sayur urab- balinese mix vegetable salad

pic by john…

OK, this might come as a bit of a shock…but Bintang beer is actually not all there is to Balinese cuisine- despite thousands (or is that hundreds of thousands?) of Aussies saying otherwise.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a Bintang (or two…ok, sometimes more) as much as anyone, but there is more to Bali. Much more. More even than Nasi Goreng or satay sticks.

Take the salads as an example. Nutritious, tasty and full of colour and texture, these are salads worth trying at home.

At Bali Asli (I’ll blog that one separately), we had two variations on this theme- one that was similar to that in the recipe below (they called it Urab Kacang Panjang), and one that used young fern tips, red beans, shredded coconut, Bali lime and shallots (Urab Paku Kacang Barack). Both had great flavour and crunch.

Sayur Urab

The Indonesian word for vegetables is “sayur”. Loosely translated this is mixed vegetables. This recipe is one that we prepared at the cooking class at Bumi Bali. The pictures were taken there as well.

This salad is usually made with a green vegetable and grated coconut, but feel free to add other vegies like carrot, a couple of handfuls of shredded cabbage, handfuls of bean sprouts, capsicum or something else with crunch. Don’t be too exact or precious. Play around with the combinations and the flavours.

This is great served on its own with steamed rice or with grilled chicken, fish…in fact anything that can be slapped on a barbecue.

  • 250g green beans
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 2 long red chillis
  • 3 small green chillis
  • 10 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of one kaffir lime
  • a few shredded kaffir lime leaves
  • palm sugar- a few scrapes
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

To assemble the salad:

  • Blanch the beans in boiling water- just a few minutes to keep the colour and crunch. Drain and chop finely.
  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan.
  • Fry the shallots for a few minutes and then add the garlic, chilli and shrimp paste.
  • Continue to saute until combined and tender- another few minutes.
  • In a bowl mix together the beans, coconut, shallot/spice mix. Use your hands to get an even mix- as I said, don’t be too precious.
  • Add the juice of the kaffir lime, the shredded lime leaves, the salt and the palm sugar and mix through. Dollop onto a large plate for serving.

Too easy!

Some notes on the ingredients:

  • Kaffir limes are more difficult to source than kaffir lime leaves. Ordinary limes do have a different flavour, but will do the trick as a substitute.
  • Roasted shrimp paste is readily available in many Asian grocery stores. Here in Australia we can also buy it in handy portion sized push out pockets. Why handy? This stuff stinks beyond belief. Let’s just say you need the “best by” date on the box because it smells off as soon as it is opened. If you are buying it in a block, store in a tightly covered container in the fridge.
  • Palm sugar- again we buy it in small pieces, but it is also available in blocks. Most Asian grocery stores will stock it, as will many suburban supermarkets. Slice off thin scrapes with a sharp knife.
  • Coconut Oil has many health benefits (which I won’t go into here), but it also allows frying at a high heat. Any other vegetable oil (other than olive) is a good substitute.

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