This week challenge’s theme is to share our favorite Indonesians cuisine. Choosing one is never easy task, so I decided to write thing that most of Indonesians like, kerupuk that plays an important role in Indonesian dishes.
To read about this blog challenge, please visit this link.
A colleague, who is also a friend, recently asked me why Indonesians eat meal with a cracker, kerupuk. This friend has lived in many countries and never seen such passion to kerupuk. I could not answer that question and honestly, it makes me feel like I am a fail Indonesian for not knowing the reason. My guess, we love kerupuk because it is savory and goes well with our high-sugar rice.
Kerupuk is made of starch with combination of rice, garlic, prawn, fish, buffalo skin, cow skin or pork skin. The making process requires a lot of sun, because the thinly sliced dough must be sun-dried first before being deep fried. The sun and hot oil are the two important keys to its crunchiness. On the second thought, oil is not they key because some kerupuk do not need oil, thanks to the hot sand that used to fry them.
Finding kerupuk is relatively easy because it is sold everywhere, from a small shop (warung) to a high-end supermarket. The selling price varies from one thousand rupiah (per piece) to up to forty thousand rupiah (per package), depends on the quantity as well as the ingredients. As I mentioned above, Indonesians, from the poor to the rich, love the savory cracker that comes in many different shapes, big, small, curly, round and square. It also comes in different colors such as light red, orange, yellow, baby blue, light green and white.
Certain skills and experience are required to pair the food with the best kerupuk. Good combinations will certainly maximize the enjoyment of the food. Kerupuk kulit sapi for instance will not go well for gado-gado (salad with peanut dressing), bubur ayam (chicken porridge) and chicken noodles. While kerupuk udang, can be paired with almost anything. However, papeda can never be paired with any kerupuk as it is will ruin the taste. One day, when the kerupuk elevated to fine dining, we should train people to be kerupukier. Like sommelier, this person will be responsible to select the best combination of kerupuk and meal.
Kerupuk can also enjoyed on its own, as a snack. Some people also enjoy it with sambal (chilli sauce), broth, or other dipping sauces. Indonesians are not the only one who enjoys it as snack. Malaysian, Vietnamenese, Chinese and Thai enjoy kerupuk as well. Surprisingly, few Irish shops sell Indonesian kerupuk. The taste however is different, maybe because it’s made in UK that has very limited sunlight.
During Indonesian Independence Day which celebrated every 17 August, kerupuk plays important role in a popular competition, kerupuk eating contest. This competition is about being the faster kerupuk eater. It sounds easy, but it is actually pretty challenging. The participants, hands-tied and sometimes blindfolded (oh now I sound kinky), have to eat the often-stale-kerupuk that is dangled above the mouth-level.
Now that you know the importance of kerupuk in our life, tell me, what’s your favorite kerupuk?