Indonesian food is known for the use of a variety of fresh local ingredients, fragrant spices and most importantly rice. Indonesia is primarily a rice-growing nation with long white grain a staple there.
Chef Nyoman Sudiarta from Grand Hyatt, Bali, is in the city to present his best creations and shares with our readers his secrets to great Indonesian cuisine.
“Local ingredients include turmeric, ginger, galangal, which is a different type of ginger, candlenut and kencur, which are aromatic ginger leaves. Some of these items are found only in Indonesia. We use these to make a paste that is the base for most dishes. The paste is made by using a stone to grind everything slowly,” explains Chef Sudiarta.
Gado Gado is popular Indonesia salad. It comprises of thinly sliced vegetables, fried tofu, boiled eggs and prawn crackers diced in peanut sauce. The vegetables include cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, beans and boiled potatoes. They need to be slightly blanched so that they remain crunchy and fresh. The peanut sauce can be made using chunky peanut butter mixed with garlic, salt and a bit of soy sauce. The vegetables have to be lightly tossed in the peanut dressing.
A satay is generally having pieces of fish, chicken, lamb, tofu and vegetables on a stick. The satay stick is marinated in salt, pepper and garnished with other spices and grilled till cooked. The main accompaniment here is peanut sauce and soy sauce. In Indonesia, the meat is cooked on a bamboo stick or on a lemongrass stick. According to Chef Sudiarta, skewering on a lemongrass stick adds to the flavour.
The curry is made from a paste which includes kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, chilli, kencur and shrimp. Vegetarians can leave out the shrimp from the paste and include boiled vegetables instead of chicken or lamb while the paste simmers in water. Coconut milk is later added to the curry to give it more thickness. This is accompanied well with steamed jasmine rice.
‘Nasi’ means rice in Indonesian. This dish is the perfect quick fix meal that contains mostly rice, eggs, crackers and vegetable salad on the side. The base paste that gives the rice its flavour is made from red chilli, garlic, candlenut, tomato and shrimp. The rice can either be steamed in this or stir-fried. The rice can be sprinkled with fried onions and peanuts for a garnish.
Bubur Injin is an Indonesian dessert, a pudding made from from black rice and coconut milk. Chef Sudiarta adds that he mixes two different varieties of rice – black and white. The taste of the black rice can be overpowering and even bitter. It is also very sticky since it is glutinous. White rice helps to balance out the taste. It is cooked like a porridge in palm sugar with a pinch of salt added. Once ready, a dash of coconut milk is splashed on it with a pandan leaf on the side.
#Chef Sudiarta is now serving his signature specials at the Indonesian Food Festival, Baan Tao at Hyatt, Pune on till December 5.
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