Colo-Colo sauce with eggplant and zucchini

A friend of ours with Moluccan roots always talks about colo-colo sauce. I learn online that there are all kinds of colo-colo sauce varieties, like always with old recipes. I also see that Beb has included her version in her book. That’s why I make today this eggplant salad. I also added a very fresh and young zucchini (courgette) from my own garden. That fits very well. This dish is vegan.

Eggplant can be eaten raw. Some people say otherwise, but here is my research that shows, it is fine to eat eggplant raw.

Eggplants with colo-colo sauce (Ambon) translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch cookbook, page 368.

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • salt
  • juice of 1 lemon

Seasoning – for the sauce

  • 3 shallots or other small onions (chopped)
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon sambal ulek (Indonesian chili salsa)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
  1. Rub onions, garlic and sambal into a paste.
  2. Stir in the soy sauce, salad oil and lemon juice.
  3. Cut the aubergines into thin slices, sprinkle them with salt and mix them with the sauce

Colo-Colo sauce with eggplant and zucchini is a raw salad. There is the idea that raw eggplants are dangerous, but that is not true.

I have some chili peppers left as you can see in the picture. Even if they are not quite crunchy anymore, you can still use them for a recipe like this. I never throw away old peppers. My sambal ulek is finished, so I rub half a chilli pepper with some salt. That has the same effect as a teaspoon of sambal ulek. Want to see how to make sambal yourself? Check this entry.

The eggplant in its entirety (I also use zucchini) is a bit too much for the sauce-salad ratio. That’s why I use half of the eggplant.


The amount of salt is important in this recipe. Because soy sauce is very salty (also sweet soy sauce), be careful not to make this dish too salty. I use a little less than half a teaspoon in total. But taste well at the end, to see if the balance in flavors is okay.

First I rub onions, garlic and sambal together. I add a little salt to make it easy to rub. I make sure to finely chop everything first so that rubbing in the mortar afterward is easy. I want to make the colo-colo sauce rich and creamy.

Now we’re really going to make a sauce out of it. In the cobek (mortar) I pour the lemon juice (I use lime), the soy sauce and the oil. For soy sauce I chose sweet soy sauce from ABC (kecap manis).

Now that everything is, I stir it all well and taste. The flavors should be in balance: sweet, sour, savory and salty. My lime turns out to be quite sour, so I add a bit more sweet soy sauce; now everything tastes perfectly balanced.

I cut the eggplant (and my little zucchini) wafer-thin. This allows each slice to be covered well in the sauce. This eggplant salad with colo-colo sauce is a perfect side dish. It almost works like an acar. We eat this with salmon poached in a thin hoisin sauce and white rice: the perfect combination.

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