Jun 19, 2010

Ketjap Manis

Ketjap Manis

Many of the Dutch dishes I cook at home involve Ketjap Manis (Kecap Manis)—a deep brown, real syrupy, Indonesian soy sauce. Much sweeter and more fragrant than regular soy sauce and used for so many things here from Dutch meatballs, sauces, gravy, marinades to stir-fries, baked rice, noodles and spring rolls. The list is virtually endless.

I cannot imagine my life or cooking without it. Growing up Ketjap was a major staple in our house—my mom and grandparents lived in Indonesia for years—but with this delicious sweet soy sauce not being an item you can buy all over the world, I was limited in the recipes I could post here. Until now.

The only thing I could do was try to come up with a homemade Ketjap version using ingredients that are readily available in most countries. Turned out to be so stupid simple that I feel plum silly for not doing this sooner.

It’ll take you all of 15 minutes to create the best condiment in this world!


1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp brown or palm sugar
1/4 red chili pepper
1 small garlic clove
fresh ginger (1” piece)

Optional: water


Here’s the ketjap I use. It’s Conimex, pretty much the brand most people in the Netherlands use.
Ketjap Manis

Finely mince the red chili pepper and garlic clove and transfer them to a sauce pan.
Ketjap Manis

Peel and grate a small (roughly 1 inch) piece of fresh ginger. I’m gonna be using a lot of ginger this week. Same goes for the garlic and chili pepper so you might want to stock up on those ingredients!
Ketjap Manis

Have a star anise lying around doing nothing particularly useful? Throw it in while the sauce boils and remove it after it cooled down.

Pour 1/2 a cup of regular soy sauce into the pan as well.
Ketjap Manis

And add 3 tbsp molasses.
Ketjap Manis

To bump up the sweetness I’ve added 3 tbsp brown sugar. Originally I should have done this with palm sugar but alas, I didn’t have any and this worked, too. Add a small pinch of salt, about 1/8 tsp.
Ketjap Manis

Breing the sauce to a boil and simmer, over low heat, for about 10 minutes.
Ketjap Manis

Until it has cooked down to a thick syrup.
Ketjap Manis

The syrup will thicken even more as it cools off. Add water (1 tsp at a time) and stir well until you have a thick yet liquid syrup.
Ketjap Manis

That’s it. It really couldn’t be any simpler. It’s not an exact one-on-one but I must say it comes pretty darn close!
Ketjap Manis

Ketjap Manis
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    3 tbsp molasses
    3 tbsp brown or palm sugar
    1/4 red chili pepper
    1 small garlic clove
    fresh ginger (1” piece)

    Optional: water
    Finely mince the red chili pepper and the garlic clove and transfer them to a sauce pan. Peel and grate a small (roughly 1 inch) piece of fresh ginger and add it to the pan as well. Pour 1/2 a cup of regular soy sauce in there along with 3 tbsp molasses, 3 tbsp brown or palm sugar and a pinch of salt.

    Breing the sauce to a boil and simmer, over low heat, for about 10 minutes, until it has been cooked down to a thick syrup. The syrup will thicken as it cools off. Add 1 tsp at a time and stir well until you have a thick yet liquid syrup.
Meal type: condiment
Servings: 2
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    1. 1

      In Malaysia we call soy sauce as Kicap Manis in Malay language. :)
      We have many version of Kicap Manis in the market but there’s none that I like best. We use soy sauce in many Chinese & Malay cooking.
      I am going to try this version pretty soon. Thanks.

      Che-Cheh on Jun 20, 2010 @ 12:21 pm Reply
    2. 2

      Yes I do to make something similar like your recipe. I don’t have the luxury of a local Appie Hein ;) I normally order mine one line from the Dutch shop for those who are looking to buy on line, here is the link: http://thedutchshop.com/index.php , but …. when I run out of my supply this comes as my back up.

      Arrisje on Jun 20, 2010 @ 12:33 pm Reply
    3. 3

      @ Che-Cheh:

      My favorite is by far Ketjap Manis, but if all else fails I’ll go for Ketjap Lemak!

      Always surprised about the many ways they write it. In the Netherlands we still use the old spelling Ketjap, but I’ve also seen it spelled as Kecap and now Kicap. Kinda funny :)

      Kay on Jun 20, 2010 @ 12:40 pm Reply
    4. 4

      I’ve never tried that sause before, but the recepie looks very nice :)

      Marie on Jun 20, 2010 @ 1:21 pm Reply
    5. 5

      Dank je wel! It’s tricky to find Ketjap Manis in the Western U.S.!

      Holly on Jun 20, 2010 @ 3:18 pm Reply
    6. 6

      Kecap manis is pretty easy to find in Canada.  In my province, one of the largest Canadian grocery chains carries an Indonesian brand (ABC).
      But, I’m pretty lucky to get “Bango” brand at one of Asian markets here.  Bango is the Indonesian favourite brands for kecap manis.
      The Indonesian spelling has changed since 1972 the word “tj” became “c”, “oe bcame u” such as sambal oelek we spell out sambal ulek.

      Pepy @Indonesia Eats on Jun 20, 2010 @ 4:37 pm Reply
    7. 7

      @ Holly:
      oriental ingredients available in Holland can be ordered at:
      http://www.reallydutch.com/NL/home.php?pagina=hometext                             (plus much more. like cheese, etc).
      If you want stuff produced in Indonesia, you may find it at:
      Selamat makan!

      Remo on Jun 20, 2010 @ 6:11 pm Reply
    8. 8


      Did you see those prices? That’s a total rip-off! They’re charging E1,60 for a 250 ml bottle of Ketjap (+ shipping fee) while a 500ml bottle costs E1,55 here. Crazy.

      Kay on Jun 20, 2010 @ 7:15 pm Reply
    9. 9

      Great job improvising so you can have the sauce anytime.  I like it with stir-fried rice and even more as a condiment to grilled/barbecued chicken.  It’s great!  Great job!

      Jean on Jun 20, 2010 @ 9:11 pm Reply
    10. 10

      I had no idea one could even make this condiment at home – fantastic!

      Su-Lin on Jun 20, 2010 @ 10:01 pm Reply
    11. 11

      I would not expect to pay a product in an on-line store the same as at AH. Convenience and availability have their price. Doing a google for “conimex ketjap manis” and examining all entries of the first page, I find “Really Dutch” quite competitive.

      Remo on Jun 20, 2010 @ 10:01 pm Reply
    12. 12


      I agree, it’s normal for them to bump the price, but at double the price it sounds more like a rip-off than convenience and availability to me.

      Kay on Jun 20, 2010 @ 10:57 pm Reply
    13. 13

      I think the resulting quantity is fairly large for my needs, can this be refrigerated or otherwise kept for later use?

      Dreamer on Jun 21, 2010 @ 9:08 am Reply
    14. 14


      It’s not that much. Because you reduce it it makes for about 4 to 5 tbsp ketjap. I used it all over the weekend and with this being the first time I made it myself, I have no idea how long can be kept.

      Kay on Jun 21, 2010 @ 9:12 am Reply
    15. 15

      I only discovered Ketjap Manis when I moved to Holland. And what a discovery it was. It is very tasty. Naturally, I would prefer the homemade version so thanks for this Kay!

      my little expat kitchen on Jun 21, 2010 @ 11:25 am Reply
    16. 16

      What do you put this sauce on? It looks wonderful and I’d love to try it!

      Heather on Jun 21, 2010 @ 5:48 pm Reply
    17. 17

      I can’t help but read that name as Ketchup Mayonnaise (where I live you pronounce it Man-aize) ^_^  looks interesting either way…

      JennieB! on Jun 22, 2010 @ 11:03 pm Reply
    18. 18

      Thank you very much. I’m an American who discovered Conimex ketjap manis in Amsterdam several years ago, but it’s almost unobtainable in the US. ABC is a common brand in many of the Asian grocers here, but I found it heavy, syrupy, and too sweet for my taste. I will save this recipe and try it.

      Mike on Aug 4, 2010 @ 12:53 am Reply
    19. 19

      oh nooo. i really shouldn’t have read this page…i love the other recipes in your blog but i really have to say something about this one…sorry! it’s just that, when i see something not indonesian being called indonesian, i feel like i have to say something about it… :D doesn’t mean people have to eat the authentic stuff all the time…just as long as they don’t call something ketjap when it’s not ketjap.
      the conimex stuff is horrible. good proper ketjap can be bought from the toko’s…ABC is a very good brand and readily available. thick, viscous and sweet, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

      Mel on Dec 5, 2010 @ 7:55 pm Reply
    20. 20

      > ABC is a very good brand and readily available
      Where? In lots of places, I’m sure, but Kay’s recipe is for people in those parts of the world where Indonesian staples are *NOT* readily available.
      About Conimex, YMMV. Personally I find their Sajoer Boontjes  very enjoyable (and I lived almost ten years in Indonesia)

      Remo on Dec 5, 2010 @ 8:42 pm Reply
    21. 21

      Oops, wrong reply: @Mel, not @Mike

      Remo on Dec 5, 2010 @ 8:45 pm Reply
    22. 22


      You’re right. I try to make recipes that people all over the world can create using basic ingredients. Ketjap is already near impossible to buy in the US, if not entirely impossible.

      ABC is even in the Netherlands, with our Dutch-Indonesian connection, incredibly hard to find. I noticed Mel is in the Netherlands so probably not aware that ABC would be hard to come by in the rest of the world.

      My mom lived there (Djokdjakarta) for 5+ years. Where did you live? I’m so envious of all the places you’ve traveled.

      I love making my boemboes myself, but grab the Conimex now and then. Must say they work for me :)

      Kay on Dec 5, 2010 @ 8:52 pm Reply
    23. 23

      @Remo and Kay:
      Yep, I know that Kecap ABC is not readily available everywhere…(Although they are in the places I’ve lived in – Australia, Singapore and some parts of the US – just have to find a reasonably good Asian grocery store) I was just mentioning it because I know Kay would be able to benefit from my advice about ABC since she lives in the Netherlands.
      Kay, you can find Kecap ABC in most toko’s in the Netherlands. I was just mentioning it so that you don’t have to put in the effort in making your own ketjap/kecap when you can buy a big bottle of the real stuff for 2 euros or less. It goes a long way, more than the Conimex version because it’s not as watery and has more taste.
      Remo, yeah I actually find the Sajoer Boontjes quite ok…The rest though, I can’t say the same about. And I’m Indonesian.

      Mel on Dec 6, 2010 @ 12:55 am Reply

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