Asparagus in coconut recipe

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The young tips of several varieties of wild ferns are enjoyed in many parts of Indonesia. They are sold in wet markets throughout Southeast Asia and have an excellent flavor. Young asparagus or spinach work equally well for this dish.


  • 2 cups (500 ml) thin coconut milk
  • 1 lb (500 g) young asparagus, washed
  • 2 salam leaves or bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Tamarind Juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Spice Paste
  • 1 in (2½ cm) fresh galangal sliced
  • ½ in (1 cm) fresh turmeric root, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 in (2½ cm) fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1-2 red finger-length chilies, deseeded
  • 2-3 shallots, peeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
How to Make It
  1. Make the Spice Paste by grinding all the ingredients to a smooth paste in a mortar or blender, adding a little coconut milk if necessary to keep the mixture turning.
  2. Bring the Spice Paste and coconut milk to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 2 minutes. Add the fern tips or asparagus, salam leaves and Tamarind Juice, mix well and bring to a boil again, then simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until the vegetables are tender. Season with the salt and remove from the heat.
  3. Transfer to a serving casserole and serve immediately with steamed rice.

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