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Indonesian food is a delicious assortment of dishes from different regions of the country. The cuisine, which introduced spices to the world from its Spice Island (Malaku), enjoys a very rich culinary heritage and is strongly influenced by a number of Asian, Middle Eastern and European cuisines owing to the colonial immigrants from these countries. Popular Indonesian recipes include those for sate, godo-godo, nasi goreng, beef rending, satay, sambal, soto, bakso, bakmi and lumpia.


The history of Indonesian food dates back to 2300 BC when rice was introduced to the Indonesian cuisine. Simple dishes were made from fruits, fish, yams, coconut and bananas. The Chinese influence on the cuisine started earlier than that with the introduction of noodles, mustard, soy beans and cabbage. The Chinese also introduced the stir-frying method of cooking food to the cuisine. The Indian influence on the cuisine began as early as 200 AD with the introduction of the curry and different ingredients like vegetables, and spices. In the early 15th century, meat dishes made of goat and lamb, and yogurt sauces were introduced by the Muslim cuisine. The Europeans were the last to influence Indonesian recipes. They brought with them a number of vegetables and fruits. The, chili pepper, is a noteworthy inclusion to the cuisine by the Spanish.

Popular Recipes

  • Beef Rendang – this is a spicy beef dish made by slow cooking the meat in coconut milk along with coconut paste and spices including galangal, turmeric leaf and lemon grass. The dish is cooked till all the milk evaporates. The dish is ultimately fried.
  • Nasi goreng- this is a very popular Indonesian food made of rice. This dish which is acclaimed throughout the country as the national dish is essentially fried-rice flavored with tamarind and chili. Eggs and prawns are included in the dish to make it more delicious and filling.
  • Satay- This is one of the most widely known foods of the Indonesian cuisine. The dish is essentially made with cubed meat which is marinated, skewered and grilled. The vegetarian recipe for this dish recommends the usage of tofu (popularly known as bean curd). Chicken, goat meat, mutton, pork, fish or beef are used for making this dish which is best savored with sauces.
  • Sambal- The recipe for this is one of the most versatile and spiciest of Indonesian recipes for condiments. It is made using different kinds of chili peppers. Cane pepper, lombok, adyuma, Madame Jeanette are some of the varieties of chili peppers commonly used to make this condiment.
  • Gado-gado – This Indonesian food has gained popularity outside the cuisine as well. It is essentially vegetable salad dressed in peanut sauce. Vegetables are chopped, sliced or shredded and blanched. Bean sprouts, boiled jack fruit, bitter melon, raw cucumber are some of the green vegetables used for making this dish. Boiled potatoes, fried tofu and sliced hard-boiled eggs are the other ingredients included by the basic recipe for this dish which is one of the most authentic Indonesian recipes for this dish.