This salad brims with treasures: boiled egg, fried tofu, potatoes, fried prawn crackers - topped off with a creamy peanut sauce.
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 2 waxy potatoes, cut into 3 cm cubes, boiled until semi-soft
- 250 g firm tofu, drained, pat dried and cut into rectangles
- 2 hard-boiled eggs
- 1 head baby cos lettuce cut lengthwise into thin wedges
- ½ small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
- 2 handfuls beans sprouts
- 1 carrot, shredded
- ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
- fried prawn crackers, to serve
- 175 g palm sugar, chopped
- 500 g crunchy peanut butter
- 400 ml coconut cream
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 60 ml (¼ cup) kecap manis
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 200 g sambal pecel (see note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. For the peanut sauce, place 250 ml (1 cup) water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the palm sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the peanut butter until well combined. Bring to a gentle boil, the gradually pour in the coconut cream and milk, stirring until well combined.
2. Add the kecap manis and tamarind and bring to a gentle boil. Crumble in the pecel and return to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Gradually add enough water to make a sauce with a silky consistency. Remove from the heat and adjust to taste with salt and kecap manis or coconut milk.
3. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Fry the potatoes, tofu and eggs separately until golden and crisp. Drain on paper towel.
4. To serve, arrange the cos lettuce wedges on the base of each serving plate. Top with a handful of sliced lettuce, followed by a handful of bean sprouts, some carrot and cucumber, then top with more beansprouts.
5. Slice the tofu, potatoes and eggs in half and scatter around the beansprouts. Pour the peanut sauce over the salad and top with prawn crackers. Serve immediately.
•Sambal pecel (pronounced pechel) is an Indonesian instant peanut sauce. It's available in dried blocks at select Asian supermarkets.
Diana Chan is exploring the many dishes of Asia within Australia in the brand-new series, Asia Unplated with Diana Chan.