Sayur lodeh is a very popular Malay dish in Singapore and Malaysia. ‘Sayur’ means ‘vegetables’, while ‘lodeh’ means refers to an ingredients that is cooked until soft. This dish originated from Indonesia, and is commonly served alongside rice or rice cake (lontong) as a side dish. The gravy, which is cooked with coconut milk, is one of the key ingredients that makes this dish so fragrant and tasty.
I see sayur lodeh as a dish on par with our Chinese version of curry rice, where rice is served with a curry gravy cooked with coconut milk, with softened vegetables including cabbages and long beans. Honestly, it’s not very healthy due to the loads of coconut in the gravy (think high cholesterol), but a really delicious treat to have once in a while. It is definitely easier to have this at the hawker centre than to cook it at home too, given the long list of ingredients one has to buy and prepare in order to cook just this one dish in the kitchen. But it’s worth cooking up a storm once in a while, especially if it’s something irresistible like sayur lodeh.
Can’t have enough of it!
- Dried chilli: 8, soaked in water
- Shallot: 100g
- Garlic, 2 cloves
- Turmeric: 5cm, peeled
- Shrimp paste: 1/2 tbsp
- Candlenut: 8
- Dried shrimp: 2 tbsp, soaked (water set aside)
- Oil: 3 tbsp + 3 tbsp
- Beancurd (Tau Kwa): 2, cut into small triangles
- Water: 6 cups
- Chicken stock cube: 1
- Coconut milk: 60ml + 40ml
- Long bean: 200g, sliced and blanched
- Carrot: 100g, peeled & sliced
- Cabbage: 150g, sliced
- Salt: 1/2 tsp
- Glass noodle: 1 bundle, softened with hot water
- Hardboiled egg: 2, halved
- Blend together dried chillies, shallots, garlic, turmeric, shrimp paste, candlenuts and dried shimps. Set curry paste aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in wok. Fry beancurds till lightly browned on each side. Set aside.
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in wok. Fry curry paste till fragrant.
- Add in water, chicken stock cube and 60ml coconut milk.
- Add in long beans, carrot, cabbage and fried beancurds.
- Stir in salt and leave to simmer 5min.
- Once vegetables are softened, add in glass noodles and remaining 40ml coconut milk.
- Bring to a boil before switching off.
- Serve hot with hardboiled eggs, rice or lontong.
I used a lot less dried chillies (only 3 pieces) so that the boy at home could get to enjoy this dish as well. In place of it, I added some ground turmeric so that the colour of the paste could remain bright orange and cheerful, though it’s not as bright red as it should be.