This is my first post of Indonesian Kitchen Diary. This blog is about Indonesian homey cooking, featuring simple and easy Indonesian recipe and also some authentic more complicated dish. My name is Evi Song. I don’t have authentic Indonesian look since my father was Korean and my mother is Indonesian, but I am Indonesian at heart. I speak the language and LOVE the foods. I grew up in West Java region and it shows in what I cook daily: simple, not using too much coconut milk as they do in Sumatra, not as sweet as they do in Central Java, just a little bit everything in between.
As you might already know, rice is the main staple food in most region of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia. In my family (and I think most Indonesian families) usually cooks rice with various side dishes. For me, I like combination of rice, a vegetable dish, and protein dish. I know other family that can cook three, four, or five side dish per day. Too much work for me. I think two is enough (cheaper, simpler, less dirty dishes too). Sometimes, even one is enough when I cook something like soto (Indonesian soup with chicken or beef, vermicelli, potato, tomato, etc).
What can I say, I like simple things..
We have quite a lot of vegetables choices, kangkoong (or water spinach), spinach, eggplant, sweet corn, baby corn, etc, etc. And ooohh, potato count as vegetable here, since we eat it as side dish for rice. Weird? Not here in Indonesia. Potato is more expensive than rice. Plus, if I give my husband potato as the carbohydrate source, he’ll be asking for rice and complains that potato can’t make him full. Hehehe…
I HAVE to eat vegetables everyday. Otherwise, it’s just not right. If I am not eating vegetable just say for two or three days, my skin become more flawed, a bit rough, and look tired. Not to mention, it just torture when I go to the bathroom.. Fibers is important, guys! Also you get vitamins and minerals form veggies. I have younger sister and brother whose face are riddled with pimples, after they came live with my husband and I, and started to eat more vegetables daily, their face became cleaner. True story.. And now, my sister lives on her own in near her university and abandon the discipline to eat vegetables everyday and the pimples appear once again.
For protein, we have tempeh, tofu (mostly firm tofu), chicken, egg, beef, lamb, duck, fish, and various seafood. Pork can be found in parts of Indonesia that are populated mostly by non-moslem, like Bali. My family don’t eat pork, so I will not featuring pork recipe here. I cook Halal food. Yaay!
So, in this post I make chicken with kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) and, for the veggies, spinach and sweet corn soup.
Sweet soy sauce or kecap manis is a thick black sauce from fermented black soybean, palm sugar, salt, and water. It is a common sauce for Indonesian cooking. It is easily found in Indonesia or in Asian markets. It taste sweet and little bit salty. There are a lot Indonesian dish using kecap manis. When I don’t have time or will to cook, I usually make sunny side up egg, on top or rice, and drizzle it with kecap manis. That is like my super lazy dish. Waaait, that is still above cooking instant noodle. Talking about instant noodle, my brother like to eat instant noodle with kecap manis. I think that’s totally barbaric and ruin the taste of instant noodle. But he likes it. Anyway, kecap manis is something that I always have in my kitchen.
Chicken with kecap manis starts with boiling your chicken till half cooked. In a wok or big pan, or whatever you have, add a drizzle of oil, followed by saute shallot and garlic till the smells comes out, then you put some ginger, bay leaves, worchestershire sauce, tomato sauce, chilli sauce, and of course, kecap manis. Add water bring to boil, and put in the chicken. Cook until the water reduced, the chicken cooked and sauce thickens…
It’ll look darker as it cooks and when the color are dark brown, it’s indicates that all the kecap manis flavor is absorbed in the meat. Yum! And the thickens sauce meets with warm rice: double yum!
Spinach and sweet corn soup is simple to cook. It is provides you with all the goodness from veggies but has that simple taste to it so the chicken with kecap manis still be the star. The tastes from both side dishes will not collapse and become confusing.
You start with boiling water with bay leaves, small slice of galangal, and a stick of lemongrass. It’s really enhance the flavor and aroma, but if you can’t find some of those you can skip it. I have friends that don’t use those in their spinach soup recipe. And then add minced garlic, sweet corn (still in cob and cut or off the cob, doesn’t matter, whatever you like). Cooks until the sweet corn is done, and add the spinach and tomato. Sweet corn gives the dish some sweetness and the tomato add some acidity. Cook for three to five minutes, add salt, a bit of sugar, and dash of pepper. To make it perfect, slices some shallot, fried it until light brown, and put it on top the soup.
Serve both with rice, and you have homey Indonesian dish.
- one whole chicken or your favorite chicken cuts (around 1 to 1.5 kg)
- some water (for boiling the chicken and also for sauce)
- cooking oil
- 6 cloves of shallots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
- 10 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
- 1 tbsp chili sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato sauce
- some ginger (2 to 3 cm)
- 1/4 tbsp pepper
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- salt to taste
- lemon or lime juice
- Marinate the chicken with lemon or lime juice and some salt for 15 - 20 minutes. Wash the chicken.
- Bring water to boil and add the chicken. Cook until the meat is half-cooked. Strain the chicken.
- In a pan, drizzle cooking oil, heat it up and saute the shallots and garlic for a minute. Add the Worcester sauce, kecap manis, chili sauce, tomato sauce, and ginger. Stir well.
- Add water (around 300 ml) in the pan, stir the sauce, and wait till it boil.
- Add the half-cooked chicken and add the sugar, salt and pepper. Stir it.
- Cook until the sauce is thicken and chicken is thoroughly cooked. Chicken with kecap manis is ready to serve.
part 1 | part 2 >>