For some people who’ve seen some foods i made, they must be know that most food i made are Western Foods. And Italian foods did dominate them. If you you wonder where i come from, well i was born from mix tribes in Indonesia; Sanger (North Sulawesi) and Batak (West Sumatra). And yes, that made me an Indonesian and my mother tongue is Bahasa.
So, now you might be wonder why did i never cook Indonesia Cuisine? Well, i did. When i was still in my Cooking School. They included Indonesian Foods in the second term along with Asian Foods. I cook some of Indonesian Traditional Foods such as, Ikan Garang Asam (Fish with Sour Coconut Milk Sauce, Rawon (Beef Black Soup), Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup), Soto Madura (Traditional Soup from Madura, East Java), etc.
Let’s not talking about Indonesian Foods such as Tumis Kangkung (sautee Kangkung), Tempe Goreng or Tumis Jagung Mini (Sautee Babycorn) or any foods with little ingredients and rookie techniques. I’m not trying to be a snob, those kind of foods are delicious too, but please, i can make Bouillabaisse and you want me to cook a Sautee Babycorn? You know what i mean? So, no offense, please.
As you know, Indonesia is a big country. We have thousands of island. Hundreds of tribe. And the tribes talk different local language and dialect. Trust me, i couldn’t be more proud as an Indonesian. I do loves Indonesian Cuisines. My father’s tribe has so many traditional foods such as Saksang, Babi Panggang (Grilled Pork), Lappet, Ombus-Ombus (Just google it) and so does my mother’s tribe. I’ve been ate so many foods from both tribes since i was a kid and i can not mention which one i love the most because for me every food has different taste. Believe me, if you want to know the taste, just try to eat them. (I believe CNN has the list 40 of Indonesia’s Best Dishes.
If you ask me ‘what is the most common ingredients in Indonesia Foods?’, my answer is Spices. Yes, we Indonesian loves spices. And i think the world knows that Indonesia is one of the biggest country which has Spices as our trade commodity. Portuguese, Spanish, Netherland, England and Japan came to Indonesia from 16th century because they knew that Indonesia has high quality spices. Even Java Script name came from Javanese Coffee which the creator loved to drink (i kinda heard about that, please CMIIW)
You still wonder why i do not cook Indonesia Foods since i graduated from cooking school? Well, my reasons are (two reasons), first, I do want and can cook Indonesia Foods. I just decide not to do it for now (or not plan to for the next couple of months). And if you still ask why, this is the second answer: Indonesia Foods has complicated seasonings and ingredients. Alright, some Indonesian people might ‘boooo’ me, but please let me enlighten you my reason.
Basically, Indonesian Foods has 2 basic seasonings. No, we’re not talking about salt and pepper seasoning. I’m talking about 2 or more spices combines together to get the right color of the foods. The first seasoning is Bumbu Merah (Red Seasoning). Red Seasoning comes from Shallot, Garlic and Red Chilli (sometimes you may add tomato to make it more red and squishy). With this basic seasoning you can make any kind of Balado (spicy) foods such as Kentang Balado (Spicy Potato), etc. Well, if Italian has tomato sauce as their basic sauce, Indonesian has Red Seasoning as our basic seasoning.
The second seasoning is Bumbu Putih (White Seasoning). This seasoning you can get from mixing shallot, garlic, sautéed candlenut and coriander (you may add galangal as the additional). With this seasoning you can cook Opor (protein cook in coconut milk), Lodeh (Mix vegetables soup from coconut soup) or any kind of food with white sauce). And yes, this is the kind of White Sauce in Western Food.
The third seasoning is Bumbu Kuning (Yellow Seasoning). You can get this seasoning from mixing shallot, garlic, sauteed candlenut, coriander and burnt turmeric. With this seasoning you can cook Soto, Pepes, Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken) or any yellowish foods. I don’t think western foods has this kind of sauce.
With these 3 seasonings, i believe you can make any kind of Indonesian Foods. Mixing two or three seasonings at a times also produces other kind of foods. Well, don’t forget to add salt and pepper of course.
You’re supposed to get you answer now. Indonesian Foods is a little bit complicated for me. We just talked about the 3 basic seasonings, we do not talking about the techniques yet.
All you need to know about Indonesian Cuisines is we as Indonesian loves Sambal (spicy paste). Even the sweetest food from Indonesia, Gudeg, still has sambal as the condiment. Yes, sambal is condiment but it can turned out to be the main star if you know which sambal to be served with. You can google all kind of Sambal Indonesia has. Please just don’t be surprised with the result. I repeat, we Indonesian loves sambal!
Talking about sambal, wherever i traveled, i always brought sambal in my luggage. If not sambal, then i would bring something spicy to eat when i was traveled. I remember i brought Sambal Bu Rudi (Well Known Sambal from Surabaya) when i was in Jerusalem, I brought Rendang when i traveled to HongKong and i brought Teri Kacang Balado (Spicy Anchovy with nut) to Japan. Its not like i don’t want to try the local foods, its just how i make myself felt like home even when i was away from home. And yes, of course i shared it with my travel buddies. Haha…
Well, now you know my reason not to cook Indonesian Foods for now. I do love Indonesian Foods, i do love my mother’s cook. I promise i will cook Indonesian Foods in the future, maybe for my future husband? We’ll see, as much as we both love western foods (especially Italian), we love Indonesian Foods more. So, I love Indonesia, I Love My Country.