Sweet soy sauce or kecap manis (KEH-chahp MAH-neece) is a key Indonesian flavoring. It tastes a bit like a cross between soy sauce and molasses - both sweet and salty, with a thick consistency like maple syrup. If Indonesian TV commercials are to be believed, your reputation as a woman and the happiness of your family life depend on the brand of kecap manis you use. I'm obviously taking a big risk by buying generic.
Sweet soy sauce lends its darkness and sweetness to Indonesian fried rice (nasi goreng) and various noodle dishes. If you happen to find some in an Asian store - we used to buy it in Bloomington - you can mix up a quick dipping sauce called sambal kecap as follows:
- 5 red chilies, such as bird's-eye, sliced
- 4 small shallots, peeled and sliced
- 4 Tbs. sweet soy sauce
- 1 tsp. lime juice