Sayur Asem (summer recipe)

Beb Vuyk, recept 103 Sajoer Asem (Zomer-recept)I think Beb calls this a ‘summer recipe’ because summer veggies are used but you can make it any time nowadays. This sayur asem is a sour vegetable dish. This sayur asem is a sort of relish, but warm and with any kind of meat. The salam leaves gives the dish a deep, cinnamon like flavor. Enak!

Sayur Asem (Summer recipe) #103 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 114.


100 grams of sliced pointy cabbage
100 grams of green beans
100 grams of broad beans
1 small sweet paprika pepper cut into strips
1 small eggplant
100 to 200 grams of meat
1/2 liter of broth


3 tablespoons of chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
1 teaspoon of sambal terasi (chili salsa with shrimp paste)
1 teaspoon galangal
2 tablespoons of asem water (tamarind) made from a piece of tamarind the size of one walnut
1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
1 salam leaf

Bring the stock to the boil with the salam leaf and meat. Rub all the spices together and make asem water. Add all this to the boiling broth. Add the green and broad beans too and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Then add the pointy cabbage. If the cabbage becomes tender add the paprika and the  eggplant.  This recipe can be made only with beans and cabbage or a combination of both.


Sambal terasi is delicious and easily made at home. You can buy it at an Asian specialist store. Trassi is shrimp paste that is used in Thai cuisine a lot as well. Sambal trassi is used mostly in Indonesian cuisine with vegetables. My homemade sambal is not extremely spicy; even my preschool daughter likes it. Beb does not specify the amount of salt. It is to taste. I add a teaspoon.

I use 200 grams of pork chops. The meat is done quickly. It only needs a few minutes and I love the juicy flavor of pork chops.

The preparation takes quite some time because of the ‘mise en place’. This sayur can easily be prepared a day in advance: cut everything and keep it refrigerated.

We eat this dish with pandan rice and a gulai telor!

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