This time, "Cuisine of the World" features cuisine from Indonesia. Indonesia is both the power with the largest population in the ASEAN region, and home to the world's largest number of followers of Islam. Today, its capital, Jakarta, is experiencing rapid economic growth, but when Masaki Fukuda was sent to his new post there in 2003, it was a time when the Indonesian economy was just gradually beginning to recover from the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997.
"The people of Indonesia are very easy-going and easy to get along with. Their way of thinking is that ‘everyone is part of the same big family.' For example, it is certainly not unusual for as many as a thousand people to gather together for a wedding ceremony," recalls Mr. Fukuda. "On the other hand, perhaps due to a national characteristic that stems from living on islands of perpetual summer, there are lots of laid back people who work by rule of thumb rather than deadlines in Indonesia, and when you point out that delays are occurring at work, they often respond with a smile and say ‘Tidak apa apa! (No problem!).'" One of Mr. Fukuda's important tasks was to conduct strict process control, while at the same time getting people back on schedule without hurting their pride.
"Before Ramadan (the major Islamic festival and month of fasting) or Lebaran (a major festival which is like the Japanese New Year and Obon festivals coming together), the local people are being quite distracted and their heart is not in their work. It is important to give sufficient consideration to the Islamic calendar when planning the annual schedule."
On the other hand, Mrs. Fukuda was completely enraptured with the country: "I want to live there in my old age!" she says. The cheerful and friendly Indonesian people welcomed the Fukudas warmly. "Our son was born during our posting in Indonesia, and the local people treated him very kindly and affectionately as he was growing up. It was a great environment for bringing up a child."
"Nasi Goreng" was the dish that the Fukudas always ordered when they went to play golf at the nearby golf course. "Soto ayam" is a light chicken soup which Mrs. Fukuda loved. She says she even requested it for their final meal in Indonesia before leaving to go back to Japan. The sweet and spicy flavor of "Nasi Goreng" and the mild, homely flavor of the "Soto ayam" bring flooding back their memories of their days of overcoming with a smile the inconveniences of life in an unfamiliar environment and culture.
"Indonesia has a laid-back atmosphere perhaps due to its climate, but as a country, it still has a huge hidden potential power for growth and development in the future. I am sure that the experience of being posted in Indonesia at that time of overflowing vigor as the economy was recovering was a very valuable experience in making me who I am today."
Indonesia has the 4th largest population in the world, at 240 million people, and it is maintaining a trend of robust economic growth based on its dynamic domestic demand and rapidly increasing its presence in the world by acting as the driver to the economies of the ASEAN countries.
Since opening its Jakarta office in 1972, Marubeni has been operating a wide range of businesses in Indonesia in the fields of lifestyle-related products, chemicals, metals, food trading, infrastructure such as power generation plants and transport systems, as well as tree plantation, pulp production, and power generation businesses, etc.
*This recipe has been arranged so that it is possible to make it in a family home environment.
|Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)||1/3 bunch|
|Red bell pepper||1/2|
|Warm boiled rice||600g|
|Salad oil||4 tablespoons|
|Sambal (*1)||3 tablespoons|
|Salt and pepper||as required.|
*1: If you do not use Sambal, mix together in advance 1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup, and 1 tablespoon of chili sauce and use this instead (adjust the amounts according to your preferences).
*2: This is a seasoning made by pickling shrimp with salt, fermenting and turning it into a paste. It has a distinctive strong aroma and delicious flavor, which changes into a savory aroma upon heating. It can primarily be found on the Internet etc., and at stores specializing in imported foods.
Step 1: Cut up the komatsuna, cabbage and red bell pepper into bite sizes. Parboil the chicken and break it up into smaller pieces.
Step 2: Put the 2 tablespoons of oil into a heated frying pan and fry an egg. The yolk should be cooked so as to be slightly runny, and when it is ready, put it on a plate.
Step 3: Add 2 more tablespoons of oil to the frying pan and stir fry the rice, adding in the Sambal and mixing well. Then add the chicken, cabbage and red bell peppers and stir fry it all together.
Step 4: Season with salt and pepper, add the komatsuna and stir fry it up again briefly. Dish out onto a plate and place the fried egg from Step 2 on top. We recommend that you break the yolk and mix it in with the other ingredients as you eat it.
From: “Shareholder’s guide Marubeni,” Vol.111 (published in December 2011)