Sayur Asem is a very popular vegetable soup dish in Indonesian cuisine. It has mixed taste of sour, sweet and spicy. Several variations exist including Sayur Asem Jakarta (a version from the Betawi people of Jakarta), Sayur Asem Kangkung (a version which includes water spinach (kangkung)), etc.
Common ingredients are long beans (kacang panjang), young jackfruit (nangka muda), Gnetum gnemon (melinjo), bilimbi (belimbing sayur), chayote (labu siam), and tamarind (asem jawa). Quite often, the recipe also includes zucchini, white cabbage and corn.
The sweet and sour flavour of this dish is considered refreshing and very compatible with different fried dishes, such as tahu bacem, tempe bacem, fried chicken, sweet fried beef (empal goreng), fried fish, and some sambal for additional taste.
My husband liked it when I served this vegetables soup with Tempe Bacem and fried chicken. He said ‘excellent combination!’ … so you should try it once!
Preparing time: 30 minutes
Servings for 4 people
– 2 beef bones to make the broth
– 1,5 litre of water
– 100 g long beans (kacang panjang)
– 1 small zucchini
– 5 baby corn (I used the canned one)
– 50 g white cabbage
– 2 Salaam leafs (or you can substitute with Bay leaf)
– 1/2 teaspoon galangal (Laos) powder
– 2 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon white sugar
– 1 tablespoon tamarind (Asem Jawa)
– salt to taste or 1/2 block beef seasoning mixture/beef bouillon (Maggi or Knorr block)
– 3 red chillies (optional, depend on your taste)
– 4 shallots
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 2 candlenuts (kemiri)
– 1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (terasi/balacan), toasted
1. Boil the bones with 1,5 litre water to make the broth.
2. Grind or blend the spice paste, then add to the brooth together with Salaam leafs, galangal power, brown sugar, white sugar, and salt/beef bouillon. When it’s boiling, take few spoons of the broth and mix with the tamarind in small bowl to get the juice. Then add the juice to the brooth.
3. Add the long beans (Kacang Panjang), zucchini, baby corn and the cabbage. Continue cooking until all the vegetables are soft and cooked.