These flavour-packed fritters are best eaten screaming hot and still crispy straight from the pot, so be sure to make the tomato sambal ahead of time. Candlenuts need to be cooked before consuming, so don’t be tempted to have a nibble.
Recipe Category: Emma Galloway Issue 196
While rendang curry is more commonly associated with Malaysian cooking nowadays, it’s said to have originated in Indonesia. This dry curry is more often than not made with beef, but I’ve come up with a vegan version using protein-rich tempeh instead. Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product that’s now readily available throughout New Zealand at supermarkets and health food stores. Being fermented, it’s easier for the body to digest than other soy products and provides good amounts of protein, calcium and prebiotics. This is a rich curry, so a little goes a long way. It can easily be halved to feed fewer people. I suggest serving it with a bright crunchy salad dressed with a lime-based dressing, to cut through some of that richness. I served mine with a tofu-less version of my shredded tofu salad with lemongrass-coconut dressing.
There are many different versions of this dish throughout Indonesia depending on where it’s made and by whom, but it’s most commonly eaten throughout Java. It also happens to be one of my favourite ways to enjoy tempeh. After frying the tempeh until crisp and golden, it’s stirred through the aromatics and sauce and cooked until lusciously sticky. Best eaten straight from the pan with a bowl of plain jasmine rice.
Makrut lime leaves are more commonly known as kaffir lime leaves. Research is inconclusive as to whether the name was originally used in a racist manner, but the word ‘kaffir’ is a derogatory name in many countries, so I’d rather use the southeast Asian name from where the limes originate. Any excess can be frozen and used straight from the freezer.
Gado gado is one of my all-time favourite dishes to eat when in Bali and is one of the most well-known Indonesian dishes to have travelled to the rest of the world. Essentially it’s a bunch of cooked vegetables bound together in a punchy peanut sauce: this is how it’s traditionally made and served, however I like to smear the sauce on the plates before topping with vegetables, so each person can mix their own when eating. I like to go the full deal and add crispy tofu chunks, boiled eggs and cassava vegetable chips, however you can leave the eggs out for a vegan version. You’ll find plain cassava vegetable chips at selected supermarkets and health food stores. I like to use them in place of the more traditional prawn (or shrimp) crackers, as these are laced with MSG and food colouring.
While developing this recipe I tested out many different ways of making peanut sauces until I was happy with both the texture and flavour. While not the fastest way to prepare peanut sauce, I found that hand-grinding the peanuts in a mortar and pestle first before adding the other ingredients gave by far the best results. No one will growl if you use good quality crunchy peanut butter, however.
This salad is bright, crunchy, substantial and packed full of flavour. The dressing can be made well in advance, however dress the salad right before serving to retain its crunch. You can find fried shallots at some supermarkets or at your local Asian supermarket. I use a medium-firm organic tofu from Tonzu.