Indonesian Food Recipes

Talking about the variety of Indonesian food is not half as interesting as tasting it. 
So, we show five simple recipes to try. First off is fried rice or nasi goreng followed by another popular dish: bakso or meatball soup. Then we feature fried noodles and chop suy.
We'll finish with simple and straight forward semur and strong Indonesian coffee or kopi tubruk.

Download all these recipes and a few more to your laptop or ereader through our free ebook Easy Recipes from Indonesia (PDF).

More about Indonesian food, eating habits and restaurant culture in our free full color ebook Enjoying Indonesia (PDF).

Nasi Goreng (Fried Rice) á la Indonesia OK!!

Indonesian Fried RiceNasi goreng is former President Obama´s favorite.
Throughout Indonesia you will find thousands of streetside stalls selling nasi goreng. It makes an excellent breakfast, although it can be eaten any time of the day or night.
For one serving you will need a soup bowl's full of steamed white rice.

The basic ingredients are: onions, garlic, sweet soy sauce, chilly and strong chicken broth. A good alternative for chicken broth are beef or chicken cubes. According to taste you may add a handful of dried shrimps (ebi), or meat, fish, some leek or a combination of all.

Preparation: cut the onions and garlic and deep fry them in a wok together with the chili (either chili paste or crushed fresh chili peppers) and the other ingredients. Add the broth. When most of the broth has evaporated, add the rice, stir well and finally add some sweet soy sauce.
Serve in a deep plate with a fried egg and fried chicken. Decorate with slices of cucumber, tomato, and some salad leaves.

The best drinks to go with nasi goreng are tea or coffee. In summer ice tea is a good option.

Bakso (Meatball or Fishball Soup)

Indonesian Bakso soupAnother of President Obama's favorite Indonesian dishes! 
Meatball soup is just as popular in Indonesia as nasi goreng. It is sold from street side stalls, or push carts that make their rounds through the neighborhoods. Bakso is sold from late afternoon and throughout the night.

The preparation requires more time than our fried rice recipe. You will like bakso just as much as all Indonesians, so let's prepare enough for four servings. We'll start with the meatballs and then continue with the soup.
If you have a well stocked Oriental (Chinese, Indonesian, Thai or Vietnamese) grocery store in your neighborhood, you will find ready-made beef or fish balls there. Otherwise, preparing the meatballs yourself goes as follows. 
Mash beef or white fish with salt and garlic in a blender. To improve the consistency add cassava flour or corn flour (after the blending). Add a bit of water as needed. Roll the mixture into balls of not more than 2 cm or 1" diameter. Boil the meat balls until they're done. Throw away the water.

Prepare the soup as follows: 
Make a strong broth from beef marrow. Let it cook until its oil surfaces. Add crushed garlic, pepper, salt and a bit of sugar or vetsin (which contains monosodium glutamate). According to the Indonesian way of cooking it's not possible to give exact quantities of the ingredients. It all goes according to personal taste and, most importantly, feeling.
Finally add the beef balls you already prepared and sliced tofu and let it all cook until the beef balls come to the surface. Finish it off with finely cut celery.

You may like to 'beef up' the contents of the soup with boiled noodles. The noodles go into the serving bowl first, followed by the beef or fish balls, tofu and the soup.

Serve with finely cut celery, sweet soy sauce, chili, and fried onions according to each individual's taste.

Mie Goreng (Fried Noodles) á la Indonesia OK!!

Indonesian Fried NoodlesAlthough rice is the staple food in most of Indonesia, noodles are competing seriously to obtain first place. Different brands of instant noodles are very popular and can be found on the family menu several times a week.

It's not difficult to prepare fried noodles, known as bakmi (or simply mi) goreng. Here is a basic recipe that you can experiment with.

Ingredients: egg noodles, red onions, garlic, pepper candle nuts, salt, sweet soy sauce, some shredded chicken and a bit of vegetables, such carrots, podded peas, or leek.

Boil the noodles according to the instructions. Meanwhile clean and finely cut the red onions, garlic, pepper, kemiri (two candle nuts will do for four servings) and salt. If you're in a hurry just put it all in a blender. 

With the noodles done and waiting, stir fry the blended condiment mix, chicken and your selection of finely cut vegetables. Add the noodles, stir well and serve steaming hot.
Add a fried egg and sprinkle fried onions on top and you're done.

Experiment freely with a combination of vegetables or use pork or shrimp instead of the chicken.

Cap Cay (Chop Suy)

Indonesian Chop SuyChop Suy is probably one of the most internationalized dishes. Although Chinese in origin, Chop Suy has been known in Indonesia as Cap Cai for many generations.

For an easy to prepare and healthy vegetable dish like Cap Cai you'll need some or all of the following veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, cabbage, mushroom, podded peas, spring onions, baby corn and bamboo shoots.

Also add some chicken filet or sliced bakso discussed above.

As you see, Cap Cai is not a spicy dish.

Start with stir frying the sliced onions in a wok, followed with the garlic. Add pepper, salt (or salty soy sauce) and two table spoons of oyster sauce. 

Then add the chicken or bakso.

When the chicken is well done quickly fry the vegetables, ensuring that they remain crisp. So, take care not to overcook them. Finally one table spoon of maizena (or other kind of flour) with a bit of water will allow the sauce to thicken.

Serve with steamed rice.


Semur, Indonesian styleA really easy and quick to prepare dish is semur. It is not spicy; chili being served on the side for those who like it hot.
Ingredients most often used are chicken, tofu (tahu) cut in approximately one inch cubes, sliced fermented bean curd (tempe), and rice vermicelli (so-on). 
Vegetarians could substitute the chicken with a product like shiitake mushrooms or mock duck, which is based on tofu. It comes in a tin, made in China (both the artificial duck and the tin).

Use a wok to stir fry (either in butter or oil) one sliced onion, garlic according to taste, three or four cloves (cengkeh), one inch of cinnamon (kayu manis), a pinch of salt, pepper, one third tea spoon full of ground nutmeg (pala). 
Then add the chicken or the vegetarian substitute and the slices of bean curd and let it all simmer until the chicken meat turns brownish. 
Add water, three spoonfuls of sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) then the cubes of tofu and one cube of chicken broth. Let it simmer more until the chicken is well done. Continue to add water to keep the chicken under.

Next, dip or rinse the rice vermicelli in hot water, then add it to the semur

Semur is served with steamed rice.

Kopi Tubruk (Crash Coffee)

Indonesian black and sweet coffeeThe Indonesian way of drinking coffee, during any time of the day and with any meal differs a bit from the western way. If you like a strong and sweet coffee, try kopi tubruk.
You will need some very finely ground coffee, sugar, hot water and a tall glass, strong enough to withstand the heat.

Put a tablespoon of coffee in the glass. Add sugar according to taste and pour a bit of hot water on, like you would to prepare hot chocolate. Stir carefully and continue to gently add hot water. Cover the glass and leave the drink for a few minutes so that the coffee can slowly settle on the bottom of the glass.

Snacks to complement the coffee include fried banana (pisang goreng), fried fermented tofu (kripik tempe), steamed bread (kue mangkok or bolu kukus) or your favorite cakes or cookies.

More Yummy Stuff (uptown restaurants with national and international flavor in Bali and Jakarta)  
Look to Chronos Coffee for the highest quality coffee made by coffee lovers for coffee lovers
Indonesian Food Recipes
(blogspot about Indonesian food from across the archipelago with free Indonesian food recipes)
(a fine site about Indonesian coffee) (Es Teler 77 is one of Indonesia's most successful fast food chains) (how to use spices for Indonesian cooking) (order your favorite Indonesian coffee or tea brand online) (Indonesian food delivered to your doorstep through this LA based on-line shop)
Indonesian culinary (recipes from around Indonesia)   
Indonesia Eats Blogspot (the art and science of food -a must see and read blog) (lots of recipes for Indonesian food) (ethical coffee production) 
Resep.dekap (dozens and dozens of recipes for appetizers, main courses, desserts and drinks from all parts of Indonesia -in Indonesian only) (all about Sumatran coffee)
Tasty Indonesian Food (recipes, table manners and more) (Teh 63 offers a variety of fine Indonesian teas and Chinese, Japanese and Korean tea sets)

Growing bananas, Indonesia
'Raja' (King) Bananas
Indonesian fruits
Fresh fruits
Fruit market
Daily Fruit Market