It has been raining pumpkins here in the prairie. Everywhere I go I see mounds and mounds of pumpkins and squashes. Believe it or not, despite all these pumpkins, we had a shortage of canned pumpkins a little earlier in the season. Go figure! Like I said earlier, apart from canned pumpkins there are fresh pumpkins everywhere. So what to do with all those lovely pumpkins? It is time to get some Asian cooking going.
Some of you may be familiar with the spicy Indonesian dish of vegetables simmered in coconut milk known as sayur lodeh. This dish is also very popular in Malaysia and Singapore. While it is mainly made up of vegetables, a little shrimp paste or dried shrimp is added to the spice paste to give the sauce extra flavor. This can certainly be omitted to keep it vegetarian.
Sayur lodeh is often served with lontong, which is a log of compressed rice cut into cakes. To make lontong requires 2 to 3 hours of boiling partially cooked rice packed and wrapped in banana leaves. I think we will have to leave that for another time. Pan fried tofu and bean threads are commonly added to sayur lodeh. Pumpkin or “labu” in Malay, completes my version of this dish.
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ pack (6 oz/170g) extra firm tofu, sliced into ½-in x ½-in x1-in pieces
- ¾ cup (180ml) coconut milk
- ¼ small (8 oz/225g) pumpkin, cubed
- 8 oz (225g) cabbage, sliced
- 4 oz (115g) long beans, cut into 2 inch lengths
- 2 red chilies, seeded and sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 bunch bean thread, soaked to soften (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 small onion, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 stalk lemon grass (only the bottom 4 inches), sliced
- 1 inch knob fresh ginger
- ¼ cup (30g)dried shrimp, rinsed and soaked to soften
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Blend onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, and dried shrimps with ¼ cup (60ml) water into a smooth paste. Remove and pour into a small bowl. Mix in ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, and chili powder.
- In a non-stick fry pan heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Pan fry tofu until golden on all sides. Remove and set aside.
- In a large pot, heat remaining 2 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add spice paste and fry for 5 to 6 minutes until fragrant. Stir constantly so that it will not burn.
- Add coconut milk and ¾ cup (180ml) water. Bring to a boil.
- Add pumpkin, cabbage, pan fried tofu, and salt. Bring it back up to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add long beans, red chilies, and bean threads (if using). Allow it to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove and serve warm.
Labu Lodeh is substantial enough to make a tasty lunch on its own.
Many thanks to everyone who read my previous post and participated in the little trivia. It was fun to read your guesses. I must mentioned that Denise made three separate guesses and came quite close to the answer. She mentioned seeds, grain, and tea. The answer is sesame seed toaster. This is a really useful tool to have if you use a lot of sesame seeds like I do. Sesame seeds tend to pop when you toast them and this little basket keeps all the sesame seeds inside. The basket is only 4½-inches x 3½” x 1¼” in size.
Today’s trivia is going to be simple. This beautiful flower is not only pleasing to the eye but serves a useful function. What do you think it is used for?
NOTE: This post was updated on October 30th, 2013 with new pictures. Some minor changes were also made to the recipe.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!