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08 Jun 2023

Petty Pandean-Elliott’s vegetable curry

Petty Pandean-Elliott’s vegetable curry
This simple and delicate Javanese curry is said to have once been part of the feast within local cultural ceremonies. These days, it is the ultimate source of comfort — hearty soul food without the chilli heat seen in so many of our other dishes.  

Vegetables such as unripe jackfruit, young fern, bamboo shoots and moringa leaves are widely used in the traditional recipe, but most vegetables will work. This delicious version features aubergine (eggplant), pumpkin, spinach and green beans.  

Serves: 4-6
Takes: 35 mins 

2 tbsp coconut oil 
1 quantity White Spice Paste (below) 
400g pumpkin or butternut squash, cut into 1.5cm cubes 
3 makrut lime leaves, torn 
2 salam leaves or bay leaves (optional)  
1 long stalk of lemongrass, crushed and tied into a knot  
400ml coconut milk 
1 aubergine, cut into 1.5cm cubes 
½ tsp salt  

100g French or runner beans, cut into 2-inch segments  
50g spinach  
steamed brown rice, to serve (optional)  


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the spice paste and cook for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Add the pumpkin, lime leaves, salam leaves, if using, and lemongrass. Pour in half of the coconut milk and 400ml water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover the pan and simmer for 5 mins.  

  2. Add the aubergine and salt, then cover and simmer for 15-17 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Add the green beans and the remaining coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt.  

  3. Serve with steamed rice, if desired.  

White Spice Paste 

Makes around 100g  

2 candlenuts or macadamia nuts, coarsely ground (optional)  
2-3 tbsp coconut oil or sunflower oil 
4 garlic cloves, sliced 
2-3 small banana shallots, sliced  
20g fresh root ginger, sliced  
10g galangal, thinly sliced  

If using the candlenuts, heat a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the candlenuts and dry-roast for 3-4 mins. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend into a smooth paste.


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