Stuck in a recipe that calls for this syrupy sauce? This is the quick version of How To Make Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce), also called ketjap manis.
There are a wide variety of additions to this sauce! Everything from ginger, garlic, crushed red pepper, star anise...and the list goes on.
This recipe is a very quick version, meant to be used in recipes that call for kecap manis to save you a trip to the grocery store (if you have a good Asian market nearby that is) or from buying specialty ingredients online.
Having this recipe on hand has saved us the frustration of knowing that we were missing something particular in a recipe. Something like a certain flavor that a few dishes at Panda Express are known for or other Asian recipes.
Now, about this sweet soy sauce and why you have to have it!
Kecap is a catch-all term for the five core fermented sauces of Indonesia, and manis is 'sweet'.
So kecap manis translates to 'sweet sauce'. That would explain why it is believed to be Indonesia's most popular sauce.
What is kecap manis? If you think it sounds a bit like our household staple ketchup, you're right. It is indeed a distant relative to the fish-based sauce that was the origin of today's ketchup.
It is, basically, a sweetened and reduced soy sauce.
Ready to make something super tasty?!
How to Make Kecap Manis at Home
For our super easy version, you will need equal parts soy sauce and light brown sugar. We do recommend reduced sodium (lite) soy sauce.
Now for the brown sugar portion...you can also use molasses and dark brown sugar.
However, if you happen to have palm sugar on hand it would be closer to a true kecap manis sauce.
Using 1 ⅓ cup each of soy sauce and brown sugar will yield about 1 cup of the kecap manis after it has been reduced. I find this to be the perfect amount for 2-4 dishes over a week or two.
Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a small saucepan over medium high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar while bringing to a low boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently while boiling to prevent over-boiling. The sauce needs to thicken enough that it clings to a spoon when drizzled back into the pan, but not too viscous yet as it will continue to thicken while cooling.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Stored in an airtight container and kept refrigerated, the kecap manis sweet soy sauce will keep for up to two weeks.
Enjoy! (we do have more related recipes coming soon, so check back soon! they are posted above the printable recipe card)
Recipes That Use Kecap Manis (more coming soon):
How To Make Kecap Manis (Indonesian Sweet Soy Sauce)
- 1 ⅓ cup palm sugar (brown sugar or molasses can be used instead)
- 1 ⅓ cup soy sauce (reduced sodium soy sauce is best)
- Combine ingredients in a small sauce pan and stir to dissolve the sugar while you bring the sauce to a low boil over medium high heat.
- Once you reach a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid becomes syrupy (viscous) about 10-15 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent over-boiling.
- The sauce is done when it clings to your spoon when drizzled back into the sauce pan.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely (the sauce will continue to thicken while cooling). Store in airtight container. Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!