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Indonesian Cuisine Glossary

by Nancy Freeman

introduction  |  recipes  |  cookbooks  |  glossary  |  restaurants

Staple Ingredients

Tamarind juice is made from block tamarind concentrate sold in Asian stores, some supermarkets and by mail order. To make tamarind juice, break off a piece of the block and soak in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze and loosen the remainder of the flesh from the seeds and strain. Use a ratio of approximately 1:4 tamarind concentrate to water.

Coconut milk can be found canned at Asian groceries, many supermarkets and by mail order. Mae Ploy from Thailand is the richest brand available.

Galanga (also known as laos) powder, the ground root of a rhizome related to ginger, can be found in Asian groceries, some supermarkets and by mail order.

Kemiri or candlenut is ground and used as a thickening agent in Indonesian food. It can be found at Asian groceries and by mail order. Macadamia nut will provide approximately the same texture, but not the same flavor. Don't eat kemiri raw! They contain a mildly toxic substance which is destroyed by cooking.

Kaffir lime leaves can be found frozen and dried at Asian food stores. The frozen ones are more flavorful.

Lemon grass/lemon grass powder are both found in Asian groceries. Fresh lemon grass, also found in farmer's markets in cities with large Asian populations, is far superior to the powder and easy to grow in mild climates. Try rooting some stalks in water and planting them outdoors.

Terasi or shrimp paste can be found in Asian groceries and by mail order. In a pinch, substitute Thai or Vietnamese shrimp paste or even Filipino bagoong, all of which may be more available.

Sambal Oelek or raw chili paste is available in Asian markets and by mail order. Like many of these ingredients, you can get them from Syamsul and Beverley by ordering on-line.

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introduction  |  recipes  |  cookbooks  |  glossary  |  restaurants

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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