Indonesian Appetizer – Vegetable Sour Soup (Sayur Asam)

I have a friend from Japan who really like this soup. Unfortunetely not all the ingredients were available in Asian store near her house and some of them were out of season in Japan. So,she made some changes in ingredients. She replaced fresh peanuts with bagged walnuts and frozen green bean with freash Oregon pea pods. It still taste fantastic.

So, for some of you that might not find some of the ingredients below, just make some changes and see what would it taste like?

Vegetable Sour Soup

Here is the recipe

1 tsp. tamarind
5 tbsp. warm water
1 shallot, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch-long piece fresh ginger,
peeled and sliced
1 red chili pepper, seeded and sliced*
3 tbsp. raw peanuts
1 tsp. shrimp paste
1/2 tsp. salt
5 c. low-fat chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c. salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 chayote, peeled, seeded, and
sliced thin
1/2 c. fresh or frozen green beans,
ends trimmed
1/3c. frozen corn kernels
1 green chili pepper, sliced (optional)


  • Prepare tamarind by placing it in a small bowl with warm water. Let soak for 15 minutes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Meanwhile, use a strainer to separate the tamarind seeds from the juice. Throw away the seeds and keep the juice.
  • Add chayote, green beans, and corn to the soup, and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Just before serving, add tamarind juice and stir. Garnish with green chili pepper slices if desired.

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