What is your favorite Indonesian food?
Indonesia is well-known for its various foods. From Sabang to Merauke, from Miangas to Rote Island, each area has its own traditional cuisine. For the tenth challenge of English Friday, I had to choose my favorite Indonesian foods. It is hard for me to choose only one food because it would not be fair for the others.
So, what are they?
Born and raised in West Sumatera, I got accustomed to Minangese cuisine which have certain criteria in general: rich in herbs and spices, contains chilies, and cooked in coconut milk. As Minangkabau people live in darek (the land) and pasisia (the coast), there are general differences in what they cook and eat, too. The first difference is main ingredients that they use to cook. The land people usually eat beef, chicken, and sometimes, buffalo meat. They do not often consume fishes, except those which are obtained from fresh water, such as lakes or pools. Yet, for the people who live near to coastal line of West Sumatera, fishes are the main ingredients of their foods. They usually are not fond of fishes from the pool because of their earthy taste. As far as I can remember, the other difference is culinaries from pasisia is not as rich in spices (such as cloves,coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, cumin, etc.) as those from darek.
Thus, here are my favorite foods which represent those two kind of Minangese traditional dishes : gulai lauak karang and katupek pical kapau.
- Gulai lauak karang (Reef fish curry)
This dish uses lauak karang (fishes which live near the reef, such as snapper and grouper fishes) as its main ingredient. The fish then cooked in the mixture of various seasoning (shallots, garlic, ginger, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass , bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves) and coconut milk. People add chili padi and dried garcinia fruits to give spicy and sour taste.
2. Katupek pical kapau
Here, in Eastern part of Agam and Bukittinggi, it’s so easy to find katupek pical kapau. Kapau is actually a region in Agam regency, which is famous for its traditional cuisines. Basically, this dish is consisted of rhombus-shaped rice cake (katupek/ketupat), vegetables curry (contains unripe jackfruit, bamboo sprout, and taro stem), and pical. Pical is the mixture of shredded cabbage, yellow noodles, and peanut sauce. The dish is topped with red crackers from tapioca starch, which turned pink after fried. To make it more complete and tastier, whole boiled eggs in curry and spicy cassava chips are also available to be added into the katupek pical.
I am sorry for not providing photograph of this food because I do not have it by my own. I am still waiting for the permission from the owner of the photograph. If you wish to know how does it look like, just click here.
Indonesian cuisine in general
My favorite Indonesian cuisine is nasi goreng (fried rice). Nasi goreng is not only can be found in Indonesia, yet this dish is very well-known as one of the most delicious Indonesian food based on CNN International polling. What makes this dish special is that it can be modified and suited with our taste. Just add any leftover dish to enrich your nasi goreng and you have succeeded in creating your own style nasi goreng.
I also have my own style in making nasi goreng. Usually, it contained garlic, egg, leek, pepper, salt, grounded chilies, oyster sauce, soy sauce (both sweet and salty), celery, and sometimes anchovies. Yet, this morning, I made a different type of nasi goreng, which is richer in aroma and taste. The ingredients were similar, but without oyster sauce, egg, and anchovies. I added shallots, bay leaf, and turmeric leaf to enrich the aroma. My mom and dad usually add a tomato into the dish, but I did not use any because it makes the nasi goreng slightly wet.
As for the topping, I added a slice of omelet, two slices of tomato, shredded cabbage, chopped celery, and a shrimp cracker. Hmm, yummy!
So, what are your favorite Indonesian food? Please let me know.