Cookbook writer Lara Lee on Indonesian delicacies

Where did the book’s name come from?

I wanted to mention this book after two very important Indonesian things. Sambal is a pepper sauce that is used as a spice, spice, marinade and potato sauce. Each cook has his or her own unique ingredients, and there are hundreds of different types of cookies in the area. No amount of coconut is damaged in Indonesian families, from milk to oil and sugar made from coconut juice. Even the shells are transformed into vessels and plates.

What are some of the essential ingredients of Indonesian food?

Chilli, garlic and shallot form the basis of many Indonesian fruits. From here, other additives are included, such as dyed turmeric; ginger or galangal to give off a hot pepper or citrussy; lemon kaffir or fragrant lemon. Coconut milk is added to make it fragrant, oily and fragrant, while tamarind and lime give it a bitter taste, and palm sugar gives it a delicious taste. Many Indonesian foods are served with kecap manis [sweetened soy sauce] Deep, sweet and savory foods, as well as teas [fermented shrimp paste] often adding a little to give umami. Foods are always prepared at the end to achieve salt, bitterness, heat and taste.

What is the best place for a beginner to start cooking in Indonesia?

Gado-gado – literally translated ‘mix-mix’ – is a salad of mixed vegetables, tofu and egg wrapped in warm peanut sauce. Peanut butter is made from very shiny peanuts (I break mine until it is golden, but you can burn it or use peanut butter instead), which is mixed with roasted peppers and garlic, topped with tamarind porridge and kecap manis. The result is a delicious, sweet sauce. It’s easy to make but not addictive, and it’s one of my favorite recipes in this book.

Lara Lee is the author of Coconut & Sambal (£ 26, Bloomsbury).

Published in Article 9 (summer 2020) of National Geographic Traveler Food

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