Tuesday, February 18, 2014



This is a common traditional  food color  in Indonesia.
So many traditional foods have yellow color.
The main food coloring is made from kunyit (Curcuma longa syn Curcuma domestica).

Old kunyit rhizome
It's well known as tumeric.
In Central Java it's called kunir.
We use Curcuma rhizome fresh or dried.
It give a bright yellow color in our food.

Fresh kunyit and old kunyit as a seedling
Kunyit usually use in so many medical purpose. Its use as a coloring agent.
Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy  smell.
Curcumin has been a centre of attraction for potential treatment on so many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, allergies, arthritis and other chronic illnesses.

Kunyit is mostly used in savory dishes.
Most kunyit that is used in the form of fresh rhizome or powder. 
There are so many traditional foods in yellow.

Spices for 'Tempe Kemul'
Actually yellow color is just a 'bonus'.
The main purpose we use kunyit is as 'bumbu' (spice/seasoning)The most popular is 'nasi kuning' or yellow rice.

Nasi kuning for my daughters birthday

Nasi kuning for my husbands birthday

Nasi kuning for my sons birthday
 Nasi kuning is a main food that must in any events (ceremony) such as inauguration, birth, wedding, birthday, and other. 
I always make it in every my family members birthdays. 

Lunch box for Independence Day Celebration
And the other, our favorite  'yellow food' is 'Tempe kemul'.
This snack is an typical food from my home town, Wonosobo.

Tempe Kemul
Do you have traditional 'yellow food' or favorite food in yellow? 


  1. In our country we do not colour our food, we do have coloured vegetables like the green leaves of various vegetables, carrots are orange and tomatoes, paprikas and beetroots are red. But no yellow, fluorescent green and pink as in your country. Years ago when I was on an agricultural study trip in Indonesia I was amazed about the brightly coloured food and a bit worried to eat, but it was delicious. Very interesting to learn how you colour food.

    1. I only use natural ingredients to make our food. To get colorful food is not our first goal, but we use it to increase the taste, as seasoning, it's the same with spices and herbs, isn't it?

  2. Kunyit, the most widely used colourings in south east asia......

  3. We use turmeric in our yellow mustard that is put on hot dogs and hamburgers. Cumin is used in chili which is a Texas/Mexican beef and chili pepper dish(I like beans in ours but some say it is wrong, big debate). I think these might be in the curry powder that I use with chicken.

    1. Yes, we have different culture. Kunyit is the main spice in our traditional foods. We use fresh kunyit for our curries

  4. Those birthday dishes look fabulous, I wouldn't mind trying those.

  5. Looks yummy!! I love all your post and to learn of your beautiful country.

  6. I've never seen a fresh root before. Mine is dried & powdered in a little glass jar from the supermarket.

    1. The taste of fresh and dried kunyit have a little bit different. I only need a little amount of fresh rhizome to get a great taste and color. I grow kunyit in my raised bed for daily use.

  7. Wow
    Endah, your food looks beautiful.
    I slink leaks at the sight.
    Yours sincerely.

  8. Endah if you can eliminate the word verification in the settings?
    It is very disturbing to write comments.
    There are people which discourage to their writing.

    1. Thanks for your advice. I'm sorry that's annoying you.

  9. We use a lot of powdered turmeric here in the UK. I have never seen it for sale fresh, though I expect they might have it in certain areas where there is a large Indian population. My husband is half Indian so we have inherited a lot of wonderful family recipes which include turmeric. I have found some rhizomes to grow this year, though I'm not sure how well they will manage in our cold climate. Do you have any tips for getting them started? I have been placing them in sunny windowsills so far. Should they be drying out or should I keep them in water?

    As I have studied clothing, while I was at university I also used turmeric as a natural fabric dye when experimenting for one of my various eco projects. I found it gives such a lovely deep colour, compared to the more more luminous chemical dyes.

    1. Tumeric love part shady area. It only need low maintenance. The rhizhome have a dormant period during cold and dry weather. Warm and humid weather will break the dormantion. And the shoots will bear on the rhizome. Keep warm and humid. The mature rhizome ready to be harvested since seven months after planting. The best rhizome is harvested when all of the leaves become yellowing and dry. We usually save them on the room temperature. We covered it using newspaper and wrapped it with plastic bag, so it will keep fresh longer.

    2. Thank you!! This is really helpful, I will keep them warm just now and not expect much to happen now until the weather gets better here

    3. Thank you Rozie. I hope your tumeric will doing well.

  10. What a beautiful job you do with those celebration dishes .
    They look lovely.

    1. Thank you. That's our old tradition. And we love it.