Weekend Cooking: Coconut rice and Sayur Lodeh (vegetable curry)

During the first day of lunar new year, we invited friends over for dinner and I cooked up a Singapore-style meal. With sayur lodeh, grilled chicken, coconut rice, and pandan cake.

Coconut rice or nasi lemak (Rice cooker recipe)

5 cups of basmati rice
Water – to the amount in the rice cooker measurement
2-3 tsp salt
600 ml coconut milk/cream
5 pandan leaves (adds a nice fragrance, can be found in the freezer section of some Asian supermarkets)

Put the rice and water, pandan, and salt in the rice cooker, set to cook. When it is done, add the coconut milk, stir, and continue to leave it in the ‘warm’ setting

Sayur lodeh (Feeds 8)

For the rempah or curry paste
5 cm long piece of ginger
4 shallots
4 garlic cloves
2 red chilis deseeded
2 stalks lemongrass chopped
35g of dried shrimp, soaked in hot water
1 1/2 tbsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of curry powder
(in the recipe I referred to, it also called for 5 cm galangal, shrimp paste or belacan, and 6 candlenuts. These ingredients are a little more difficult to find. I could have gone to the Southeast Asian supermarket but it was a hassle to make another trip, and really, I think the sayur lodeh tasted fine without it)

About 500g of green beans, cut to about 5cm
3 medium carrots, sliced diagonally
About 1/2 cabbage, cut into pieces
Firm tofu (I panfried the tofu first)
About a cup of chicken stock
400ml coconut milk
(You don’t have to be so exact when getting your vegetables together. In the end I think I could have added more cabbage and carrots).

Use a food processor to blend all the rempah ingredients into a fine paste

In a wok, heat some oil, add in the rempah and fry until it’s dry (takes a few minutes).

Add in the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add in your vegetables and simmer until just tender.

Mix in the coconut milk. Don’t over boil as it will split. Just bring it to a gentle simmer.

Taste and add in some salt if needed (depends on how salty your stock is).

I served the sayur lodeh with coconut rice and grilled chicken drumsticks.


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  1. This sounds delicious! I want to make the coconut rice, but I don’t have a rice cooker, we just make rice in a pot on the stove. I usually do 1 cup rice to 1 1/2 cups water. how much of the water should I replace with coconut milk, or is the coconut milk just additional liquid that the rice absorbs?

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    1. So I’m really not familiar with making rice on the stove but I have made coconut rice replacing the water with coconut milk and that was not a success at all. I think the oil in the coconut milk really changes the texture of the rice. So if you do want to replace the cooking water with coconut milk I’d say be very conservative and just try maybe 1/2 or 1 cup max of replacement. What I did was cook it entirely with water (but also reducing the water slightly so that it was a drier rice). And then added the coconut milk after the cooking was done. I do think I saw a recipe where they recommended cooking rice with a 1:1 water:rice ratio so that the rice isn’t too wet as you will be adding more liquid later.


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