436 Lalab with Spinach
I enjoy the different Indonesian salads and sayur dishes Beb writes about in her recipe book. Well-known Dutch vegetables such as endive or turnip are stir fried in herbs and spices for example. Such a big difference from the Dutch ‘stamppot‘ dishes. Today I make her Indonesian salad with spinach: Lalab Bajem, or as spelled nowadays: Lalap Bayam.
In this lalab the spinach is not blanched but placed on top of hot rice in a plastic bag ;-). It will make the spinach just a bit more tender but it keeps it’s crunchiness too. This is a typical Indonesian salad.
It may seem nonsense that Beb Vuyk writes an entire recipe about such a simple dish. Can you call it a dish even? Yet it is such a different way of presenting vegetables than we are used to in the Netherlands, that this is in fact interesting and helpful. This is how an Asian salad is made ;-).
It doesn’t matter which sambal you choose, says Beb. I go for a sambal trassi (chili sauce with shrimp paste) because trassi goes well with vegetables. A home made Sambal Boet, with onions and garlic and kencur (Kaempferia galanga), is great too, enak!
Side dish good for 2 people, ready in 5 minutes
Lalab Spinach (Lalab bajem) from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 355.
A handful of baby spinach leaves
sambal (chili sauce), doesn’t matter which one
Wash the spinach; drain it. Place them wrapped in a plastic bag just above boiling or steaming rice. Take out of the bag and serve with sambal.
My rice is almost done in my electric rice cooker. In the basket that comes with it for steaming vegetables, I place this bag on its side filled with spinach. I leave the bag open but I close the lid of the steamer and leave it there for just a few minutes. Easy!
The spinach remains crisp and the flavor of the spinach is slightly rounder and more tender. Delicious side dish next to Babi Kecap for example.
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.