Saturday, March 30, 2013

Vegan Indonesian Salad with Spicy Grated Coconut Dry Dressing- Urap

Traditional Javanese Salad - Urap
I am blogging Indonesian food again.  My DGH (my dear gringo husband) likes Indonesian dishes so I continue with this trend to make more veganized Javanese dishes. He loves this Javanese traditional dish called Urap! This one is a dish that Indonesians make for community celebrations such as birthdays, house warming parties, baby showers, weddings, bridal showers, etc. etc.  It's great for potlucks or picnics since it can be served in a room temperature.  Just like the Koreans who bring Japchae into potlucks or picnics, Indonesians bring Urap.  One reason this dish is great for potluck is that it is easy to make as long as the fresh (can be frozen and then thawed) grated coconut can be obtained. This dish is similar to Indian Kale-CabbageThoran that I blogged back in 2012.

The title says 'Dry Dressing'.  Yep, it is not like the Western salad dressing with oil and vinegar, emulsified.  This dish uses thinly grated coconut, the thinner or smaller the better, as dry dressing.  Usually, it is also spicy hot like sambal. However, the level of heat can be reduced by using my tip below(about the level of heat).  I have trained DGH to eat spicy hot food but his is not at the level of heat I can take and I always make it less spicy for him.

About the coconut:
OMG, coconut became so popular in the US.  The natural market in my neighborhood I go to sells coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut juice, fresh young coconuts, etc.   Wow!  I remember about 20 years ago I had to hunt down coconut juice or coconut milk in Chinatown when I wanted to make Indonesian dishes.  For this dish, I buy the frozen grated coconut(from fresh and not dried) at an Indian market/store.  Actually, the guy at the Indian market sells fresh coconuts (not the young coconut) and is willing to break the coconut for the customers.  I am just too lazy to peel and grate the fresh coconut.  I could have done it with a fine spice Microplane grater.  I am also hoping that my readers can find this kind of frozen grated coconut at a nearby Indian market.  I haven't yet tried to prepare this dish with unsweetened dried grated coconut and reconstitute it with warm water. It may work, however, the taste is better if it is made with fresh coconut. Below are pictures of 2 different brands of frozen grated coconut in the Indian markets.

About the level of heat:
Big chili is not hot! The smaller chili is hotter than the big one, that's for sure. The red small chili(fresh Chili Arbol) is SUPER hot (about 15000-30000 Scoville unit). Chili Arbol is not as hot as Habanero but it is pretty hot.  I usually use 2-3 of this red chili per dish and it can be omitted altogether.  The next level is the medium size chili such as red Jalapeno (basically, it is jalapeno that is ripened) which is medium hot.  The mildest is the dried New Mexico(dried Anaheim pepper) that is reconstituted in warm water after the stem and seeds removed.  New Mexico chili is readily available in most market, especially, Hispanic market.  Therefore, it really depends how you like the heat.  I combine the red small chili with 3-4 large New Mexico chili in my dishes.  Sometime I combine the red Jalapeno with New Mexico chili.  I always use the New Mexico chili since I like the taste(a bit sweet) and how it makes the dish red but not hot.  If fresh small red chili is not available, the dried chili called Chili Arbol can be used.  They also need to be reconstituted in warm water.  I have used this kind of dried Chili Arbol when the fresh ones are not available.  Warning: always use gloves when handling chili or wash hands immediately and don't rub face or eyes.

From lower right, clockwise: hot fresh chili arbol, medium red jalapeno, reconstituted New Mexico chili, hot red dried chili arbol.

Vegan Indonesian Salad with Spicy Grated Coconut Dry Dressing- Urap
Serve 6 
Printable Recipe

Vegetable Ingredients: (they will shrink after steaming)
6-8 cups kale, cut into julienne or shreds
1 cabbage, cut into julienne or shreds (about 6 cups)
4 cups cut green beans (fresh), either julienne cut or about 1 inch
2 cups bean sprouts, optional

Dry dressing ingredients:
1 ½ cup fresh grated coconut or frozen and then thawed
4 garlic cloves
4-5 shallot cloves
1 tsp. salt
3-4 large New Mexico chili, reconstituted in warm water after seeds and stem removed
2-3 hot red chili or serrano chili, use less for less hot and see 'About the level of heat' how to make this dish spicy or less spicy, can be omitted completely for mild spicyness
1 Tbsp. miso (light brown or white mellow)
Note:  traditionally, this dish is made with terasi or shrimp paste.  I replaced it with miso.
1 Tbsp. palm sugar/gula jawa/brown sugar
New Mexico chili soaking water or plain water

Preparing the dry dressing:
  1. Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind garlic, shallot, salt, New Mexico chili, red hot chili/serrano chili until smooth. Add a little water or chili soaking water, a little at a time, until this mixture come into a paste.
  2. Combine the spice paste with the grated coconut, miso, and sugar thoroughly with hands or a large fork.
  3. Steam this dressing for 15-20 minutes. Set aside and let it cool.
Preparing steam vegetables:
Note: the veggies are supposed to be lightly steamed, don’t overkill in the steaming process.

  1. Use a large steamer such as a large wok with bamboo steamer on top. Boil 4-5 cups of water.
  2. Once the water is boiling, pile in shredded kale, steam for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Take out the steamed kale and spread onto a cookie sheet for a quick cooling.
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for cabbage, green beans, and bean sprouts. Bean sprouts takes only 3-4 minutes. Each time spread steamed vegetables on a cookie sheet for a quick cooling.
Mix the salad:
  1. Mix the lightly steamed vegetables and dry dressing when everything is COOL.
  2. Combine dressing and veggies thoroughly and serve in a room temperature.  Add salt if necessary.
  3. Store in the fridge but let it out on a room temperature or heat up in a microwave for 1 minute before serving.
Just like Indian Kale-Cabbage Thoran, this dish is usually better accompanied with somekind of fish dish.  The Lemongrass Soy Fish is a great companion.


Kristina said...

could you tell me what is the best method for steaming the dressing? would a double boiler work?
thanks, Kristina

spiceislandvegan said...

Hi Kristina,

I haven't tried it with a double boiler. I steam it with this kind of steamer basket

If you don't have it you can steam with any steamer basket if the holes are too big you can layer a few cabbage leaves underneath it.

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your blog and look forward to reading/trying out your Indonesian recipes. I have tried to modify/veganize my grandma's and mom's recipes with mixed results. Ellen

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks Ellen. I am still doing some expriments myself too. Let me know if my recipe is correct. You can adjust and add a little bit of that and a little bit of this too.

Stella said...

This dressing is awesome!! I steam it in a steamer basket without holes, I think a glass bowl would be fine too. By leaving out the Indonesian spices it turns into something that reminds me of Parmesan cheese. Thank you a lot for this wonderful recipe : )

spiceislandvegan said...

Thanks Stella! Good to know that you steamed it in a glass bowl. I am glad you like the recipe.

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