For most Indonesia equals to Bali, Jakarta or Java but the country is bigger and much more than you can imagine. It is one of the countries with most number of islands. And what does that mean? There are different cuisines across different islands (BTW it is world’s largest island country with more than 17,000 islands). Isn’t that exciting! The Indonesian cuisine is deep as any other Asian cuisine with multiple layers of flavor which just an article on my experience wouldn’t suffice. So I decided to meet and know more about it from one of the well known Indonesian chefs in the country – Maureen Tan who is also the owner of Anak Bungsu Amsterdam and soon to be a cook-book author.
Maureen was born and raised in the Netherlands and is a 1st generation Indo-Dutch but shared strong Indonesian culture while growing up from her parents who both loved cooking. Both her parents migrated to the Netherlands several decades back but tried holding on to the roots even here. They came from different islands of Indonesia owing to which Maureen’s understanding of the cuisine is immense.
Through Anak Bungsu Amsterdam she tries to spread her love of Indonesian food through private, group cooking workshops and private dining offerings in and around Amsterdam.
I was welcomed with an amazing caffeine free herbal tea full of flavor called Bandrek Lada Hitam. It was a fairly windy day and that tea hit the right spot.
And I stole the recipe of this great spiced, herbal, non caffeine tea from Maureen.
To make this amazing and easy tea you need to boil 1.5 liters of water in a pan and crush the lemongrass and break into those pieces. If necessary, tie in with some kitchen rope. Followed by some sliced ginger and crushed cardamom. Bring all of this to a good boil over low heat. Let it soak in the liquid for 2 hours for better taste. Serve it warm with a slice of lime or lemon.
This is technically like an Indian Kadha but a much easier and a tastier version of it for sure.
Guess what, I didn’t stop at that. I literally raided her kitchen to know the spices commonly used in an Indonesian kitchen. The concept of chilli, pepper, turmeric, cumin might be same but the type of pepper or chilli differs.
I had another really dope drink made by Maureen called the Jamu and I loved it. It has that tangy tamarind flavor but not too strong too and I had it with water, but I think a cocktail or a mocktail is possible too, isn’t it?
Okay ladies, Maureen tells me this is an authentically great drink for women – it is good for your skin and helps well with abdominal pain or cramping. So here goes the secret of her great skin out for everyone. Also men can enjoy this drink as it is tasty and relaxing after a long day of work. BTW I have got your back ladies and will share a quick recipe for it too.
How to make Kunyit Asam Jamu, you can thank me and Maureen later 🙂
- 1.5 litres of water.
- 4x Pandan leaves, lightly crushed.
- 10xKaffir lime leaves, lightly crushed.
- 30 grams of fresh turmeric, sliced. Kunyit
- 75 grams of fresh tamarind pasta. Asam
- 250 gram Gula Djawa.
- 40 gram cane sugar (optional) If it is sweet enough you can omit it.
- 4 grams of salt.
- 5 grams black peppercorns, lightly crushed.
- 5 grams of coconut oil.
- Pour water into a large pan and add all the ingredients.
- Slowly bring to a boil on soft fire but do not drink.
- Allow to cook for 2 hours on a soft fire.
- Strain the spices out, and press with a spoon all the juice out of the spices. Pour over into a clean with hot water washed glass bottle.
- Drink immediately warm or chilled from the fridge with extra ice cubes.
- In a clean bottle you can store the Jamu in the fridge for a week.
Now coming to the main dish of the day that I learnt from Maureen and she says it is one of her special dishes on a week day lunch or even when she makes a whole meal for family and friends. It is vegetarian, full of protein, flavor and needs some of your upper body strength. So if you are ready to grind it out and okay to give the gym a miss today, this is your dish. It is called the famous Indonesian Gado Gado.
This was just the start of a beautiful foodie friendship and since then we have been inspiring each other in the food world. I am so happy to be helping Maureen currently with her upcoming cook book on Indonesian food where she cooks 200 authentic recipes from all the islands of Indonesia. Can’t wait to see the book at all leading book stalls.
Thanks Maureen, for letting me have a sneak peak into your kitchen.
This brings an end to my Indonesian exploration. Ohh my, I need to soon fix myself some good food soon, all this typing about it has made me hungry again.
Till we meet each other soon! Have a great day ahead folks!
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For tasting her food or booking a private cooking session, contact her through any of her channels.