Lodeh is a popular Javanese side dish of vegetables cooked in coconut milk. There is no fixed rule regarding the kind of vegetables to be used in a lodeh, but popular choices include eggplant, chayote, tofu, tempeh, snake beans, young jackfruit, and even stink bean. You can do a super complete lodeh with all the suggested choices, or you can pick a couple from the list and do a simpler version like what I do in this recipe. ♥
Lodeh is actually a very close cousin to another popular Javanese vegetable dish, namely sayur asem. The list of ingredients are very similar, but sayur asem uses different spices for its soup base. If I have to make a comparison between the two using Thai cuisine as reference, I would say lodeh is tom kha gai, while sayur asem is tom yum goong. 😀
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 6 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah), peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih), peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried shrimps (Indonesian: ebi), soaked and drained, lightly toasted (*)
- 2 red chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah besar), sliced diagonally
- 2 green chilies (Indonesian: cabe hijau besar), sliced diagonally
- 1 bay leaf (Indonesian: daun salam)
- 1 cm galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas), bruised
- 1 liter coconut milk (Indonesian: santan)
- 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1½ tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa), or to taste
- 500 gram eggplant (Indonesian: terong), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 inch sections
- 1 block of firm tofu (about 300 gram), cut into 1 inch cubes
- Heat oil in a pot on high heat, stir fry shallots and garlic until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add dried shrimps, red chilies, green chilies, bay leaf, and galangal. Stir until fragrant, another 3 minutes.
- Pour coconut milk into the pot and season with salt and palm sugar. Bring to a boil.
- Add eggplant and tofu into the pot. Reduce heat and simmer until eggplant and tofu are fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Adjust salt and palm sugar as needed.
- Turn off heat, transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately with steamed white rice.