My next post is of dishes from Malaysia and Indonesia. Usually South East Asian cooking is seldom vegetarian, but Sayur Lodeh is an exception. A colorful medly of vegetables are simmered in a light coconut gravy. It is usually taken with steamed rice, but just to give it a twist, we made Nasi Lemak (Malay for rice in fat), or rice cooked in coconut milk. Well, the rice is not wholly cooked in coconut milk, but the milk merely gives a sweet aroma to the rice. A spicy tofu sambal (click here for recipe) will make the perfect complement to this South East Asian delicacy.
The Malays eat Nasi Lemak for breakfast - yes..rice early in the morning. Not just rice, but it is accompanied by boiled eggs, a drumstick of chicken, dried anchovies and peanuts, and cucumber slices. Quite similar to the street food of Mumbai, Nasi Lemak is available in most Malay hawker stalls throughout Singapore and Malaysia during breakfast time. My recipe is predominantly only for the preparation of the rice itself.
Long grain rice - 1½ cups
Coconut milk - ¾ cup
Cooking oil - 2 tsp (to prevent the rice from sticking together)
Water - 2 cups
Pandan Leaf - 2
Salt - 1- 1½ tsp flat
- Wash rice in cold water and drain. Soak in coconut milk for 10 minutes.
- Pour 2 tsp of oil in the rice cooker, add the rice and let the oil coat the rice. Now add the water.
- Clean pandan leaf, tie to a knot and throw this into the cooker with the rice.
- The fruity essence of the pandan and the nutty flavor of the coconut milk will infuse into the rice.
- Make sure you switch the rice-cooker to the cook mode (I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to do this and waited hours for my food to be ready! ) and cook till done!
- Serve hot with Sayur Lodeh or even Thai Green/Red/Yellow curries.
Sayur Lodeh - Simmering
The most important ingredients to this sauce/gravy are coconut milk and the rempah or bumbu spice paste (click here for bumbu recipe). Once you have these and the vegetables cut into 1- inch pieces, the rest is a breeze!!! For the vegetables, feel free to add anything including but not limited to Tofu, beansprouts, bamboo shoots etc.
Potato - 1 medium
Carrot - 1
Green/Red bell pepper - 1
French beans - 5-6
Cabbage - 2-3 layers
Red/yellow onion - 1 medium sliced
Bumbu paste - 2 spoons (add 1 spoon and then add more depending on the level of spice)
Lite coconut milk - 2 cups
Salt - 1-1½ tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Water - as needed
Thai basil or cilantro for garnishing
- Wash all vegetables and cut into 1-inch pieces. Slice the onions.
- In a fry pan, add oil and when hot, add the onions and the spice paste.
- Fry till oil separates. Add all the vegetables from hard to soft and fry them in the spice paste.
- Now add salt and the lite coconut milk. Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Add water as needed. If adding bean sprouts, put them in now.
- Finally add thai basil or cilantro to garnish.
- Serve hot with white rice or nasi lemak.
Nasi Lemak with Sayur Lodeh