Indian Vs. Indonesian Food: Which Cuisine Will You Choose For Your Next Meal?

Indonesian food has been influenced by many other cultures, including Indian cuisine.

So are Indonesian food and Indian food the same?

In this article, we will delve into this topic and figure out which cuisine will be best for your next meal.

Let’s get started!

What is special about Indian food?

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Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen
  • Flatiron Books
  • Hardcover Book
  • Sodha, Meera (Author)

India’s cuisine is one of the richest, most diverse, and complex in the world.

It has a long history with some dishes tracing back to thousands of years ago.

Indian cuisine varies from region to region, therefore, Indian food offers something for everyone: from vegetarian dishes such as Chana Masala to meaty options like Tandoori Chicken; or sweet desserts like Rasmalai and Gulab Jamun to deep-fried favorites like Bajji or Pakora.

Indian food is usually spicy because of the use of numerous spices, such as ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, curry powder, and chili peppers.

Not only provide a spicy kick but these condiments also offer an earthy aroma and flavor profile that can’t be found anywhere else.

Indian ingredients are diverse and different due to the geographic location of each region.

For example, fish and other kinds of seafood are mainly consumed in the coastal areas, pork and beef are forbidden in some places of Hindu and Muslim religions, or chicken and mutton are the most common meats throughout the country.

What is special about Indonesian food?

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Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lee, Lara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Indonesia is a large island country in Asia with its cuisine being influenced by many other cultures like Indian, Chinese, Thailand, and Dutch.

With over 17,000 islands in the country, Indonesian cuisine is a mixture of regional cultures and cuisines.

Indonesian food features different kinds of chili peppers, coconut milk, and rice.

There is also a large population of Hindus and Muslims in this country, therefore, pork and beef are rarely consumed in Indonesian cuisine.

Therefore, they mainly eat poultry like duck and chicken followed by veal and beef.

Indonesian inhabitants prefer stews and soups.

The spicy level can vary depending on personal preference, but typically spicy.

Some traditional and popular dishes in Indonesian cooking are nasi goreng (fried rice), sate ayam (chicken satay), bakmi goreng (fried noodles), or laksa laden with coconut milk.

What are the differences between Indian food and Indonesian food?

There are numerous differences between Indian food and Indonesian food that set one cuisine apart from the other.

Here are how Indian food differs from Indonesian dishes: 

Indian food is usually spicier than Indonesian food, which is sour and sweeter at the same time

Indonesian food has been strongly influenced by Indian cuisine, therefore, both Indian food and Indonesian food are spicy.

However, in terms of spiciness level, Indian food seems to be much hotter due to their use of various kinds of chili peppers.

Indonesian food, on the other hand, features sweet ingredients like coconut milk and sour agents like vinegar in their recipes.

Naan bread and rice are equally popular in Indian cuisine, while rice is a staple in Indonesian cooking

Another difference between Indonesian food and Indian food is that Indians serve their dishes with both naan bread or rice.

These are two staples in Indian cuisine because they are versatile and affordable.

On the other hand, Indonesians seem to eat more rice rather than flatbread.

Rice can be steamed or stir-fried in this country.

There are more vegan options in Indian cuisine than Indonesian cuisine

India is also well-known for its vegan meals.

The reason is there are many Hindu and Muslim people in this country and these religions have some diet restrictions, including forbidding consuming pork and beef.

So as a habit and tradition, Indians also tend to rarely consume meat ingredients throughout the country, even some people without any religion.

What are the similarities between Indian food and Indonesian food?

Indian food and Indonesian food are also similar in many ways despite some differences that are already mentioned in the previous section:

Indonesian food and Indian food use a lot of spices in their cooking

Both cuisines use a variety of spices in their cooking, that’s why their food tends to be more flavorful than other cuisines.

Some popular spices in Indonesian cuisine and Indian cuisine are cumin seeds, coriander, cilantro, turmeric, ginger, chili pepper, and curry powder.

Rice and stews are common in both cuisines

Another similarity between Indonesian food and Indian food is that people love eating rice with stew dishes like curries.

These dishes are not too watery or too dry, so they can act as a savory dish and soup at the same time.

There is no fixed recipe for a stew because they can combine different ingredients they like, including vegetables and/or meat or seafood.

Indian cuisine and Indonesian cuisine only use fresh ingredients

The last thing in common between Indian cuisine and Indonesian cuisine is their use of fresh ingredients.

All the cooking ingredients in these two countries are found in their homeland, in the local market.

This characteristic is in contrast to the popularity and importance of canned food in American cuisine.

Which one is better?

Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family KitchenCoconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen
Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family KitchenCoconut & Sambal: Recipes from my Indonesian Kitchen
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You might be wondering, which one is better?

The answer to this question will vary from person to person.

It all depends on what your taste buds like.

If Indian food sounds good, then go for it, but if Indonesian food makes more sense for your next dinner party, then by all means enjoy the flavors of Indonesia.

Hopefully, you can make an informed decision before picking up take-out tonight.

Which cuisine do you think should have its moment in the spotlight at your next gathering?

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