SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Entertaining at home does not mean having to burn a hole in your pocket or cook up a storm.
For a cosy gathering with a few friends, try serving kupat tahu. It is a dish of ketupat and fried bean curd slathered in a rich homemade peanut gravy. Kupat is Javanese for ketupat.
Tau kwa, instead of tofu, is used in this dish. The cucumber pieces and bean sprouts add crunch. Add pandan leaves to the water used for boiling the ketupat for extra fragrance.
For the peanut gravy — depending on your preference — you can process the peanut mixture longer for a smoother texture. I prefer a grittier texture where you can bite into peanut bits.
To save time on the day of the party, you can prepare the peanut gravy the day before. Allow it to cool before refrigerating it. Reheat when it is time to serve.
Serve the ingredients buffet-style so that your guests can assemble their own kupat tahu. Keep the peanut gravy warm in a thermal pot.
2 litres water (for boiling ketupat)
5 pandan leaves, knotted
8 small packets of uncooked ketupat
300ml cooking oil
500g raw peanuts
3 red finger chillies, sliced
6 chilli padi
5 garlic cloves
3 Tbs assam jawa (tamarind pulp)
250ml water (for soaking the assam jawa)
250g gula jawa (palm sugar), chopped
3 Tbs kecap manis
500ml water (for blanching beansprouts)
3½ tsp salt
300g bean sprouts
4 tau kwa (firm bean curd), cut diagonally into triangular quarters
4 Japanese cucumbers, cut into bite-size chunks
4 hard-boiled eggs, halved
30g fried shallots (for garnish)
16 pieces of fried keropok
1. Bring 2 litres of water to boil in a pot and place the knotted pandan leaves in it.
2. Place the ketupat packets in the pot. Boil on medium heat for 90 minutes, then let it cool for two to three hours. Cut into cubes.
3. Heat 100ml of oil. Fry the raw peanuts over low heat. Add in the red finger chillies, chilli padi and garlic cloves before the peanuts are browned.
4. Continue frying until the peanuts are browned.
5. Remove the peanuts, chillies and garlic cloves from the oil and place on kitchen paper to drain the excess oil.
6. Once cooled to room temperature, place in food processor and pulse.
7. Soak the assam jawa in 250ml water. Strain and reserve the tamarind juice.
8. Place peanut mixture in a pot and add 800ml of water. Mix well and bring to a boil.
9. Add the tamarind juice and the chopped palm sugar.
10. Add the kecap manis and 2½ salt. Bring the peanut gravy to a boil over low heat, stirring often. Turn off the heat and cover.
11. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add one teaspoon of salt.
12. Blanch the bean sprouts briefly. Set aside.
13. Heat 200ml of cooking oil. Over medium-low heat, deep-fry the tau kwa until golden brown.
14. To serve, arrange a few pieces of the ketupat, tau kwa, cucumber and halved hard-boiled eggs on a plate. Add some bean sprouts.
15. Add the peanut gravy and fried shallots. Serve with keropok (2 per plate).
Yields 8 servings.