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5 from 3 votes

Malaysian-styled Vegetable Curry

This Malaysian-styled Vegetable curry is the BEST way to enjoy a variety of spring and summer vegetables in one bowl. Just look at how amazing the color is. Each bite is packed with spicy heat with delicious vegetables.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Curry, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Malaysian
Keyword: Curry
Servings: 8
Author: woonheng


  • 1 ¼ cups neutral oil divided
  • 2 small eggplants cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
  • 4 ounces okra tips removed and sliced
  • 8 ounces red jalapeños roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 shallot roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 stalks lemongrass white parts roughly chopped (green parts discarded)
  • 5 slices galangal
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6-7 cups vegetable stock
  • 10 pieces of fried tofu puffs rinsed in hot water and halved
  • 3 pandan leaves tied into knot
  • 3 cups cabbage roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes cut into wedges
  • 5 lime leaves stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 5 curry leaves plus more as desired
  • 1 ½ palm sugar rounds about 22 grams, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon vegetable bouillon or mushrooms seasoning plus more to taste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice or tamarind juice plus more to taste


  • In a 1 ½–quart saucepan, heat 1 cup of the oil to 350°F. Fry the eggplant sticks, in small batches, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until the skin turns slightly darker. Using a pair of tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Fill another saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the okra for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.
  • Make the chile paste: Place the jalapeños, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and 2 tablespoons of oil in a food processor. Blend into a fine paste. (Alternatively, you can also use a mortar and pestle to pound the ingredients.)
  • Heat a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-low heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, then sauté the chile paste, stirring often, until the chile turns a darker shade of red, 20 to 30 minutes. Add more oil if the pan starts to look dry along the way.
  • Add the cumin, coriander, and turmeric, and continue to sauté for a few more seconds until fragrant.
  • Add the vegetable stock, tofu puffs, pandan knots, and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes over medium-low heat.
  • After 10 minutes, uncover the pot. While the broth is simmering, add the cabbage, tomatoes, eggplant, lime leaves, and curry leaves. Use the back of the spatula to immerse the vegetables in the broth if needed.
  • Season with palm sugar, salt, and mushrooms seasoning. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  • Once the cabbage is as crisp-tender as you like, add the okra and coconut milk, then simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Swirl in the lime juice, taste, and adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove the pandan leaves before serving.



  • The sambal recipe is similar to my Easy Vegan Sambal recipe.
  • Sub palm sugar with other sweeteners and start with 1 tablespoon instead. Palm sugar is usually milder compared to table sugar. The palm sugar used is about 22grams or 1 1/2 tablespoons.
  • For the vegetable stock, you can also use water and mix it with an umami seasoning or mushroom powder. For the umami seasoning made from leek, please check out Yondu.