This version of urap has a complex mix of flavours an unusual almost-crunchiness. The cuisine of Java is typically sweeter and less hot than that of many of its neighbours, but this dish does have some heat to it, via a few seeded red chilies. For good presentation and interesting mouthfeel it is important to cut the vegetables evenly and not subsequently overcook them. If you substitute haricort vert for snake beans watch the steaming time even more closely. I strongly recommend seeking out that strangely knobbly galangal root, which many Asian grocery’s carry fresh, because it provides a more complex aroma, sweet and lemony. And watch for water everywhere! Let the steamed vegetables steam-off the last of their clinging moisture and press, press, press the hydrated coconut. A soggy salad is no fun. Speaking of disappointment, do not chill the final product, or you will find it a shadow of its former self. What I find most remarkable about this dish is how is looks and tastes of the sea, with no seafood in it whatsoever.
Serve with cold water, or a gerwurztraminer.
Mixed Vegetables dressed with Javanese Coconut (Urap)
30 minutes; serves four
4 oz carrot, cut 1/8″ X 1/8″ X 2″ matchsticks
4 oz bean sprouts, brown tails removed
4 oz snake beans, cut in 2″ lengths (may substitute haricort vert)
1/2 cups dessicated unsweetened coconut
1 galangal root, smashed with a mallet until it splits
2 red chilies, seeded and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp palm sugar (may substitute brown sugar)
1/2 tsp Maldon salt (may substitute 1 tsp salt)
2 tsp lime juice
1. Set a kettle of water to boil, for the coconut and the sprouts
2. Steam the carrot until barely tender, about five minutes. Shake off any droplets you can.
3. Steam the beans until barely tender, about three minutes Shake off any droplets you can.
4. Place the coconut and galangal in a bowl and cover with hot water. Leave for ten minutes.
5. Place the sprouts in a strainer and pour the rest of the hot water over them.
6. Remove the galangal root, strain the water from the coconut, and press out all the moisture that you can.
7. Grind the chilies, garlic, sugar, salt and lime juice in a mortar. Mix with the coconut. Taste for salt and acid.
8. Toss the vegetables with the dressing, and serve.