- Beef Rendang, Nonya Style
- Originating in Malaysia and common in Indonesia and Singapore,
beef rendang is beef and onion sauteed in a rich spice paste of
ginger, garlic, chile, coriander and cumin; then
simmered in coconut milk with lemon grass and tamarind
water. In the 16th century, waves of Chinese laborers flooded Malaysia to
work in tin mines. The Malaysian women they married and their daughters
were called nonyas. The cooking they created combines Chinese methods and ingredients -- such as dried
mushrooms and fermented black beans -- with the local cuisine.
Nonya cooking is also distinguished by
its fiery heat and its emphasis on tart flavors, created through
using tamarinds, mangoes, and other sour fruits.
- Gado Gado
- A mixed vegetable and tofu salad with a spicy, sweet peanut
- Ikan Pangang
- This is a whole broiled fish with sauce and spicy marinades.
During its preparation, the cook uses a crushed stalk of lemon
grass as a brush to baste the fish with a mixture of coconut, chile,
ginger, and lime.
- Nasi Kuning
- While much of the cooking in Southeast
Asia assumes an unadorned steamed rice at the center of every
table, the Indonesians like to flavor their rice. This is a
festive, yellow savory cooked with onions, turmeric, cinnamon,
coriander, and cumin.
- Sambal is the general term for an endless variety of relishes,
many of which have chiles, either dried or fresh, at their bases.
Sambals can be cooked or raw, preserved or fresh, bought
commercially or homemade. They accompany almost every meal in
Indonesia and in Malaysia as well, with ingredients changing to
complement the main dishes. Depending on how it is made, a
sambal can be used as a sauce, garnish, or side dish. Sambal
ulek, made with a chile base and shrimp paste, sugar, and tomato,
is a standard variety. Other typical sambals include spicy fried
onions, bottled chutneys and pickles, toasted and spiced coconut,
shredded cold omelets, thick fruity sauces, or fresh salsa-like
- It is said that satay, grilled meat on a skewer, originated in
Indonesia. But, since satay is so widespread and so simple it
would be impossible to declare a point of origin with absolute certainty. What
is known is that satay is a favorite in Southeast Asian kitchens
the world over. There is no standard recipe. Strips of meat
are marinated then threaded onto wooden skewers and grilled over a fire.
Satay can be an appetizer, with a sauce for dipping, or it can
be an entire meal when served over rice. The meat can be marinated in a mixture of garlic, cumin, and soy sauce, or
in an elaborate combination of coconut milk, chiles, ginger, fish sauce,
palm sugar, sesame oil, shallots, lemon, and turmeric. Ground meat can also
be used. One Indonesian dish blends herbs and spices into ground
duck meat, then molds the mixture around lemon grass, which serves as the