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This festive season, why not infuse your New Year’s dinner party with the unique flavours of Indonesia. Below you will find five recipes for Indonesian-inspired dishes that offer a taste of the extraordinary amid the familiar holiday cheer, promising to elevate your feast, and setting you up for a prosperous 2024. Happy holidays.

Wedang jahe (optional rum/whisky/brandy) 

Indulge in the comforting wedang jahe, a traditional Indonesian ginger infusion. This soothing beverage combines the invigorating essence of ginger with the subtle sweetness of palm sugar. Optionally spiked with rum, whiskey, or brandy, this drink makes for the perfect warming holiday drink. 

2 inches ginger 
100g palm sugar or coconut sugar 
1 lemongrass, bruised 
1 pandan leaf, knotted 
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns, ground 
2 green cardamom pods 
4 cloves 
500ml water 

Dry fry 2 inches of ginger until fragrant. Add the ginger along with the palm or coconut sugar (shaved or roughly chopped if using the block version), bruised lemongrass, knotted pandan leaf, ground whole black peppercorns, crushed green cardamom pods, and cloves to a saucepot. Pour in 500 ml of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, and simmer for 5 minutes until fragrant, ensuring all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep, still covered, for an additional 5 minutes. Strain the infused liquid into individual tea cups. Optionally, serve with a shot of rum, whisky, or brandy for a warming alcoholic twist. Garnish with lemongrass stalks if desired. Enjoy your soothing wedang jahe! 

Crudités with tamarind dressing 

Elevate your vegetable platter with the sweet, spicy and tangy flavours of rujak. This dish harmoniously blends a tamarind-infused dressing with an assortment of vibrant vegetables of your choice, transforming the humble crudités into a delightful and visually stunning appetiser.

An assortment of vibrant vegetables of your choice such as radishes, colourful bell peppers, basil leaves, pomegranate seeds, pineapple and citruses. 
1 tsp red miso paste 
1-3 red birds eye, blended 
100g dark palm sugar (preferably gula jawa or gula melaka) or coconut sugar
1 tsp tamarind paste

Add 1 teaspoon of red miso paste, blended red birds-eye, dark palm sugar or coconut sugar, and 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste into a saucepan, along with about 1 cup of water, ensuring the ingredients are just about covered. 

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and leave to simmer, stirring regularly, until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency. This should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. 

Once it reaches the desired consistency, remove the saucepan from heat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools down to room temperature. tServe this flavorful rujak dressing alongside your vibrant assortment of crudites. 

Pepes cod 

Impress your guests with pepes cod, an Indonesian delicacy that wraps succulent cod fillets in banana leaves infused with a rich and fragrant spice paste. Baked to perfection, this dish showcases the art of Indonesian culinary finesse, offering a delightful and aromatic seafood experience like no other. 


Bumbu/spice paste: 
1 candlenut/macadamia nut 
2 garlic cloves 
2 banana shallot 
1-inch ginger 
1/2-inch galangal 
2 birds eye chilli 
1 large red chilli 
1 tsp ground turmeric 
30ml lime juice 
80ml sunflower oil 

4x 100g cod fillets, or any white fish of choice 
1 tomato, thinly sliced 
1 stalk lemongrass, quartered 
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn 
Handful of basil leaves 
Banana leaves, cut into 4x 10-inch squares. 

In a blender, combine candlenut or macadamia nut, garlic cloves, banana shallots, ginger, galangal, bird’s eye chili, red chili, ground turmeric, lime juice, sunflower oil, and salt. Blend until a smooth consistency is achieved.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, add a cod fillet to the center of a banana leaf square. Season the fish with salt and spread about 1 teaspoon of the prepared spice paste on each side of the fillet. Top the fillet with a slice of tomato, quartered lemongrass, torn lime leaves, and a handful of basil leaves. 

Fold the banana leaf to wrap the fish and securely enclose it into a parcel, securing the ends with toothpicks. Place the wrapped fish on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Serve the Pepes Cod with steamed rice or your favorite side dishes. 

Aubergine Sambal Ijo 

Savour the bold and vibrant flavours of aubergine sambal ijo, where smoky aubergines meets the fiery and fragrant green chilli sambal. This West Sumatran dish is a celebration of textures and tastes, with the sambal offering a perfect balance of heat and freshness that clings on to the tender aubergines. 

2 aubergines (350g) 
Neutral oil, for frying

2-4 large green chillies (seeds and pith removed if you prefer less heat) 
1-3 green birds eye chillies, or to taste (optional) 
2 banana shallots (or 6 small Asian shallots), peeled 
3 garlic cloves, peeled 
1 green tomato 
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn but still attached to stems 
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised 
1/2 teaspoon sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Cut the aubergine into bite-sized chunks, put in a colander set over a bowl, sprinkle with salt and set aside for about half an hour. Rinse thoroughly under cold running water, then drain and dry. 

Heat about 2½cm oil in a large, deep-sided pan; when the handle of a wooden spoon or chopstick bubbles when dipped in, the oil is ready for cooking. Fry the aubergine chunks, in batches if need be, for three to five minutes, until slightly browned and crisp, then lift out and drain on a rack set over an oven tray lined with baking paper or a plate lined with kitchen paper, to remove excess oil. Alternatively, roast the aubergines: toss the chunks in a little neutral oil, put them in a single layer on an oven tray lined with foil and bake in a 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 oven for 15 minutes, tossing once halfway, until the tender and slightly browned.

In a medium-sized saucepan, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the whole green chillies, birds eye chillies, shallots, garlic, and green tomato to the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are softened. Drain the vegetables and transfer them to a blender and blend to a coarse consistency. 

Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add the torn kaffir lime leaves and bruised lemongrass and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the blended vegetable mixture to the wok or frying pan and stir-fry for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and the oil has risen to the top. Add the sugar and half a teaspoon of salt, and continue to stir-fry for an additional 1-2 minutes. 

Remove the wok or frying pan from the heat and transfer the sambal to a clean jar or container. Let cool before serving. 

Cinnamon-nutmeg banana fritters 

Treat yourself to these cinnamon-nutmeg banana fritters. Ripe bananas coated in a fragrant batter infused with cinnamon and nutmeg are deep-fried to golden perfection. These fritters are a delightful balance of crispy exterior and soft, warm interior, making them an irresistible treat for dessert.

10 ripe apple or saba bananas, peeled or 5 ripe plantains, peeled and halved 

100g plain flour 
50g rice flour 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 
2 tbsp honey, agave syrup or maple syrup 
200ml ice cold water 
Vegetable or sunflower oil for deep frying 
Heat oil in a pot, about 1-2 inches deep, to 170°C 

While waiting for oil to heat up, mix batter ingredients in a mixing bowl. 

Dip a piece of banana into the batter. Gently lower it into the oil and fry until it’s crispy and golden brown. Repeat. 

Drain the fritters on a cooling rack over a baking tray.

Serve with your ice cream of choice – but I’d recommend coconut.


  • Saba and apple bananas are best, you can find them in some Asian grocery stores. Cavendish bananas (what you’d most commonly find) won’t hold shape if fried. The next best alternative would be plantains – but make sure they’re very ripe. 
  • Don’t overcrowd the pot to ensure perfect crispy fritters. 
  • You can choose to leave the fritters in an oven preheated to 50°C to keep them warm, while you work through the rest of the batter. 
  • If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, dip a wooden spoon or chopstick into the oil. If the oil bubbles around its surface, we’re ready to fry!

All photography by Rahel Stephanie, founder of Spoons supper club.

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