March 11th, 2014

Indonesian Bami Goreng and a giveaway


Many years ago, I lived in Holland–a few months as an exchange student with a family, and the remaining time on my own. When I arrived in the country, I was an avowed picky eater. But that changed during my stay. I got brave, and tried new dishes. I ate foods that I had long-distained. My palate woke up. It is odd to think about now, as Dutch food is not renowned for bold flavors or innovative cuisine. It is earthy, hearty, and basic in many ways.

But that is not to say that the Dutch prefer bland food. One of the more exciting and exotic experiences can be had at the Indonesian restaurants that are dotted throughout the country. Have you heard of “Rijsttafel” or Rice Table? It is a spicy and sumptuous spread of vegetables, meats, condiments and rice brought from the culinary traditions of various Indonesian islands, once part of the Dutch East Indies.


Just as loved are the Indonesian take-out dishes. My Dutch mother was an accomplished cook, but every now and then, she would hang up her apron for an evening and let us get take-out from one of the local Indonesian cafes. Of course, we were all very thrilled whenever she made this decision. Getting takeout was considered a real once-in-a-while treat, not the constant it is in Western culture today.

I recall trying the different Satays (chicken or beef skewers) cloaked in peanut sauce, Bakso, a “mystery” meatball soup, Nasi Goreng, a savory fried rice dish flecked with pork, chicken, egg, and veggies, and Bami Goreng, its sister dish, only made with fried noodles. Nasi and Bami were my favorites.

I haven’t eaten Indonesian cuisine in a long time, let alone prepare it. My friend Teresa and her partner Wouter, a Dutchman, have talked with me about recreating a Rijsttafel—but it requires a lot of planning. All those side dishes! Someday, we’ll take the plunge.


In the meantime, I can satisfy the desire for those tastes by making my own Bami Goreng. I found the recipe in Cooking Light’s latest cookbook offering: GLOBAL KITCHEN. Written by best-selling author David Joachim, it is a vibrant assembly of the world’s tastes, ingredients, recipes, and flavor profiles that travel the globe: Toasted Guajillo and Pork Posole from South America, Vegetable Sui Mai from Canton China, Ukranian Borscht, North African Lamb and Chick Pea Tagine, Punjabi Butter Chicken with cashews, sweet coconut Lamingtons from Australia.

The photographs are gorgeous. The recipes are designed for the home cook. There’s so much to inspire your cooking and spark a weary palate.


Like most stir-frys, Bami Goreng is easy to make. What sets the dish apart is the Kecap Manis (pronounced Ket-chup, Mah-nees) seasoning the noodles, meats, and vegetables. It is thick sweet soy sauce that gets extra pizzazz from garlic and ground anise. Sometimes it is called Indonesian Ketchup. If you can’t find it, don’t worry. it couldn’t be easier to make. I’ve included that recipe below.


With its foundation of pasta, wealth of proteins, crunch of veggies, and umami taste imparted by the Kecap Manis, this simple stir-fry makes a terrific one pot meal. I relished it not for its taste alone. It conjured memories of a fun time for a young woman with a novice palate, when her Dutch mother spread out the dining table with an Indonesian take-out feast.


3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 ounces linguine
6 ounces boneless chicken breast or thigh, thinly sliced
4 ounces boneless pork loin chop, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups thinly sliced napa cabbage
1 bundle green onions, green and white parts chopped
4 celery ribs, sliced (use leafy green tops as well)
3 tablespoons chicken broth
2 tablespoons kecap manis (recipe below)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add one tablespoon peanut oil and swirl to coat the pan. Pour in beaten eggs and swirl to form a thin omelet. Cook for 1 minute, then flip and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat. Roll or fold the omelet and cut into strips. Set aside.

Cook linguine according to package directions in lightly salted boiling water. Drain and rinse and set aside.

Heat a wok or large deep skillet over high heat. Add remaining peanut oil, swirling to coat the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, pork, and garlic; stir-fry for 1 1/2 minutes. Add napa, green onions, and celery. Stir-fry for another minute. Stir in broth, kecap manis, and soy sauce.

Add the noodles and continue to stir-fry for another 2-3 minutes, allowing the noodles to get coated and lightly brown. Fold in sliced omelet pieces. Sprinkle for a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve.

Makes 4 servings


INDONESIAN KECAP MANIS (sweet soy sauce, Indonesian “Ketchup”)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 clove finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat, and cook the mixture, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.



Cooking Light has kindly furnished me with a copy of COOKING LIGHT GLOBAL KITCHEN to give to someone. I’ve never hosted a giveaway before–but this one merits it! (And, with my own cookbook soon to be released, [ June 17th!] another giveaway could ensue!)

It’s simple–Just leave a comment below. Share a favorite global kitchen dish, if you like, or a global taste that sparks your palate.

In ten days, I’ll pick a name at random and mail you your copy. It is a beautiful book, filled with easy and enticing recipes. Thanks!


Posted in Meats/Poultry, Pastas, Recipes, Sauces

32 Responses to “Indonesian Bami Goreng and a giveaway”
  1. Joyti Says:

    Exchange student – what fun! The dish sounds delicious. I’ve never had bami goreng (I have had mee goreng, which has curry flavors).

  2. Joe Says:

    Love to win for my wife

  3. Nancy Marrison Says:

    I, like you Nancy, was a very picky eater until a trip to Thailand and it was ” either eat different food or starve” so I adapted my taste buds to some wonderful Thai cooking. Reading this article today has brought back memories of my “loved” trip into a completely new culinary experience.

    Nancy Marrison
    Maryville, TN

  4. Liz Sullivan Says:

    I love Ethiopian food! While the meat dishes are delicious, I like to get vegetarian combinations, too…sauteed cabbage (tikle gomen), lentils (miser w’et), and I can’t get enough of the enjera!

  5. ernestine Says:

    Oh my
    I have never tasted anything like this.
    Maybe I would learn something from this book
    and cannot wait until your new book is released.
    Spring has arrived :)

  6. Karen Marie Says:

    First, I have to say this looks YUMMY! and is going on the must try list.

    Another recent favorite is a dish called Pancit. It has a lot of the same flavors and ingredients as your dish above, but no Kecap Manis. I found “Everyday Paleo Pancit” (no noodles) on-line. Sorry I can’t give the website credit as I did not copy the URL when I printed the recipe.

    Thank your for the chance to win this beautiful book!

    Have a great day!

  7. Teresa Blackburn Says:

    Oh yum Nance! Wouter will be so envious when he sees this dish. As you know he often “cooks Dutch” over here at Food on Fifth, but this one he has not made for me! I must request this version…Bami Goreng…noodles…definitely a must. One day we shall make our “rijstaffel”…the photos are making me hungry.

  8. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Joyti–the Mee Goreng sounds delicious–and likely more pungent than Bami.

    Joe–thanks for commenting–best of luck

    Nancy, thanks for sharing about your trip to Thailand! Like you, I had decided that it was a matter of eat it or starve—these people were not going to accommodate my picky ways.

    Liz–I love Ethiopian food as well. To me, it is a cuisine unto itself. In 2006, we traveled throughout Ethiopia for over three weeks and experienced a wealth of different wets, “fasting food” and the distinctive injera.

    Hi Ernestine–I cannot wait for the release of my book either!

    Karen Marie–I’ve never heard of this dish–I look forward to learning about it!

    Terese–some day we really should make the rijsttafel. It would be much fun.

  9. Maggie Says:

    Hey Nance! This sounds wonderful! I’ve been whipping up a tasty, quick Asian inspired pasta salad. It’s become a mainstay. Cooked thin spaghetti, thinly shredded cabbage, grated carrots, thin scallions, crushed garlic, tossed with seasoned rice vinegar, olive oil, dash of fish sauce, salt, and hot Asian chili sauce. You can experiment with amounts to suit your taste. And of course add cooked chicken or shrimp if desired…..

  10. heather Says:

    Thank you Nancy, I have always wanted to know how to make this! I too tried it for the first time in the Netherlands, very fun. And thank you for the revisit of a few memories I have when I traveled to see a friend who was studying abroad in Spain. My friend coached me before dinner and said I could just put the fried balls of lard that her host mother makes in my napkin. I did just that.

  11. Julie Says:

    One word: YUM!
    Two words: thank you!

  12. fluffy Says:

    I want to win!

  13. Barbara Says:

    That dish looks delicious, Nancy. My daughter gave me Thai Food by David Thompson and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t made one thing in it!
    Nice giveaway!

  14. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hey Mag, I love the sounds of your Asian mainstay.

    Heather, that is a hilarious story. Fried lard balls, ugh!

    Thank YOU, Julie.

    Barbara–I have the beautiful cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen by Andrea Nguyen. I have rarely cooked from it, but I do enjoy having it on my shelf.

  15. 2 Sisters Recipes Says:

    Nancy I am so glad I stopped by! This dish sounds so delicious!! My girls love anything stir-fry and this will make them go bonkers! And, congratulations on your cookbook – how exciting! Your recipes are AMAZING!! So happy for you!!xxoo

  16. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    Looks delicious. I’m a fan of anise and especially intrigued by the Kecap Manis.

  17. Michele C. Says:

    Hi Nancy,
    I enjoy reading your blog – your photos are mouth watering. My husband and I love to travel for the sites, but mostly to taste the different cuisines. This book looks like it would be a good way to recapture some of those international tastes. BTW we first had Indonesian food – Rice Table in Amsterdam 36 years ago and are still talking about that dinner.

  18. Beth Says:

    Wonderful giveaway! I’m a big fan of Thai, but my favourite international recipe to cook is probably an Indian carrot cashew curry.
    And I remember eating rijsttafel 25 years ago when I was in the Netherlands. Fun memories!

  19. Karen Rocklin Says:

    This is the kind of dish I’d love to prepare in a cooking class. It would be new for me but fun to try.

  20. Karen (Back Road Journal) Says:

    Your noodle dish brought back memories of eating at one of the famous rice tables in Holland…delicious.

  21. Gail Says:

    I love to make fresh rolls – rice paper wrapped around vegies and sometime shrimp & cilantro – make a peanut dipping sauce – YUMMMMMM

  22. Whitney Cowles Says:

    This sounds delicious, and I’d love to try making some dishes from the new Cooking Light cookbook. I’m also very excited to hear about Nancy’s cookbook coming soon!

  23. Juliana Says:

    Such a great experience being an exchange student in Holland…I have not had this kind of noddles…but like the ingredients in it…especially with a touch of sweetness…looks delicious with all the veggies.
    Thanks for the recipe Nancy and hope you have a wonderful weekend :D

  24. Food Recipes | Food Recipes Says:

    [...] Indonesian Bami Goreng and a giveaway – Good Food Matters got brave, and tried new dishes. I ate foods that I had long-distained. My palate woke up. It is odd to think about now, as Dutch food is not renowned for bold flavors or innovative cuisine. It is earthy, hearty, and basic in many … [...]

  25. Carolsue Says:

    I love making (and eating) ethnic dishes. I especially like Panang Curry and Pad Thai!

  26. Lisa Rivas Says:

    What a wonderful post Nancy, Indonesia is one of my most favorite countries for all it’s beautiful crafts, specially batik! But now the cuisine seems fantastic and I am definitely going to make this Indonesian Ketchup, yum!
    As for a special ethnic dish it would be the Hallaca from Venezuela a fabulous holiday meal served in banana leaves! And the present give-a-way cookbook is to dream for, thank you!
    I am also thrilled to hear you are going to have your own cookbook, can’t wait to see it. :-)

  27. Lilli @ Sugar and Cinnamon Says:

    This looks so authentic and delicious! I love it :)

  28. Renee Says:

    Yes!! I just lost the White House Easter Egg Roll lottery via the internet, but maybe I’ll win a cookbook instead (happy 25th, WWW). Speaking of Easter eggs, and Asian food recipes, an all time favorite is jian bing guo zi. I’ve never tried to make it myself, but this recipe from la Fuji mama looks pretty spot on —

  29. goodfoodmatters Says:

    that recipe does look like the real deal, Renee. I remember that those Chinese breakfast crepes were delicious and filling.

  30. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    well now this dish looks incredible. The flavors, the succulent noodles. All of it screams DELICIOUS!

  31. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Congratulations to our cookbook giveaway winner, Karen Marie!

    Happy Spring to All.

  32. Velva Says:

    I have had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands and I agree the fod is basic and hearty but it does not mean that the Dutch don’t enjoy bold and complex flavors- I would love Indonesian food. Here at home we enjoy Thai food but I think one of my favorites would be indian food.

    Happy spring.


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