Kecap Manis

1 22-ounce bottle light Chinese soy sauce
4 salam leaves or 8 curry leaves (salam leaves are hard to find, Peterson says they're a kind of tropical bay leaf)
a 1/4-inch slice of galangal, chopped
4 star anise, crushed
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 cups granulated or palm sugar


In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the sugar. Cook the sugar over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan. Stir constantly until the sugar has completely melted and turns to a light caramel. Add the ingredients in the mixing bowl to the sugar, which will most likely seize up at this point, fear not it will melt again. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain. Store in a bottle in the refrigerator for at least a year.

-Splendid Soups, James Peterson