Friday 25 May 2018

Ketjap Manis

I am a huge fan of Westernized oriental cuisine.  I say Westernized because I have never had any other kind.  I have never travelled in the orient or any further West than the border of British Columbia in Canada, or any further East than the Austian Tyrol.  So you see . . .  no Eastern experience at all.  My sum experience of Oriental cuisine amounts to the dishes you might find on an all-you-can-eat buffet service at any Western Chinese restaurant. 

I did go to a Korean restaurant once, in Toronto, and I quite liked what I had there, although it was quite spicy and I do like Kimchee. 

I often make my own Chinese/Indonesian dishes at home, in the main being stir fries and fried rice. We are lovers of both of those.  I do admit to having a real fondness for sweet and sour dishes and egg/spring rolls also.  A very rare treat. 

And don't get me started on Beef and Broccoli.  That has to be my all-time favourite chinese dish.  All. Time.

When we were living down South here in the UK, I got turned onto Ketjap Manis.  I picked up a bottle in the oriental foods section of our local Waitrose down there and it was love at first taste!

This was the kind I bought.  I was actually taking a chance when I bought it.  I have always loved exploring grocery shops and it was an ingredient I had never used before, so I bought it to try. Like I said . . .  LOVE AT FIRST TASTE!  

Ketjap Manis is a sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce and quite addictive really.  I found myself putting it in everything Chinese and loving that unique sweet salty flavour it imparted.  It can also have a bit of a spicey heat, depending on how much chillies you add, or ginger . . .  I like to be a bit judicious myself.

I was using it in my fried rice, my stir fries . . .  on spare ribs, etc. Like I said, love at first taste.  I was so disappointed when I ran out and then couldn't find it anymore.  We had moved of course, and I didn't have a Waitrose where we live. We do now, but its almost all the way across the city and, although Todd loves me very much, he won't be driving across the city for any ingredient when it comes to cooking.   

What can I say.  He is so NOT a foodie. He only eats when he gets hungry (Kudos to him) and he never gets hungry and wouldn't eat at all if I didn't remind him that he needs to.  DUH.  (How I wish!)  

Anyways, I now make my own Ketjap Manis.  I found a few recipes online and adapted them to my own use and taste.  I am not sure how authentic it is, but I do know how delicious it is. Its so simple to make really. I am betting you have everything you need in your kitchen to make it right now!  

*Ketjap Manis*
Makes about 2/3 cup


Ketjap Manis is a  thick sweet Indonesian soy sauce, with a bit of a kick, that is used a lot in Indonesian cooking.  I love the stuff, but have always had a hard time finding it in the shops. Its really easy to make your own however.  You will find that you reach for this again and again. Its a really useful store cupboard ingredient to have on hand!  

240ml dark soy sauce (1 cup)
6 TBS soft light brown sugar
6 TBS molasses
large pinch red chili flakes
1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 inch of fresh ginger, finely grated
You will also need some water,
amount depending on how thick you want your ketjap manis 

Put the soy sauce, brown sugar, molasses, red chili flakes, garlic and ginger into a sauce pan.  Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce to a very low simmer.  Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until nicely thickened. (It will thicken more upon cooling.) Whisk in water 1 tsp at a time until you get a thick drizzle syrup, about the consistency of golden syrup.  Strain through a seive to take out any bits.  Discard the bits and store the syrup in an airtight jar, in a dark cool place. 

I really hope that you will make this. I think you will find yourself using it for all sorts and, like me, you may even find it quite, quite addictive!  Bon Appetit!


  1. I am soy making this:) Thank you!!!Had never heard of it!!

  2. I don't know where my comment went:(
    I said I am so making this:)
    LOL I did..
    the house smells divine:) LOL it's a hot one today..and I don't mind this aroma at all..

    reminds me of hoisin a bit?
    My sauce didn't thicken up a lot but it's still warm..I only added a smidge of watre..not even:) Anxious to try but tonight is Italian;) Thank you!My kind of taste.

    1. It thickens as it cools. I didn't add any water to my last batch at all. I think it depends on the soy sauce you use. Some is thicker than others to begin with. I love this stuff! xo

  3. This looks good - I'll have to give it a try now that stir fry season is here with locally grown produce becoming available. I love that you also go treasure hunting in grocery stores! My goal is to try something new with each major shopping trip.

    1. Yes, its very seasonal now that the temperatures are warming up and we are looking more towards stir fries and the like! You can also make a marinade with it for meat, fish and poultry for grilling! I love your goals! I am much the same! xo


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