Breakfast – Indonesia

Food Indonesia… breakfast


This country has never taken its rightful place in the world of food. Indonesia’s massive population and extraordinary diversity of cooking has perhaps been a challenge for some.



I travel to a region of West Java on the coast where fish is the major part of protein eaten with vegetable playing a vital role.



Ramadan is the Muslim month of fasting and a difficult time to say the least. The locals change. They become more indolent. The rules seem to be, get up very early, make food and eat before the suns first rays shows and go back to bed. Sleep as much of the day as you can (in Brunei the Head Muslim cleric has decreed that all businesses and government offices will close at 2 pm… mind you the Bruneian populations are VERY spoiled most of the time.. more later) begin to prepare fast breaking food about 4 pm and eat the food about 6.30 pm when the last of the suns rays fade. 

I want to point out that a Ramadan fast is very strict, no water, no cigarettes (lots of locals smoke) nothing happy, not even a bad thought. In the event that you may be moved to contemplate a small human failing, then the harsh God of Islam demands a dramatic repayment.

I confess that I do not think I ever could accept this extraordinarily repressive faith. I am not a Christian, I have been a Buddhist for many years.. I am much happier with this gentle philosophy. I am just not up to dealing with a demanding and repressive deity.

Breakfast in Asia can be a challenge… in expensive hotels and resorts you are spoiled, platters of tropical fruits etc. But in places like Pangandaran it is simply difficult. A fried egg is thought of as well cooked, toast, forget it. Jam, horrendous. Solution, eat local. So I did.


Rice Porridge (or Congee or Joop or Chao Ga or Khao Tom)

Found all through Asia this is a simple and basic cooking. It is rice (your choice, but most Asians will use short grain varieties) cooked in water or stock until it becomes porridge like and then seasonings are added. It is comfort food, sick food and breakfast food. It can be made with last nights left over rice or as is common in the poor households, the broken rice is kept for this dish.



200 grams of rice (your choice, brown rice will take much longer to cook, but any rice, even risotto rice will work)

9 (+) cups of water or chicken stock

Cooking with options… a slice or two of ginger, a few cloves of garlic, five or six Asian shallots.

Stock… since I like this with some finely chopped chicken, I usually use say three chicken thighs and steam these over 2 litres of water, hence I end up with nine cups of stock. Leave the thighs to cool, remove the skin and bone and chop, put aside.

It is very possible to cook this in a rice cooker, and many do, I am not all that fond, so I use a large saucepan and simple put the rice and stock, plus the options (I user all) and cook until the desired consistency and thickness is achieved, usually about 90 minutes.

My serve is about 1 1/2 cups.

Additional ingredients and seasonings.

Fried Shallots (crispy)

Fried Garlic (also crispy)

Toasted peanuts

Dried fish (anchovies)… bit pungent, so beware.

Tomato Sambal


4 Asian shallots, 2 cloves garlic, 2 red chillies, 1/2 tspn shrimp paste, 2 cm of lemongrass 2 cm of galangal, All this is pounded in your mortar with some lime or lemon juice and 1/2 a teaspoon of palm sugar.

2 tomatoes finely chopped

Put about 4 tablespoons of oil (not olive) into your work, add the tomato along with  Kaffir Lime leaf and allow it to cook down, add then the contents of the mortar and continue cooking until a rich and delicious sambal is made. 

Chilli in vinegar

Simply slice up a chilli or two (your choice but I use the long red milder ones) and cover them in white vinegar.

Kechap Manis (The soy sauce of Indonesia, has ABC on the bottle.. sweet and salty)


Fish Sauce (I prefer Thai fish sauce) a tablespoon.

Coriander – chopped

Celery Leaf – chopped

Chicken – chopped

Salt and Pepper.

Into your serve can go any or all of the above, it is usually served with the seasonings on top and before you eat, they are stirred into the porridge. Vegetarians can use a Vegetable stock and even serve the porridge with some fresh greens either cooked or raw.

This is another very popular (perhaps even the most popular) breakfast… Nasi Goreng or fried rice. This recipe is simple and delicious.


~ by peterwatson on August 7, 2013.

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