How would you describe Indonesian cuisine

15 delicious vegetarian dishes from Indonesia

Here you will find the best vegetarian dishes from Indonesia at a glance, including descriptions and photos. Good Appetite!

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Vegetarians also get their money's worth in the island kingdom of Indonesia. Meat and fish dominate the kitchen, but there are a number of vegetarian dishes with which you and your taste buds can go on a culinary journey.

In this article we are therefore introducing you to 15 vegetarian dishes from Indonesia.

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The best vegetarian dishes from Indonesia

TIP: If you can hardly wait to try the spicy delicacies with their many exotic spices for yourself, then Indojunkie has found a solution for you. In the new Indonesian recipe collection you will find 38 recipes, including snacks, sambals, main courses, soups, curries, desserts and drinks, including a large selection of vegetarian dishes.

Gado Gado

Vegetable mishmash with peanut sauce

The vegetable mishmash called Gado Gado, which is served with a spicy peanut sauce, is delicious, healthy and vegetarian. Deep-fried tempeh and tofu, boiled water spinach, potatoes, raw cucumber, hard-boiled eggs, and bean sprouts could be found on your plate. But there is no rule here and so you will have to be surprised.


Rice Cake Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce fans can grab this dish too. Fried tofu, lontong (steamed rice cake), bean sprouts and glass noodles are mixed together on a plate and covered with a delicious peanut sauce, as we know and love from Gado Gado.

Tempe Orek

Crispy hot tempeh

The vegetarian's best friend in Indonesia is certainly tempeh. Due to the high protein content, fermented soybeans are an ideal meat substitute and are therefore becoming more and more popular in Europe.

At Tempe Orek, the fermented soybean cake is cut into very small pieces, fried and then turned in a sweet and spicy sauce. You can find Tempe Orek in most Nasi-Campur-Warungs, draped in the shop windows between many other Indonesian delicacies.

Tempe Penyet

Fried tempeh on spicy sambal

Those who like it spicy will love this dish. The deep-fried tempeh is pressed into fiery sambal and served with rice and raw vegetables such as cucumber, cabbage and kemangi (local basil).

You can find it in most warungs marked “Lalapan”. This means something like fresh vegetables and fried chicken, fish and tempeh are served here with rice, sambal and vegetables as a side dish.


Various chilli dips

For Indonesians: the food inside has to be spicy, otherwise you look into disappointed faces. The remedy here is sambal, a chilli sauce that is available in a wide variety of versions.

The tomato-based Sambal Tomat goes well with almost any dish. Sambal Matah has its origins in Bali and is not a sauce in itself, but consists of chopped shallots, chilies and lemongrass, which are refined with a few splashes of lime juice and coconut oil.

Remember: Shrimp paste (Indonesian = terasi) is often used to prepare the various sambals.

Perkedel Kentang

Indonesian potato pancakes

Less exotic, but still an asset to your Indonesian plate: the potato pancakes are the right choice, especially for those who do not like it that spicy. You can find Perkedel Kentang in almost every “Warung Padang”.

Nasi Goreng & Mie Goreng

Fried Rice & Fried Noodles

You don't have to go without the Indonesian classics as a vegetarian either, because fried rice (Nasi Goreng) and fried noodles (Mie Goreng) are also available as vegetarian versions. Order your Nasi or Mie Goreng simply "tanpa daging dan ayam" (= without meat and chicken) "or simply" vegetarian ".

Martabak Telur

Filled dumplings

The filled dumplings called Martabak Telur are available in different variations, e.g. B. with chicken, beef or lamb.

For you as a vegetarian: the mushroom version is particularly suitable: Martabak Telur Jamur. Martabak Telur is not sold until late in the evening on the roadside.

Gulai Nangka

Jackfruit Curry

With so many vitamins and nutrients, it's no wonder jackfruit is considered a superfood. Especially with vegetarians: inside the jackfruit is becoming more and more popular, as the huge fruit, cooked in its unripe form, takes on a meat-like consistency and can therefore replace many meat dishes.

In Indonesia you can find jackfruit (Indonesian = nangka) mostly in curries. The unripe fruit is used in the preparation. The ripe jackfruit is softer and very sweet, so it is more likely to be found in desserts.

Lontong Sayur

Vegetable stew

Lontong Sayur is also a vegetarian vitamin bomb. Various vegetables, such as Corn on the cob, green beans and chayotes are cooked in coconut milk and served with lontong, a soft rice cake that is steamed in banana leaves. In Indonesia, this dish is particularly popular as a breakfast.

Kare Tahu

Curry with tofu

As a vegetarian: in Indonesia you don't have to go without a spicy, hot curry. In restaurants, kare tahu (tofu curry) is offered as a whole dish, but Indonesians prefer their curry as a side dish, with rice and other delicacies from the Nasi-Campur shop window.

Telor & Terong Balado

Spicy eggplants with fried eggs

Balado is a red, fiery-hot sauce in which almost anything edible can be turned. For the vegetarian balado, fried eggplants or hard-boiled and then deep-fried eggs are used.

But watch out: this dish could start a fire in your throat.


Fried all sorts

Did you get hungry in between? Then Gorengan (translated fried food) will definitely help. Look out for small Gorengan street stalls.

These are filled with fried bananas, tempeh, tofu, sweet potatoes and more. There is hardly anything in Indonesia that cannot be fried.

You also get a handful of small, green chilies with your Gorengan snack. What should you do with them? Just take turns taking a bite: Gorengan. Chili. Gorengan. Chili.

Bakwan hunt

Indonesian corn fritters

Bakwan Jagung, also known as Perkedel Jagung, can also be found in the Gorengan showcases. If you would rather have the corn donuts as a side dish to rice, then the next Warung Nasi Campur will certainly help you.

Rendang Pete

Stink Bean Stew

The traditional variant is rendang sapi (rendang with beef). In 2011, Rendang Sapi was even named the tastiest dish in the world by CNN.

A long list of different spices make up the ingredients for the sauce, which is then braised with coconut milk for hours.

It would only be a shame if, as a vegetarian, you had to do without this taste explosion in your mouth. Rendang Pete is the ideal vegetarian version. Pete is a bean-like vegetable affectionately called stink bean. But don't let that put you off and give it a try!

The best recipes

Does your mouth water while reading? Then just cook the delicacies at home! In the Indojunkie recipe book you will find most of these dishes with simple step-by-step instructions.

So you can bring a piece of Indonesia into your own kitchen and the time until your next trip to Indonesia is guaranteed to be easier.

In this sense: Selamat masak & Selamat makan (Happy Cooking & Bon appetit).

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About the author

Sanita flew to Bali for the first time in 2013. The original plan was to spend only 6 months on the island. But the plans have changed and she has now been living on the Indonesian island for over 7 years. Together with her husband Simon she runs the agency Traumreise Bali, where Sanita is responsible for the organization and implementation of weddings and honeymoons and Simon captures the special moments of the newlyweds in pictures. At the beginning of 2021, she and Indojunkie created the cookbook with 38 Indonesian recipes.

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