There are countless ways to incorporate kecap manis into your regular recipe rotation. The Perfect Pantry explains that not only does molasses-like kecap manis contain salty soy and sweet sugar, it’s also perfumed with garlic and star anise, making it an excellent dipping sauce for meat, poultry, and seafood, and a flavor-booster for soups, stews, marinades, and stir fries. Fine Cooking suggests pairing the sauce with red meat, noodles, fish, vegetables, and fried rice.
Food52 recommends adding syrupy kecap manis to salty Japanese and Chinese dishes to balance the flavors. When your recipe calls for maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, or agave (all used to balance soy sauce’s saltiness), consider using kecap manis instead.
Want to make your own kecap manis? The Daring Gourmet explains that it’s just as easy as making a balsamic vinegar reduction — combine a handful of ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the sauce reduces, thickens, and caramelizes. Every kecap manis recipe has slight variations: The Food Takes Flight shares a simple kecap manis recipe that takes less than 20 minutes, involving soy sauce, brown sugar (or palm sugar), star anise, garlic, ginger, and black peppercorns. The Allrecipes version of kecap manis utilizes white sugar and curry leaves, while Food.com‘s quick and easy kecap manis recipe features dark brown sugar, molasses, ginger, and coriander.