Love Rice, Love Life

In my country, RICE means LIFE………

If there is a single crop that can truly define the life and culture of Indonesia  it is RICE.

Rice has been cultivated for centuries and has played a central role not only in supplying the staple food but also in shaping the social life and economic progress of our nation. Thus, for most of Indonesians, life without rice is simply unthinkable

Rice is cultivated traditionally in most part of Indonesia using water buffalo to plow the soil, manually plant the seedling one by one and use the Ani-Ani instrument to cut the rice stalk when it has ripened. It is dried in the sun and pounded of the skin with a giant mallet, though now days they skinned the rice using a buffer machine that also polishes the rice.

Why Love Rice?

The tedious process of cultivating rice makes us value highly the rice grain. One grain equals one sweat so nothing should be wasted. Leftover rice that are not eaten during the day are turned into many dishes. Even some rice are dried to form rice crisp and crackers.

Rice is so versatile and easy to prepare.

It’s suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.  There’s no reason to get bored with rice. There are plenty of kinds of rice to choose from and……. …..variety is the Rice of Life .

Rice is most often eaten as plain rice to go with meat and vegetable dishes as side dishes. But Rice is also served as Nasi Campur, literally means Mixed Rice and different region has its different mixed rice….the choices seem endless…that’s why we never get bored of eating rice 🙂Nasi campur or also called nasi rames is referring to a dish of rice topped with various meats, vegetables, peanuts, eggs and fried-shrimp chips.

Depending on which areas it originates, a nasi campur counter can have up to lots of different side dishes, covering every dishes from vegetables to the fish and types of meat. 

Nasi Campur is an ubiquitous dish around Indonesia. It is a dish that is as diverse as the archipelago itself, with regional variations across the country.

Here’s a few of Indonesian mixed rice that you might find tempting:

Nasi Campur Bali (Mixed Rice Balinese Style)

In Bali the tastes are often distinctly local, punctuated by basa genep, the typical Balinese spice mix used as the base for many curry and vegetable dishes. The Balinese version of mixed rice may have grilled tuna, fried tofu, cucumber, spinach, tempe, beef cubes, vegetable curry, corn, chili sauce on the bed of rice.

A similar Minangkabau counterpart is called Nasi Padang of West Sumatra.

For Indonesian Chinese, the term nasi campur refers to rice with an assortment of Chinese barbecue, such as Char Siew, crispy roast pork, sweet pork sausage and pork satay

Nasi Uduk (Coconut Rice)

Nasi uduk is a popular dish for the busy commuters in Jakarta, mainly because it’s both affordable and can be found throughout the day. Some roadside stalls open exclusively in the morning, noon, or night, depending on the demographic of the surrounding areas.

Nasi Uduk is rice cooked in coconut milk instead of water and commonly served with assorted additional side dishes, such as eggs (omelette, shredded omelette, empal (fried beef), fried chicken, teri kacang (anchovy with peanuts), fritters such as fried tempeh, perkedel kentang (potato patties) and bawang goreng (fried onion) sprinkled on the top of the rice. Additional side dishes might be added according to one’s taste.

Nasi Kucing (Cat Rice)

Nasi kucing literally means “cat rice” is originated from Yogya, Solo and Semarang (Central Java) but has since spread.

The term Cat Rice is derived from the portion size. The portion of rice served is similar in size to what the Javanese would serve to a cat, hence the name.

Cat Rice consists of a small, fist-sized portion of rice along with toppings. Common toppings include sambal, dried fish, and tempeh.Other ingredients can include egg, chicken, and cucumber. It is served ready-made, wrapped in a banana leaf, which is further wrapped in paper.

Nasi Bogana

Nasi Bogana is a typical rice dish originally from Tegal, Central Java. It is wrapped in Banana leaves and served with a variety of side dishes. 

Nasi Bogana is prepared by spreading a wide banana leaf on a plate, and filling it with steamed rice. Then seasoning such as Fried [Shallots] are put on top of the rice. Over the rice, a smaller banana leaf is spread and the side dishes are put in a decorative manner. Everything is then wrapped and closed with the outer banana leaf that held the rice.

Well, those are only a few examples of Indonesian Mixed Rice. We still have many many more from different parts of the archipelago. With so many options of Rice, how could Life ever be boring?

To complete the rice options, I re-post my favorite rice dessert ‘Indonesian Dark Sweet Risotto’ or well known as ‘Balinese Black Rice Pudding: 

And here’s my Recipe:


  • 200 grams of black glutinous rice, soak in water for about 1 hour
  • Rinsed and drained in a colander
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 pandan leaves, tied into a knot
  • 500 ml water
  • 60-100  grams shaved palm sugar or brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

How to make:

  • Pour 500 ml water into a pan and add the glutinous rice in it
  • Add in the pandan leaves
  • Cook on medium heat until the rice is softened and the liquid is thickened
  • Stir well while cooking the glutinous rice to avoid the rice from sticking to the pan and cooking time will take around 30 minutes
  • Add the sugar, cook for another 5 minutes
  • Remove from heat
  • Discard the pandan leaves
  • Put in a bowl and serve warm by adding coconut milk on it

Love Rice, Love Life



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