I discovered this delicious Malay dish in a little backstreet counter restaurant called Dapur in Lamb’s Conduit passage in central London. The colour, taste and spice were delicious. The version I had was vegetarian but it is commonly made with chicken or prawns. The core elements are a heavily turmeric-ky gravy with some fish sauce and lemongrass to add freshness.

Improvised recipe based on memory and Google translates of various Malay websites.

  • 5 cloves of garlic chopped finely
  • Fresh ginger – 2cm chunk diced finely
  • 1 shallot finely diced
  • Kale or Asian cabbage torn away from hard stems
  • Roasted butternut squash cut into large cubes
  • 1 tbsp of turmeric (yes, lots)
  • 2 tbsp of fish sauce (more added to taste later)
  • Tamarind to taste
  • 1 stick of lemongrass
  • 3 deseeded green chillies
  • Coconut milk (250ml)
  • Chicken stock cube
  • Prawns (butterflied) or chicken thigh

Instructions

  1. Heat 5 tbsp of vegetable oil in deep pan or slow cooker
  2. Add shallot, garlic and most of ginger to oil (save a little for garnish) and fry for 5-mins
  3. Add fish sauce, prawns, kale, chillies and turmeric then turn down heat (5-mins)
  4. Add stock, lemongrass, tamarind, squash and coconut milk
  5. Simmer or slow cook for 4-hours
  6. Serve with sticky rice