Pecel Sayur: Vegetables in Javanese Peanut Sauce (Vegan)

A traditional and very important Javanese dish. A salad of lightly-blanched vegetables, doused in a spicy-sweet peanut gravy.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Important note: This dish is served with sambal pecel. Please prepare the sambal before making this dish.

Pecel sayur is a traditional dish originating in Java, and is especially popular in Central and East Java. It’s a humble dish consisting of boiled vegetables doused in sambal pecel, a type of Indonesian peanut sauce. Simple but healthy, this dish is often served with rice for breakfast and lunch. 

Pecel has a long history in Java. Each region has developed its version of the dish, whether it’s a special recipe for the sauce, its own unique combination of vegetables, or the side dishes pecel is served with. To distinguish each region’s pecel, its city of origin is often affixed, for example, pecel Solo, pecel Madiun, pecel Ponorogo, etc. Sometimes, pecel is named after its specific ingredient as well, such as pecel turi (pecel with turi flower or Vegetable Hummingbird), pecel kecombrang (torch ginger pecel), pecel punten (rice cake pecel), etc. 

Some examples of the differences

In Yogyakarta and Solo, for example, the sauce tends to be sweeter, while in East Java, such as in Madiun, the sauce is savoury, spicier and less sweet. 

In Yogyakarta, tempe bacem is served when enjoying pecel, while in Solo, karak (rice crackers) is a must. 

In Solo, sometimes peanuts are substituted with black sesame seeds to make the sauce. Ground sesame has a duller color compared to peanuts, and might be the reason why this type of pecel is called pecel ndeso, or village pecel in the local language. Though pallid, the dish has a delicious sesame flavour different from other types of pecel, which makes it quite unique.

In Banyuwangi, East Java, it’s common to combine pecel with rawon. Two iconic dishes on one plate, to form one of Banyuwangi’s specialties. It’s literally rice with pecel sayur, showered with rawon gravy. A must-try dish while visiting the place. 

Pecel sayur might be prepared using different vegetables unique to each region, but the most common vegetables used include long beans, cabbage, spinach and bean sprouts. There is no limit on what kind of vegetables you can use, so feel free to use anything available in your local store.  It’s best to use at least two different veggies to make it more interesting.

Most of the time, pecel is served with carbs, such as rice, noodles, or rice cakes (ketupat/lontong), but even without carbs, the dish is filling. The peanut sauce is satisfying, and when eaten with extra side dishes such as bakwan, tempe goreng, a hard boiled egg, or fried chicken, etc, it makes for a complete dish.

It’s refreshing to enjoy pecel sayur on hot days. It’s light, yet filling, and very healthy.

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Pecel Sayur: Vegetables in Javanese Peanut Sauce (Vegan)

Pecel Sayur: Vegetables in Javanese Peanut Sauce (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Vegetables
  • Method: Blanching
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Pecel sayur is a traditional Javanese salad-dish and one of the most common vegetable dishes in Java. It’s a salad of lightly-blanched vegetables, doused in a spicy-sweet peanut gravy.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 250 gr spinach, cleaned, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 long beans, cleaned, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 50 gr bean sprout
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (optional), peeled
  • 4 tbsp sambel pecel
  • 0.5 cup warm water

Instructions

  1. Blanch the spinach and long beans separately, set aside.
  2. Dilute the sambal pecel with the warm water until it forms a thick sauce.
  3. Put all the vegetables on a serving plate, drizzle the peanut sauce, and mix well.
  4. Serve with the hard boiled egg (optional) and with or without rice. 

    Pecel Sayur is ready


Notes

  • To retain the nutrients, just slightly blanch the veggies.

Keywords: salad, spinach, beans

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