Pecel: vegetable salad
You need some healthy food soon? Try this great Indonesian salad: pecel. 100% vegetarian and healthy as hell 😉 Even with the peanut sauce on the side – that is pretty light- you will eat today your weekly demand of vegetables.
Beb explains in her book how a pecel needs to look: Pecel must contain four colors of vegetables: dark green, light green, and white. It’s not a gado gado. That is served with a different kind of peanut sauce and with eggs and tempeh.
If it’s a problem for you to get all the right Indonesian ingredients, I made a shopping list on Amazon. You can order your herbs and spices here.
This amount is good for at least 3 people and ready in 45 minutes.
Pecel #450 from Beb Vuyk Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 362.
250 grams endive
250 grams spinach
100 grams of green beans
200 grams beans sprouts
200 grams of cabbage (green, white, savoy- or cauliflower)
1/2 jar of peanut butter
1 to 2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of oil
5 tablespoons of chopped onions
2 chopped cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons sambal terasi (chili paste with shrimp paste)
3 tablespoons kitchen tamarind
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar Javanese
1/2 teaspoon Kaempferia galanga (kencur)
Clean the vegetables and cook them with a little salt, only briefly, so they stay crisp. The bean sprouts are not cooked but rinsed with boiling water. Let the vegetables drain well.
Rub the onions with the garlic, chili, sugar, kencur, and salt together into a paste.
Sauté in oil until the onions are yellow. Add the peanut butter. Easy to use your electric mixer to mix the peanut butter in.
Add water to the tamarind (after the seeds are removed) and add it to the sauce. The sauce should be as thick as a salad dressing. Arrange the drained vegetables on a platter and cover it with the sauce.
The cooked vegetables can all be varied according to the season. They must consist of:
1) Dark green vegetables like endive, kale, spinach;
2) Light green vegetables like spinach, turnip tops, beans, green or savoy cabbage;
3) White vegetable as beans sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower.
What a delicious basket of vegetables. You have to blanch them, to keep your veggies nice and crisp. I start with the beans. They need the longest cooking time. If you want to keep your vegetables green, add them to already boiling water. Cook them briefly. I give my green beans 5 minutes. Then let them drain in a colander and rinse immediately with cold water. I
take all the vegetables through the same process. Except for the spinach, endive and bean sprouts. I only pour over boiling water. That’s more than enough for those vegetables.
By the way Beb doesn’t mention in her recipe what to do with gula jawa in the sauce. I add it in my mortar with the onions (if I work with a hard piece of gula jawa). When I have liquid gula jawa I add it to the warm sauce at the end. Alsways tastes the sauce before serving.
The balance between sour, salty and sweet needs to be right.
Normally I would serve an Indonesian salad with babi ketjap or chicken. I also cut some cucumber for the kids. Great dipping tool for the amazing pecel sauce.
Go to recipe 470 for the special pecel sauce or peanut sauce III, as Beb Vuyk calls it.
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.