Long after colonial occupiers have left their subjects as independent states, their influences continue to surface as part of colloquial life. Such has been the relationship between Indonesia and its previous occupants- the Dutch. Banjar Chicken Steak is as easy as they come, also as succulent. I had a long argument with my mother over this recipe, in disbelief that an Indonesian recipe could possibly include Tomato Ketchup?! She was proven right though, since the Dutch introduced the condiment to Indonesia a long while back. Banjarmasin, for which this steak is named, is a small town where my mother grew up on the island of Kalimantan, also known as Borneo. Many of Indonesia’s most famous dishes have originated from this area, where long ago a great amalgamation of Chinese, Dutch and Indonesians co-existed. One can only imagine the fabulous delicacies that were created between the three peoples.

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2 lbs, 1 kg)
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
2 large white/yellow onions, chopped into thick rings
For the Sauce
1 cup tomato ketchup (250 ml)
3/4 cup sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis) (185 ml)
1/2 teaspoon salt


Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides evenly with salt and nutmeg. In a non-stick skillet, melt the butter on medium high heat. Pan-fry the chicken breasts in the butter for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side until golden brown.

While the chicken is cooking, in a separate small pot, place all the ingredients for the sauce on high heat and bring to a vigorous simmer while stirring. Immediately take off the heat. Set aside.

Once the chicken is done, immediately arrange on a serving plate. In the same skillet that the chicken was cooked in, sauté the onion rings on high heat in the remaining bits of butter from the chicken. If the skillet is too dry, simply add a few tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Allow the onion rings to caramelize for 1 minute or so, on each side. Place onion rings on top of the chicken steaks. Glaze with the sauce and serve immediately.