cover image The Indonesian Table

The Indonesian Table

Petty Pandean-Elliott. Phaidon, $40 (256p) ISBN 978-1-83866-628-6

“I have a vision for modern Indonesian cuisine,” writes Pandean-Elliott (Jakarta Bites) in this comprehensive exploration of her homeland’s major gastronomic regions: “to preserve the great traditions of classic recipes while exploring exciting, new possibilities.” The U.K.-based chef identifies melting-pot influences inherent in Indonesian food thanks to the spice trade while keeping in mind a home cook’s access to ingredients. In her recipes, bird’s-eye chilies or mild red ones can be used instead of the curly red chilies found in Sumatran markets, and fish sauce can stand in for the shrimp pastes unique to Bali and Java. Java’s signature street-food dish of chicken noodles and Bali’s sate lilit, a seafood satay on lemongrass skewers, are both featured. The ubiquitous chili condiment sambal gets riffed upon with garlic, shallot, and different herbs, and appears alongside such dishes as banana fritters, a fragrant beef stew, and stir-fried leafy vegetables. Rice, too, is a mainstay on Indonesian tables, whether it is simply steamed, fried, compressed, rolled into balls, or stirred into porridge. (The author favors a preparation from her childhood that cooks jasmine rice with coarsely ground cornmeal.) Pandean-Elliott’s extensive travels and knowledge of the archipelago’s flavors makes this a go-to for authentic Indonesian fare. (Apr.)