Lontong Sayur Lodeh/Curried Vegetables + Compressed Rice

Lontong (compressed rice) Sayur Lodeh (Vegetables cooked in curried coconut milk) is a popular street food in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. It’s origins are from Indonesia/Java and likely to have been brought to Singapore & Malaysia by the early migrants. Earlier versions comprise mainly of cabbage, carrots, french beans and compressed rice. Later versions to bulk up on the protein included the fried tauhu (beancurd).

You can create your own Sayur Lodeh or Curried Vegetables by adding different types of vegetables or proteins with or without the compressed rice.

You can make your own compressed rice or buying it ready made (if you have that luxury). Lontong is usually cooked in banana leaves versus ketupat. You can cook the compressed rice as in my recipe in  Chicken Satay (Easy)

Your best place to find some of the items would be the Asian shops or if you live in S.E. Asia, the local markets or supermarkets would carry most of the ingredients you need for this dish.

Ingredients: serves 2-3

2 cakes of tofu/beancurd (suitable for frying/deep frying type)

2 hard boiled eggs, quartered

1 carrot, skinned & sliced

1/2 head cabbage, washed & cut into big chunks

toasted coconut shreds

200ml coconut milk

2 cups lontong (compressed rice) cut into big chunks

Rempah/Spice Paste:

8-10 cloves garlic

8-10 shallots

1″ galangal root (also known as laos, Thai ginger, blue ginger)

1″ fresh turmeric root (or substitute with 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)

10-12 fresh red chillies

3 tablespoons dried shrimp (udang kering or suitable substitutes)


  • Prepare the compressed rice if you are making from scratch first. This will allow the rice to have time to drain off the liquids. You do want it packed tightly as you will be cooking it in the lontong.
  • Next to prepare the spice paste. Garlic & shallots in the nude (no skin or outer layers); galangal & turmeric root also in the nude (remove the outer skin), cut into chunks for easier reduction to paste; Deseed chillies; soak the dried shrimp in some water to rehydrate / soften.
  • Place all ingredients for the rempah/spice paste into your trusty chopper (mini food processor) & process into as smooth a paste as you can. Add some oil if needed, to get it into a paste or puree.
  • Cut the beancurd squares into triangles, allow to drain on some kitchen towel. Fry them in oil till golden. Shallow pan fry to use less oil, just spending more time turning the pieces around to cook.
  • Fry the rempah/spice paste in oil (you can use the oil from frying the beancurd). When it starts turning darker in colour, add in a cup of water.
  • Add the carrots & cabbage and cook till the carrots are soft.
  • Add the coconut milk & lonton (compressed rice).
  • Bring to a boil, add salt to bring out the flavour of the dish & sugar if it is too spicy. Not too much sugar as it will make the curry too sweet.
  • Lightly toast the coconut shreds in a saucepan till nicely browned not burnt!
  • To serve, dish out the curried vegetables with some pieces of the compressed rice, topped with a couple of pieces of the fried beancurd & hard boiled eggs. Sprinkle with toasted coconut shreds.



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