Found in Southeast Asia between the Pacific and Indian oceans, Indonesia is a large country made up of over 17,500 islands.
Arguably, the nation is most famously known for its stunning natural landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and incredible wildlife.
However, the foodies out there would argue that Indonesia is actually better known for its extremely diverse cuisine.
Home to an enormous variety of exciting dishes, unique flavor combinations, fresh ingredients, and delicious recipes, Indonesia’s cuisine is one you have to experience.
With every region offering something different, we have thousands of awesome options to choose from, most of which consist of complex flavors. Today, we want to show you the very best of Indonesian cuisine.
In this post, you’ll find a list of 23 Indonesian recipes you need to try.
1. Nasi Goreng
There really is no other place to start than with a solid Nasi Goreng recipe. One of, if not the most famous dish in Indonesia, Nasi Goreng is a dish that consists of rice, meat, and veggies.
This recipe, which takes 20 minutes to make, calls for chicken, soy sauce, white rice, egg, green onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, and shallots. The recipe also calls for a wide range of herbs and spices to give the dish extra flavor.
2. Mie Goreng
Another hugely popular Indonesian dish is Mie Goreng. Mie Goreng isn’t too dissimilar to Nasi Goreng.
The main difference between the two is that Mie Goreng is primarily served with noodles instead of rice. Mie Goreng is also much spicier.
Guaranteed to satisfy your love for spicy food, this dish calls for an array of healthy veggies, an abundance of different herbs and spices, and thin noodles.
Together, the combination of ingredients creates a highly satisfying, filling dish, bursting with flavor.
Next up, we have Sambal. Sambal is a gorgeous Indonesian chili-based sauce that’s used to accompany a variety of different dishes.
Whilst the dish is primarily spicy, this particular recipe combines other flavors with the sauce to create something more special.
The combination of tangy lime juice, sugar, chilies, and salt help create a beautiful aroma and a magical flavor. As you can imagine, these strong flavors taste great in a wide range of dishes.
4. Chicken Satay
Satay is a grilled meat dish found all over Southeast Asia. In Indonesia, the dish is considered to be a national dish. It is most commonly served at street markets as a quick snack or side dish.
This satay recipe calls for chicken. The chicken is placed on skewers and marinated with a peanut sauce that contains various spices such as chili powder, turmeric, sugar, salt, lemongrass, coriander, and garlic.
This tasty snack is authentic, quick, and easy, so give it a try.
5. Coconut Turmeric Rice And Cashew Nuts
The rice side dishes in Indonesia are never boring. Instead, they are loaded with flavor, vibrant in color, fragrant, and surprisingly healthy. This Indonesian rice recipe is the perfect example.
Turmeric rice with coconut milk, cashews, shallots, and cilantro offers delicate flavors that are super delicious. Easily made on the stovetop, this rice also looks great, making it a great option for any get-togethers with friends and family.
6. Nasi Campur
If you want to make the ultimate Indonesian dish to impress guests with, you have to try this Nasi Campur recipe.
Taking 2 hours to make and containing a whopping 52 ingredients, this is one of the most impressive Indonesian dishes ever. A mixed rich dish, this recipe helps you build a plate of flavors.
A plate of Nasi Campur comes with steamed rice, prawn crackers, rendang, veggies, satay, and much more. This Nasi Campur recipe is a Balinese version of the dish.
7. Nasi Padang
Originating in West Sumatra and named after Padang, Nasi Padang is a rice and curry dish. Often referred to as Padang-style rice, this is a side dish consisting of white rice, fish, jackfruit curry, meat, sambals, and veggies.
With so much to offer, we’d actually say this dish can easily be enjoyed as a main course. It’s filling, flavorful, hearty, and extremely comforting. This mini banquet will keep you full for hours and satisfy your taste buds.
8. Soto Ayam
Next up, we have a delicious Indonesian soup recipe. Soto essentially refers to “soup”. Soto Ayam can be found all over Indonesia, but it’s actually originally from Java.
This recipe shows you how to make the most popular, and tasty Soto Ayam.
This bright yellow, chicken noodle soup is packed with spices, veggies, and meat. You can even customize it with any ingredients you have left over in the fridge.
Once cooked, the soup is served with soy sauce, chili sauce garnish, cilantro, lime juice, and bean sprouts.
Bakso is a wonderful dish that can take many forms. To put it simply, it is a meatball dish that can be made using chicken, pork, or beef. Some recipes use all 3.
In Indonesia, Bakso is widely regarded as a comfort dish, and it’s not hard to see why.
It’s filling, beautifully seasoned, healthy, hot, and very easy to make. This Lins Food recipe uses beef to make the meatballs and beef bones to make the broth. The dish is then filled with veggies, noodles, sambal, and beansprouts.
10. Gado Gado Salad
For those that don’t know, Gado Gado translates to mix-mix. This Gado Gado salad mixes a wide range of tasty ingredients to create a healthy, yet hearty salad loaded with strong flavors and satisfying textures.
This dish is a tasty combination of beef and vegetables. Interestingly, the veggies in the dish are a mixture of steamed and cooked vegetables.
Finally, the salad is merged with a delicious tofu that has been lightly coated in a rich sauce.
11. Sticky Honey Chicken
Instead of preparing chicken the way you normally would, why don’t you try this Indonesian style of chicken instead?
Adding honey-soy sauce, ginger, and garlic to your chicken marinade will unleash new flavors, an exciting texture, and a dish that really packs a punch.
To make a meal out of this delicious chicken recipe, serve the chicken with a portion of white rice and your favorite vegetables.
12. Nasi Rawon
Nasi Rawon is a traditional Indonesian beef soup found in East Java. In fact, it’s one of the oldest dishes from ancient Java.
This dark-colored soup is given an intense flavor by candlenuts, whilst the beef is mixed with red chili, garlic, bay leaves, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves to enhance the flavors further.
This filling soup is a hearty meal on its own, but that doesn’t stop most people from still serving it with white rice and bean sprouts.
Next, we have another Indonesian classic called Rendang. Recognized as one of the tastiest dishes in the world, not just in Indonesia, Rendang is a slow-cooked beef recipe that has plenty of flavors.
Super tender and rich, the beef in this recipe might not be the star of the show though. Instead, the seasonings used to give the dish flavor steal the spotlight.
The combination of ginger, lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, and coconut milk is spectacular. The coconut milk does wonders for the creaminess of the dish too.
14. Gudeg Jogja
Admittedly, Gudeg Jogja might not be the most appealing dish on this list. It doesn’t have the most attractive appearance, but it is still one of the most delicious Indonesian recipes you can make.
Suitable for vegans, Gudeg Jogja is a jackfruit stew that consists of a variety of authentic Asian ingredients, most of which you’ll have to source from an Asian supermarket.
Packed with strong flavors and some spice, this stew is a great option for a cold winter’s night.
15. Tahy Gejrot Cirebon
Tahy Gejrot Cirebon is a staple dish in Indonesia. Super simple to make, using basic pantry ingredients, the dish features fried tofu in a chili soy sauce.
The greatest thing about this recipe is how quickly the tofu takes up the flavor.
Almost immediately, the tofu soaks up the spicy sauce, giving you a burst of flavor with every bite. It should only take you 30 minutes to make this dish.
16. Fried Bananas
If you think ordinary bananas taste good, wait until you try them fried. Fried bananas are a local delicacy in Indonesia, with thousands of people enjoying this sweet treat every day.
To enhance the overall sweetness of the bananas, they are first smothered in desiccated coconut. This also gives the bananas an extra special crunch.
This is a fast dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth, but if you want to make it even better, serve it with some fresh ice cream.
17. Kopi Lethok
This next recipe is actually a drink recipe. If you’re not a huge coffee drinker, this isn’t the recipe for you. Kopi Lethok is a coffee and coconut beverage made using coconut milk, coffee, and sugar.
In our opinion, it’s a great beverage to serve alongside your fried bananas. For extra flavor, add vanilla or cinnamon. If you don’t like coconut milk, you could always use milk or cream instead.
18. Fish And Potato Curry (Balinese)
Bali is known for many things, but did you know that it’s also known for making killer fish and potato curry? If not, you do now!
We can bring some Balinese flair to our kitchens by following this Feasting At Home recipe. Easy to prepare, this dish can be made with any fish you like.
When you’ve decided, you can cook the fish with spring vegetables, lime, mint, and potatoes. The lime and mint really help create a fragrant curry sauce that your guests will love.
19. Perkedel Kentang
Perkedel Kentang is essentially an Indonesian spin on potato fritters. An everyday side dish across Southeast Asia, we love everything about this recipe.
For starters, it’s super simple. You can make a batch of the fritters in less than 1 hour. Secondly, they look and taste great. The sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and egg used to make the fritters works perfectly.
Finally, these fritters are incredibly satisfying comfort food.
One of the best Indonesian desserts you can make is Es-Teler. Es-Teler is a vibrant, refreshing fruit cocktail that uses pandan as the base flavor for coconut milk.
It can be hard to get hold of but you should be able to find the leaves you need in an Asian grocery store.
Pandan is an interesting ingredient that has a unique vanilla flavor that almost tastes grassy too. This flavor isn’t for everyone but it’s well worth trying.
21. Indonesian Chicken Curry
If you want to make a classic Indonesian dish but don’t want to go too complex with the flavors and ingredients, this The Wanderlust Kitchen chicken curry recipe is perfect.
Ready in less than 40 minutes, this is a fragrant, savory chicken curry dish that can be made with a range of simple ingredients.
In many ways, this is the best recipe to make if you want to introduce someone to Indonesian-styled food.
22. Manadonese Porridge
The penultimate recipe on this list is an interesting porridge recipe.
Unlike sweeter breakfast porridges that contain ingredients like apples and honey, this is a much more savory porridge that contains ingredients like corn, spinach, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes.
The best thing about this porridge, aside from its taste, is how healthy it is. All the ingredients in this soup are highly nutritious and filling. This will ensure the dish keeps you feeling full until lunchtime.
23. Ayam Goreng
Made in less than 50 minutes, the final recipe on our list is Ayam Goreng. Ayam Goreng is fried chicken. It might not be the healthiest recipe on our list but it’s definitely one of the tastiest.
The chicken is seasoned with galangal, ginger, turmeric, salt, lemongrass, bay leaves, and shallots before being fried. When frying is complete, the chicken should be golden and crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Most Famous Dish In Indonesia?
Indonesia is known to have multiple popular dishes that are eaten by millions of people every day. However, the most popular is Nasi Goreng. Nasi Goreng is found all over Indonesia in restaurants and street food markets.
What Is The Most Popular Food Item In Indonesia?
The most commonly eaten food in Indonesia is rice. Rice is actually central to the lives of the Indonesian people. It is considered to be the most popular staple food and is eaten every day by most Indonesians.
What Do Indonesians Eat For Breakfast?
Most Indonesians eat Nasi Goreng for breakfast. This is because it offers everything we need in terms of vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates. A lot of Indonesians also eat Mie Goreng for breakfast.
There you have it, 23 Indonesian recipes you need to try. In this post, we’ve shown you the very best dishes Indonesian cuisine has to offer.
We’ve looked at light snacks, hearty breakfasts, spicy sauces, and popular dinners. We’ve even looked at some delicious desserts.
All that’s left to do now is decide which recipes you want to try first. You should then head to the store and pick out the ingredients you need.
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