To the western eye, Botok may appear to be strange in appearance, but in Central Java it is a common dish for the simpleton. Yet it is not at all simple to make. Fresh young coconut is grated and mixed together with chilli, preboiled "melinjo" leaves or 'Gnetum Gnemon" in Latin (explanation in previous post), tiny salted fish, "petai" or "Parkia Speciosa" which is a slightly bitter bean that has a distinct odor, as well as "lamtoro" also known as "petai Cina" which in latin is "Leucaena Glauca". The seeds that come from the pods can be eaten off the Lamtoro tree when they are young. When they are ripe, they can be dry roasted and used as a substitute for coffee and has a much stronger aroma or in this case pre boiled then mixed together the above ingredients. The fresh spices; garlic, shallots, "Terasi" or shrimp paste, chilli & salt is all ground fresh in a mortar and sauteed for a few minutes with galangal root & bay leaves before adding the mixture in. Once this is done, they are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed - this allows all the spices and different flavors to fully blend...the taste is unbelievable even my western friends love it. And it so happens to be my favorite dish from Central Java.
I realize a lot of these the ingredients for the dishes I post are hard to find in the west. I just want to introduce you to a really diversified range of food that comes from Indonesia other than the standard; Fried rice, fried noodles, sate, tempe goreng...for there's so much, much more...who knows...you may find yourself in this part of the world one day and try something different for a change.