Our Favourite ajb Recipes – Just For You!

soto ayam ingredients
Ingredients and garnishes for Indonesia’s ultimate comfort soup, Soto Ayam

Today’s post is a collection of some of our favourite ajb recipes to date. Presented to you over the past 2 or so years, these recipes celebrate many of the unique and flavourful ingredients that the Indonesian archipelago is famous for. Better still, all ingredients featured in these recipes are readily available throughout Indonesia; and for those of you back home, most if not all ingredients will be stocked in your local supermarket or green grocer.

Our recipe for Red Curry Prawns is as simple as it is delicious. Making your red curry paste from scratch is a cinch – yet the freshness and complexity of flavour will have your guests most impressed and coming back for more (Advice? Make extra!).

Our recipe for Soto Ayam, arguably Indonesia’s most famous soup, is refreshing, light and nutritious – most suitable for a tropical climate.

Nita Strudwick’s Black Sticky Rice is satisfying and comforting when served warm, and refreshing and elegant when served chilled. And finally, our Pineapple Upside down Cake is light, fluffy and dangerously moreish with its gooey caramelised pineapple base. Eat it warm with cinnamon-spiked greek yoghurt and the whole cake will disappear in minutes…consider that a warning!

Happy Cooking ajb Friends 🙂


Ps: Once you’ve tried one or all of our recipes, please let us know what you think! And finally, if you are like us and are curious to learn more about Indonesian cuisine, check out our List of Staple Ingredients (below), often found in dishes from across the Archipelago.



How to make Red Curry Prawns

red curry prawns on barbecue
Barbecued red curry prawns

Key Ingredients: Fresh de-veined prawns, chillies, lime, Indonesian spices, galangal, turmeric

Serving Suggestions: As an appetiser, serve the skewered prawns straight off the barbie – no need for dipping sauce. Alternatively as a part of a meal, serve with steamed rice and a light green salad

Recipe: Red Curry Prawns 

red curry paste ingredients
ajb’s locally sourced ingredients for red curry paste


How to make Soto Ayam

soto ayam - enak!
Selamat Makan! Enjoy this hearty, fragrant and refreshing bowl of Indonesian chicken soup

Key Ingredients: Fresh whole chicken, lemongrass, rice vermicelli noodles, limes, turmeric, galangal & ginger, Indonesian spices

Serving Suggestions: Soto Ayam, or Indonesia’s famous ‘Chicken Soup’ is a must on your menu when you have visitors come and stay in Indonesia. Satisfying and refreshing with its flavours of lemongrass, lime and Indonesian herbs and spices, it is great for the steamy climate of Jakarta. As it’s a soup that you ‘build’ yourself, you can add as much or as little of each ingredient. The kids may choose to add more noodles and chicken, whereas the adults might be more interested in adding extra chilli and lime juice. Soto Ayam is a soup that will have everyone happy and coming back for a second bowl.

Recipe: Soto Ayam

soto ayam ingredients
The ingredients which create the fresh flavours of the Soto broth

How to make Black Sticky Rice

Black Sticky Rice served with mango slices and coconut cream

Key Ingredients: Black sticky rice, palm sugar, pandan leaf, ginger and santan (coconut milk)

Serving Suggestions: Prepared with less sugar and garnished with fresh fruit and a healthy dollop of Greek yoghurt, Black Sticky Rice makes for an appetising and sustaining breakfast. As a more elegant dessert option, simply chill cooked rice then garnish with freshly sliced mangoes, a sprig of mint and serve with a drizzle of palm sugar sauce and an extra dash of coconut milk. Presentation in a chilled long-stemmed wine glass will also increase the sophistication factor.

Recipe: Black Sticky Rice

black sticky rice ingredients
The main ingredients for Black Sticky Rice (including rice soaking in water)

How to make Pineapple Upside down Cake

upside down cake
Ready for serving – ajb’s Pineapple Upside down Cake

Key Ingredients: Indonesian pineapple (Palembang variety), palm sugar, coconut sugar, vanilla

Serving Suggestions: Serve this cake warm as a dessert or afternoon tea. Alternatively, make individual pineapple upside down cakes using a muffin tins. Line muffin tins with 24 patty pans and place small slices of chopped pineapple in base of each pan. Pour a small amount of palm sugar syrup on top before spooning cake mixture onto pineapple. Give tin a firm tap to ensure cake mixture has settled between pineapple pieces before baking. These muffin-style cakes are perfect as lunch box treats.

Recipe: Pineapple Upside down Cake

ingredients for pineapple cake
Key ingredients for Pineapple Upside down Cake

Here is a list of some ingredients often found in traditional Indonesian cuisine, along with their corresponding Indonesian name. Use this list to help you when buying from the pasar or supermarket:

Candelnuts – kemiri
Chilli – cabe
Coconut milk – santan
Curry leaf – daun kari
Dark soy – Kecap asin
Dry salted fish – ikan asin
Fermented soy beans – tempeh
Fried peanuts – kacang tanah (goreng)
Galangal – lengkuas
Garlic – bawang putih
Ginger – jahe
Glutinous rice – nasi ketan
Indonesian bayleaf – daun salam
Kaffir lime leaves – daun jeruk purut
Lemongrass – serai
Oncom – A traditional stop of West Javanese cuisine. Closely related to tempeh; once is fermented using mold
Palm sugar – Gula merah or gulah java
Pandan leaf – daun pandan
Plain rice – Beras (or when cooked, ‘nasi puti’)
Tamarind – asam
Tofu – tahu
Tumeric – kunyit
Shallots – bawang merah
Shrimp paste – terasi
Sweet soy sauce – kecap manis

Of course, this list is far from expansive. What other cooking ingredients would you consider to be ‘typical’ of Indonesian cuisine? We would love to hear your ideas 🙂

Palm sugar and pandan leaf – Two ingredients regularly found in Indonesian cooking (Photo by Nita Strudwick Photography)


Interested in more food and cooking stories? Check out these posts: 

Petty Elliot – Indonesian Chef
Rosalie Cheese – Indonesian-made artisanal dairy products

Pasar Modern – Fresh produce at a local market
Max Mandias – Champion of healthy eating and founder of Burgreens 


Words: Jo and Liz          Photography: a Journey Bespoke and @nitastrudwick

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