Lontong, tofu & vermicelli salad

Lontong, tofu & vermicelli salad

Ketoprak

By
From
Street Food Asia
Serves
4 a s part o f a shared meal
Photographer
Alan Benson

A healthy salad, ketoprak is similar to its better-known cousin, gado gado. It originated in Jakarta and Ketoprak Ciragil, on Jalan Cikatomas 1 in Kebayoran Baru, is the place I like to eat it. It’s a busy and famous outlet, which has been going since 1961, with pastel blue walls and lovely old wooden bench tops – it’s got oodles of character and locals line up outside in droves for this dish. Ketoprak is made from slices of lontong (compressed rice cake), fried tofu, vermicelli noodles, boiled egg and lots of bean sprouts. The tofu is always cooked to order, so it’s hot and fresh, and I am lucky enough to get into the kitchen and watch how they make the peanut sauce on a huge stone cobek, the traditional mortar, using a pestle. The sauce is similar to the dressing for gado gado but is thicker, sweet with palm sugar and spiked with plenty of garlic. The finished dish is a lively plateful, bursting with colour, flavour and texture.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
50g bean sprouts
2 litres vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 handful indonesian red prawn crackers, (kerupuk; see glossary)
150g firm tofu, drained and cut into 1.5 x 3 cm rectangles
2 Lontong rice cakes, cut into 2-cm chunks
100g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
1 lebanese cucumber, peeled and cut into batons
2 tablespoons kecap manis, (see glossary)
2 tablespoons Fried red Asian shallots

Peanut sauce

Quantity Ingredient
50g skin-on peanuts
3 garlic cloves
2 bird’s eye chillies
1/2 tablespoon liquid palm sugar (see glossary) or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method

  1. Briefly blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water, drain and set aside.
  2. In a large wok, heat the oil to a medium–high heat, around 170°C, or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds. Flash-fry the prawn crackers in 3 batches for a few seconds, just until they fluff up. Drain well on paper towels.
  3. To make the peanut sauce, add the peanuts to the hot oil in the wok and fry for 2–3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the garlic and chillies and fry for 2 minutes, then remove and drain.
  4. In the same oil, fry the tofu for 3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Drain on paper towel.
  5. Transfer the fried peanuts, garlic and chillies to a mortar together with the palm sugar and salt and pound with a pestle to form a thick paste. Slowly add 100 ml water and mix together well. Set aside.
  6. To serve, divide the lontong rice cake chunks between bowls and top with the tofu, bean sprouts, vermicelli noodles and cucumber. Drizzle over the kecap manis and peanut sauce, garnish with fried shallots and serve with the red prawn crackers.
Tags:
South-East Asian
Asian
Street Food
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