Indonesia, The Spice IslandsIndonesia's over seventeen-thousand islands have attracted traders, pirates, and adventurers from all over the world throughout its history. Indonesia's islands became known as the "Spice Islands" because its spices were valued not only for their flavor, but also for their ability to disguise spoiled foods, and remedy health problems. Indonesia is the world's third largest producer of coffee (after Brazil and Colombia), the the second-largest producer of palm oil (after Malaysia), but it's largest crop is sugar. Ginger, cumin, cardamom, coriander, fennel, cucumbers, onions, mangoes, and eggplant were brought over by traders and Hindu missionaries from India. Around the 1400's, Muslims from the Middle East began incorporating goat and lamb dishes into the Indonesian diet.
|from My Diverse Kitchen|
The nutmegs Myristica are evergreen trees indigenous to tropical southeast Asia and Australasia. Two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or arillus of the seed.
8 ounces butter (two sticks), at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Cream the butter with a whisk or electric hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg until thoroughly incorporated. Stir together the flour, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg in a separate bowl. Add the nutmeg flour to the creamed butter mixture slowly while stirring by hand, just until combined.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Roll each piece of cookie dough into a cylinder about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. Wrap the log in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a baking sheet for each cookie dough log. Cut each log into 16 equal pieces, about half an inch thick, and space evenly on the baking sheet. Bake the cookies at 350ºF for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream sugar and butter. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat well.
Stir together flour, baking powder, mace, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend into creamed mixture. Divide in half. Cover and chill 1 hour.
On lightly floured surface, roll each half to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at for 7 to 8 minutes.
Portuguese later took control of trade routes to and from the islands, and then about a century later the powerful Dutch East Indies Company, gained control of the trading routes. Though the Spanish influenced the area, they were unable to defeat the Dutch, who ruled until the mid-1900's.
|We made this |
Indonesian Chicken in Coconut Sauce
for our Indonesian dinner.
Eating in Indonesia
Indonesian women gather and prepare foods early in the day, such as picking fresh fruits and vegetables from their own gardens or purchasing ingredients from the local market. Once the meals are prepared, they are usually left, at room temperature, on the kitchen table for family members to nibble on whenever they are hungry. When a meal is enjoyed together, the prepared dishes are usually placed in the middle of a table or a floor mat so everyone may share.
Indonesian Carrot Soup
Other Topics to Explore
- Wayang Kulit, a unique form of Indonesian shadow puppet theater
- cloves, nutmeg, ginger or other spices from the "Spice Islands"
sources and inspiration
- Wayang Kulit: How to Make Indonesian Shadow Puppets at That Artist Woman