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
- 3⁄4 cup Japanese soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. molasses
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground laos (also known as galangal)
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 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.