111 Sayur Lodeh with Cabbage

111-sajoer-lodeh-van-koolWho doesn’t like Sayur Lodeh? This super healthy Indonesian vegetable dish is creamy and spicy at the same time. Earlier I made Beb’s Sayur Lodeh with mixed vegetables. My family loves it. Today I make Beb’s Sayur Lodeh with cabbage. A simpler version, but not less tasty. I use white cabbage this time.

This dish is good for at least 3 persons. You serve it with rice and a meat or fish dish for example. Ready in 25 minutes.

Sayur Lodeh with cabbage from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 120.


3/4 kg of cabbage (green, white or savooye-carbon)
1/4 block santen (coconut cream)
asem (tamarind) water made of asem the size of a walnut with 3 tablespoons of water
2 tablespoons oil

Herbs and spices

5 tablespoons of chopped onion
2 chopped cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons of sambal terasi (shrimp paste chilli sauce)
3 puffed kemiris (candle nuts)
2 teaspoons of laos or galangal powder
2 teaspoons Javanese sugar (gula jawa)
2 tablespoons of ebi (dried shrimp)
1 stalk sereh
1 salam leaf

Roast the kemiries, rub them finely with the other spices except the lemon grass and the salam. Soak the ebi for at least one hour in advance in some lukewarm water and cut the cabbage into large pieces. Rub the spices and fry until the onions are yellow. Add the washed and drained cabbage and sauté until the leaves soften. Add 6 to 7 dl of boiling water (2,5 cup), the santen, salam, lemongrass, soaked ebi and the asem water. Let the sayur simmer for ± 10 minutes and remove the lemongrass and salam.

111-sajoer-lodeh-kool-ingredientenThe strong taste of the ebi (dried shrimps) and the sambal trassi are the significant flavors in this dish. The smooth coconut makes this dish comfort food. I replace the dried shrimps with fresh ones. Which are slightly less strong in taste, keep this in mind, but also very tasty. The amount of sambal is great in this dish. It’s not spicy but far in the back of the mouth it gives of sparks ;-). My five year old loves it. You can always add more sambal to your taste ofcourse.


I rub the herbs and spices thoroughly. The vegetables should be well able to suck up the flavor of all those great the spices. I make tamarind water with ‘asem paste’ I get from the supermarket. The same goes for the candle nuts. I buy ‘kemiri paste’ at my grocery store or Asian shop.


I crush the lemongrass (lemongrass) with a wooden stamper (sort of wooden oelekan) from Burma. Burmese crush their herbs by hitting it many times with a wooden oelekan in a higher mortar (cobek). Bruising my lemongrass stalk will help it letting go of its great flavor.


I fry or sauté my cabbage when the herb mix has already turned colored golden. If the cabbage leaves start to shine and are getting tender, I add the water (2,5 cups) and the other herbs.

The shrimps are already cooked, so I let the cabbage simmer for 2 minutes before adding all the shrimps. Now everything is in, I let my dish simmer for another 5 minutes until all the santen (room temperature) has melted. Your dish is done. Selamat makan!


Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.

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