Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

July 17, 2019
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The Indonesian Kitchen

Indonesia consists of about 17,500 islands. Okay, so more than 7000 of those are uninhabited. But still, its archipelago stretches across 5150 kilometres and is surrounded by Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, as well as Australia in the west. No wonder, it has more than 300 ethnic groups. All of this is to say that its cuisine is, like most, hard to put into words.

In The Indonesian Kitchen, published by Interlink Books ( http://www.interlinkbooks.com/ ), Sri Owen, however, attempts to do just that. The cookbook includes recipes for almost all the classic dishes of Java and Sumatra (where the author was born), with others from Bali, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. There’s even one from Irian Jaya, a province that Owen has yet to visit.

The 120 recipes begin with some dishes from the author’s granny, then onto delicious and inexpensive snacks sold on streets, then festival food. The author also discusses staples: coconut (“an absolute daily necessity”), tamarind (recipes more often call for tamarind water), tempe (made from fermented soybeans; the Javanese have made it an almost “gourmet ingredient”) and, of course, rice. Almost all of these ingredients are called for in our favourite recipes that follow.

Recipes from the book