Javanese Mixed Vegetables with Spiced Coconut

This is a relatively simple dish. I've included two versions, one i learned from a Central Javanese dancer and the other i learned from the wife of a Sundanese (West Javanese) musician.

Of course, it's much better with freshly grated coconut, as it would be served in Indonesia, but you do what you can with what you've got. Be sure NOT to get the nasty sweetened coconut from the supermarket (i mean, if that's ALL you can find, oh well, i guess you've got to use it, but it sucks). Health food stores sell unsweetened dried grated coconut, as do specialty Asian food markets, especially Thai and Indian markets. Look for the fine grated coconut, but if all you can find is coarse, that's o.k. Be sure to soak the coconut shreds in just enough water to cover or perhaps even a little less. You want the coconut to soak up the water and you don't want to be throwing much water away.

Urap - from Nanik Wenten of Central Java

  • green beans, sliced diagonally in 1" lengths
  • carrot, cut lengthwise in thirds, then cut in 1" long sticks
  • celery, cut lengthwise in thirds, then cut in 1" long sticks

Steam all vegetables separately until barely cooked. They must still be firm and crunchy.

  • green cabbage, shredded
  • bean sprouts

Blanch by placing vegetables, one at a time, in a colander in the sink, and pouring boiling water over them.

Place vegetables in serving dish.

  • grated coconut
  • finely chopped fresh chilis
  • kencur/ kentjur
  • brown sugar
  • salt

Mix ingredients all together and steam for about 10-15 minutes. Since the coconut would fall through the holes of a typical steaming basket, warp the mixture in foil loosely, place in steaming basket, cover pot with lid, and steam.

Remove coconut from foil. Toss with vegetables and serve

Urap - from Euis Sumarna of Sunda, Western Java

  • 2 onions, chopped medium fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 fresh chilis, finely minced
  • several daun salam
  • vegetable oil

Fry ingredients in oil until soft.

  • 1 stalk sereh, lemon grass, pounded or 1 Tb. shredded dried lemon grass
  • 1 tsp. powdered laos
  • 1/2 tsp. kencur/ kentjur
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • green beans
  • carrot sticks
  • bamboo shoots - fresh are better than canned. If using canned, rinse them well first.
  • green cabbage, shredded
  • Swiss chard, shredded
  • bean sprouts

Add additional ingredients to frying seasonings. Stir well. Cook until barely tender, they should still be crisp.

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated coconut - fresh or soaked dried

Add to vegetables off fire, toss, and serve.

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