urap: indonesian cooked vegetable salad with coconut and lime dressing

urap: indonesian cooked vegetable salad with coconut and lime dressing
It's that time of year when you start wondering about what to wear. Is it cold enough to wear a coat? If I wear my coat will I be too hot? If I don't, will I be too cold? And the perennial question of what to eat for supper ... do I have a salad? (I love salads.) But it is chilly at night, perhaps I should cook up some greens; something a little more autumnal?

My dilemma is solved by this fabulous Indonesian salad; a perfect combination of both lightly cooked and raw vegetables with a sweet and sour dressing. We had this last Sunday as a less-than-traditional accompaniment for roast chicken and it worked beautifully.

The only proviso is don't dress that salad until immediately before eating, otherwise you'll lose the contrast in crunchy and soft textures. The dressing will keep well for a couple of days in the fridge, and is actually rather good drizzled over noodles or steamed rice too.

Serves 4
Skill level: Easy

3 fat red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp shrimp paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
1-2 tsp kaffir lime powder, (optional)
3 tbsp palm or light brown sugar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1.5 tsp salt
80g fresh coconut, grated
water, (optional)

100g savoy cabbage, shredded and blanched
100g green beans, halved and blanched
100g beansprouts, blanched
200g cucumber, peeled and finely sliced
30g mixed fresh herbs, roughly chopped (I use a mixture of coriander, basil and mint)

  1. Tip the chillies, garlic, ginger and shrimp paste into a blender and whizz to a paste. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the ground turmeric, kaffir lime powder, sugar, lime juice, coconut and salt. Make sure that the mixture is well combined. Thin with a little water if necessary. Set aside.
  2. Blanch the cabbage, green beans and beansprouts separately. (I cook mine in the microwave: cabbage for 30 seconds, beans for 1.5 minutes and beansprouts for 30 seconds.) Refresh under cold water and make sure all the vegetables and sprouts are drained well.
  3. Combine the cabbage, green beans and cucumber with the chopped fresh herbs.
  4. Toss with the beansprouts before drizzling over the dressing. Serve immediately.
  • Drizzle over a bowl of steamed rice and top with a hard-boiled egg.
  • If you can’t get fresh coconut, take a little desiccated coconut and soak in a small amount of coconut milk or cow’s milk.
  • Use fresh, deveined kaffir lime leaves rather than the kaffir lime powder, but go easy on the kaffir lime leaves as they can taste a little "soapy".

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