Journals5 min read

Recipe: Tanaman’s Lotek


Amp-up your salad game with this healthy, hearty West Javanese dish that’s packed full of colour, textures and flavour.

Preparation time: 30 minutes, cooking time: 30 minutes

It’s spicy, it’s filling and it’s packed with nutritional zing. We’re talking about lotek – one of the star dishes from Tanaman at Desa Potato Head. It’s a salad, of sorts, comprising cooked and fresh vegetables and a punchy peanut sauce. This is chef Indra Saputra’s recipe. “Lotek is my favorite Indonesian salad,” he says, “because it’s pretty simple to cook, and I can put any of my favourite vegetables in it.”

Flexibility, Saputra says, is the name of the game here. Peanuts and cashews can be substituted with almonds, hazelnuts and Brazil nuts. You can be liberal with your choice of vegetables, too. “Swap yardlong beans with string beans, or bean sprouts with napa cabbage. Feel free to create your own combination as you please.”

Serve it with rice, or simply enjoy solo. “I love eating lotek by itself, ” Saputra says, “it’s packed with proteins, carbs and good fats and has enough nutrition for your body.”

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients 6 pcs red tomato cherries, quartered 4 pcs fresh yardlong bean, cut into 4 cm cubes ½ cup cleaned beansprouts ¼ medium white cabbage, outer leaves removed 8 baby potatoes, boiled in salted water, cut in halves 1 batch water spinach, separate the tender stem and leaves 1 cup english spinach, separate the tender stem and leaves ½ medium cucumber, sliced ½ cup diced tempe 1 cup lotek sauce (see sauce recipe below) ¼ tsp sea salt, or to taste 1 tsp lime juice or to taste 3 cups soybean or grape seed oil 1 L filtered water and 2 tsp sea salt for boiling the vegetables

For the sauce 1 cup roasted peanuts ½ cup roasted cashew nuts 1 pc red bird’s eye chili, sliced 1 pc red chili pepper, seeds removed, sliced 1 clove peeled garlic

2 tbsp tamarind purée 2.5 tbsp palm sugar, chopped 2.5 tbsp coconut milk 35 ml filtered water Sea salt to taste

To garnish 2 tbsp crisped shallots or onions Handful of pounded rice or garlic kerupuk crackers


To prepare the vegetables Bring one litre of water to boil in a large pot. Dissolve two teaspoons of salt, and then add white cabbage, water spinach and English spinach. Cook the cabbage for at least 3 minutes and the greens for 1-2 minutes, then remove, strain and cool in a bowl of iced water. In a separate pot, boil the potatoes for around 15 minutes or until fork tender, then strain, cool and cut into halves.

For the rest of the dish Heat oil in a frypan on a medium-high flame. Gently fry the tempe squares for 4-5 minutes or until golden. Set aside on a paper towel to cool. Reheat the oil, fry crackers for 1 to 2 minutes or until they bloom. Leave to cool on a paper towel for 5 minutes, then store in an airtight container to retain freshness.

Crush peanuts and cashews in a food processor. Add chilies, garlic, tamarind purée, palm sugar, water, coconut milk and season with salt. Continue blending until the mixture becomes thick.

In a bowl, mix the cooked and fresh vegetables with the sauce. Add lime juice and salt as needed and combine well.

Serve with crackers and crisped shallots.

Serves two.

Chef Indra’s Tips – Can’t find tempe? Use button mushrooms or tofu instead. – Swap red chilli peppers with red serrano or jalapeno if you need to. – If bird’s eye chillies aren’t available but you’d like the extra heat, use cayenne pepper or habanero. – On the other hand, if you don’t like spiciness, simply eliminate the chillies. – Kerupuk crackers and tamarind purée can be found at your Asian grocer. – You can use any type of unsaturated cooking oil to fry the tempe and kerupuk. – Keep any extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

About Tanaman Tanaman is a contemporary celebration of Indonesia. Our menu is inspired by the traditional flavours of Indonesia’s many islands, presented in a fresh context and totally powered by plants. Our ingredients are sourced from Bali’s best small-scale farms, we produce what we can from our in-house grow-room, and we deliver it all in a design-fuelled setting that reflects our vision for the future.

Support Bali’s community Here’s how some of our friends in Bali are creating brightness on the island, and how you can support;

TEMUKU PUPUAN One of the OGs of Bali’s organic fruit and vegetable movement, Temuku grows and delivers fresh produce grown in the pristine hills of West Bali. They also make sourdough, kefir and immunity-boosting black garlic.

LITTLE SPOON FARM The Little Spoon family works together with local farmers to create farm box subscriptions and other health-focussed products.

BOXED BALI Boxed is a collaboration between Baked Bali and Kinship. They’re putting together boxes of fresh produce, kitchen staples and other locally crafted goods.

Published on 01/02/2024 by Potato Head