106 Sajur asem with tomato, tofu and prawns
This is a real summer dish; sajur asem with tomato, tofu and prawns. It is light, healthy and delicious.
This dish is enough for 3-4 people as a side dish and is ready in 30 minutes.
Sajur asem with tomato, tahu and prawns translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 116.
4 dl of strong broth
1/2 block of tofu
1/2 kg of hard, preferably semi-ripe tomatoes
100 gr cooked prawns
3 tablespoons of chopped onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon of sambal terasi (chili salsa with shrimp paste)
1 tablespoon of asem (tamarind) water from a piece the size of half a walnut
1 teaspoon galangal (laos)
2 teaspoons of Javanese sugar
1 salam leaf (Asian bay leaf)
Bring the broth to the boil with the asem water, the salam leaf and the shrimps. Let this gently simmer a minute or six. Cut the tofu into cubes of + 2 cm and add them. After about 5 minutes the tomatoes can be added.
Bring it to the boil for a short while and then turn off the heat. Leave your sajur like this for a while before serving; this way the flavor of the herbs and shrimps can go in to the tofu.
I get dehydrated salam leaves at my local Asian shop. Salam is Asian bay leaf. Use regular bay leaf if you cannot buy salam. Salam leafs give, I think, a cinnamon-like flavor to the dish.
Asem is tamarind. I buy tamarind already filtered in a jar. The broth can be anything. I use a beef stock here.
If you cannot buy Javanese sugar or gula Jawa, you can ofcourse use regular sugar.
Sambal terasi is a chili salsa with shrimp paste. It’s used a lot in Indonesian and Tai cuisine. If you cannot find sambal terasi (trassi), use sambal oelek or add a chopped chili pepper. You can also make sambal terasi yourself. See how here!
I do not follow the recipe as Beb suggest; my shrimps are already cooked, so I do not add them in to the broth now or they will be chewy in the end.
I dice my block of tofu and add it to the broth.
The tomatoes can go in now too. I let this mix simmer for a few minutes.
Now the prawns can go in. After a good stir, I turn of the gas and leave it like this for about 15 minutes before serving.
Let’s eat! Do you want to give this dish some more spark, add a homemade sambal (chili salsa) as a condiment. Check out the sambal section on this blog.
Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.