Sambal Goreng with Field Peas

Field peas taste like soft nuts according to my mother. ? I love these lovely brown peas. A perfect combination I think with the tender coconut milk in this dish. I also look forward to the hot chili peppers that go through.

This dish can also be for vegetarians; leave the trassi (shrimp paste) out.

Let’s get to work!

This dish is enough for 2 people and ready in 30 minutes.

Sambal Goreng with Field Peas # 48 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 76.


1/4 kg of boiled fiels peas (fresh or canned)
3 tablespoons of sliced onions
1 clove of sliced garlic
1 teaspoon sambal terasi (or 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1/2 teaspoon terasi)
1 teaspoon of laos
1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
1 stalk of sereh
1 salam leaf
1/8 block of santen
2 tablespoons of oil
some salt

Prepare this recipe in the way of sambal goreng brown beans.

(That recipe states:)

Rub onions, garlic, sambal, laos, sugar and salt together to make a paste. Sauté in the oil until the onions turn yellow. Add 4 tablespoons of water from the tin and the block of santen, the sereh, the beans and the salam leaf and simmer until the oil from the santen floats to the surface. Remove the sereh and the salam leafs before serving.

I bought a can of field peas with a (drained) weight of 500 grams. So I’m going to double the quantities of Beb Vuyk’s recipe since Beb uses 250 grams of field peas. We have a friend over from Scotland who just happens to love Asian food. So we have enough for everybody.

I cut the onions ‘lengthwise’ to form crescent moon shapes. If you cut onions this way it is easier to rub in a mortar. I also cut the garlic and the peppers into small pieces before rubbing it in my mortar. This will make a nice and smooth paste.

Gula Jawa

Gula Jawa is Javanese sugar. It is sold in hard blocks, but also as granulated sugar. I love gula Jawa and often cut off pieces to eat it just like that ;-). I add about a quarter of the gula slice to my spice paste.

If you don’t have gula Jawa, use dark brown or regular sugar.

Coconut milk

Beb uses santen. That is coconut cream and is sold in hard rectangular blocks. I use coconut milk (about 100 ml) today instead. My peas are already cooked (out of a can) and they do not need long in the coconut broth, otherwise, they fall apart. Santen always needs some time to becomes soft. That is why coconut milk works better for my field peas.

Sereh and laos

Sereh is lemongrass and laos is galangal; a tasty root. I give the sereh a few punches so the fibers open and the flavor can come out.

I buy galangal as a powder. If you can get it fresh, chop it up finely before adding it to the mortar. Use a piece of about 4 centimeters.


Salam is Asian bay leaf and is closely related to curry leaves. Of you cannot get salam or curry leaves use regular bay leaf. I buy salam at my local Asian shop. It produces a delicious cinnamon-like flavor.

Some salt

Beb says ‘some salt’. But how much is that? The field peas are already lightly salted to preserve them in the tin. I add half a teaspoon of salt to my dish but I use double quantities.

I sauté the spice paste in the oil and I’ve added the coconut milk with a little bit of liquid (a couple of tablespoons) from the can. Now the peas, the lemongrass, and the salam leaf can go in.

I let this simmer for 5 minutes on low heat. The sauce reduces a bit. This dish can be made in advance. Just warm it up right before serving. Do not let it cook anymore. We eat this dish with white rice and a sour acar or vegetable dish.

I like lemon with beans or peas and sprinkle some drops over my sambal goreng field peas just before serving. But it is not necessary.

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2 Responses

  1. Masakan Ibu says:

    Wow very authentic!! Loving the presentation and the explanations. Well presented for Indonesian kitchen 🙂

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