It all began when I made a recipe that claimed to be ‘Indonesian’. It was from a cookbook (that will remain nameless) that was culturally unaffiliated, and was generically boring.
I decided that it would be better to get inspiration from someone who actually knew about food in Indonesia, and since then I have been pestering her for recipes.
At first, I didn’t know what to ask of my colleague, who hails from Java, in Indonesia. I would just vaguely ask her for ‘any good recipes’. It wasn’t until recently that I came up with something specific… My cousin had recently been to Bali on vacation, and couldn’t say enough about how great the Bakmi Goreng was — and how disappointed she had been since then, as any she’d tried at home in Canada just weren’t the same.
Fair enough, this one may be different as well. There are many regional variations on Bakmi Goreng, and this one is particularly Javanese. My colleague says that in Java, they are more likely to add sweetness to their dishes – in this case, by adding some sweet soy sauce.
Of course, I was excited to try some new ingredients, like the kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), candlenut, and terasi (shrimp paste). Unfortunately, the only one of the three I could find was the kecap manis. Never fear! Apparently, you can substitute macadamia nuts for the candlenut, and fish sauce for the terasi. It won’t be exactly the same, but pretty close! I also picked up some wee dried shrimp to grind into a paste – my colleague said that would work, too.
This was a great dish, full of yummy eggy noodles, and it was really easy to make. Will definitely go on my list of things to make often.
Bakmi Goreng Jawa
(Javanese Stir Fried Noodle)
Modified from a recipe provided by Restiani Andriati.
- 5 segments – shallots
- 4 segments – garlic
- 3 candlenuts (can use macadamia nuts if you can’t find candlenuts)
- ½ teaspoon shrimp paste (“terasi”, “belacan”) or 1 teaspoon shrimp/fish sauce (optional)
- 200 grams egg noodles (medium round or flat)
- 3 tablespoon sweet soya sauce (Kecap manis)
- 2 tablespoon salty soya sauce (Kecap asin, or kikoman soya sauce)
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups tofu cubes / Chinese meat / fish balls
- 100 grams cooked chicken, cut in length (I used shrimp instead)
- 1 tomato, cut into 1 cm cubes
- 50 grams bean sprouts
- 50 grams cabbage julienne
- Greens (e.g. bak choy)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock (I actually didn’t need this – use your judgement when the time comes)
- 2 green onions, julienne
- celery leaves, julienne
- 2 tablespoons fried shallots
- Make a paste out of the shallots, garlic, candlenuts and shrimp paste. Set aside.
- Cook the noodles in boiling water until just barely cooked – al dente. Drain well.
- Add 1 tablespoon salty soya sauce and ½ tablespoon sweet soya sauce to the noodle. Mix well, and set aside.
- Sauté the spice paste in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Set aside.
- In a wok, scramble the eggs. Add in the spice paste.
- Add the meat and/or tofu, and mix well.
- Add the tomato, sprouts, cabbage and greens. Mix until the vegetables are fully cooked.
- Add the remaining sweet and salty soy sauces, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Add the stock (if needed – my mixture was very wet at this point, probably from excess water on the greens. Use your judgement) Let simmer.
- Add the noodles to the wok with the vegetables, and mix. Toss in the green onions and celery leaves.
- To serve, scoop into a serving bowl and sprinkle the top with fried shallots. I topped with a bit of sriracha chili sauce, for some added heat. This wasn’t part of the recipe, but I like it.