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What to do, how to use kecap manis?

I saw Indonesian sweet soy for the first time the other day. I was going to buy it, but was at a loss for its use. Besides a simple condiment, or perhaps seasoning rice, is there any dish that really uses this? Tnx.

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  1. I first experienced it as a sauce for roasted chicken on the Gabrielle catamaran from St. Maarten to Saba, loved it. I brought back 6 bottles in my dive bag, 2 broke. Good stuff, don't err as I did.

    1. When I was growing up my friend's mom always made a braised pork dish called babi ketjap (or kecap) for large parties and served it with steamed rice and vinegary cucumbers. Yum.
      Also important for making peanut sauce taste "right" to folks accustomed to Dutch Indonesian cooking.

      1. Indonesian Fried Rice- Scramble and egg and fry it in the wok - set aside - add meat if desired, scallions, rice, peas (i love these in fried rice) - add rice and fry over high heat -
        add a mixture of kecap manis, sambal olek, oyster sauce and a little sesame ( I think - I'm writing this from memory) - add to the rice mixture, combine well - add the egg back - it's addictive!

        1. Once I bought a bottle I found I use it a lot. I put some in most stir fry sauces, particularly ones that have some heat.

          1. As waver's post, upthread, it's invaluable in Indonesian dishes. But it often finds it's way into other east asian dishes, where I'm wanting just a little sweetnessin amongst the other flavours.

            Google will find you many recipe ideas.

            1. I just added 1/2 T plus 1/2 T black vinegar to my laksa gravy to punch it up.

              1. The consistency of this weet soya sauce is somewhat like molasses. It can be used in many marinades that call for soy sauce and sugar. The prominent use of kecap manis in Indonesia is as the main sauce ingredient in making tofu salad.
                1/2 c kecap manis
                chilli pepper or chili sauce (e.g. shiraca)
                chopped parsley
                lime juice (or vinegar)
                chopped peanuts or chunky peanut butter

                Whirl all ingredients - pour over pan fried firm tofu, blanched bean sprout and chopped green onion.

                You find this yummy salad all over the streets of Indonesia, especially Jakarta. Unfortunately, I do not measure my recipe -- it's all to taste :)

                Another way is to mix it with chopped fresh chilli and shallot, squeeze lime or lemon juice for toppings for roast meat, chicken, or fried fish. One can get addicted to the taste....

                1 Reply
                1. re: roro808

                  Yes like a cross between molasses and soy sauce. Use to do a killer grilled salmon with it in the marinade. It can burn so you have to be careful. Mmmmm... Time to revive that dish

                2. Thanks, folks! I'll pick up a bottle and experiment.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: porker

                    Let us know what it does for you.

                    1. re: Joebob

                      harryx2's fried rice sounds good. I sometimes make rice similar to this (I like to cook the scrambled egg in the microwave, chop, and add to rice near end) and the sweet soy sounds like it'll add another dimension (sweet) to go along with the spicy and salty.
                      This added dimension seems to be a theme.
                      I'll let you know!

                  2. I tried to approximate kecap manis for this black pepper tofu recipe from Plenty:

                    I must paste my review below because I think adjusting the recipe to taste is mandatory.
                    This is great--IF you make your own adjustments. For example, I assumed the butter was a typo and used 1 tbsp. I used one onion (what I had on hand) instead of shallots. I pan-fried the tofu (that one is a no-brainer). The sweet soy sauce at my local Asian market contained preservatives I try to avoid, so I mixed soy sauce with brown sugar (lots of recipes for make-your-own kecap manis online), and I added molasses to replicate the dark soy sauce. I omitted the other sugar. I used ONE small hot green pepper, and I just ground an amount of black pepper that I found appropriate. Despite all of the modifications required, this is a unique and tasty, and was one of my more successful tofu dishes.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: valadelphia

                      I think the amount of butter called for in that recipe is insane, but it's not a typo. I have the original UK edition of Plenty, and it calls for 150g butter, which converts to just over 10 1/2 tablespoons.

                      1. re: valadelphia

                        The 11 tablespoons of butter isn't a typo, the original calls for 150 grams. (no idea how, but Caitlin's response saying the same thing has only just become visible to me... Sorry!)
                        Japanese cuisine has dark soy sauce and light soy sauce and neither are thick, so if you replicated the kecap manis there is no need to add molasses to approximate dark soy sauce.
                        Apart from the butter (I use about 3 tablespoons, not a shock as the recipe has similarities with shoyu butter sauces) no other modifications seem required to me, the huge amount of ground black pepper works beautifully - even if I do usually add 4 tablespoons rather than the 5 called for.

                      2. Mix together kecap manis, lime juice, minced shallots and use it as marinade. If you wish add hot pepper flakes or fresh chopped hot pepper.

                        1. Babi Ketjap is a great idea. Easy and delisious.
                          I normally use kecap manis in a marinade (lemon juice, ginger, chili paste, garlic and kecap manis) or for sate saus.
                          Also in dipping sauces, with spring rolls etc etc
                          Check this link as well for loads of good indonesian recipes www.asiancook.eu/indonesian/

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: butzy

                            Awesome link butzy.

                            Made the sauce from the Babi Kluyuk recipe and combined it with stir fried Pork Tenderloin, Peppers, and Onions. Served over rice with fresh torn basil and a dollop of Sambal Oelek. May not be authentic, but it was great use of my new bottle of ABC brand Ketjap (or Kecap) Manis !

                            1. I love this stuff, I use it in almost all of my stir frys now. I love how it helps to caramelize the ingredients. Throw in at the beginning of cooking rather than at the end and allow it to cook and reduce.

                              Also integral part of thai basil stirfry or pad kra pow for me.

                              As mentioned below, great for nasi goreng too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cleopatra999

                                Beside tofu salad, I also use it a lot as a condiment with some spunk...

                                kecap manis + regular soya sauce (or fish sauce)
                                chopped FRESH hot chili pepper
                                chopped shallot
                                pinch of garlic
                                squeeze of lime or lemon

                                Use for dipping all kinds of roast/steam/fried meats. Also good for dipping fresh cucumber.