Kecap Manis

  • Serves

    makes about 1 cup

  • Cook

    1 hour


Kecap manis is a spiced sweet soy condiment—said to be a precursor to ketchup—used frequently in Indonesian cooking. Though palm sugar is traditional, a mixture of brown sugar and molasses makes a fine, and more readily available, substitute.


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 34 cup Japanese soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. molasses
  • 12 tsp. ground laos (also known as galangal)
  • 12 tsp. ground coriander
  • 12 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


Step 1

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 200° on a candy thermometer, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, stir in soy sauce, molasses, laos, coriander, and pepper, and simmer until very thick and reduced by a third, about 40 minutes. Sauce will thicken even more as it cools.

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