As other Indonesian salads, pecel (or known as pecal) is enjoyed with a company of warmed cooked rice or lontong, other protein sources (such as fish, chicken, beef, tempe(h) or tofu) and crackers. For those who know about gado-gado, lotek and karedok, you may love pecel as well.
– Gado-gado: peanut (sometimes mix with cashew nuts) base sauce with coconut milk and no kencur added. Use blanched/cooked veggies.
– Karedok : oncom base sauce with kencur and no coconut milk added. Use raw veggies. Oncom is a close relative of tempeh.
– Lotek and Pecel: peanut base sauce with kencur and no coconut milk added. Lotek uses a mix of blanched or boiled and raw veggies while pecel mostly has blanched or boiled veggies.
Karedok and lotek are popular in West Java while pecel is in East and Central Java. I myself love raw veggies more that is why I like blanching method for my pecel veggies. So they are cooked yet still crunchy.
Since I grew up in East Java, I used to have pecel for my breakfast where I could get easily from food hawkers/carts or warungs. I also tried imitating the one that I used to have by using kecipir (wnged beans), bunga turi (sesbania flowers), long green beans, chrysanthemum leaves and adding with sambal tumpang. Chrysanthemum leaves (or Chrysanthemum coronarium) are actually my substitution for kenikir leaves. They taste very close. Kenikir (or Cosmos caudatus Kunth.) is known as Ulam Raja in Malaysia.
Note: We call “Sambal Pecel” for Pecel’s peanut sauce. I usually make a big batch of sambal pecel and keep it in an air tight jar. Whenever I need the sauce, I just add lukewarm water and ready to use.
– Java Style Salad with Peanut Sauce –
200 g homemade roasted garlic peanuts, grind
Grind to a paste:
3 cloves garlic, fried/roasted
3 candlenuts, toasted
4 red chillies, fried/toasted
5 bird’s eye chillies, fried/toasted
7 cm kencur (also known as kaempferia galangal), roast and peel off the skin
7 kaffir lime leaves
2 tsp tamarind and 100 ml lukewarm water, mixed, squeezed and drain
1 tsp terasi (dried shrimp paste), fried/toasted
50 g coconut sugar or more if you like more sweet taste
1 tsp sugar
Basically use any veggies that you like
kenikir leaves (since I can’t find them for purchase, I substituted for tong ho/chrysanthemum leaves, has a pleasant taste and an unique aroma)
winged bean (kecipir)
sesbania flower (bunga turi)
Combine all ingredients to make sambal. Add with lukewarm water until you get the thickness that you want.
All vegetables are blanched, except Tong ho. Tong ho is better consumed in raw, because blanch process will lose its freshness taste and aroma.
Serving suggestions: Place all vegetables on the plate. Drizzle over the pecel sambal. If there is lamtoro gung (Leucaena glauca) and kemangi (lemon basil ) for purchase, you can sprinkle lamtoro gung over and put kemangi leaves over. since I don’t have them, I skipped them. I poured over sambal tumpang as well. Companied with tapioca and rice crackers (aka kerupuk aci dan kerupuk puli).