Spicing up your stay in Indonesia.
Indonesia is a haven for spices. Wherever you are in the country you will not fail to come across a shop, stall or even a hawker cart carrying these colourful condiments that fill the air with their aromatic scents.
We introduce some of the more popular Indonesian spices to you to sample while in the country, or buy to take home for flavouring your cooking.
Native to the Moluccas and Banda Island of Eastern Indonesia for many centuries, the humble nutmeg has become an international household spice. Its earthy and aromatic flavour is usually associated with sweet and spicy dishes and commonly used in pies, puddings, custards, cookies and spice cakes.
Nutmeg combines well with many types of cheese, including soufflés and cheese-based sauce. In soup, it works with tomatoes, beans, chicken and beef ribs stews. It is often included in the Middle Eastern and Moroccan cuisines. It is also indispensable to eggnog as well as numerous mulled wines and punches.
Origin: West Halmahera, Indonesia
Clove gives an intense fragrant and sweet-peppery flavour to savoury dishes, cookies, and soups. It goes well with apple or pear stews; gives a refreshing aroma to cookies, pickles and chutneys; and enhances the natural sweetness of beets, carrots and winter squash. For medicinal purpose clove functions as antiseptic. It also provides quick relief and acts as an antiseptic for toothache; just take a pinch of ground clove and sprinkle it to the aching tooth.
Origin: Moluccas, Indonesia
Star Anise has a liquorice, intense and spicy flavour. Marries beautifully with meat in stews or ground in rubs. Break off a point or two for a mystery flavour in poached pears, bean dishes, or tomato sauces. Grind into spice mixes for carrot cake or spice cookies.
Star Anise is also a component of Chinese five-spices powder and the signature taste in Chinese soy sauce chicken, as well as other braised dishes. Indians use it to make garam masala, masala chai tea and biryani. It has been used in teas as a remedy for rheumatism, relieving cold, and chewed after meals to aid digestion.
Origin: Central Java, Indonesia