Sayur Lodeh (Vegetables in Coconut Milk)

Ah, the classic conundrum of Malaysian vegetable dishes. 

A perennial quirk of the cuisine, the vegetable dishes of Malaysia are rarely actually vegetarian, with the omnipresent threat of the odd bit of dried shrimp turning up in your plate of veggies. To many Malaysians, a dish’s vegetarian credentials are entirely a matter of meat to vegetable ratio – making dinner a meaty-minefield for those of a vegetarian persuasion!

Unfortunately, Sayur Lodeh (Vegetables in Coconut Milk) is no different.

Popular in both Malaysia and Indonesia, Sayur Lodeh is often  considered a “safe” vegetable option as it is mild enough not to inflame younger, or foreign, palates. Simply flavoured with galangal, turmeric, and (unsurprisingly) a sprinkling of prawns, this coconut milk sauce works well with almost any other Malay dish. 

Traditionally eaten with lontong (banana leaf rice cake), sayur lodeh also works well with regular rice. As it is very mild, it is best to pair it with something spicy like Ayam Lada Hitam (Pepper Chicken) and, of course, some sambal belacan

To discover other delicious Malaysian recipes from The Muddled Pantry, please click here

Sayur Lodeh (Vegetables in Coconut Milk)

Serves: 4 as part of a larger meal

Ingredients: 

  • 1 tin coconut milk (440 ml) 
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 4 to 8 prawns, peeled and cleaned 
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
  • 3 – 4 Asian shallots or 1/2 brown onion, finely sliced 
  • 2 pieces dried galangal (or fresh ginger, sliced)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 5 cm batons 
  • 100g green beans, cut into 5 cm lengths 
  • 100g green/white cabbage, thickly sliced
  • 2 red chilies, cut in half
  • 1 tsp salt

Method: 

  1. Heat the oil in a wok/pan over a medium heat
  2. Add the shallots and garlic, frying for 1 minute 
  3. Now add the prepared prawns and galangal slices, and fry for another couple of minutes 
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, as well as the salt and ground turmeric 
  5. Bring to a boil, then add the prepared vegetables 
  6. Return to a rolling simmer, and then cover and cook for a couple of minutes 
  7. Remove the lid and increase the heat slightly
  8. Stirring regularly, continue cooking till the vegetables are tender
  9. Check the seasoning before serving 

Serve with: Traditionally eaten with lontong (banana leaf rice cake), sayur lodeh also works well with regular rice. As it is very mild, it is best to pair it with something spicy like Ayam Lada Hitam (Pepper Chicken) and, of course, some sambal belacan

To discover other delicious Malaysian recipes from The Muddled Pantry, please click here

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