Indonesian Spice – Local Flavors

Indonesia has a long association with exotic spices. The search for the home of eastern spices was one of the key triggers to European exploration of the world. In fact, it was the search for spices that led to Columbus reaching the Americas. The history of Indonesia is deeply intertwined with the insatiable desire of Europeans for these exotic flavourings. You can read more about the history of Indonesia and the Spice Trade here.

Classic Indonesian Spice
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Mace

Of course world commerce no longer revolves around the price of spices. However, that doesn’t mean that spices have lost their importance. The key use of spices today is in the culinary world. Different cuisines across the world use spices as important ingredients to everyday meals. Indonesia is no different in this regard, Indonesian food is dependent on a myriad of different spices to bring out the best in its dishes. However, spices are also widely used in medicine, cosmetics, and even cigarette production.

What exactly are spices and where do they come from?

Spices are seeds, fruit, bark or roots from a wide variety of plants. They have been used for thousands of years and were popular as far back as the ancient Egyptian, Indian, and Chinese civilizations. They have been used for millennia to add flavor and colour to food. Popular and well known spices include pepper, chili, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Spices such as chili and ginger
Local Market

Indonesian Spice

Although the “Spice Trade” played an important part in Indonesian history, the spices involved are not as important as they once were. The native spices of Clove and Nutmeg are what drove the trade but are now mainly used only as food flavoring and essential oils. Indonesian cooking itself does rely on a wide variety of spices both native to Indonesia or elsewhere in Asia.

Nutmeg Tree
Nutmeg Fruit on the Tree

The use of spices in Indonesian cooking is somewhat different than many other areas of the world. Instead of using dried powdered spices, Indonesian cooking is more dependent upon “Bumbu”. Bumbu is the term used for a paste of spices mixed and ground together. Instead of using dried ingredients, bumbu utilizes fresh spice to create more flavor. Common spices used in this way include lemongrass, ginger, tamarind, shallot, leeks, garlic, chili, clove, scallions, cinnamon, turmeric, and pepper. Using a mortar and pestle, these fresh ingredients are often added to the cooking process or added after the cooking is finished. Many popular Indonesian dishes such as soups, rice dishes, stews, and more gain their famous flavours from the addition of these spices.

Taste the Spice of Indonesia

Chef Spice
Our Chefs at Work

Our chefs are true artisans when it comes to Indonesian and Asian cooking. Although they also cater to western tastes, their true genius is creating local dishes. The fragrant aromas and rich taste of Indonesian cuisine can be tempered to fit any palate. With fresh spices available throughout the country, our talented crew always have the right ingredients at hand. We invite you to enjoy the rich culinary history of Indonesia aboard the Samata Luxury yacht.

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