Category Archives: Indonesian

Indonesian Roasted Pork Tenderloin with a Sweet Ginger Sauce (Babi Panggang)

Babi_Pangang4 (1 of 1)Here’s another one of my favorite Indonesian pork recipes (I have several favorites in this category!). This one is a roasted pork tenderloin that has been marinated in a ginger/garlic/sweet soy sauce. It is served over a bed of crisp, shredded white cabbage, with a drizzle of a unique (delicious!) ginger sauce. I hope you’ll try it!

2 tsp peeled, finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Laos powder
2 Tbsp kecap manis
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 lb (or so) pork tenderloin

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tsp kecap manis
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp corn flour (cornstarch)
1 inch peeled fresh ginger, cut lengthwise into very fine julienne strips (about 1/2 Tbsp)
1 tsp sambal ulek
1 small onion, diced
1 Tbsp canola oil

1/2 head white cabbage, very thinly sliced

Babi_Pangang6 (1 of 1)Prepare the marinade by combining the first 6 ingredients (through ground black pepper) in a small bowl. Place the pork in a shallow dish and cover evenly with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or longer).

Meanwhile, prepare the ginger sauce by whisking together the next 7 ingredients (through sambal ulek) in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add the sauce mixture. Stirring constantly, slow bring to a boil. Reduce to low and continue to cook until the sauce thickens (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking dish that will accommodate the pork with aluminum foil and place the pork in the dish. Cook the pork until it registers 155 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted with a thermometer in the thickest portion (about 20 minutes) — cooking the pork any longer will dry it out. Remove the pork from the oven and place on a cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 10 minutes.

Slice the pork into half-inch pieces. Spread the sliced cabbage on a serving platter and place the pork slices on top. Pour sauce over the pork. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.


Pork Tenderloin in a Sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce

Pork_Tenderloin_in_a_Sweet_Indonesian_Soy_Sauce4 (1 of 1)This is one of my favorite Indonesian pork recipes — it smells so good as it’s cooking! I love the sweetness of the kecap manis, together with the hint of sour from the lemon juice. I’m pretty sure they’d use tamarind water instead of lemon juice in Indonesia, but I really like what the citrus does for this dish. It’s a quick and simple dish (relative to my other Indonesian recipes), and the ingredients should be easy for anyone to find. Hope you’ll give it a try!

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 lb pork tenderloin, cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed, or gula jawa if you have it
3 tsp sambal ulek
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white or black ground pepper
1/2 cup kecap manis
2 cups lower sodium chicken broth
Juice of one lemon (about 2 1/2 Tbsp)

Combine the pork, onion, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, sambal ulek, salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir well.

Heat oil in a wok or similar pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork mixture and saute until pork is no longer pink (about 5 minutes). Add the kecap manis, chicken broth and lemon juice, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, until the liquid has reduced considerably. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and sliced cucumbers and relishes.

Serves about 4.

Josh’s Risoles (Indonesian Croquettes)

Josh's Deep-Fried Creps with a White Grape Filling (1 of 1)The other night, I had some friends over for an Indonesian meal. My friend (and neighbor) Josh brought over an appetizer he made called “risoles,” which are Indonesian croquettes. Risoles are eaten as a snack food in Indonesia, and are prepared with either a sweet or savory filling. Josh’s version is savory, and he served it with a curry ketchup. Delicious! I asked him to pass along the recipe, which is as follows:

Risoles Wrapper

1 cup flour
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
7 oz milk


1/4 lb ground beef or chicken
3 small potatoes, peeled and finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 stalk spring onion, chopped
1 Tbsp flour, mixed with a little water
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup beef broth
1/4 tsp sugar


1 egg, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs

Canola oil for frying

For the wrappers, combine the flour, 1 egg and salt. Gradually add milk, whisking to make a smooth texture. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low. Pour 2 Tbsp of the mixture into the pan, being sure to move pan until mixture is thin (as you would with crepes). Cook until edges are dry, and wrapper peels off pan easily. Set aside and repeat process for the rest of the wrappers.

For the filling, heat a wok with a bit of canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute until fragrant. Add the meat and saute for a few minutes. Add carrots, pepper, salt, celery, and beef broth. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. When the carrots are half-cooked, add the potatoes and the 1 Tbsp flour/water mixture. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender and the filling has thickened. Add sugar, stir and remove from heat.

For the risoles, place some of the filling on each wrapper at the bottom, leaving a small edge at the bottom. Lift the wrapper over the top and tuck it in under the filling. Fold over the left side, and then the right side and roll up to form a tube.

For dredging, dip each risole in the beaten egg, then dip in the breadcrumbs to coat.

Deep fry the risoles in the oil until crisp and golden brown. Remove and place on paper towels. Serve with chili sauce.

Serves 4 – 6.

Southeast Asian-Style Salmon

Southeast Asian-Style Salmon3 (1 of 1)I don’t know how much salmon they eat (if any) in Southeast Asia, but Southeast Asian flavors sure go well with it! This is one of my favorite ways to make salmon, which I always have on-hand in the freezer (I like to buy the frozen, center-cut salmon filets, but it’s always a treat to prepare it fresh!). The salmon is coated in a wonderful coconut/panko/spice mixture, then pan seared. I especially like the sweetness of the sauce with this recipe, and the sour of the tamarind adds a nice balance.


1 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup finely diced onions
1 Tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup hot water
3 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 tsp brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp kecap manis
1/2 tsp dark sesame oil


3 Tbsp panko
3 Tbsp unsweetened, shredded coconut
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
4 6-oz center-cut salmon filets
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp canola oil

For the sauce, heat 1 tsp canola oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic, and saute 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Add 1 cup hot water, tamarind concentrate, brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the kecap manis and sesame oil.

For the salmon, combine panko, coconut and turmeric in a shallow. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt, coriander and black pepper on all sides. Dredge the salmon filets in the panko mixture.

Heat 2 tsp canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the salmon to the skillet, and cook 3 minutes. Gently turn the filets over in the skillet, and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Nasi Kuning (Indonesian Yellow Rice)

Nasi_Kuning_2013_04_14Nasi kuning literally means “yellow rice” in Indonesian. On special occasions, it is served in the shape of a cone, or tumpeng, and some of my research indicates that this is a representation of the mountains of Indonesia. It has a wonderful, aromatic flavor, and I love to serve it as an accompaniment to a variety of Indonesian meals (and not just on special occasions). The method I use to make it is not completely traditional,  but I think it ends up tasting pretty authentic.

1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
14 oz water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp coriander
2 salam leaves
1 clove garlic, very finely grated
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp canola oil

Heat oil over medium heat. Add diced onions and saute until translucent, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Combine rice, water, salt, shredded coconut, turmeric, coriander, salam leaves, garlic and the sautéed onions  in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Stir well. Put the lid on and reduce the heat to very low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Put the lid back on and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves about 4.

Gule Sapi (Spicy Indonesian Beef Stew)

Gule_Sapi_2013_04_14Gule Sapi is a spicy beef stew, simmered slowly in an aromatic coconut sauce. It’s called a “stew,” but it’s more like a curry, and I like to make it at any time of the year. It’s plenty spicy as is, but you can ratchet up the heat by leaving the seeds in the chilies (which is the way I like it), or you can tone down the heat by using less of the chilies and sambal ulek. This dish is delicious, so I hope you’ll try it!

1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
5 candlenuts
5 red Thai chilies (aka bird chilies), seeded and minced
3 tsp sambal ulek
1/2 tsp white ground pepper
1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tsp (about 2 inches) fresh peeled, finely grated ginger
1/2 tsp Laos powder (or 1 tsp finely grated fresh galangal)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 whole cloves
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp tamarind water
2 tsp peanut or canola oil

2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 additional tsp peanut or canola oil
1 additional tsp salt
1 1/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
3 salam leaves
1 stem lemongrass — use bottom 6 inches; remove outer leaves, and pound the bottom end with the side of a knife
1 14-oz can lite coconut milk

Add first 15 ingredients (through peanut/canola oil) to a food processor. Process to a fine paste and set aside.

Heat 2 tsp peanut/canola in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and 1 tsp salt, and brown for 5 minutes. Leaving the juices in the pan, remove the meat and set aside.

Reduce heat slightly. Add the paste mixture to the pan and gently saute for 5 minutes. Add the meat back to the pan. Add the water, cinnamon stick, salam leaves and lemongrass. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes.

Remove the lid, and add the coconut milk. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for about an hour, until the beef is tender, and the sauce is very thick. Remove the salam leaves, lemongrass and cinnamon stick. Serve with white coconut rice, or Indonesian yellow rice (nasi kuning), and any Indonesian relishes or pickled vegetables you have on hand.

Serves 4 to 6

Babi Lelawar (Balinese Pork in a Coconut Sauce)

Babi_Lelawar_2013_05_02I tasted this dish for the first time while on vacation in Bali — fell in love with it and determined that I would recreate it at home. It wasn’t too difficult to prepare — I think this dish is easy enough for anyone yearning for something different. I’ve made this dish several times since that trip. I like to serve it with telur kari (Indonesian curried eggs), steamed coconut rice and steamed green beans.

1 lb pork tenderloin, sliced down the middle lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 half small red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Laos powder (or 1/2 tsp minced fresh galangal)
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp sambal ulek
1 Tbsp canola oil
3 salam leaves
1 cup coconut milk
1 Tbsp tamarind juice

Combine the pork, onions, red bell pepper, garlic, cumin, coriander, Laos powder, salt and sambal ulek in a medium bowl. Let stand half an hour.

Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk and the salam leaves in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or other pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork mixture and saute until the pork is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and salam leaves to the pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat, uncovered, until the sauce is very thick, about 25 minutes. Stir in the tamarind juice, then serve.

Serves 4.

Telur Kari (Indonesian Curried Eggs)

imageDelicious — I made these eggs last night to serve as an accompaniment to babi lelawar (Balinese pork in a coconut sauce) and coconut steamed rice. They are so easy to make, and they taste nothing like grandma’s deviled eggs. Try this recipe.

2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp very finely minced lemongrass, or 1/2 tsp ground lemongrass powder
2 – 3 tsp sambal ulek
2 Salam leaves
1 kaffir lime leaf, shredded
1 1/2 cups lite coconut milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp kecap manis
6 hard-boiled, shelled eggs

Combine onions, garlic, curry powder and lemongrass in a small bowl, and set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or other pan. Add onion mixture and saute until onions are just translucent, about 3 minutes.

Add sambal ulek, salam leaves, kaffir lime leaf, coconut milk, salt and kecap manis to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil, add eggs, then simmer, uncovered, over low heat until the sauce has darkened and thickened, about 25 minutes. Serve as an accompaniment to an Indonesian meal.

Serves 6 as a side.

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian Fried Rice)

Nasi GorengNasi goreng literally translates to “fried rice.” It’s another common dish in Indonesia, and believe it or not, they like it so much, they eat it for breakfast there! This dish is easy to make, but plan ahead, as you must use leftover rice (or cooked rice that’s been refrigerated for 4 hours).

1 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
4 cups (give or take) steamed jasmine rice — use cold leftover rice, or rice that’s been in the fridge for a few hours
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 eggs, beaten in a small bowl
1 medium onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 leek (white part only), finely chopped
4 tsp sambal ulek
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Laos powder (or 1 1/2 tsp peeled, minced, fresh galangal)
1/2 lb shrimp (prawns), shelled and deveined
3 Tbsp kecap manis

Trim the chicken breast, and poach in turmeric water. To do this, combine the water, salt and turmeric in a small pan. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken breast (water should come up to half way on the chicken; must not be fully submerged). Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for 8 minutes. Flip breast over, then simmer, covered, for an additional 8 minutes. Remove from heat and dice (rather finely). Set aside.

Heat a small frying pan that has been coated with cooking spray on low heat. Cover and cook until Fried Eggthe eggs are set (like an omelette, but don’t flip or turn). Remove from pan and cut into small cubes.

Heat oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, leek and sambal ulek. Stir fry until the onions are soft, about 2 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin and Laos powder, and stir for another minute. Season with a bit of salt. Add the chicken and shrimp, and fry until the shrimp are no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add the rice, egg cubes and kecap manis. Turn the heat up to high, and stir fry for another 5 minutes, until all ingredients are well mixed. Serve hot.

Serves 4.

Opor Ayam (Indonesian Chicken Curry)

Opor AyamI love this recipe. It has all the Indonesian flavors I love (especially trassi and kecap manis — please see the glossary). Opor Ayam is a chicken stew that is common in Indonesia. It is rich and aromatic, and some would consider it a curry. It’s simple, and it’s a dish that I do on weeknights.


1.5 – 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp terasi
3 oz chicken stock
1 14oz can reduced fat coconut milk
1 tbsp gula jawa (or brown sugar — see glossary)
2 tbsp kecap manis
3 tsp sambal ulek
2 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly shredded

Spice Mixture

4 kemiri nuts
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Laos powder (see glossary)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper


Combine coconut milk, chicken stock, lime leaves, gula jawa, kecap manis and set aside.

Combine spices for spice mixture and set aside.

Combine the onions, garlic, sambal ulek and chicken and set aside.

Heat oil on medium-high in a heavy sauce pan or wok. Add the chicken mixture, and saute for 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.Cooking Opor Ayam

Add the spice mixture, cook for 2 minutes, then add the terasi and cook for another minute.

Add the broth mixture, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for another 45 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to about half (or a little more, as Indonesian sauces are fairly dry). Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.