• Sumatran egg curry (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
Your dining room table might feel a little different than the roadside stalls of Jakarta, but you don’t need to miss out on the flavours of a nasi padang or sate lilit.
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17 Feb 2021 - 10:52 AM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2021 - 10:57 AM

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With some 6,000 islands in Indonesia’s archipelago, there are many regional specialities, but wherever you are in Indonesia, most meals, including breakfast, are based around rice. Literally meaning "fried rice", nasi goreng is considered the national dish of Indonesia and can be found everywhere from street hawkers carts to dinner parties or restaurants.

Here are a handful of Indonesian specialities to enjoy at home.

Corn fritters (Perkedel jagung)

Corn fritters (perkedel jagung)

These Indonesian corn fritters can be found at the roadside Padang stalls. A version with cubed potato instead of corn kernels is also popular, but the sweet, soft corn kernels coated in a crisp spiced batter make a great case for being the first choice.

Gado gado

Gado gado

This classic Indonesian salad brims with treasures: boiled egg, fried tofu, potatoes, carrot, lettuce and cucumber topped with fried prawn crackers and a signature thick peanut-coconut dressing. It’s a salad, but not as you know it.

Balinese grilled chicken and coconut sambal

Balinese grilled chicken (ayam bakar)

It’s hard to beat a char-grilled bird, especially one covered in a fragrant marinade of turmeric, garlic, kecap manis and more. Serve it up with refreshing coconut sambal, fragranced with makrut lime.

Chicken noodle soup (soto ayam)

You haven’t known a truly amazing chicken noodle soup until you’ve had soto ayam. Rich and fragrant, this Indonesian chicken soup is a much-loved classic. It's a recipe that brings people together. Place the broth in the middle of the table surrounded by condiments like lime, beansprouts, sambal and fried shallots and let your guests serve their soup to suit their own tastes.

Sumatran egg curry

Sumatran egg curry with green sambal

Chili, curry and rice are essentials of a nasi Padang meal. Serve this egg coconut and turmeric-based egg curry on its own or as part of a larger, curry-centric spread of dishes, with plenty of rice for mopping up all the flavoursome sauce.

Pork satay (Sate Babi)

Pork satay (sate babi)

When barbecue weather strikes, you'll want to have these juicy skewers in your repertoire. Minced pork is blended with a fragrant marinade, then shaped and grilled and served with a peanut-coconut milk sauce. It’s a simple way to make your grilled meat offering a little more interesting.

Vegetarian nasi goreng with marinated paneer

Sweet, salty, fragrant and spicy, a bowl of nasi goreng with its signature wok scent and addition of kecap manis is a shortcut to memories of holidaying in Bali. Sarah Todd tops her dish with a papadum for crunch and pieces of sweet-savoury grilled paneer, but you could sub in any protein you like.

Thousand-layer cake (lapis legit)

This iconic layer cake can be found in almost every supermarket, sweet shop or gift store across the country. It’s known for its signature layers which are made one by one, by cooking each layer before adding the next. The recipe takes a little effort as you have to be there to execute each step, but it’s really no harder than making a batch of pancakes or crepes.

Bubur Sumsum (Coconut rice porridge)

Coconut rice pudding (bubur sumsum)

Soft and sweet, this Indonesian coconut milk-based dessert is infused with the slightly floral and grassy aroma of pandan. Coconut, rice and pandan mark the beginnings of many desserts throughout Asia and just like the many this one is best enjoyed warm.

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