I always thought Indonesian cuisine was boring. It is one of those cuisines that has an unfortunate reputation because usually when you go to a restaurant and order an Indonesian meal, you feel disappointed afterwards. Either the meal is too fatty or it does not contain not enough vegetables. A lot of people think Indonesian food is just about peanuts, because one of their most popular dishes is satay chicken. Actually, satay refers to the preparation of meat on skewers rather than peanut sauce.
However after I spent a long weekend in Indonesia, during which I took a cooking class and visited several local markets, my views on Indonesian cooking were proven wrong. Dead wrong! Indonesian food is complex. In fact, Indonesia is a very special country because many unique and fragrant seeds and spices are native to this stretch of islands in South East Asia. Nutmeg, turmeric, coriander seeds, tabiabun, sesame seeds and ginger are just a few of the delightful pickings cooks have at their disposal.
If you asked me to describe Indonesian food, I would say it is a combination of hot, sweet and fragrant flavours and tastes. They say Indonesian women never need to go to the gym because they get a workout in the kitchen. The preparation time required for most meals is lengthy, and it involves a lot of crushing and grinding of fragrant ingredients into pastes to form a basis for curries and stir fries.
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