Thursday, March 24, 2016

Rice Cakes in Vegetables Curry, Lontong

Chicken rice, fried carrot cake, fried Hokkien Mee, Laksa, Satay - all the delicious and famous street food of Singapore; but what happened to Lontong? Unlike the other popular street food, Lontong is hardly raved about.


Lontong,in Malaysia and Singapore, usually refers to a breakfast dish of ketupat (rice cakes) in a coconut-based vegetable-curry with chopped vegetables such as cabbage, long beans and carrots; plus other ingredients such as fried tofu and hard-boiled eggs. To me, it is quite similar to Gado-Gado with the type of vegetables used; but Gado-Gado is a dry salad doused with peanut-sauce dressing while Lontong is liquid-based curry.

Traditionally, ketupat is made from white rice wrapped in a woven palm leaf pouch which is then boiled and as the rice cooks, the grains expand to fill the pouch and the rice becomes compressed. However, shelf-ready rice-filled plastic pouches are now available which can be boiled until the rice becomes cooked and subsequently fill up the pouch and be compressed as well.



Rice, already boiled to cook and fill up the pouch and compressed - call it ketupat

Thank goodness for such a product, plus with the help of Sayur Lodeh Premix (Prima Brand), I am able to make Lontong quite easily at home. The flavors from the premixed paste is really quite tasty and as far as I can remember, much better than the Lontong I tasted so many years ago from the Malay hawker food stalls back in Singapore. In addition, the gravy derived from the pre-packaged paste is of the correct consistency compared to those sold by street vendors nowadays, in which the Lontong gravy can be quite thin and watery.


Don't you think with rice (carbs), tofu and egg (protein) and the vegetables all in one dish, Lontong can be quite a balanced one-dish meal? Forget the coconut milk for a second!


Rice Cakes in Vegetables Curry, Lontong
Ingredients: 1 pack Prima brand Sayur Lodeh (you can buy it online), 1 packet of rice pouch to make ketupat (available in Ranch 99, try the ethnic food section), 1/2 cabbage, roughly chopped, 1 medium organic carrots, chopped to bite-size, 3 handfuls of finger-length French beans/long beans, 1 tofu cut to wedges and pan-fried till brown and crisp on the outside.

Directions: Boil the rice pouch and prepare the ketupat into cubes when the rice has been boiled, cooked and cooled. Follow the instructions of the premix to make the gravy, then simmer the vegetables to cook in the gravy. Serve the vegetable curry with ketupat rice cubes and don't forget the dollop of sambal chili.




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