Indonesian Vegetable Sour Soup (Sayur Asam)

Total Time
Prep 25 mins
Cook 20 mins

This soup (Sayur Asam) is one of the most popular soup in Indonesia, particularly in East and Mid Java. Easy to cook and can be enjoyed with any complements, such fried chicken, fried tempe, fried tofu, steamed rice and sambal. You can enjoy it in every occasion. But, usually Indonesians serve it in mid day.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Prepare tamarind by placing it in a small bowl with warm water. Let soak for 15 minutes.
  2. To make spice paste, combine shallot, garlic, ginger, red chili pepper, raw peanuts, shrimp paste, and salt in a large mortar and blend well with a pestle. Use a food processor or blender if you don’t have a mortar and pestle.
  3. Transfer paste to a medium saucepan and add chicken or vegetable broth, salted peanuts, and brown sugar. Stir to combine, and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, use a strainer to separate the tamarind seeds from the juice. Throw away the seeds and keep the juice.
  5. Add chayote, green beans, and corn to the soup, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add tamarind juice and stir. Garnish with green chili pepper slices if desired.
Most Helpful

Sayur Asam is one of my favourite menu. But, I think you should use galangal, not ginger. And one more thing, some Indonesian bay leaf would improve the taste, too. Happy cooking! :)

Titi Abdilah December 27, 2013

I really liked this soup. I made several changes. Used bagged walnuts in place of fresh peanuts (out of season), fresh Oregon pea pods in place of frozen green beans and omitted shrimp paste and shallot since I did not have any. After grinding walnuts, garlic, ginger, salt, and hot pepper in motar and pestle I took a taste and wow, it's very yummy and I could see this paste being used in other recipes. The sourness from tamarind contrasted very nicely with a bit of brown sugar - perfect. Thank you so much for introducing me this delicious soup tfirdaus.

Rinshinomori January 18, 2009