Every year Muslims all around the world celebrate one of their biggest and most important holidays known as Eid Al Fitr. The celebration of Eid Al Fitr varies from country to country. In Indonesia, Eid Al Fitr is known as “Lebaran” which is a mixed of Indonesian local culture and Islamic tradition, thus making it a very unique tradition. In the calendar, the holiday officially lasts for two days, but usually lasts to a week or more. For Indonesian Muslims, Lebaran is the most awaited holiday in Indonesia, as it is a perfect moment to visit their families and spend quality time with them. Lebaran is also the time of the year for a big exodus of Indonesian workers in big cities to return to their hometown.
The holy month of Ramadhan is a sacred yet very challenging month. During this time, Muslims are obligated to abstain from drinking, eating, and other sensual pleasures from dawn to sunset. Fasting can be a difficult experience because the temptations usually become even stronger, particularly in countries with hot weather. A spoon of rice and a gulp of water can taste like heaven. Therefore, Ramadan month is a time for people to learn and cleanse spiritual and physical health.
With that being said, the long awaited Lebaran will not be complete without delicious cuisines. A day before Lebaran Day 1, people will cook abundance and various Lebaran dishes such as Ketupat, Opor Ayam, Rendang, Semur Daging, Goreng Ati, Sayur Lodeh, and many more.
You can never go wrong with Ketupat. Ketupat is Indonesian rice cake filled inside a diamond-shaped woven young coconut leaves casing. Ketupat is the replacement of the regular steamed rice. It is served with various main dishes such rendang, opor ayam, goreng ati, etc. According to local story, Ketupat or Kupat originates from Javanese language means “ngaku lepat” or admitting one’s mistake. The woven palm leaves reflected the mistakes committed by human beings, and the white rice cake means as purity from sins after completing the Ramadan prayers and rituals. You will find Ketupat in almost all Muslim Indonesians’ house during Lebaran holiday.
Lebaran can also mean “meat festival” because meat will always be served. If you go to supermarket or traditional market days before Lebaran, you will see that the meat section is packed up with people. All-time favorite main dishes would be beef rendang, semur daging, and sambal goreng ati. If you are a big fan of spicy foods, seef rendang is a good choice for you. Beef rendang is a slow-cooked beef in a chilli, lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, coconut sauce, and other spices. It is originated from the Minangkabau group in West Sumatera, Indonesia. Interestingly, Beef rendang can last up to four weeks if it is cooked properly.
If you are craving for sweet and tasty food, semur daging is your pick. semur daging is a stewed beef dish cooked in thick brown gravy. semur daging has a strong flavor because it uses main ingredients such as garlic, onion, kecap manis or sweet soy sauce (you can never miss this one!), ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and pepper. People sometimes also cook it with potatoes and boiled eggs. When semur daging is cooked, you can sprinkle dried shallots on top of it, and it will definitely kick your tastebud.
Lebaran will not be complete without the mouth-watering sambal goreng ati. It is made of liver beef liver with chili sauce. Some people may not like liver-dish, but sambal goreng ati might be the exception. Sambal goreng ati is cooked with spices sauce paste which consists of coconut milk, chili, shallots, garlic, and tamarin. The liver is cut into pieces before being cooked in boiling water. Then once it drains, we fry it on the frying pan and pour the delicious sauce paste. People usually cook it with potatoes or petai to make it even tastier.
All in all, nothing can replace the combination of great foods and great quality time with family, right? If you happen to come to Indonesia during Lebaran holiday, don’t miss out the opportunity to taste these incredible delicacies.
By Nishrin Azzely QOWAMUNA, ASEAN Correspondent from Indonesia