Kecap manis is one of the quintessential ingredients in Indonesian cuisines. It’s highly versatile but it can be difficult to find sometimes. Now you can make your own homemade kecap manis at home.
What is kecap manis?
Kecap means soy sauce and manis means sweet in the Indonesian language. So kecap manis means sweet soy sauce. Kecap manis has a thick consistency and is sweet in taste. Kecap manis is one of the most popular condiments in Indonesia, even more than the regular light soy sauce (the savory version). Kecap manis is being used in cooking mainly to add sweetness, to add deeper color, as a dipping sauce, as a marinade, etc. It accompanies pretty much a lot of Indonesian dishes. So, it’s a quintessential ingredient! If you cook a lot of Indonesian dishes, it’s hard not to have kecap manis on hand.
Our favorite commercial kecap manis
Nobody really makes his own kecap manis in Indonesia. It’s a very common condiment and it’s available anywhere from the street market to supermarkets (grocery stores). The two brands of kecap manis that my mom always buys are kecap manis ABC and kecap manis Bango. (not sponsored by any brands). Bango brand is our number one favorite and also by many locals.
What is kecap manis made of
Looking at the bottle of kecap manis Bango that my mom brought from Indonesia the ingredients listed are: Sugar, water,salt, and black soy beans. If you look at the bottle of kecap manis Bango that is sold here in the U.S. the ingredients actually is more specific: Palm sugar, water, fermented soybeans, wheat, salt, sodium benzoate. The latter is more detailed compared to the local labeling.
Ingredients for this easy homemade kecap manis
1. Palm sugar
Palm sugar or gula Jawa is another quintessential ingredient in Indonesian cuisine. This can only be found at specific Asian grocery store that carries many Indonesian or Malaysian ingredients. You can also substitute with coconut sugar, which is more common nowadays and I can easily get this from the major grocery stores like Walmart (not sponsored)
2. Soy sauce
Use your favorite soy sauce. I like Kikkoman soy sauce and so that’s what I use
3. Star anise
Kecap manis has that hint of molasses when I take a whiff. So adding it will give it that hint that I really like in kecap manis
How to make easy kecap manis at home
1. Put all ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan. It’s important to use a heavy-bottom one so that the sugar doesn’t get burnt easily
2. Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat to let it gently simmer for about 15 minutes. The mixture may still seem thin, but this will thicken up considerably as it cools down. If you cook until it’s really thick, then by the time it cools down it will be too thick
3. We want a thick but can be drizzled consistency after it has cooled down completely
4. Let it cool down completely
5. Use a strainer to transfer kecap manis to a glass jar. Discard the solids. Secure with a tight-fitting lid and it can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months for the best quality.
6. Due to the sugar content, you don’t have to worry about kecap manis goes bad because the sugar also acts as a preservative here. Just make sure you use a clean spoon each time you get some kecap manis to prevent contamination
Recipe ideas that use kecap manis
Sate ayam kecap
Sate ayam bumbu kacang
Tahu and tempe bacem
Mie rebus Medan
Ayam panggang bumbu kecap
Sambal kecap pedas
Semur daging kecap
Semur ayam kecap
Tahu goreng kecap
Ayam goreng mentega
Indonesian mie goreng
Super Easy Kecap Manis Glazed Pan-Seared Salmon
Lalapan Ayam Bakar (Sundanese Salad with Grilled Chicken)
Batagor (Fried Dumplings with Peanut Sauce)
Soto ayam Medan
Did you make this easy homemade kecap manis recipe?
I love it when you guys snap a photo and tag to show me what you’ve made 🙂 Simply tag me @WhatToCookToday #WhatToCookToday on Instagram and I’ll be sure to stop by and take a peek for real!
How To Make Homemade Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
- 200 gr soy sauce
- 300 gr coconut sugar/ palm sugar see notes
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 2 cloves
- 2 cloves garlic or 2 tsp of garlic powder
- 20 gr molasses
- Put all ingredients in a heavy-bottom saucepan. It's important to use a heavy-bottom one so that the sugar doesn't get burnt easily
- Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat to let it gently simmer for about 15 minutes. The mixture may still seem thin, but this will thicken up considerably as it cools down. If you cook until it's really thick, then by the time it cools down it will be too thick. We want a thick but can be drizzled consistency
- Let it cool down completely
- Use a strainer to transfer kecap manis to a glass jar. Discard the solids. Secure with a tight-fitting lid and it can be stored at room temperature for up to 6 months for the best quality. Due to the sugar content, you don't have to worry about kecap manis goes bad because the sugar also acts as a preservative here. Just make sure you use a clean spoon each time you get some kecap manis to prevent contamination
- Of course you can also keep them in the fridge. They can be kept in the fridge for months and months, or even years