Idul Fitr, or as the locals call it “Lebaran”, involves not just religious practices but also an array of delectable dishes.
Celebrated for two days, imagine the food coma you’ll end up in when you go to one open house to another! Sadly, mass gatherings are prohibited due to COVID-19 numbers not reducing as Lebaran fast approaches. Though local homecoming travel around Jabodetabek is still allowed by local authorities, you can also savour these special delicacies by ordering online or even whipping it up yourself by cooking from scratch or even with one of the varieties of pre-prepared seasonings sold in any supermarket!
Take your taste buds on a trip – even if you can’t travel – with these Indonesian delights, graciously served on Lebaran:
Ayam is Indonesian for chicken, hence chickens, as well as boiled eggs, are cooked on a low heat for about 40 minutes in coconut milk, seasoned with mixed ingredients of spices such as lemongrass, galangal, coriander, and many more. Have it served on Ketupat, which are colourful crackers, and crispy fried onions on top.
Sambal Goreng Ati
Here’s a spicy meal that burns your tongue but is too good to resist! This spicy mix of fried diced potatoes, beef or chicken liver, and a whole lot of freshly ground chili paste. If eating an animal’s liver is too extreme for you, you can replace it with marble-size meatballs. Tip: Add this to your plate of Opor Ayam and ketupat.
Sayur Labu Siam
At least half of your plate should be covered with vegetables, health experts exclaim. Technically, this isn’t the healthiest form to have but it’s Lebaran; time to indulge. This is the only vegetarian or vegan-friendly meal you’ll likely find at any open houses. You can expect Labu Siam or chayote soup to be mixed with spicy coconut milk. Tip: don’t take all the soup if you want to lay low from the excessive coconut milk intake.
Indonesians love Rendang, expatriates love Rendang. How can someone not love Rendang? Fun fact: Indonesian Rendang was crowned as number one on CNN’s World’s 50 Best Foods in 2017. The Minangkabau (Padang) people created this dish that takes up at least four hours to cook to perfection, and up to six hours if you really want it to have a dry texture. The slow cooking process allows the Rendang to last for days.
Sweet pineapple paste is enclosed in soft bites of golden dough made of flour, sugar, and eggs that will calm your taste buds from all of the spicy main courses you’ve devoured. You’ll notice Nastar comes in various shapes; rounded, ovals, and a giant bite-size. Tip: make sure to include sufficient paste, and if you’re not a fan of pineapple, you won’t even notice that this is made of pineapples.
Unnecessarily sweet, but an absolute favourite snack before or after a meal, this crunchy cheese bite is addictive. Kastengel is a fusion Dutch-Indonesian treat that’s also writen as Kaasstengels, meaning cheese-fingers. The dough is made of heaps of good quality cheese, then shaped into rectangles, and finally sprinkled with more cheese.
In English, this cookie is called Snow Princess because of the icing sugar covering the crescent-shaped cookies with hints of crunchy nuts found at its centre. This is indeed a lot sweeter than Nastar, plus as highly addictive as Kastengel. Eating this can get messy since the icing sugar is poured without any limit. Be careful of the mess!
Lapis Legit (Spekkoek)
You can find this cake at any time of the year; in any bakery, you visit. But Lapis Legit cannot be missed on Lebaran because of its significance that’s normally served to celebrate milestones and big holidays in Indonesia. Baking this moist goodness is a skilled technique of layering multiple thin doughs in alternate dark and light brown.