RECIPE OF THE WEEK | Javanese tofu and scallop curry (Opor tahu dan scallops)

Opor, a dish from central Java, is usually described as a white curry. However this description does not do justice to dishes’ dreamy and alluring flavours of galangal, ginger and lemongrass combined with mild green chillies. For me, opor is the quintessential Javanese dish: subtle, creamy and aromatic. In this modern interpretation I have selected scallops to partner tofu, to create what I think it a supremely elegant curry. It’s the kind of meal to serve your girlfriends for lunch, on a day when you have plenty of time and loads to chat and giggle about – alongside free-flowing bubbly of course!

Javanese-tofu_blog

  • 8 scallops
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind pulp soaked in 2 tablespoons of water, strained 3 tablespoons oil
  • 100 g tofu, cut into a size to match the scallops
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, bruised and tied in knots
  • 3 salam leaves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fried shallots
  • 2 teaspoons grated palm sugar
  • sea salt

SPICE PASTE

  • 3 red shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 long green chillies, roughly chopped 2 small green chillies, roughly chopped 3 tablespoons chopped galangal
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 5 candlenuts
  • 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste

Mix the scallops with the tamarind water and set aside.
Pound the spice paste ingredients to a smooth paste in a mortar, or blitz in a food processor with a little water if necessary to get the mixture moving.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry the spice paste for 30 seconds.

Add the lemongrass, salam leaves and lime leaves and fry for another 20 seconds, until glossy and fragrant. Strain the scallops and throw them into the wok. Toss them around until seared, then add the tofu and toss gently for a few more seconds. Add the coconut milk, fried shallots, palm sugar and some salt and simmer gently for a minute, until slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning and serve with steamed rice.

Serves 4

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RECIPE OF THE WEEK | Green fried rice – Nasi goreng hijau

Perhaps Indonesia’s national dish, nasi goreng is enjoying a curious renaissance, appearing in all shapes and sizes across the archipelago in oh-so creative combinations of meats, herbs and garnishes. If you wander through the food courts of Indonesia’s glam shopping malls, you will see modern reinterpretations of it wherever you look. I recently found this particularly delicious nasi goreng on my travels in Jakarta. However, in the spirit of nasi goreng, feel free to add what you like (providing it tastes good!) as nasi goreng is all about experimentation.

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SPICE PASTE

  • 2 red shallots or 1⁄2 onion, finely chopped 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large green chilli, sliced
  • 2 small green chillies, sliced (optional) 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped leek
  • 120 g shelled raw prawns, finely chopped
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, rolled into a bundle and finely shredded 11/2 cups chopped choy sum or bok choy
  • 1/4 cup snow peas, blanched
  • 1/4 cup peas
  • 1 teaspoon kecap manis
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 3 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped lemon basil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • fried shallots to serve
  • 1 grilled extra-large prawn to serve
  • large krupuk to serve

Put the spice paste ingredients in a mortar and pound to a smooth paste, or blitz in a blender.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and fry the spice paste for about 30 seconds.

Add the leek and prawns, lime leaves and toss for about 30 seconds, then add the vegetables and sauces. Toss until the vegetables are barely cooked. Add the rice and mix thoroughly. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon basil. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper and more sauces if needed. Serve topped with fried shallots, the grilled prawn and krupuk.

Serves 1

Discover more amazing Indonesian recipes from my cookbook Bali: Food of My Island Home