Indonesian cuisine is one of the most vibrant and colourful cuisines in the world, full of intense flavour. It is diverse, in part because Indonesia is composed of approximately 6,000 populated islands of the total 18,000 in the world's largest archipelago, with more than 300 ethnic groups calling Indonesia their home. Many regional cuisines exist, often based upon indigenous culture and foreign influences. Indonesia has around 5,350 traditional recipes, with 30 of them considered the most important. Indonesian cuisine varies greatly by region and has many different influences. (Wikipedia)
Here are the most important spices, herbs and roots used in Indonesian cooking.
- Candlenuts (Kemiri)
- Chilies... come in many varieties. The Dorset Naga (our local chilli) is one of the hottest in the world!
- Cinnamon (Kayu Manis)
- Cloves (Cengkeh)
- Coriander (Ketumbar)
- Cumin (Jintan)
- Galangal (Langkuas)
- Ginger (Jahe / Kencur)...make into a healthy drink with turmeric (see Yayu's Simply Indonesian vol 1)
- Kaffir Lime Leaves (Daun Jeruk Purut)... buy from Asian supermarkets
- Lemongrass (Sereh)... remember to remove from a dish before serving!
- Nutmeg (Pala)
- Pandan Leaves (Daun Panda)... buy from Asian supermarkets. Can be used to make a natural green food colouring.
- Pepper (Merica)... avoid adding to a dish that already has chilli
- Salam Leaves (Daun Salam)... buy from Asian supermarkets
- Shallots... fried and used as a garnish!
- Tamarind (Asam)
- Turmeric (Kunyit)... make into a healthy drink with ginger (see Yayu's Simply Indonesian vol 1)