Being the largest archipelago in the world means that Indonesia is a collection of many beautiful cultures and cuisines. And there are few more popular or delicious than the delicacies of Nasi Padang. With so many options on the menu, it might be hard to choose what to have. So to make it a little bit easier, here are five Padang dishes to get you started.
Although there are a few alterations with different choices of meat, the original and most popular is beef. Slowly cooked in coconut and spices, rendang is often the first thing on the plate when enjoying Padang. The meat is cooked with such care that it often falls apart between your fingers.
A popular choice for vegetarians or someone looking for a break from heavier choices on the menu. This dish starts with a base collection of spices and herbs that are ground into a paste. This paste, when added to the leaves, gives an amazingly complex flavour to the dish. When ordering this dish always ask if it really is Cassava leaves—sometimes they might be replaced with equal amounts of spinach.
Before being cooked the chicken (ayam) has been seasoned and soaked in lime juice. After about an hour it’s boiled in coconut water and other ingredients. Once tender, you can enjoy it with rice as the remaining sauce has a full savoury flavour that is soothingly satisfying.
One of the more spicy options on the Padang menu, Ayam Balado’s heat is reflected in its deep red colour, which is unmistakeable. Like many chicken dishes, the protein is boiled but afterwards it is drained, fried and placed on a skillet with mashed chillies and seasoning. The finished dish is not for the faint of heart, but can be very delicious for lovers of spice dishes.
Being an island nation means much of Indonesian cuisine revolves around seafood. Asam Padeh uses Tongkol fish, which is a type of tuna. The fish is slowly cooked over slow heat after being smeared with orange juice. While being cooked the fish is submerged in chili sauce. Once the sauce is reduced, kandis acid is added, which gives the dishes a sour taste with citrus undertones.
See Also: Marco Padang Restaurant: Spice of Life