The traditional food of Indonesia Nasi Padang
Nasi Padang, named after the city of Padang in the capital of West Sumatra, is the most famous aspect of Indonesian cuisine and one of the most unique and delicious.
In fact, even the way this dish is served is unique compared to other dishes. When you go to a Padang restaurant, you simply sit down and the serving staff will bring various dishes to the table, no order required. Nasi Padang is more like a miniature banquet of meats, fish, vegetables, and spicy sambals enjoyed with a side of plain white rice.
One of the most delicious of the Nasi Padang foods and the one which most dishes are based around is the rendang. Rendang is a dry beef curry. To prepare this you cook it with coconut milk and spices for several hours until almost all the liquid has been evaporated, hence the term dry beef curry.
The reason Indonesian people adore this recipe so much is that there is a deeply spiritual and philosophical connection that this meal brings about.
The beef is a symbol for the ninik mamak, which was a tribal leader.
The coconut is connected to cadiak pandai, known as the intellectual.
The chili relates to the alim ulama, which is the spiritual leader.
And the condiments represent society as a whole.
Health Benefits of Nasi Padang
This meal will give you what the locals all Padang gastronomy, which is heaven sent for your stomach. There are three key items which help achieve this – cabe also known as chili, gulai also known as curry, and beras which is rice.
Indonesians rely on having these three items in as many of their meals as possible. On top of being extremely healthy, it is also considered an honorary food served at many traditional functions, such as weddings.
So how is Nasi Padang healthier than any other form of food?
Well, spicy chili is instrumental in increasing one’s appetite and kicking your metabolism into high drive. In fact, the locals believe that dishes without chilies are not real dishes. It is believed that a meal should be more than food.
Also, the Nasi Padang contains gulai, which is a curry. There can be a variety of curries that fall under the gulai catergori such as, asam padeh, also known as a sour and spicy stew dish, or kalio, which is a watery and light-colored gravy.
Once again, the important factor in these dishes is the spice. With the different spies, you add to each of these curries, there are different healing aspects. As mentioned above spicy chilies are important for the healthy digestive and metabolic system.
Don’t worry though, it’s not all just healthy foods. There are snacks too! And in Indonesia, there is a healthy mix of modern cakes and local snacks to help you quench your sweet tooth. Along with cookies, cakes, and brownies, you can enjoy kelamai, which is a sweet coconut palm sugar snack, kue talam which is a sweet glutinous rice cake and lapek which is delicious banana pudding.
Dishes You Can Find In Nasi Padang
There are a variety of 40 different dishes and recipes offered in Nasi Padang:
- Gulai Cubadak (jackfruit)
- Sayur daun ubi kayu or sayur daun singkong (casava)
- Rendang (chunks of meat stewed in spicy coconut milk and chili gravy)
- Daun ubi tumbuk (cassava leaves in coconut milk)
- Kalio, (watery and light-colored meat stew)
- Gulai Ayam (chicken)
- Gulai Cancang (meats and cow internal organs)
- Gulai Tunjang (cow foot tendons)
- Gulai Babek, Gulai Babat or Gulai Paruik Kabau (cow tripes)
- Gulai Iso or Gulai Usus, (cow intestines filled with eggs and tofu)
- Gulai Limpo (cow spleen)
- Gulai Ati (cow liver)
- Gulai Otak ( cow brain)
- Gulai Sumsum (cow bone marrow
- Gulai Gajeboh (cow fat)
- Gulai Itiak, (duck)
- Gulai Talua, (boiled eggs)
- Gulai Kepala Ikan Kakap Merah (red snapper’s head)
- Gulai Jariang (jengkol stinky bean)
- Dendeng Batokok (thin crispy beef)
- Dendeng Balado (thin crispy beef with chili)
- Paru goreng fried cow lung)
- Ayam bakar (grilled spicy chicken)
- Ayam balado (chicken in chili)
- Ayam goreng (fried chicken with spicy granules)
- Ayam Lado Ijo (chicken in green chili)
- Ayam Pop (Minang style chicken)
- Ikan Bilih (fried small freshwater fish of the genus Mystacoleucus)
- Baluik goreng (crispy fried small freshwater eel)
- Udang Balado (shrimp in chili)
- Rajungan goreng (crispy fried crab)
- Terong Balado (eggplant in chili)
- Petai goreng (fried green stinky bean – Parkia speciosa)
- Ikan Asam Padeh (fish with spicy-sour taste)
- Itiak Lado Mudo (duck in green chili)
- Peyek udang (shrimp rempeyek)
- Kerupuk Jangek (cow’s skin krupuk)
- Sambal Balado (sambal with largely sliced chili pepper)
- Sambal Lado Tanak
- Lele goreng (fried catfish)
One of our favorite feast combinations is listed here on Saveur, and it even includes their infamous egg coffee.