These traditional Indonesian recipes are unique, easy to make, and so full of flavor!
When it comes to Indonesian dishes, there are a few ingredients that you might struggle to find.
But there’s almost always a substitution, and you shouldn’t let that get in the way of recreating these vibrant meals at home.
From a simple rice side to spicy noodles, these recipes are full of natural flavors from the freshest of ingredients.
If you like things hot, then you’ll love most of these spicy meals, though you can adjust the heat to your liking in almost all of them.
Keep this list close because once you try the first incredible Indonesian recipe, you’ll want to work your way through them all!
I don’t know about you, but I have such a weak spot for fried rice. It’s easy to make and is just what I need for a late-night snack.
The key to making the perfect fried rice is to start with cooked and cooled rice.
I actually use leftover rice that’s at least a day old. Using fresh rice will result in a sticky mess.
Don’t be afraid to add in any chopped veggies you have on hand, and you can quickly bulk this out with shrimp, chicken, or tofu.
If you’re making rice as a side, why settle for some bland bowl of filler food?
Rice should be just as flavorful as the main course, and you should give it just as much love. It doesn’t take a lot of effort.
Always start by rinsing your rice until the water runs clear, and cooking it in coconut milk is the easiest way to add flavor.
If you’re a fan of spicy foods, I highly recommend you try this recipe.
You can control the heat level, and it will save you a ton on buying those overly sweetened jar sauces.
It needs just seven ingredients, and if you use a food processor, it takes minutes to throw together.
It’s amazing what this sauce can do! On my trip to Thailand, I was thrilled to see peanut butter being used in so many dishes.
It’s a beautifully sweet and spicy mix that I fell in love with fast.
This dish is a plate full of veggies and extras – like fried tofu – which on its own might look a little sad. But once you add the sauce, you’ll reach for seconds.
If you’re skeptical about jackfruit, you’re not alone.
But whether you’re attempting meat-free Mondays or are looking for some new vegan-friendly dishes, this is the one to try.
Most of the ingredients are available in the supermarket or Asian grocery stores.
You might struggle to find candlenuts, which can be substituted with macadamia nuts or cashews. Galangal is also hard to come by, but you can use ginger instead.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the same old beef stew, then this one’s for you.
It also has a couple of ingredients that might be unfamiliar – the buah keluak, to name one.
This is very hard to find outside of Indonesia, and the closest alternative we have is the black truffle.
Serve the soup with rice and bean sprouts.
Unlike in the States, tofu is a pantry staple in Indonesia. Vegans can easily find places to eat and lots of tofu varieties in virtually every restaurant.
I’m always on the lookout for great ways to cook tofu, but frying it is still my favorite.
Tofu takes flavor super fast, and it’s best to start with firm so that it holds its shape.
If you think plain fried bananas are good, wait until you try these.
Covered in desiccated coconut, your banana slices will have extra flavor and an excellent added crunch.
I like to make these as a fast dessert and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
Typically made by street vendors, these fritters are sweet, crunchy, and straightforward to make.
The slaw-like combination of carrot, cabbage, and scallions is perfect. It gives you crunch, sweet, and onion notes in every bite.
To ensure the crispiest fritters, be sure to include rice flour in the batter, and keep it cold until ready to fry.
Mi Goreng noodles are a spicy version of the instant noodles you might see in the store.
The most significant difference is the spicy packet of flavoring that comes along with it.
Since it’s not so common over here, you can use this recipe to re-create the spicy sauce that comes with these instant noodles.
From there, you can add any veggies that you like.
Serve them with a fried egg and some pan-fried dumplings for a super-fast but tasty dish.
I’m not a huge lover of coconut milk in my coffee. I like my creamer too much!
But if you’re looking for a vegan alternative to milk or cream, coconut milk is excellent and inexpensive.
You can even heat it through with some cinnamon or vanilla for natural added flavor.
Traditionally made by wrapping jasmine rice in banana leaves and shaping it into logs, you’ll need a specific dish to recreate the rice cakes you may have seen while on vacation.
The good news is, you can make them in a glass baking dish and cut them into squares for the same great taste.
This method has you cook the rice in a rice cooker or Instant Pot before pressing the rice into the dish.
Many Indonesian recipes call for rice flour, and you’ve likely seen the white bag with red writing on the front.
However, to get the right texture, you will need to get glutinous rice flour, which looks the same, but with green writing on the bag.
This kind of rice flour is made from a slightly different grain and is used to give food a chewier texture.
Your dough will be sticky at first, but it will become smooth and elastic once you cook it.
This refreshing fruit cocktail uses pandan as a base flavor for the coconut milk.
You should be able to find the leaves in your local Asian grocery store, or you can buy the extract online.
Pandan has a grassy vanilla-like flavor similar to coconut and is used in lots of dishes, from sweet cakes to savory meals.
It’s hard to recreate, so sourcing the extract is a must.
If you can’t find jackfruit, feel free to substitute for diced mango.
Between the tamarind, lemongrass, and shrimp paste, this soup will knock your socks off.
It’s loaded with veggies and has plenty of heat, along with some sweet and tart notes from the tamarind.
You can find shrimp paste online, and it really makes all the difference.
In the same way you would cook risotto – softening onions and toasting the rice before adding the liquid – this rice needs some cooking before you can add in your stock.
Cooking the onion and chilies with the spices is a great way to enhance the flavors, ensuring your rice will absorb every last drop.
For a creamier version, replace some of the chicken stock with coconut milk.
As much as I love a thick and creamy vegetable soup, I have a weak spot for brothy soups with lots of flavors and textures.
This soup has all of that and then some. Between the delicious broth and the chicken and veggies, this will fill you up for the whole day.
It’s hard to describe how Indonesian curry is different. It’s rich, fragrant, and full of beautiful flavors that can be as spicy or mild as you prefer.
The ingredient list might seem a little long, but you probably have a lot of it already – ground coriander, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, garlic, and shallots, to name a few.
Once you see how easy it is to make the curry paste, you’ll never choose store-bought again.
Typically served to sick people, this simple little dish is an excellent alternative to chicken soup.
Filled with chicken and broth, there are no fancy cooking techniques involved. You can serve it right away or keep it in the fridge for later.
Just be sure to add some extra water when reheating as it thickens up as it sits.
I love my morning porridge with baked apples or a touch of honey, but this savory porridge has me very excited.
Between the sweet potatoes, pumpkin, corn, and spinach, there’s no doubt that this nutritious meal will fill you up until lunch.
The garnish of salt fish (or anchovies) was a little much for me first thing in the morning, but when I had some leftover for lunch, it was perfect!
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