Malaysian Vegetable Curry (Sayur Lodeh)


Sayur lodeh is a vegetable curry commonly found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The version I grew up with contains cabbage, eggplant, long beans, deep-fried tofu (and sometimes tofu puffs) and glass noodles. I made this for lunch today and it turned out perfect (really!) and so I decided to post the recipe here in case I forget how to replicate the dish next time. Cooking is a bit of trial and error sometimes, especially with Asian cooking. I think I've got the recipe down as accurately as I can, and it's super duper delicious with rice (or even on its own).

Malaysian Vegetable Curry (Sayur Lodeh)
Serves 6

Ingredients

1 packet (300g) deep fried tofu
1 cup sliced carrots
3 cups cabbage (about 1/4 of a cabbage), cut into 2 inch strips
2 cups green/long beans, cut into 2 inch lengths
2 eggplants (the long and slender type), sliced into 2 inch halves
2 pieces kaffir lime leaves, torn and crushed
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon ikan bilis stock powder
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons chilli paste (made from dried chillies)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 handful glass noodles, soaked in water until softened

Spice paste (blend finely):
3 tablespoons dried shrimp (rinse with water and drain, then leave for 15 minutes to soften)
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger
1/2 inch galangal
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only (reserve the rest of the stalk to simmer separately in the broth later)
2-3 teaspoons toasted belacan
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Method
  1. In a large pot, heat up the vegetable oil and fry the spice paste and chilli paste for 5-10 minutes. Add the kaffir lime leaf and reserved lemongrass stalk (the non-white part) and fry briefly. Add water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  2. Add coconut milk ikan bilis stock powder, sugar and bring to a simmer. Do not let it boil vigorously. Season with salt and soy sauce.
  3. Add the tofu and carrots, followed by the cabbage, long beans and eggplant. When it starts to simmer, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 15 minutes until vegetables are just cooked. Just before serving, add the glass noodles until it's softened. Serve immediately with steamed white rice.