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Independence Day’s recipe: Raffles Jakarta's ‘sayur asem’

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, August 16, 2017 | 12:12 pm

Sayur asem (vegetables in tamarind soup) is among most popular Indonesian comfort foods.

Since sayur asem is commonly recognized as a humble-slash-traditional meal, Bastian Muntu, chef de cuisine at Arts Café, Raffles Jakarta hotel in South Jakarta, shares a modern version of the dish.

To make the sayur asem, Bastian shows that some of ingredients need to be grilled. “Then we use pestle to mix all the ingredients,” he said, explaining that the traditional mixing technique lends a different flavor to the dish.

Those wanting to cook sayur asem ala Raffles Jakarta may want to check the recipe below. 

Read also: Ramadhan recipe: Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta’s hummus

Sayur asem ala Raffles Jakarta


Spice paste

  • 100 grams red bird’s eye chilies
  • 20 grams red chilies
  • 10 grams galangal, peeled
  • 20 grams garlic, peeled 
  • 20 grams shallots, peeled
  • 20 grams candlenuts
  • 30 grams palm sugar
  • 10 grams shrimp paste
  • 5 grams ebi (dried shrimp)

Sayur asem soup

  • 20 ml cooking oil
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 30 grams chayote, sliced
  • 30 grams sweet corns
  • 20 grams yardlong beans
  • 30 grams young jackfruits, sliced
  • 20 grams melinjo nuts (gnetum gnemon)
  • 20 grams melinjo leaves

30 grams eggplants, sliced

  • 10 grams salt
  • 10 grams pepper
  • 1 fresh tamarind


  • To create the spice paste, grilled red bird’s eye chilies, red chilies, shrimp paste and galangal.
  • Add all the grilled ingredients on a pestle together with garlic, shallots, candlenuts and palm sugar. Crush and mix all the ingredients until they turn into a paste.
  • On a pan, heat cooking oil and cook the spice paste until fragrant.
  • Add dried shrimp and chicken stock. Stir well.
  • Add chayote, sweet corns, yardlong beans, young jackfruits, melinjo nuts, melinjo leaves and eggplants. In a high heat, boil all the ingredients.
  • Season the sayur asem with salt and pepper.
  • Turn the heat into medium-low, cook for around 10 minutes.
  • Serve sayur asem with rice. (kes)