Vegan Indonesian Rice Table

I’ve recently made a mainly vegan Indonesian rice table for 40 people. A rice table or in Dutch a ‘rijsttafel’ is an Indonesian elaborate meal consisting of odd-numbered dishes.

My vegan rice table contains 17 recipes. There were also vegetarians at the party so I was allowed to serve an omelet and boiled eggs with gado gado too.

I thought it would be very difficult to make a vegan rice table, but that wasn’t too bad. In this post, I explain my menu and you can find the links to all the recipes too.


In Holland a rijsttafel is a famous thing to eat at home or in Indonesian restaurants. A rijsttafel is even officially Dutch Cultural Heritage. Interestingly enough it is not officially Indonesian cultural heritage. Indonesians are not used to eat a rice table regularly but more as a ceremonial dinner during weddings or funerals.

Different colors

When I put together a rice table, I pay attention to a few things. I’ve learned this at the Indonesian restaurant I used to work for when I was a student. Colors and flavors need to match well and the basic colors of Indonesian food have to be present. These are white, black, yellow, red, green.

Do not make your vegan Indonesian rice table too difficult for yourself in terms of colors. White can be rice or a dish with bean curd. Black dishes are usually semur dishes made with sweet soy sauce. Yellow can be fried rice, but also another coconut dish that uses kunjit. Red is a sambal goreng or a sambal and green is a dish with green vegetables, such as cabbage or sambal goreng buncis peteh (one of my favorites).

Taotjo instead of trassi

Some recipes contain trassi; fermented shrimp paste. This is of course not possible in vegan recipes. I therefore omit trassi.

To still get a fermented kick, you can also use taotjo. This is fermented soybean available in a jar. I buy it at an Asian (especially Chinese) food store. It has a delicious umami flavor. I do not use too much, but approximately the amount specified in the recipe for trassi.

Usih of tempé

I have built my vega rice table around the dish usih of tempé. This dish has tempé (fermented soybean) as its main ingredient. It is full of flavor because of the herbs, slightly acidic because of the tempé and creamy because of the coconut. It is also relatively heavy, so you can build other dishes around it.


I looked up the daily recommended amount of tempé and vegetables per person and did this times 40.

For tempé, 100 grams (raw) per person applies. For vegetables, the recommended amount per day is 250 grams.

I have divided 250 grams to my 4 vegetable dishes. That amounts to just over 60 grams of vegetables per dish for 40 people. This turned out to be a good estimate because there was enough for everyone, there was still something left, but not too much and people could take some leftovers home.

Some dishes were eaten faster this time than others. For example, the sambal goreng buncis with peteh beans was very popular. Next time I will make more of this dish.

Sambal Goreng Buncis for my Vegan Indonesian Rice Table
Sambal Goreng Buncis

The amount of the recipes below are not adjusted to 40 people.

Vegan Indonesian Rice Table Menu by Pisang Susu

Usih of tempé
In a spicy bumbu with coconut stewed tempé

Tomato lalab
Creamy tomatoes topped with sweet and sour soy sauce

Tjarantjam salad
Typical Indonesian salad with Asian basil

Nasi Kuning

Nasi kuning
The Indonesian festive yellow rice

Gado Gado
Blanched vegetables topped with a spicy peanut sauce

Tofu goreng
Crispy fried tofu dipped in rice flour

Rudjak manis
Indonesian fruit salad in spicy soy sauce

Crispy, pickled vegetables

Toasted coconut shavings with 8 herbs

Simple peanut sauce

Peanut Sauce
for over the gado gado or to pour over anything

Sambal Boet
Beb Vuyk husband’s favorite mild sambal.

Sambal manis
Slightly spicy sambal but still doable by the Javanese sugar

These Indonesian mochi are rice flour balls filled with gula Jawa

Wingko babat
Homemade sticky cake of slice rice flour

Emping and cassava krupuk
Flattened and fried emping nut

Extra for vegetarians

Spicy omelet filled with crispy coconut

Krupuk is made from shrimp, so an alternative is emping (even better in flavor) and cassava krupuk.

I’ve bought the spekkoek (spekkuk) and the krupuk. I got the spekkoek in Toko Oriental in The Hague. For a good cake always taste. It must be super tender, not dry and rich in flavor.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. Angela Wiele says:

    This is awesome! Great tip to substitute trassi. Do you by chance have a “battle” plan on how you prepared all of this? Like the order how yo made things, what you can make in advance and what is best made the day it’s served?
    Thank you!

  2. Pauline, you have the answer to so many of questions on vegan Indo cuisine and your recipes are easy…and you have them in ENGLISH. Very much appreciated!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *