Indonesian cuisine does not have soups as a first course, although sometimes they appear on the menu through Chinese and Western influences.
One of the dishes in which Indonesian broth is used is soto. That is a ‘full-bodied’ main-course soup, with the meat used for the stock, vegetables, and for example cooked eggs, peanuts, rice or rice noodles.
A sayur is a vegetable dish with broth (can also have meat and/or shrimp). In cookbooks recipes for sayur often prescribe the use of a stock cube, but please! Why don’t you make the stock yourself and use the meat in an Indonesian curry instead?
Yields 2½ litres (5 pints) stock; preparation in advance 5 minutes; preparation 3 hours + straining the stock.
1 small or ½ large boiling hen (1500 gram or 3 pounds)
80 gr (½ cup) fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
5 djeruk purutblaadjes
5 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
2 Tbsp oil
3 litres water
Preparation in advance
Rince the lemon grass, cut lengthwise in half, tie a loose knot in each halved stalk of lemon grass.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown the chicken on all sides, then pour the water into the pan and add spices and herbs.
Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and let simmer for three hours.
Strain the stock, and reduce to two and a half litres, then let it cool quickly. If you want to degrease the stock, refrigerate for a couple of hours, you’ll be able to scoop off the fat easily. This fat can be used to prepare other dishes.
Now you can freeze what you don’t need immediately.
Do not forget to label your frozen stock, in the freezer all stocks look alike.
The chicken meat from this Indonesian stock has a lovely slightly sour taste. Use it in Indonesian recipes like Soto Ajam.
The Citrus hystrix is an evergreen shrub or tree with refreshingly sour fruit that reminds one of limes. The leaves are used as a spice and can be bought fresh, frozen or dried. Another name for this plant is kaffir lime, but because of the negative associations with the word kaffir (Arab: ‘infidel’, South-African apartheid: ‘black African’) this name is preferably not used.
Cymbopogon citratus is indigenous to tropical regions in Asia. It is a decorative grass plant in your garden if you live in the right climate, but it won’t survive any frost. The stalks can be bought fresh, frozen or powdered (but then it has lost most of its flavour). Lemon grass is added before cooking, and removed before eating. Dutch (Indonesian) name: sereh.
Recipe for Indonesian stock