Sweet and Sour Sambal Goreng

Beb Vuyk calls this sweet-sour sambal goreng ‘Indisch’ in her book. That means so much as ‘Eurasian dish’. Apparently, according to her, this was not originally an Indonesian recipe, but mainly eaten and made by Indos (Eurasians)? Remarkable because I don’t often see it mentioned so specifically in her book.

You can use any leftover cooked meat for this recipe. It is a tasty recipe and ready in no time. This sweet and sour sambal goreng is done in 30 minutes and is enough for 3 people.

Sweet and sour sambal goreng (Eurasian) #83 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 96.


  • 1/4 kg of leftover meat or chicken (already done)
  • 4 tablespoons of chopped onions
  • 2 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sambal terasi
  • 4 tablespoons asem water, made from asem the size of a walnut
  • 3 teaspoons of Javanese sugar
  • 1/2 dl vinegar (unseasoned)
  • oil
  • salt
  1. Cut the meat or chicken into small cubes.
  2. Grind Rub onions, garlic and sambal with the salt into a paste.
  3. Saute this in the oil until the onions turn yellow.
  4. Add the meat or chicken and saute briefly.
  5. Then add the asem water and let everything simmer for a few minutes (5 to 6 minutes).
  6. Then add the sugar and vinegar and cook everything until the sugar has dissolved.

I don’t have unseasoned vinegar in the house, but I do have lemons. I also have some nice fresh tamarind (asem) left, so that can also be used. I grind a sambal trassi myself, because it’s done in no time. I grind onions, garlic and sambal with salt into a paste and sauté it in a pan until the onions are yellow.

My chicken pieces (chicken thighs) can now be added and cooked for a while. I don’t use cooked chicken because I didn’t have any left over, but just fresh and that’s fine too. After a few minutes, even though my thighs are not yet cooked, I add all the asem water. I also immediately add the sugar and lemon juice and let everything stew until the chicken is done (another 10 minutes with the lid halfway on the pan).

This is a super easy and delicious recipe. The chicken immediately becomes tender due to the asem and the acids of the lemon. The Javanese sugar not only provides a sweetness but also a deep taste due to the minerals in the sugar. I serve this sweet and sour sambal goreng Eurasian style with a sambal goreng omelet, home-made serundeng and tomato lalab. Nice and fresh!

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