KitchenTigress: Sayur Lodeh (Vegetable Curry)

Sayur Lodeh (Vegetable Curry)

Sayur lodeh is an Indonesian curry made with vegetables. Cabbage is the main veggie used, along with some long beans, eggplants and beancurd. There're lots of spices and coconut milk in the curry, making it very aromatic. It also has good umami flavour from dried prawns.
In Singapore, sayur lodeh is quite popular. It usually has lontong (compressed rice cubes) added, turning it into a one-dish meal. Or it may be eaten with plain rice. Chinese vegetarians love the vegetarian version with stir-fried bee hoon.

Source: My mother
(Recipe for 6-8 persons)
Curry paste
10 dried chillies (10 g) – cut into small pieces with scissors, soak in warm water till soft (about 30 minutes), squeeze dry, discard water
120 g shallots (20 pieces)
50 g garlic (8 cloves)
10 g turmeric (½ thumb size)
20 g ginger (thumb size)
15 g galangal (¾ thumb size)
60 g red chillies (3 pieces)
10 g candlenuts (4 pieces)
4 kaffir lime leaves, remove veins
15 g belachan (1 tbsp), toast till stinky

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large lemongrass, soft part only, wash and crush
25 g dried prawns (3 tbsp)

550 g cabbage – trim; cut chunky, slicing middle veins if thick; wash; drain
150 g long beans – wash, trim, devein, cut 7 cm long
2 tbsp light soya sauce

6 pieces tau pok (beancurd puffs), cut each piece into 2
1 medium size carrot (150 g), peel, wash, and roll-cut chunky
4 sprigs curry leaves, rinse
330 ml undiluted coconut milk
1 medium size eggplant (250 g), wash, trim and roll-cut chunky
salt to taste, about ½ tsp

🌶️ The mix of main ingredients may be changed to suit your preference. Besides those listed above, other popular choices include fried beancurd, beancurd skin (deep-fried or soaked in hot water till soft), and bangkuang (yam bean).

1. Wash, peel and chop ingredients for curry paste as appropriate. Grind or pound till fine.

2. In a just smoking wok, heat vegetable oil till just smoking. Stir-fry lemongrass and dried prawns over medium heat till fragrant. Add curry paste and stir-fry till fragrant, drizzling with 1 tbsp water at a time when it scorches. (The oil doesn't separate because there isn't much.)

3. When curry paste smells good, add cabbage and long beans. Stir-fry till heated through and wok is hot again. Drizzle with light soya and stir till absorbed. Add enough water to cover half of vegetables. Scrape wok to deglaze. Push cabbage and long beans aside and place tau pok in the middle. Tuck carrots and curry leaves here and there, then add ⅔ of coconut milk. Top up with more water to just cover everything. Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently till cabbage is half tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Push veggies aside and place eggplant in the middle. Add more water if necessary so that there's just enough liquid for veggies and tau pok to sit in. Repeat simmering as before till eggplant and cabbage are tender, 15-20 minutes. Liquid should now cover about 80% of veggies. Adjust if necessary by adding more water or increasing heat to boil rapidly, uncovered.

5. Add salt to taste, about ½ tsp. Drizzle with remaining coconut milk. Stir gently to mix in. Bring to a gentle simmer and turn off heat.

6. Sayur Lodeh may be served immediately. Alternatively, let flavours develop for 45-60 minutes, then serve at room temperature or reheated.