Sambal Goreng Leek

sambal goreng leek

This sambal goreng leek is one of those basic recipes that you can make with any vegetable. It’s vegan too!

Beb often uses sambal goreng from cabbage (the first recipe in the chapter sambal gorengs) as a base, like in this recipe. I add the preparation of sambal goreng cabbage here. So you can start immediately.

Sambal Goreng Leek #42 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookbboek, page 73.


  • 1/4 kg of leek
  • 3 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sambal trassi (or 1 teaspoon sambal ulek and 1/2 teaspoon trassi)
  • 1 teaspoon of galangal
  • 1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
  • 1 stalk of sereh (lemongrass)
  • 1 salam leaf (Asian bay leave)
  • 1/8 block of santen (coconut cream)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • some salt
  1. Use thick leeks.
  2. Rinse them under the cold tap.
  3. Remove roots and the dark green leaves.
  4. Cut the leek into 1/2 centimeter pieces.
  5. Only use the yellow and light green parts.
  6. Grind the onion, garlic, sambal and the galangal with the sugar and salt into a paste. If you use sambal ulek, then also rub the trassi (shrimp paste) through.
  7. Saute this until the onions are yellow.
  8. Then add the cabbage and cook for a few minutes until tender.
  9. Then add the block of santen, the sereh and the salam leaf.
  10. Add a splash of water when the mix looks dry.
  11. Let the dish stew about 5 to 6 minutes, until the oil comes out of the santen.
  12. Make sure that the leeks are not completely cooked.
  13. Before serving, remove the lemongrass and salam leaf.

Ingredients sambal goreng leek

The ingredients for this sambal goreng are simple. Beb uses galangal powder but if you can get fresh galangal root (from the freezer, for example), it works even better than the powdered form in this recipe, I think. Salam leaf is Asian bay leaf. The leaf gives off a lot of umami flavor and even tends to have a cinnamon-like taste. It ensures that your dishes really get that typical Indonesian taste.

Grinding the bumbu (spice mix) together in the mortar creates a deeper flavor. You can also use a food processor, but it’s not a lot of work to rub a small amount like this.

coarse bumbu in cobek

I saute the bumbu in a tablespoon of oil. Flavors will come out better when you saute a bumbu first. The bumbu turns soft so it will mix better with the leek too.

saute bumbu in pan

When the leek is in it and the block of coconut cream (santen), I add a little water so my leek can simmer for a few minutes (with the lid on the pan) until the coconut has melted and the sambal goreng leek is ready! Easy right? I love this food with fried egg for example and some white rice. Selamat makan.

add water to get a sauce

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