(My version of gulai sayur. Origin: Indonesia)
Here is my version of gulai, which refers to the flavorful yellow broth made of turmeric, chili peppers, garlic, shallot, and coconut milk. It makes such a wonderful vegetable stew. In fact, I have written a couple of versions of this recipe before, titled Chayote Squash in Spicy Broth and Spicy Kale. Today, I’d like to adjust it a bit to show how easy and versatile it could be.
When summer comes to an end, it usually yield tons of produce. Like many of you, I love going to farmers market to get those goodies. Maybe like some of you, I tend to get too many things. Just like the other day, I got a variety of peppers and tons of shallots and garlic—the three key ingredients in Indonesian cooking and in this vegetable stew recipe. I also had a couple of Chayote squash and two handful of shiitake mushroom in the fridge. So, here’s what I did with them:
Prepared the vegetables:
- Peeled, cored, and sliced the Chayote squash into long and thin cuts. Then I soaked the cuts in a bowl of water mixed with salt for about 30 minutes to get rid of the sap. Could be substituted with summer squash/zucchini/ bell pepper (see more vegetable options on the bottom of the page)
- Remove the shiitake stems and roughly chopped the mushroom
Prepared the gulai broth:
List of ingredients:
- 4 shallots
- 4 garlic
- 3 hot peppers (red/orange color)
- 3 sweet peppers (red/orange color)
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2-3 cups of water
- 1/2 can of light coconut milk
- 1/2 inch of sliced galangal root (or 1 lemongrass) to add lemony aroma to the stew. Could be substituted with lemon zest (from one lemon).
- Chopped shallots, garlic, hot peppers, and sweet peppers in a food processor (or blender)
- Added turmeric powder and a little bit of salt to the mixture
- Sweat it in a heated pot with a tablespoon of vegetable oil, to release the moisture
- Added water and galangal root, let it simmer
- Added coconut milk, stirred
- Once the broth simmered for the second time, I added the squash and mushroom
- Let them stew for about five minutes or until the broth simmered for the third time
- Removed galangal root before serving
At dinner time, my guy had a good point. He said that the stew’s contents could vary. We could have different types of vegetables with (or without) mushroom or even with tofu/tempeh/some seafood in it. Aha! That comment gave me an idea. I listed several produce that would taste great in this vegetable stew recipe:
Choose one vegetable or do a pairing of a vegetable with either mushroom/one of the seafood selections/tofu/tempeh from the following list: (I’d combine up to two things to avoid stew overcrowd)
- Summer squash
- Bell peppers
- String beans
For these greens, I prefer to have it just by itself in the stew, not in a combination.
- Swiss Chard
- Collard Green
- (I like using) Shiitake mushroom
- Smoked salmon (I’d cut it into small square and add into the stew closer to the end of cooking, since it is already cooked)
- Shrimp (cook together with the vegetable of choice in the simmering broth until shrimp is fully cooked, about 5 minutes)
Soy-based protein goodies:
- Tofu (extra firm and cut into small square. Cook together with the vegetable of choice in the simmering broth for about 5 minutes)
- Tempeh (cut into small square and cook together with the vegetable of choice in the simmering broth for about 5-10 minutes)
What do you think? Anything else we could try? I’ll add to the list if I could think of more.
Thanks for stopping by!