This is lotek; an Indonesian salad with a dressing of peanut sauce. The combination of the crunchy vegetables and the creamy peanut sauce makes this dish genuine comfort food. Plus, it’s 100% vegan too!
Not once the Indonesian salads in Beb’s book have disappointed me. I’ve made now almost all of her salads like a karedok, a kuluban or urapan. All different and extremely delicious. Indonesian salads are often made with a dressing of seasoned coconut shavings or specific peanut sauces.
This lotek from West Java is flavored with peanut butter and a dressing with kencur. Kencur is my favorite herb. It is a root with a very refined flavor. It determines the taste of the entire salad while you only need a pinch of it.
Today I use snow peas and not green beans. I like it even better in this salad.
This recipe is enough for 2-3 people and is ready in 20 minutes.
Lotek (W. Java) #444 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 358.
- 100 grams of spinach
- 100 grams of cabbage
- 150 grams of beans
- 100 grams bean sprouts
- 1 boiled potato
- 5 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons sambal ulek
- 1/2 teaspoon kencur
- 2 tablespoons kitchen tamarind (asem)
- Boil the vegetables in water and salt for a few minutes, the beans a little longer; just submerge the bean sprouts for a short while.
- Mash the potato, mix it with the peanut butter, the sambal, kencur and tamarind.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and mix in the drained vegetables.
This lotek is not difficult to make at all. I provide good, fresh vegetables and I use 100% peanut butter: a brand in Holland that makes peanut butter with just peanuts and nothing else (no added sugar or salt). This way I can determine how sweet I want my dressing. Regular peanut butter works great too, but do not add too much extra salt and sugar to keep the balance in flavor.
We get guests so I double the ingredients so we can eat with 5 people.
Kitchen tamarind is tamarind with sugar in it. I add some Javanese sugar (gula Jawa) to my regular asem (tamarind). Since my peanut butter is also sugar-free, I add another teaspoon of white sugar. That’s enough for the whole salad.
Pointed cabbage seems nice with this salad because it is a tender cabbage, but any cabbage will do. I will definitely try this with red cabbage. It looks beautiful and is very tasty too.
I start by making the peanut butter dressing. I have a few baby potatoes left, so I’m going to use those. I grind everything fine together with the asem, sugar, salt and kencur.
Beb has no salt in her recipe. However, this dressing needs a bit of salt if you use 100% peanut butter. With regular peanut butter, salt is probably not necessary. I use half a teaspoon for Beb’s recipe. Today I doubled the ingredients, so I use a whole teaspoon. I taste the dressing before mixing it into the salad.
Now I spoon this mixture through the peanut butter. I add another tablespoon or two of water so that the mix can be stirred well. It may look crazy, but this is good!
The vegetables can now be cooked. The cabbage and beans need the longest. Because everything has to remain crunchy, I only cook the cabbage and snow peas for a short time (about 3 minutes). Then I drain it and rinse everything with cold water. This keeps the colors vivid.
I keep the hot cooking water and stir in the spinach and bean sprouts. Immediately everything goes tender. I also rinse the spinach and bean sprouts with cold water and mix it with the cabbage and beans.
The vegetables are ready to mix into the delicious dressing. Since veggies are still a little moist, the thick peanut butter dressing mixes unexpectedly well. Be patient and mix gently.
I still have beautiful large coconut flakes in my pantry. I place them it on top because it looks nice and goed well with this lotek.
This salad is healthy and happens to be vegan. But above all, it is delicious. We eat our lotek with a Javanese braise of pork and fried rice.
Want to see more Indonesian salads? Below I explain three Indonesian salads in a video:
View all salads from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesian Cookbook that I have made so far.