Sayur Ulih

sayur Ulih

Sayur dishes are Indonesian vegetable dishes. If you omit the shrimp paste (trassi) from this recipe, this sayur ulih is also vegan. I leave the shrimp paste in (because it is only a teaspoon in quantity) and I also serve eggs with it. I want to make this sayur into a complete meal. I serve lontong with it today. This sayur ulih is ready in 45 minutes and enough for at least 4 people.

Sayur Ulih (Bali) #113 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 122.


  • 450 grams of grean beans
  • 200 grams of bean sprouts
  • 1/6 block of santen (coconut cream)


  • 3 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon sambal terasi (shrimp paste)
  • 2 roasted kemiri
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kencur
  • 2 salam leaves
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  1. Rinse the bean sprouts.
  2. Cook the green beans until half done
  3. Make coconut milk from the santen with 1/2 liter of water.
  4. Grind the garlic, sambal, roasted kemiri, and the kencur together and saute this.
  5. Add the coconut milk and the sauteed herbs to the boiling beans, add the drained bean sprouts and let it cook for a little while.
  6. In the meantime, fry the onions until golden brown and stir them into the sayur before serving.
  7. Top it all off with lemon juice and salt.

Ingredienten sayur Ulih

Santen is coconut cream and can be obtained at the supermarket or Asian food store. Or if you cannot get any, just use coconut milk. about 160 ml. This also applies to the fresh kencur (kencur). Kencur is one of my favorite herbs. It looks similar to turmeric (kunyit or curcuma), but it is not yellow on the inside. It also has a very strong, bolder flavor than turmeric. Kencur is also sold as a powder and that has an even stronger flavor. You usually really need a pinch of kencur to give your entire dish that tremendous scrumptious flavor. When I use a fresh root, I use the size of a quarter of a pinky size. I start by melting the santen in a pan and cook the beans until half-done. That takes about 6 minutes.

dissolving santen

In the meantime, I continue with the bumbu: the spice mixture. In my mortar (but you can also use a food processor) I place my finely chopped chili pepper and chopped kencur with half a teaspoon of shrimp paste (I don’t have sambal trassi at home), 1 teaspoon of salt and the roasted kemirie nuts (always roast kemirie like pine nuts, otherwise they are mildly poisonous). Beb only adds the salt at the end of the recipe, but I learned from Beb that salt actually helps the bumbu to form into a fine paste. It acts as an abrasive and removes the moisture from the peppers, so that everything turns out nice and creamy. That’s why I add the salt to the bumbu.


Kemiri nuts are very fatty nuts, such as macadamia, and are used in Indonesian cuisine to thicken sauces and bumbu’s. These nuts bind fluids like cornflour does.

saute onions

I also cut a (red) onion coarsely because fried onion chips go through the sayur ulih at the end. I place them on low heat with some oil so that they can soften and turn brown. My bumbu (herb mix) needs to be sauteed too. The kemiri nuts make the bumbu crispy quickly; do not use high heat. I also add the salam leaf (Asian bay leaf) now.

green beans in broth

Now I pour the santen into the bumbu, so that the bumbu can dissolve well in the broth. Beb says in her recipe, “Add santen and the sauteed herbs to the boiling beans,” but I won’t. The cooking water makes this dish too wet. So I add the half-cooked beans and set everything on low heat to let it simmer for a while. This will allow the flavors to mix well, but be careful not to overcook. Your beans need to stay crispy.

I wait with adding the bean sprouts because bean sprouts become soft very quickly. I scoop bean sprouts through my sayur ulih at the end. The heat of the beans will soften the sprouts immediately. This time I add boiled eggs, because now we can eat it as that’s a whole meal. Eating less meat is not difficult at all with these delicious Beb dishes!

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