Tag Archives: Kecap Manis

Fragrant Indonesian Beef, Braised in Coconut Milk (Rendang Daging Sapi)

Beef_Rendang1Yesterday (Sunday) was so relaxing and leisurely. I was in the mood to make something a bit more involved and delicious, so I decided to make one of my favorite Indonesian dishes, Beef Rendang, or Rendang Daging Sapi. I know, the ingredients list is a mile long, and the process takes all afternoon (did I mention “leisurely”). But this dish is worth the effort, and your family will be drawn in by the fragrant, intoxicating and spicy Indonesian smells coming from the kitchen! Definitely a Sunday recipe. I hope you’ll try this dish when you have the time!

1 whole nutmeg, cracked into coarse pieces with a meat pounder
5 whole cloves
6 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
6 large red Thai bird chilies, stemmed and finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp Laos powder
2 inches ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced cross-wise
5 candlenuts
2 1/2 lbs beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 14-oz cans coconut milk (not “lite”)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp salt
3 stalks lemongrass, each with 1/2 inch removed from each end, outer leaves remove, lightly pounded and tied into a knot
1 4-inch cinnamon stick
7 whole kaffir lime leaves
1 Tbsp kecap manis

Make a past be first processing the nutmeg and cloves into a powder in a food processor. Add the shallots, garlic, chilies, turmeric, Laos powder, ginger and candlenuts. process until you have a smooth paste.

In a large bowl, combine the beef and spice paste.

In a large Dutch oven, combine the beef mixture, coconut milk, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low, add the lemongrass knots, cinnamon stick and kaffir lime leaves. Stir gently until ingredients are combined. Simmer gently, uncovered, until just about all the liquid is evaporated, the oil from the meat and coconut milk is visible and the meat is very dark and tender. This process can take up to 3 hours, so you’ll need to be sure to stir about every half hour (mine goes the full 3 hours). Remove from heat, stir in the kecap manis and season with additional salt if desired. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and your favorite Indonesian sambals.

Serves 4 — 6.

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Grilled Indonesian Pork Satay with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

Indonesian_Pork_Satay (1 of 1)I’m about to get a brand-new pellet grill — can’t wait to show you how it does! In the mean time, I fired up the Weber grill and made these fantastic satays. This variety comes from the island of Bali (I believe it’s the cinnamon and nutmeg that make them Balinese). I love the combination of spices in these – wonderful with the peanut dipping sauce! This dish is a bit involved, but very well worth the effort. I hope you’ll give this one a try this weekend!

1 tsp + 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp sambal ulek, divided
1/2 tsp + 2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp Laos powder
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, lower six inches finely chopped
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 green cardamom pods
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 Tbsp tamarind water or lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 lb lean ground pork

1 small onion
3 Tbsp peanutbutter
4 tsp kecap manis
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 stalk lemongrass, crushed
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 cup coconut milk

Soak about 18 bamboo skewers in water.

Combine 1 tsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp sambal ulek, 1/2 tsp brown sugar and the next 13 ingredients (shallots through ground pork) in a food processor. Process well until you have a smooth paste. In a large bowl combine paste and ground pork. Use hand to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare peanut sauce by heating 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in1 tsp sambal ulek, 2 Tbsp brown sugar and the next 6 ingredients (through lemon juice). Slowly heat, gradually adding the coconut milk, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Get grill going.

Mold about 2 Tbsp of the pork mixture onto each skewer (as in the picture above). Place satays on grill and cook, turning occasionally until done, about 7 minutes. Serve satays with the peanut sauce and steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Malaysian Braised Beef Sirloin (Semur)

Semur1 (1 of 1)This dish is a Malaysian spin on an Indonesian recipe from Dutch colonial times. The cooking technique is a different style of braising, where you cook a relatively tender cut of beef (such as sirloin) for not a very long period of time — the beef turns out wonderfully, and to me, the cloves, lime juice and fennel seeds are what make the delicious sauce! I hope you’ll give this dish a try!

2 beef sirloin steaks (about 1 1/4 lbs total), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 Tbsp kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground fennel
3 candlenuts (or macademia nuts)
2 tsp black pepper corns
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
2 1/2 cups water
5 whole cloves
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 green onion, finely sliced

In a medium glass bowl, whisk together the kecap manis and lime juice. Add the sliced beef and mix well. Set aside and let stand for half an hour.

Combine the ground coriander, cumin, fennel, candlenuts and black peppercorns. Grind to a Semur2 (1 of 1)paste with a mortar and pestle or small food processor, adding a couple teaspoons of water.

Heat oil in a wok or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the spice paste to the pan and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the beef with its marinade, the tamarind, water, cloves, salt and sugar. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 40 minutes. Remove lid and continue to simmer for a few more minutes, reducing the sauce until thick. Garnish with the green onion and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Garlic Chicken Simmered with Pearl Onions in a Tamarind Broth (Ayam Bawang)

Ayam_Bawang1 (1 of 1)This Indonesian chicken dish is quite different from many of my others, in that its flavors are much more subtle, and the sauce, which is typically very thick, is much more of a broth. For this, I really enjoy this recipe for a change. The tamarind broth is simple and delicious! I hope you’ll try this dish!

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large), cut into bite-size pieces
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp canola oil
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp Laos powder
1 red Thai chili, chopped
2 Tbsp tamarind water
1 Tbsp kecap manis
1 cup water
10 pearl onions, peeled

Combine chicken with salt and black pepper in a bowl.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add chicken and cook for 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and Laos powder, and stir fry for an additional minute. Add chili, tamarind water, kecap manis, water and the pearl onions. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Serve with steamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

Chicken Simmered in a Sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce (Ayam Kecap)

Ayam_Kecap2 (1 of 1)Here’s anther Indonesian chicken dish for you to try tonight. There’s no heat in the dish, but I encourage you to serve it with a spicy Indonesian sambal on the side (here I served it with sambal petai, which I purchased at a local Asian food market). What make this dish stand out are the kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce) and the nutmeg. I think this dish is so interesting — I hope you’ll try it!

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tbsp kecap manis
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 cup water

Rub chicken pieces with the salt.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven (with tight-fitting lid) over high heat. Add the chicken pieces and brown evenly for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add the onions and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.

Add the nutmeg, kecap manis and tamarind concentrate to the chicken mixture;  stir well, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 20 minutes, until almost dry (but not burnt!).

Add the water. Increase heat to high, stirring while bringing mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently for another 20 minutes. Remove lid. Increase heat to high. Cook an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly for an additions 3 minutes, until the sauce has thickened substantially. Serve over steamed coconut jasmine rice, with an Indonesian sambal (sauce) on the side.

Serves 4.

Indonesian Shrimp Curry (Udang Kari)

Indonesian_Shrimp_Curry1 (1 of 1)I’m very fond of just about any dish that has lemongrass in it. The original recipe called for ground lemongrass, but I prefer the brightness of fresh lemongrass for this recipe. This Indonesian curry can be served as a main dish with steamed rice, or as one dish of a few for an Indonesian-style meal. This is an easy dish for a mid-week dinner, and it’s good so I hope you’ll try it!

1 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 garlic coves, peeled and finely grated or minced
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and the lower 6 inches very finely minced
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp sambal ulek
1/2 tsp terasi
1 tsp salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 lb peeled shrimp (uncooked, frozen or fresh)
1 Tbsp kecap manis
Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, lemongrass, turmeric, cumin and sambal ulek. Saute gently for 3 minutes.

Add the terasi, salt and coconut milk to the onion mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add shrimp and simmer for 20 minutes, or until sauce is quite thick. Stir in kecap manis and serve with seamed jasmine rice.

Serves 4.

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.