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‘Sayur Lodeh‘ is vegetable coconut stew in Malay. This dish is similar to the Indian ‘sothi’ that my mum makes at home. However, the ‘sayur lodeh’ is more flavoursome with rich ingredients such as fresh turmeric, lemongrass and galangal. The origin of this dish can be traced back to the Javanese people. Most of the Malays residing in Singapore have Javanese ancestry and thus, this dish is an extremely popular one with the Singaporean Malays. I remember having it the first time at one of my close friend’s place during my high school days. I used to be fascinated going to her place and my favourite hangout at her place was always the kitchen. So drawn I was by the aromas from the food her mother cooks that I always found some reason to sneak into her kitchen. If she reads this post, then she’ll know now why I was snooping around her kitchen! Hehehe! Her mother cooks a wide array of dishes every day and ’Sayur Lodeh‘ was always one of them.
This recipe I have belongs to our family friend here on the coast, Saras auntie. She is a fantastic chef and cooks everything in a jiffy. I owe my BIG, FAT THANKS to her. If not for her, my passion for cooking would not have taken a new level. I started improving on my dishes through her. During uni days, I was usually stumped. I did not know what to cook and HOW to cook the dishes which I was missing badly from home. She taught me everything from A to Z just as a mother would. So I hope you will enjoy this delicious recipe of hers. We both decided to add an Indian touch to it with mustard seeds and curry leaves and it turned out really nice.
- To grind
- Shallots - 1, sliced thinly
- Peeled Garlic - 5 cloves
- Ginger - 1 cm knob
- Galangal - 1 cm knob
- Fresh Turmeric - 3 cm knob
- Serai (Lemongrass) - 2 cm, sliced thinly
- Vegetable Stock Powder - 1 tsp
- To Boil
- Chopped Snow Peas - 1/2 cup
- Sliced Carrots - 1/2 cup
- Medium sized tomatoes - 1, quartered
- Shredded Cabbage - 1/2 cup
- To Temper
- Canola Cooking Oil - 4 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
- Urad Dhal - 1 tsp
- Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
- Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
- Dried Chillies - 2 pieces, split into halves
- Remaining Items
- Coconut Milk - 220 ml
- Soft Tofu - 150 gm, sliced thinly
- Water - 300 ml
- Salt - To Taste
- Blend all the ingredients to be ground with little water into a smooth paste.
- In a saucepan, bring the measured amount of water to boil and add all the vegetables to be boiled.
- Once the vegetables are boiled, strain and reserve the stock.
- In the same saucepan, add oil and saute the ingredients under To Temper according to the order in which it is stated. Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter first before adding the rest of the tempering ingredients. Otherwise, the mustard seeds will taste bitter.
- Add the ground paste and saute till you find the oil separating from the paste.
- Add vegetable stock which you reserved from boiling the vegetables and coconut milk.
- Add salt accordingly.
- Just as you find the stew boiling with bubbles starting to surface, quickly throw in the boiled vegetables, sliced tofu pieces and remove the saucepan from the stove. Be careful not to let the stew overboil as the coconut milk can curdle and spoil the taste of the dish.
- Sayur Lodeh ready to be served :-)
* For the non-vegetarians, you may replace the vegetable stock powder with 1 tsp of belacan (shrimp paste) when grinding. You may also add boiled dried shrimps at the end along with the boiled vegetables. :-)