The cuisine in Indonesia varies greatly depending on what island is visited. There are thousands of islands in Indonesia, each of them have a slightly different style of cooking. There are national and regional dishes that are all unique and flavoured well. It is common to see people eating with their hands in an Indonesian restaurant; it is a large part of their culture to do so. A truly authentic Indonesian Restaurant will serve the food to you as they would consume it in their own culture. Indonesia is known as the “Spice Islands”. They grow an elaborate variety of spices savoury, subtle, and spicy. Spice is a large part of their cuisine. Many of their dishes are spicy, but are cooled some with coconut milk. Rice, fish, spices, and tubular root vegetables are the main staples in Indonesia. A few more recognised Indonesian dishes are karedok, gudeg, Rawon, satay, Babi guling, and pempek. Indonesian food is influenced heavily by coconut milk, soy sauce and peanuts. You will see a lot of different versions of curries in Indonesian cuisine. Clove, garlic, soy, chiles, ginger, and tamarind are common spices used to flavour Indonesian dishes. Their food is often confused with other cultures because these cultures, such as Thai or Malaysian cuisine, are their sister cultures.
Popular Indonesian Curries
Curry is a popular cuisine among the Southeast Asian countries particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, India and Thailand. The curry food recipe from the different Asian countries is using the same ingredients like the curry paste and coconut milk or gravy but varies on the preparation and style of cooking. The cooking style or method used had been influence by the different culture and tradition.
In every curry dish, basic curry paste is the primary ingredient. It is made from a blend of powdered herbs or spices mixed with other seasoning. The following ingredients and spices are also used such as coconut milk, lemon grass, turmeric, candlenut, cardamom, belacan, coriander powder, star Anise, galangal and other common seasoning.
Indonesian curry differs from other countries in its culinary preparation that has been passed from one generation to the next. In indonesia, rice is important in an authentic meal. It is either boiled or steamed with coconut milk or spices. Hence curry is prepared by layering of rice flavours with various spices like chilli, ginger, garlic, pepper, turmeric, cumin and curry leaves.
One of the most popular Indonesians cuisines found in many restaurant is the rendang chicken. It is a dry curry with less and very thick sauce that soaked the meat thus making the dish so flavourful and mouth-watering. The traditional Indonesian cooking always contains the three tastes, sweet, sour and salty flavours. The fiery heat of spices such as chilli adds richness to the dish. The rendang recipe includes chicken, coconut milk, soy sauce, trassi or shrimp paste, sambal oelek, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and other common seasonings. The preparation and cooking time for rendang chicken is approximately one hour and twenty minutes. In other restaurant or food shop, rendang chicken is replaced by beef or lamb.
The richly-flavoured curries in Indonesian restaurant Enak Enak comes from essential spices such as coriander powder, cumin, and turmeric. Salty and sweet soy sauces are also used as marinades and sauces. Other common seasonings include lemon, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, coriander, tamarind, and basil.
In general, the spices used in the preparation have great influence in the curry dishes. The Indian curry is fiery hot in contrast with the Indonesian curries which have a rich and thick consistency.