Simple Recipes for Indonesia

—By Krupa Patel—


Eating healthy can sometimes be a struggle when you aren’t at home in your own kitchen. Living in Indonesia brought me back to my college days and reminded me how to make more with less. Check out some quick innovative recipes I’ve listed below. The recipes for these foods are pretty easy and you can easily find the ingredients at your local Indomaret, Hypermart or pasar.


It’s easy, healthy and versatile. You can eat guacamole with chips you find at Indomaret, krupuk*, rice, bread or just eat it by the spoon like I do! Tip: If you grill the bread, spread the avocado and add an egg on top, you’ve got yourself some avocado toast.

Guacamole Recipe:

1 Avocado
3-4 Diced Small Red Onions or ½ White Onion
1-2 Diced Tomatoes
½ Lime
1-2 Chilis (Optional)
Salt/Pepper to taste

  1. Mash the avocado with lime juice, salt, pepper and mix with diced tomatoes, onions and chilis.

Homemade burrito with rice, beans, and veggies topped with guacamole and salsa.

Pasta with Marinara Sauce

The first time I tried making this sauce, it surprised me! Who knew oregano from Hypermart could work so many wonders! My sitemate, Kelly, and I threw this sauce on some spaghetti and it was a party! You can even add more vegetables to it like eggplants, bak choy, mushrooms, chilis and more.

Marinara Sauce Recipe:

2 Spoons  of Oil
2-3 Cloves of Garlic Minced
6-7 Diced Small Red onions or 2-3 White Onions
6-7 Diced Tomatoes
2 Spoons of Oregano
3 Spoons of Sugar or to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil in a pot then add minced garlic. Stir until fragrant, or for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add diced onions and stir. Wait for 4-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
  3. Add diced tomatoes and stir again. Wait for another 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add salt, pepper, oregano and sugar and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  5. Serve with pasta.

** Note: Feel free to add water until the sauce reaches the consistency you want at step 4. You can also add other vegetables between step 2-3.  


Pasta with Marinara Sauce.

Pasta with Avocado Alfredo

It’s another healthy way to get your veggies in! This is easier if you have a blender, but if you have a pestle* smasher, it does the job too.

Avocado Alfredo Sauce Recipe:

1 Clove of Garlic
1 Avocado
1 Spoons of Oregano
1 Diced Tomato
½ Lime
Salt and Pepper to Taste

  1. Blend avocado, garlic clove, lime juice and oregano.
  2. Stir in diced tomato.
  3. Toss with pasta

**Note: If you don’t have a blender, you can mash the garlic first in a penyet smasher then smash the avocado until you get a creamy consistency. You can also grill some tofu/tempeh and toss that in there!

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Because nothing tastes more American than mustard and mayonnaise! Personally, I forgo the mayonnaise and use avocado.

Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe:

2 Hard Boiled Eggs
2-4 Slices of Bread
½ Spoons of Mustard
4 Spoons of Mayonnaise or 1 Mashed Avocado
1 Sprig of Finely Chopped Chives
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Optional: Chili Peppers, Splash of Lime Juice

  1. Chop hard boiled eggs and mix well with mustard, mayonnaise (or mashed avocado) and salt/pepper.
  2. Spread mixture over bread and garnish with chives before closing the sandwich.

**Note: Don’t over stir the mixture or it will turn to slime.

Mashed Potatoes

Got nothing to mash with? No problem! If you have a bowl and a cup you can do this!

Mashed Potatoes Recipe :

2-3 Potatoes
1-2 Cloves of Garlic Minced or Mashed
3-5 Spoons of Butter (aka margarine because butter is hard to come by here, I use the “cake & cookie” type from Blue Band)
2-3 Spoons of Milk (Optional)
Salt/Pepper to Taste

  1. Wash potatoes thoroughly then boil for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Peel skin off of the potatoes.
  3. Place potatoes in a bowl and mash with the bottom of a cup.
  4. Heat butter in a pan then add minced garlic. Heat until fragrant then add the mashed potatoes to the garlic butter and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold in a few spoons of milk until you’ve reached the consistency of creamy that you desire.

Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate “Ice Cream”

It’s a healthy alternative to regular ice cream and a brilliant way to use the 20 different species of bananas Indonesia has to offer!

Banana Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe:

1-3 Sliced Ripe Bananas or 1 ½ Cups of Sliced Bananas
2 Spoons of Milk
2 Spoons of Peanut Butter (or 2 Spoons of Roasted Peanuts)
2 Spoons of Chocolate Sprinkles
**Requires Blender

  1. Place sliced bananas in a container then freeze for at least 8 hours.
  2. Place frozen banana slices with peanut butter and milk in blender and blend until the consistency is similar to soft serve. Add milk if needed.
  3. Move mixture to a bowl and stir in sprinkles and serve immediately.

An array of deviled eggs.

Other Easy Things to Cook:

  • PB & J Sandwiches- You can find all 3 ingredients at Indomaret!
  • PB & Banana Sandwiches
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Rice Cooker Cakes
  • Vegetable Stir fries with ginger, garlic and soy sauce
  • Garlic Bread
  • Omelettes
  • Pancakes (you can use brown sugar syrup, instead of maple syrup)
  • French Toast
  • Grilled Eggplant in Garlic & “Balsamic Vinegar” (boil 3 parts regular white vinegar with 1 part brown sugar)
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Scrambled Tofu
  • Smoothies
  • Apple Pie Filling (if you’re feeling ambitious!)

Those are a few of my recipes! I’ve made a few of these things for my neighbors, students and teachers at school and they enjoyed it! I also bought taco seasoning and Indian spices with me from home so I can also cook Mexican food and Indian food which I prefer to eat. Burritos and Pav Bhaji were a huge hit! Talk about culture exchange! If you’re planning on moving to Indonesia or if you’re a future Fulbrighter coming to Indonesia, I highly recommend bringing some of your own spices so you can cook your favorites here.

*krupuk – small deep fried crackers, a common a snack in Indonesia
*pestle- a heavy tool with a rounded end used to crush or grind

Krupa Patel is currently teaching at SMA Khadijah in Surabaya. She was inspired to teach English in Indonesia because she believes education has the power to transform society, empower people from all different backgrounds and perpetuate changes in hearts and minds. She is also interested in history around the archipelago. She studied Business Analytics and Information Technology at Rutgers University. In her spare time, Krupa likes to hunt for vegetarian food, travel, read historical fiction and make bad jokes. Today, you can find her on the back of a Go-Jek or causing trouble with her sitemate, Kelly, in Surabaya.

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