This is a recipe to go along with one of my Taste & Create entries this month, Curried Tilapia with Coconut Rice, which calls for Kecap Manis.
First, I had to figure out what Kecap Manis is...besides an Indonesian sweet soy sauce. I couldn't find it at the store (I don't think anyone is surprised by this), so I decided to hunt for a recipe. I found a recipe at Gourmet Sleuth spelled Ketjap Manis, but of course I changed it. I decided to use jaggery instead of sugar, and the only lemongrass I could find was in a tube. Luckily it stores "indefinitely" in the refrigerator because I only need a couple tablespoons for the fish!
Here's the recipe, adapted from Gourmet Sleuth.
Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
3/4 cup jaggery
1 cup Tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon minced lemon grass
1 clove garlic, minced
1 star anise
Caramelize jaggery in a heavy pot.**
Gradually stir in the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cool and strain through cheesecloth. I couldn't find my cheesecloth, so I just used the finest sieve I have, and funneled it into an old soy sauce bottle. It will store in the fridge indefinitely!
**This is a weird process, jaggery doesn't caramelize like granulated sugar does...it will melt on the underside, but the top doesn't become shiny. When it was mostly caramelized, I stirred it (a huge no-no in the sugar world, I know). Then I added the liquids--not gradually enough, I might add. The jaggery hardened up immediately. I boiled/simmered longer than 10 minutes to try to incorporate the jaggery.*