When it comes to cooking Indonesian food, one does not immediatley think of Trader Joe’s. Before I show you what you can find there to cook Indonesian inspired dishes, let me share this with you; my favorite grocery store is Trader Joe’s. There, I said it! TJ’s wins it over all the bigger super markets, hands down. This popular supermarket chain, earned its reputation by being this small neighborhood grocery store, with a quirky culture and low-priced, unique food items from all over the world.
What once was a required and boring trip to the supermarket, has turned into something I actually look forward to. The excitement of picking up some of my favorite food stuffs and in the process finding new things, to me, makes it an adventure and a form of entertainment.
The store environment inside a Trader Joe’s is special. You will notice the friendly employees, dressed in Hawaiian shirts, who go out of their way to help you. The specials are advertised on big colorful hand-drawn signs and wooden displays. Trader Joe’s private-label products have playful packaging with cartoon mascots and creative graphics. On top of that, the products are also free of preservatives, artificial colors, flavors, trans fat and MSG. The store carries a large number of environmentally friendly items, so choosing packaging that isn’t harmful to the earth is essential. This information is important to today’s health-conscious consumer, and the store wisely focuses much of its branding on communicating the natural, organic quality of its goods. OK, besides a friendly customer experience there is also this reduced-guilt shopping as we all contribute to a better environment and healthy lifestyle.
INDONESIAN INSPIRED COOKING WITH TRADER JOE’S.
When it comes to Indonesian recipes, it’s not easy to source everything. These days you can find ‘sambal oelek’ nearly at every big super market. But I tell you, you don’t have to go to an Asian or Indonesian grocery store, to start cooking Indonesian inspired dishes. Recipes wil come soon. But first, let me share with you what products I found:
Organic Coconut Flakes. This can be used for savory and sweet dishes.
Fried Onion Pieces. Bawang Goreng in Indonesian. Used to sprinkle over dishes for an extra flavor and crunch.
Organic Coconut Palm Sugar aka Gula Jawa – Javanse sugar. Used boot in savory and sweet dishes.
Veggie Crisps. A substitute for Krupuk – shrimp crackers. It has similar texture and crunch. Nice to serve as snack with a chili sauce or with an entree.
Jasmine Rice is good for any Asian dish.
Crunchy Unsalted Peanut Butter. A good basis to make peanut sauce for any kind of dish, like Gado Gado or with Sate.
Organic Grain Tempeh. Tempeh is a traditional Javanese food made from fermented soybeans. A good alternative for meat.
Tofu Super Firm. This soybean food can be used a numerous dishes; fried, grilled and steamed.
Sriracha sauce is a chili sauce with roots in Southeast Thailand. It has similar ingredients as popular Indonesian chili condiments.
Soy Sauce – reduced sodium. Soy sauce is a flavor enhancer and can be used as a base to make Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce.
Whole Kernel Corn. Naturally sweet & crisp. The one dish that comes to mind is Corn Fritters – Perkedel Jagung.
Organic Coconut Milk. Often used in Indonesian curry dishes and also in desserts and drinks.
Green Jackfruit – in brine. This fruit has a meaty textue and used in Indonesian dishes like Gudeg – jackfruit stew dish from Yogya.
Chicken Spring Rolls. A great party treat or appetizer. In Indonesia they are called Lumpia.
Chicken Shu Mai. These dumplings are steamed and delicious. There is an Indonesian version. Recipe coming up.
Rambutan – this fruit is native to Indonesia and is known for its spiky skin. It tastes like a mix between a grape and a fresh date.
So, there you have it. Any Indonesian dish come to mind? These are just some of the products that can get you inspired and on your way. More to follow soon.
Please, check back for my first Indonesian inspired recipe with Trader Joe’s finds. Happy shopping and cooking!
This is an independent article not sponsored by or affiliated with Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s is a registered trademark of Trader Joe’s Company.