Indonesian Vegetable Curry

This curry recipe is one of my most popular among my friends, and I literally get a request every other week to make this. It’s hearty, homey (at least for me) and relatively easy to make. Most Indonesians would make curry with meat (usually chicken), so if you eat meat, you can add any kind of meat that you like!

It might be difficult to get the ingredients needed for this recipe if you don’t live in Asia, but I think with some effort you can find Asian stores near where you live! Otherwise, you can skip the aromatic spices as I only use them to elevate the smell of the dish. I have also found difficulty finding ingredients when I travel and ended up cooking without them, but the taste is not that different at all!



5 candlenuts (kemiri)

1 tablespoon of coriander seeds (ketumbar)

2 lemongrass (sereh)

2 kaffir lime leaves (daun jeruk)



10 big shallots

5 big garlics

400ml coconut milk

1cm ginger, peeled

Red chilli, optional

1 tablespoon of powdered turmeric (kunyit)

Salt and sugar to taste

Cooking oil


Toppings (Optional)

Potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes

Carrot, cut into 0.5cm slices


Tofu, cut into cubes and fried until crispy

Tempe, cut into cubes and fried until crispy

2 Eggs, medium boiled

First thing’s first, you need to toast your candlenut and coriander seeds on a hot pan until they smell really good. When they’re toasted, put them in a food processor / mortar and pestle and grind until smooth. Then add in your shallots, garlic, red chillies and ginger and grind until smooth. Add in some water if you have difficulty grinding the mixture.

Next, prepare a pot and stir-fry the mixture in a dash of oil (you don’t want too much oil, as the coconut milk is also creamy and rich in fat) in medium heat. Add in a tablespoon of turmeric and a teaspoon of salt and sugar (I love the taste of caramelized sugar in my food) and don’t let it burn. Peel the outer leaves of your lemongrass, remove the butt and crush it with the edge of your knife. Add those into your mixture (which should be smelling fantastic by now) as well as your kaffir lime leaves. Give it around 5 minutes to cook, add water if it seems too dry.

While waiting, you can start chopping your vegetables and boiling your egg. You can totally put whatever you want in the curry – there are no rules! Sometimes I like to put carrots in it, sometimes I don’t. But cauliflower matches the creaminess of the curry really well. I like my potatoes in big chunks and carrots to be small, but you can do it however you like too! Add in your coconut milk to the mixture that is frying, and give it a good stir. Warning: don’t cook your coconut milk in high heat or you will risk it to split. You don’t want that, it’s nasty. Leave it to simmer, and dump in your veggies, from the ones that take the longest to cook to the fastest (carrot > potatoes > cauliflower > tofu /tempe > egg). And you’re done!

This can serve 5 people (or 4 if I’m at the dinner table), best if served with hot white rice. Make sure you check out my other recipes here.


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