Ketoprak Jakarta recipe: beansprouts, vermicelli, and tofu salad with peanut sauce

/ / / Ketoprak Jakarta recipe: beansprouts, vermicelli, and tofu salad with peanut sauce
Ketoprak Jakarta

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from a qualifying purchase without extra cost to you. Check our disclosure policy for more info.

What is Ketoprak?

Ketoprak is a traditional salad from the Jakarta area with main ingredients lontong/ ketupat, beansprouts, rice vermicelli, and tofu. Its dressing is made with garlicky and spicy peanut sauce.

It is an underrated Indonesian street food that offers a unique taste and flavour. One may try to compare it to its sister, Gado-Gado, but it’s a different dish in all sense. 

To simply put, Ketoprak is a salad and a meal made in one dish. 

Ketoprak Jakarta with overlay text

Just like any other street foods, you can enjoy Ketoprak anytime of the day. And it is one of the most popular food items offered by those sellers in the Jakarta area. 

Hence, the name is Ketoprak Jakarta. I doubt you can find this special salad outside Jakarta. Because each area has its own traditional and popular food.

In Indonesia, there are food sellers who go around the housing estates offering their food. And I used to buy this unique salad every weekend. For my brunch.

Therefore, I always missed it since I moved to the UK because I didn’t know how to make my favourite ketoprak. 

Simple ingredients

ingredients for ketoprak

Contrary to what some people think, you don’t need many ingredients to make Ketoprak. You only need tofu, rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, and lontong or ketupat. And as for the peanut sauce dressing, you only need peanuts, chillies, garlic, palm sugar (or brown sugar), lime juice and sweet soy sauce. 

Of all these ingredients, lontong or ketupat were something I couldn’t make easily.  

Traditionally, you use banana leaves to make lontong and to make ketupat you need coconut/palm leaves that are woven into diamond shape. And banana leaves are so expensive here in the UK. Whilst the palm leaves are just impossible to get as it doesn’t exist here. 

That’s why when I just relocated to the UK, I couldn’t make Ketoprak. Not only did I not know the recipe, but I didn’t know how to make lontong or ketupat either. And you need lontong or ketupat to have a proper Ketoprak.

So it was when my mom visited me several months later that I learned a way to make lontong. A sort of copycat lontong using a plastic food bag. 

And of course, she also taught me her ketoprak Jakarta recipe. 

Since then, whenever I feel like having ketoprak I can always make it pretty much right away. Because it’s sooooo easy to make it.

Now before I go on sharing my recipe, let me tell you a little bit about the difference between  lontong or ketupat.

The difference between lontong and ketupat lies in how you wrap before you cook the rice. 

Lontong uses banana leaves that are rolled into a cylinder and you put the rice in that cylinder tube. Whilst ketupat uses palm leaves that are woven into a sort of diamond shape pouch. 

Both lontong and ketupat are cooked by boiling them in water for long hours. It normally takes 2-3 hours to boil them. It depends on how big your lontong/ ketupat is and how many lontong/ketupat you put in the pot.

Unlike the western salad, many Indonesian salads and dishes use lontong or ketupat, the hard-boiling rice that some people in the west call it rice cake. 

How to make Ketoprak

Apart from boiling the lontong and frying the tofu, you don’t really have to cook to make ketoprak. To make lontong, you can check my post here.

When you have your lontong ready, you can dice your tofu and fry them. And set aside.

Then you soak your rice vermicelli in hot boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain it and set aside. And do the same for bean sprouts. Soak them in hot boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, drain the water and set aside.

rice vermicelli soaked in hot water
bean sprouts soaked in hot water

To make the peanut sauce, you can use roasted and salted peanuts – ready-made from the shop. And of course, if you want, you can use raw peanuts and fry them yourself. The taste of the sauce may differ slightly. Because the deep-fried peanuts have a distinguished smell of fried-stuff. It’s a kind of rich aroma which makes your food more flavoursome. But I’m okay with the roasted peanut aroma. For me, they both equally make the tasty peanut sauce.

roasted peanuts, chillies and garlic in a blender
peanut sauce in a blender

Anyway, you put 200 grams of peanuts together with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 3-4 bird’s eye chillies, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of palm sugar (or brown sugar), and ½ teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of water in a blender or a food processor. Blend and process it until all becomes a smooth thick sauce. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of lime juice. You may want to use less or more water until you get a smooth runny sauce which is as thick as double cream (heavy cream).

Try and taste the sauce. It should taste rich, spicy, garlicky, sweet, and salty all at the same time. And feel free to make some adjustments according to your taste. Especially when it comes to chillies.

The last thing you want to prepare is prawn crackers. But this one is optional. Traditionally, Jakartan people use onion crackers – the crackers that are made of rice and have onion flavour. But you can use white prawn crackers. You can even use the ready-made ones from the shop! 

So now you have everything ready to assemble.

tofu on a frying pan
a plate of Ketoprak Jakarta, the vermicelli, beansprouts and tofu salad from Jakarta

Cut the lontong in small squares/ pieces and arrange them on a plate. Put some rice vermicelli over the lontong. And add bean sprouts and tofu on top of it.

Pour the peanut sauce generously over the vegetables and lontong. Then drizzle some sweet soy sauce and garnish with the crackers. Enjoy.

Top tips to make irresistibly delicious Ketoprak

  • There are many types of vermicelli. Make sure you choose the one that is made with rice. The thin noodles should look cloudy white, not clear white or any other colour.
  • Soak the vermicelli for at least three minutes but not more than five minutes. Because it may have a hard texture or go too soft. You can try and have a bite before you decide to drain it.
  • Choose the extra-firm tofu. If you want to make your own tofu, you can check how I make my tofu here. You can even make the Indonesian yellow tofu if you follow my tutorial.
  • You also want to make sure you choose Indonesian sweet soy sauce as other sauces can taste different. I tried in the past, and I regretted it. Did you know that sweet soy sauce is originally from Indonesia? So I guess it’s only fair if we stick to the original :-).
  • The original Ketoprak Jakarta doesn’t use peanut butter. But I use about 2 tablespoons to add the creaminess in the sauce. You can skip it altogether.

Related posts

Thank you for reading the post. I hope you enjoy it and will try the recipe. If you do try the recipe, please leave in the comments about how you like it? Or perhaps you do some tweaks that make your Ketoprak more interesting? 

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest to sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen.

Do share the post and pin it on your Pinterest. And don’t forget to check my other Street Food (Jajan Pasar) recipes that you may equally like.

Thank you and all the best.

Yield: 4

Ketoprak Jakarta

A round plate of Ketoprak Jakarta with some crackers

A traditional salad from Jakarta region that uses beansprouts, vermicelli, lontong/ketupat, and tofu. It's served with garlicky and spicy peanut sauce. The dish is popular as street food that can be enjoyed any time of day, as a snack or a meal.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • Ingredients:
  • 300 gr/ 10.58 oz Ready-cooked Lontong (see the note).
  • 150 gr/ 5.29 oz Beansprouts.
  • 50 gr/ 1.76 oz Vermicelli.
  • 150 gr/ 5.29 oz Extra-firm tofu.
  • 200 gr/ 7.05 oz Roasted & salted peanuts (see the notes).
  • 2 tbsp Peanut butter (optional, see the note).
  • 4 Bird's eye chillies (see the note).
  • 4 cloves Garlic.
  • 2 ½ tbsp Palm sugar or brown sugar. (see the note).
  • ½ tsp Salt.
  • 1-2 tbsp Lime juice.
  • 2 cups Water.
  • ¼ cup. Indonesian Sweet soy sauce.
  • Crackers (optional).

Instructions

  1. Using a pestle and mortar, a blender or a food processor, grind, blend or process the peanuts, chilli, garlic, sugar, salt and water until it’s smooth and thick. You want the paste to be as thick as double cream. Not too runny nor too thick. So you may want to use more or less water than the recipe.
  2. Add the lime juice in and mix well or give it another blitz. Set aside.
  3. Put the rice vermicelli in a mixing bowl, pour boiling water from the kettle over it and let the rice vermicelli soaked in the water for about 3 minutes. Then drain the vermicelli, set aside.
  4. Wash, rinse and blanched the bean sprouts with hot boiling water for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. Cut the tofu into dice and shallow-fry them for about 6-10 minutes until the outer skin looks a bit golden. Set aside.
  6. Cut the Lontong into small squares. 
  7. Take a serving plate. 
  8. Arrange the Lontong on a plate. Then add the vermicelli on the top, and scatter the bean sprouts and tofu over it.
  9. Lastly, pour the peanut sauce generously and drizzle with some sweet soy sauce.
  10. If using, garnish with prawn crackers.
  11. Enjoy.

Notes

  • Although Lontong is one of the main ingredients of Ketoprak, some people may not like it. So if you think you won’t like it, you’re more than welcome to skip it. Though it may not be the same as the real Ketoprak Jakarta.
  • For the sauce, you can use roasted salted peanuts. Or you can deep fry raw peanuts yourself. If you decide to fry the peanuts, make sure you keep stirring as you fry. Otherwise, the nuts won’t be evenly cooked. And when you use the fried peanuts, you may want to add more salt to the sauce. 
  • If you don’t have fresh chillies, you can substitute it with chilli powder. I would put 1 teaspoon chilli powder. Or put as much as you like. Because some chilli powder can be hotter than some others. So be mindful with that. Try to add a little first then add more if you need.
  • Ideally, you use palm sugar or brown sugar. But if you don’t have it, you don’t have to worry. Just use the normal sugar but make sure you have a proper Indonesian sweet soy sauce.
  • Peanut butter is a new addition that can add the creaminess to the sauce. You can skip it altogether and still make a delicious sauce. So don’t worry if you don’t have it. But it’s definitely recommended.

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 347Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1410mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 3gSugar 24gProtein 11g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

Did you try the recipe?

Share how you like the recipe in the comments below and show a picture of your creation

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *