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TUMPENG – nasi kuning for Thanksgiving

Traditionally, the Turkey may be the center of the Thanksgiving table. But if you want to serve an alternative holiday meal with an Indo twist, I can recommend nasi kuning or tumpeng.

This fragrant rice dish is made with coconut milk and ground turmeric, which gives it its yellow tint. The rice is often served cone-shaped on a at wicker basket covered with a banana leaf, surrounded by a variety of dry dishes. A platter such as this, also known as Tumpeng, is often served (in accordance with traditional Javanese custom) at special, ceremonial occasions, called a selamatan. The selamatan is an occurrence of religious or social importance, such as a birth, wedding, new home, the day of a funeral, and the fortieth day after a death. It is a ceremony of giving thanks and to ask for the blessings and favors of the gods. Selamatan is celebrated with family and friends. When this dish is prepared without ground turmeric, it is called nasi gurih.

This dish is usually prepared for a celebration meal, where many people are served at a time.

Look for the recipe on page 74 of my new cookbook Indo Dutch Kitchen Secrets. Order here.