The 30 days of a spiritual journey by fasting throughout the day and performing taraweeh prayers in the evening has come to an end. Ramadan has gone and people all over the world are now welcoming Eid at the beginning of Shawwal month. It is a moment to rejoice and get together with their close circle and family members.
It is accustomed for Indonesian to embrace the spirit of this Muslim holiday with elaborate food preparation. Beginning with hampers exchange of festive cookies and other gifts to their dearest colleague, friends, and families from as early as 2 weeks before Lebaran, or Eid Al-Fitr. The preparation then continues with the busy kitchen, steaming with all day cooking to ensure everything is ready early in the morning of Lebaran.
As a country with diverse customs and cultures, each island does have a variety of essential dishes prepared intensely, to host the waves of guest coming over to celebrate these special holidays.
Summarizing the excitements, here are 10 of the most favorite foods that you can enjoy on the table of most Indonesian, whenever you visit their home on the festive Lebaran Day!
1 | Ketupat
So when you see many people on the street selling light green yellowish young coconut leaves, it is one of the sure signs that Lebaran is coming right around the corner. Some sell them in loose pieces, while others offer the ready to cook, diamond-shaped weaves of the fresh ketupat.
These iconic shape will then be stuffed with rice grains. Then boiled in water or coconut milk for that extra kick of flavor for 4 – 5 hours until it's cooked firmly, thus forming a delicious rice cake pack. These cooked Ketupat will be hang dry until its time to serve!
2 | Opor
Chickens are cooked to a juicy state within coconut milk seasoned with mixed ingredients of spices such as lemongrass, galangal, coriander, and many more. It is cooked in low heat for about 40 minutes until you are drawn by its aromatic scent. This absolutely mouthwatering meal is just that perfect couple for the savory ketupat, with some colorful kerupuk crackers and crispy fried onions as toppings.
3 | Semur
Beef meats cooked in a deep brown gravy, made from sweet soy sauce with extra ingredients such as garlic, nutmeg, tomatoes, and cloves. The result is the dark juicy stew that is even more perfect with a dash of freshly grind chili sauce! Semur is also popular comes with chickens, potatoes wedges, and coconut milk for variation.
4 | Sambel Goreng Ati
Another carbohydrate source for the plate is this spicy mix of fried potatoes cuts in dices, beef liver, and a whole lot of freshly grind chili paste. In another variation, you can opt-out of the beef liver and replace them with marble-size meatballs or even made a tasty version of fried shrimps simmer all together to a well-done dish you can't resist!
5 | Sayur Labu Siam
The most common vegetable menu in Lebaran tables is the Labu Siam or chayote soup mixed with spicy coconut milk. Yes, we do love plenty of good coconut milk dishes on the Lebaran table! The succulent spicy gravy will definitely melt perfectly in your mouth along with the savory flavor of opor and ketupat. Beware, for one serve may not be enough.
6 | Rendang
You must be heard about Rendang before. But in case you haven't, Indonesian Rendang was crowned as number one on CNN's World’s 50 Best Foods in 2017. Originally created by the Minangkabau people, this dish took at least 4 hours to cook to perfection, and up to 6 hours if you really want it to have a dry texture. Can you guess the key ingredients of the recipe?
That’s right, another thick coconut milk. It is said that one of the best recipes needs 3 whole coconuts for 1 kilograms of beef meat. The slow cooking process made Rendang dishes last for days, thus securing its place as one of the most common meals you can find on Lebaran to greet the guests!
7 | Nastar
Signature holiday cookies is also a trend on a special occasion like Lebaran. Nastar keeps the surprise taste of sweet pineapple paste enclosed in soft bites of golden colored dough made of flour, sugar, and eggs. With various shaped of rounded, ovals and onto a giant bite-size, Nastar definitely tops one of the best selling items during special holidays.
8 | Kastangel
Say cheese can not be more complete with the crunchy Kastangel bites. A fusion of Dutch-Indonesian treats, that also writes as Kaasstengels, meaning cheese-fingers. Especially favored by the savory fans, these stick shaped cookies are definitely perfect for a light snack over some favorite beverage.
9 | Putri Salju
Translated as Snow Princess, the snow like sugar powdered coatings on the crescent-shaped cookies, are made to indulge every bit of the sweetooth in you. One bite is clearly not enough, especially with a surprise crunchy nuts that sometimes are found at its center. When you reach the bottom of the jar, its irresistible to put your finger and continue finishing on the sweet snow!
10 | Lapis Legit
One of the most prestigious cake that is always featured in celebrating milestones and welcoming big holidays in Indonesia is the Lapis Legit. Made carefully with skilled technique of layering multiple thin dough in alternate of dark and light brownish gold color, this moist cake is surely a fancy treat. Lapis Legit was also listed as fourth place out of the list of 17 World's most delicious national cake in 2017 by CNN, a title that certainly worth it’s every scrumptious bite! Yum!
Well, there are actually still a very long list of delectable foods that you can find on the table during the Indonesian Lebaran Day. Here, the festive holiday are celebrated throughout the nation for at least two whole days full of visiting neighbors and some distant relatives, which off course will welcome you with their signature dish of the year.
So make sure you taste them all and find out what is your new favorite Indonesian foods. We wish you all to have a happy and blissful Lebaran holiday!