Lontong sayur Betawi is a traditional dish of hard-boiled rice with vegetable curry from Jakarta region. It was one of the Indonesian dishes that I grew up having it so often for breakfast. Yes, for breakfast. I remember when I was a little girl, I used to get excited whenever we visited my auntie who lived in the northern part of Jakarta. Because there was a food stall near her house that sold a very yummy lontong sayur, and we used to have to queue to buy it.
And when I was at Uni in Bandung (West Java), there used to be a food stall that did lontong sayur Betawi next to our campus. So obviously, I was one of their regular customers. In fact, I used to have breakfast there almost every day 😄.
Therefore, when I moved to the UK, lontong sayur was one of the Indonesian foods that I really missed and that I put effort to learn to make.
Lontong sayur Betawi is vegetable curry with hard-boiled rice from Jakarta region
There are many versions of lontong sayur in Indonesia. Every region has its own way of cooking it and uses different ingredients.
But in essence, lontong sayur is vegetable curry cooked in coconut milk that you eat with lontong, which is hard-boiled rice.
The recipe that I’m sharing here is Lontong Sayur Betawi. Betawi is an alias for Jakarta.
Just like my other Indonesian food recipes, this one also belongs to my mom. But I tweaked it and made some changes so that it’s easy for me to make.
Originally, the dish uses raw papaya or labu siam/ chayote, Kacang Panjang/ yardlong, and potatoes. But I use green beans and potatoes most of the time. Because it’s not easy for me to buy those exotic vegetables near my house. Although I can get them in Asian shops or Chinatown here in the UK, I often feel lazy to go far just to buy them. Maybe because I don’t like shopping anyway.
Having said that, I’ve tried cooking with raw papaya and labu siam/ chayote. They both made a lovely Lontong Sayur. But, green beans are equally delicious IF I get the recipe right. So, it all depends on the way we cook as well. Not solely relies on the ingredients.
By all means, you can choose whichever vegetables you’d like to use.
How to make lontong
As for the lontong – hard-boiled rice – it’s actually rice that wrapped in cylinder shape of banana leaf and boiled until the rice firm-hard. Some people also use ketupat which is hard-boiled rice that wrapped in palm leaves. The leaves are woven into diamond shapes. If you google it, you may find some people explain that lontong or ketupat is a compressed rice cake. I don’t. Because there are cakes that are made with rice among Indonesian cuisines. So I personally prefer to call and explain it as hard-boiled rice. Nevertheless, they’re all the same thing.
Now, when it comes to making a proper lontong with a banana leaf here in the UK, it is actually possible to do so. Because I can get banana leaves at the Asian shops in Chinatown. However, the price is crazily expensive. Not to mention the distance to get there. So again, to make my life easier, I tried to find an alternative to make lontong.
I’ve learned it by boiling prepacked Basmati boil-in-a-bag rice packets for about an hour in a pressure cooker or one hour and a half in a normal pot. When it’s done, your boil-in-a-bag rice will be soft to touch, but it will harden once it’s completely cool down.
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