Chayote and Tofu in Spicy Coconut Sauce

Origin: East Java


  • 400 g tofu, cut in dice or long strips
  • 250 g medium size shrimps, discard the shells
  • 1 pc chayote, weighing about 150 gr
  • 3 pc large red chillies, de-seeded, chopped
  • 2 cm galangale, bruises or sliced
  • 2 pc salam or bay leaves as subtitute
  • 800 ml mid-thick coconut milk or 400 ml thick coconut milk mix with 400 ml water
  • 1 tsp sugar to taste
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • vegetable oil

Spices, thinly sliced

  • 3 pc large red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 20 pc small red/green chillies / bird chillies, chopped
  • 7 pc shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 gloves garlic, thinly sliced

Vegetables in Spicy Coconut Sauce

This is a typical daily menu along the rural villages & suburb areas of east Java Island. Here in this region, people are fond of very spicy dishes as the opposite of those from the middle of Java & Jogajakarta province who tends to have their food little bit sweet ;-).
I made many times experiment from the recipe with different combination of ingredients as well as the amount of the spices. I think this is the optimum result 🙂
This is so called a basic recipe for Sayur Santan Pedas/Vegetables is spicy coconut Sauce. It means, it's advisable to use the amount of spices & coconut milk as written on the recipe but the ingredients & vegetables to be cooked can be varied & changed to your preference & taste. For examples you can use a combination of : Tempeh + green bean + chicken fillet or tofu + kohlrabi (instead of chayote) + shrimps or tofu + carrots + sliced beef or tempe + bamboo shoot + bean, etc…
Attention: This is very spicy dish, if you are not used to consume spicy dishes/chillies, please leave this page & don't take a risk! But for you…the chilli fans and lovers, have a nice try with your own mix match recipe & enjoy your delicious spicy dish. Thank You 😉


  • Cut the tofu in dice or long thin shape as you're preferred.
  • Heat about 5 tbsp oil & fry the tofu until half cooked.
  • Remove from heat and set aside to drain. Put aside.
  • Cut the chayote in half and then briskly rub the cut sides together to draw out the white sap. Once its foams solidifies, rinse the chayotes in cool water, then peel the outer skin.
  • Slice thinly about 3 cm long. Put in a bowl.
  • Mix with 1 tbsp salt and squeeze to get it's juice out and an elastic texture. Wash and set to drain.
  • Prepare all the sliced spices.
  • Blend 3 pcs of large red chillies into paste. Put aside.
  • Heat 3 tbsp oil in a shallow pan/wok & sautee shallot & garlic until transparent & fragant.
  • Add blended red chillies, stir to mix.
  • Add the sliced chillies, salam/bay leaves & galangale & stir to mix. (Add salt immediately if the chili's fumes causes you to cough uncontrollably 😉
  • Stir all the time until all the spices well cooked.( This is important to obtain the best taste)
  • Add the sliced chayote, stir & cook until half cooked.
  • Add the shrimps, cook until its colour turn into whiten or orange.
  • ** Add the coconut milk and stir to mix.
  • Adjust to medium heat & bring to boil. Stir occasionally.
  • Add the sliced tofu & stir to mix.
  • Adjust the seasoning, add salt & sugar to taste.
  • Continue to simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat & serve hot with rice.
  • Note: ** If you use mix coconut milk (water & thick coconut milk), add hot water to the pan/wok at first then following by thick coconut milk & stir to mix immediately.
Keyword chayote, coconut sauce, Indonesian, spicy, tofu, vegetable

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