gula jawa (palm sugar), and rolled in grated coconut. Klepon is green because it is flavored with a paste made from the pandan or dracaena plant whose leaves are used widely in South East Asian cooking.
Source – ProudWeirdoKitchen
Gudeng : Gudeg is made from young unripe jack fruit (Javanese: gori, Indonesian: nangka muda) boiled for several hours with palm sugar, and coconut milk.
Source – RiceAndCoconut
Soto Bandung : Clear broth beef soup with radishes, garlic and lemon grass.
Source – GastroButterfly
Karedok : Karedok is a raw vegetable salad in peanut sauce from West Java, Indonesia. It is one of the Sundanese signature dish. It is made from cucumbers, bean sprouts, cabbage, legumes, Thai basil, and small green eggplant, covered in peanut sauce dressing.
Source – IndonesiaTypical
Pangsit : A Pansit is an Indonesian Wonton, it generally comprises of meat inside layers of flour, fried or steamed. This however is an egg pangsit. Somehow prettier I think.
Source – SundayMorningStory
Bakmi : Bakmi consists of two Hokkien Chinese words literally translated to English as “meat noodles” (肉麵, Pe̍h-ōe-jī: bah-mī). Bakmi is a wheat based noodle which was brought to Southeast Asia by Chinese immigrants with Fujian or Hokkien origin, generally prepared and topped with minced soy-sauce pork and few sliced of char-siu.
Source – AudreysCookingBlog
Ayam Goreng : Ayam goreng is a generic term to refer to various kinds of Indonesian and Malaysian dish of chicken deep fried in coconut oil.
Source – food4Two
Tempe : A traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form
Source – Wikipedia
Sambal : Sambal is sauce typically made from a variety of chili peppers and secondary ingredients such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, sugar, lime juice, and rice vinegar or other vinegars. There are more than 300 varieties of Sambal to be found in Indonesia. Check out the source post for some great images from the region.
Source – TheMissingIngredient
Beef Rendang : Rendang is a spicy meat dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia. It is perhaps a definitive dish for the nation. As one of the most loved and recognized internationally, this is a caramelized beef curry.
Source – MichaelToaLumpia : Fried Chinese spring rolls popular throughout South East Asia. The Indonesian versions I guess would go well with sambal.
Source – Mehmetyasin
Bakso : Bakso or baso is Indonesian meatball or meat paste made from beef surimi and is similar in texture to the Chinese beef ball, fish ball, or pork ball.
Source – dinaanna
Goat Kari : Goat curry, tomatoes, spices, goat meat. Curry leaves of course. The source post has some great recipes from Indonesia and greater pics.
Source – DentistVsChef
Prawn Gulai : Gulai is a type of food containing rich, spicy and succulent curry-like sauce commonly found in Indonesia and Malaysia. The main ingredients might be poultry, beef, mutton, various kinds of offals, fish and seafoods, and also vegetables such as cassava leafs and unripe jackfruit. The gulai sauces commonly have a thick consistency with yellowish color because of the addition of ground turmeric.
Source – HungryC
Bakmi : Bakmi is a wheat based noodle which was brought to Southeast Asia by Chinese immigrants with Fujian or Hokkien origin, generally prepared and topped with minced soy-sauce pork and few sliced of char-siu(叉燒) or barbecued pork, addition of Chinese green vegetable leaf and a bowl of Broth. In Indonesia, the issue with pork persists hence a Halal recipe.
Source – forumnyanya
Soto : Sroto, tauto, or coto is a traditional soup mainly composed of broth, meat and vegetables of Indonesian cuisine. This is considered, ideal Indonesian Comfort Food.
Source – PSILoveToCook
Sate : A dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce.Satay may consist of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, other meats, or tofu; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut palm frond, although bamboo skewers are often used.
Source – FifthFloorCooking
Gado Gado : Gado-gado (Indonesian or Betawi), also known as lotek (Sundanese and Javanese), is an Indonesian salad of slightly boiled vegetables and hard-boiled eggs served with a peanut sauce dressing. This post offers a non egg version but the colors are captivating.
Source – KelliesFoodToGlow
Nasi Goreng : “fried rice” in Indonesian, can refer simply to fried pre-cooked rice, a meal including stir fried rice in small amount of cooking oil or margarine, typically spiced with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), shallot, garlic, tamarind and chilli and accompanied by other ingredients, particularly egg, chicken and prawns. There is also another kind of nasi goreng which is made with ikan asin (salted dried fish) which is also popular across Indonesia.
Source – FoodAndChick
So that was Indonesia and its varied food. I knew so little about the place, its culture and food. Look at the photos, I think this might be the most colorful post ever. The joy of writing on global food is precisely this, there is something new always, if not in life then at least on screen.