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Kecap Manis (Sweet Soy Sauce)

If you're a fan of Indonesian cuisine, you must have heard of Kecap ("ketjap") Manis, the delicious sweet soy sauce essential to many Indonesian dishes. As an Indonesian, I can tell you that ketjap manis is not just a condiment. It's a way of life!

My love for Kecap Manis began at a very young age. My Auntie used to cook Nasi Goreng, a popular Indonesian fried rice dish for us. It was love at first bite and the perfect balance of sweet and salty, with a rich umami flavor that's hard to resist. It wasn't until later that I discovered the secret to the dish's flavor was the addition of Kecap Manis .

Did you know that Kecap Manis has a fascinating history? It's believed to have been invented in the mid-19th century by Chinese migrants who settled on Java, Indonesia's most populous island. They noticed that the local Javanese had a sweet tooth, so they added gula merah (palm sugar) to soy sauce, and Kecap Manis was born.

Kecap Manis is different from regular soy sauce because of the addition of palm sugar. The sugar gives the sauce its signature sweet flavor, making it thicker and more syrupy than traditional soy sauce. The sauce is made by simmering soy sauce and palm sugar until it thickens and then cools and bottled.

Kecap Manis is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. It's great as a dipping sauce on its own or mixed with sambal oelek and lime. It also adds a delicious flavor to stews, soups, and marinades. And the best part? You can find Kecap Manis at most Asian supermarkets or online. The popular brands are ABC and Bango. You can store it in a dry cupboard or the refrigerator, and it will keep almost indefinitely (2 yrs to be precise). Although, let's be honest. It won't last that long because you'll be using it in all your favorite dishes!

As an Indonesian, I love sharing my cultural heritage through food. In fact, I have some amazing recipes that incorporate Kecap Manis that I can't wait to share with you! So keep an eye out on my blog for upcoming posts where I'll share some of my favorite dishes, from classic nasi goreng to tasty tahu telor and much more. Adding Kecap Manis will give these dishes a unique and delicious flavor that will impress your family and friends.

Here is a recipe for making Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce) :


  • 1 cup dark soy sauce

  • 1 cup palm sugar (grated or chopped into small pieces), or brown sugar

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • 3 star anise

  • 3 cloves

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds


  1. In a large saucepan or wok, combine the soy sauce, palm sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, and coriander seeds.

  2. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar doesn't burn.

  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. As the mixture simmers, it will gradually thicken and darken in color. Keep a close eye on it to ensure that it doesn't burn or boil over.

  5. After 45-60 minutes, the mixture should be thick and syrupy. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes.

  6. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean, sterilized bottle or jar. Discard the spices and any solids that remain in the sieve.

  7. Store the kecap manis in the fridge for up to 6 months. It will thicken slightly when chilled, but can be thinned with a bit of warm water or vinegar if necessary.

That's it! Now you can enjoy your homemade Kecap Manis in your favorite Indonesian dishes, like nasi goreng (fried rice), satay (grilled meat skewers), and more.

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