Indonesian foods are top-rated in the world. One of the most delicious foods in Indonesia is rendang. It’s flavorful, soft, and tender meat with many special spices. If you love any Indonesian food, you should know there are several Indonesian spices that make Indonesian food so delicious.
If you love Indonesian cuisine, you have to know these several spices to level up your cooking. Let’s check out these 10+ essential ingredients to cook your own Indonesian foods!
10+ Essential Ingredients On Indonesian Foods
If you plan to cook Indonesian, you have to know several Indonesian ingredients to create an authentic flavor of it. So, let’s take a look at the essential ingredients to make Indonesian foods!
1. Kecap Manis
Kecap manis, or sweet soy sauce, is the most popular ingredient in Indonesian foods. It can be a condiment or spice to make your food more flavorful. Many Indonesian foods use kecap manis such as sate (satay), ketoprak, and nasi goreng (fried rice).
Many people add sweet soy sauce to their soup, like bakso (meatball), soto, mie (noodles), and many more. Some people even eat seafood crackers with kecap manis.
2. Coconut Milk
Many Indonesian recipes use coconut milk as an essential ingredient, such as rendang, soto betawi, red curry, white curry, gulai, and many more. Coconut milk is used instead of regular milk to add a creamy taste to the food. If you are vegan or lactose intolerant, you can use coconut milk as a substitute for regular milk.
People think that sambal, sauce, or chili paste is the same, but both are totally different. Sambal is more complex than chili paste or sauce. It has a spice texture and contains more Indonesian ingredients.
Some common ingredients in sambal include red/green chilies, shallot, garlic, shrimp paste, sugar, salt, and lime juice. Meanwhile, another version does not use lime and adds crushed tomatoes to their sambal.
Indonesia has so many unique sambals you can choose. One of them is sambal matah from Bali that is made of sliced shallot, chili, lemon grass, lime leaves, lime juice, shrimp paste and salt, then doused with hot coconut oil.
Also, there is sambal dabu-dabu, which is sliced tomatoes, chilies, and shallots, to which salt and shrimp paste are added and doused in hot oil.
This spice is more popular than other spices because it is used in many recipes like Indian Food, the Middle East, and many more. Many Indonesian recipes use turmeric, especially in Indonesian soup cuisine. Turmeric is earthy and bitter with a spicy taste like pepper and gives a warm flavor to the soup.
The galangal is a typical Indonesian ingredient with a sharp and spicy aroma, and a hint of citrus. It resembles ginger, but ginger has a sweeter aroma. The scent of galangal will make your dish spicy and refreshing. Moreover, the texture of the skin is usually rough, tough, and fibrous on the inside.
The majority of Indonesian and Southeast Asian recipes use shallots instead of onions. Shallots have a similar taste and aroma to onions but are stronger and sweeter. Indonesian people also often make fried shallots as a condiment.
7. Palm Sugar
You must know that palm sugar is not the same as brown sugar. It is an essential ingredient in Indonesian cuisine. Indonesian people prefer to use palm sugar because it gives a fruity taste.
Palm sugar is composed of 70 percent sucrose, and the rest consists of individual fructose and glucose molecules.
A lot of Indonesians love chili. One of the reasons why Indonesians enjoy eating spicy food is due to their collective habits. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find many Indonesian people adding plenty of chilis to their dishes.
Ginger is a typical Asian spice. It is not only used in Indonesia but also in Japan, China, and many other Asian countries. Ginger has a distinct and fresh aroma and gives a warm sensation when consumed. The warm taste of ginger makes it perfect for soups.
10. Aromatic Ginger
The aromatic ginger, also known as kencur, is a unique Indonesian spice used in many Indonesian recipes. It is also used as an herbal drink called “beras kencur” in Indonesia. Some Indonesian foods that use kencur are karedok, peyek, and pecel.
The Indonesian ingredient, terasi, also known as belacan, is used to add umami flavor to dishes. It is made from fermented fish or shrimp and has a reddish-brown color. One unique Indonesian food that uses shrimp paste is fruit rujak, or Indonesian fruit salad.
Lime is used in many types of sambal. It is also used in many Indonesian fish recipes. Lime has a distinctive and fresh aroma in the fruit and the leaves. This makes lime leaves and fruit used in various dishes.
Pandan is a popular ingredient in Indonesia, often used in cooking rice and making typical Indonesian desserts. It has a distinctive fragrance that enhances the taste of rice and desserts.
Salam is the Indonesian bay leaves. It can be used as a cooking fragrance. This ingredient is widely used in several countries in Southeast Asia as a flavoring spice for dishes, such as meat, vegetables, fish, and rice.
Lemongrass has a larger size than regular grass. Its leaves have a rough texture and are sharp on the sides. The part of the lemongrass that is commonly used as a cooking spice is the stem.
Love Indonesian Foods?
There are many ingredients used in Indonesian cooking, and each region in Indonesia has its unique spices, which can be confusing when making Indonesian food. However, you can make Indonesian cooking easier with Bumbu Instan Nyah Tewel.
With Nyah Tewel, you can get various Indonesian spices like sambal, bumbu nasi goreng, bumbu rendang, and more. Check out Nyah Tewel now!
- How many spices are in Indonesia?
In Indonesia, around 25 types of spices are commonly known to the public. Some of these spices include turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, saffron, cardamom, cubeb, and candlenut.
- What is the Balinese spice called?
Base Genep is an essential Indonesian ingredient that is widely used in the processing of typical Balinese food. Consisting of 15 herbs and spices, Base Genep has four main elements: kencur, ginger, galangal, and turmeric.
- What are the basic Indonesian spices?
Most Indonesian cuisines often use shallots, garlic, salt, sambal and terasi.
- Why is Indonesia called the world’s mother of spices?
Many Indonesian dishes have a rich and spicy taste. No wonder Indonesia is often referred to as the Mother of Spices. The seven main spices for Indonesia’s exports are nutmeg, pepper, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and turmeric.