Javanese coconut milk soup? Sound mouthful… I don’t know exactly the English term for it, so I named it Javanese coconut milk soup. Actually, in Java, there are two soupy vegetables that are using coconut milk: “Sayur lodeh“and “Sayur bobor“. This recipe is recipe for sayur lodeh. Sayur in Indonesian means vegetables, both cooked or raw. The difference between sayur lodeh and sayur bobor is in the ingredients. Sayur lodeh is more vary, there are sweet corn, eggplant, long beans, chayote, red and green chili pepper, tempeh, etc, in it. As for sayur bobor, the main star is usually one or two vegetable and without chili pepper.

The soup itself are really hearty, creamy, and delicious. Because of the ingredients are plenty, there are many nutrient in it. But because sayur lodeh use coconut milk, which contain quite a lot of fat, I cook it only once in a week or two. Why? Because I like too cook and eat other things with coconut milk in it too… rendang, curry, nasi uduk, various snack.. So, it is good to balance it out with something leaner, like my spinach soup.

Ingredients for Sayur Lodeh. Did I miss something?? Hmm… i forgot to put galangal, bay leaf, and candlenut. And actually, I don’t know why there’s tomato there. I didn’t use tomato. Sorry..


Probably, it is rather hard to find several ingredients in your location. It is okay to leave out some ingredients, just not the herbs and seasoning, and the coconut milk. Without those, it won’t be sayur lodeh. It’ll be your own creation, which I think okay too as long as you like it and eat it! And if it delicious, share with me the recipe. Hehehe..

Maybe now you think, “OMG, that’s a lot of ingredients. Way too complicated.”

Flavorful Sayur Lodeh.. Don’t you wanna try it?

Indonesian food taste amazing because there are a lot of spices and herb in it. All of it blend together to create something mouth-watering. Authentic Indonesian recipes usually have more than five items for seasoning only, to build the flavor. So how Indonesian home cooks deals with complicated recipes with many ingredients everyday?

Well, our traditional market (and good supermarket too) has vendors that dedicated to herbs and spices. Even if you are a newbie cook, you can simply said, “Bro, give me one pack of rendang seasoning, please!” And he/she will put a spoonful of this, spoonful of that, a bit of this and that, a dash of this, all together in one little plastic bag. You don’t even have to grind it yourself, all in form of paste already. But you still have to buy the fresh herbs (bay leaf, lemon grass, lime leaf) separately.

It gets even simpler in this modern time, there are seasoning available in packages, in stores. For rendang, nasi goreng, sayur lodeh, and so on… If you go to Asian market near you, I bet you can find what I meant.

…Let’s get back on track…

One of my favorite Indonesian meal. Warm rice, Sayur Lodeh, and spicy crispy anchovies.

Sayur lodeh or Javanese coconut milk soup is one of the most popular vegetable dish in Indonesia. As compliment to this dish, I made spicy peanut and anchovies. What I meant for anchovies in not the one comes in tin (don’t have those in here), but dry and salty ones. I fried the peanut and the anchovies separately because both needs different time to cook. I blend all the seasoning (except bay leaves, lemongrass, and brown sugar) cook it with little oil until fragrant, and the remaining seasoning, and stir in the cooked peanut and anchovies. It went well very nicely with rice and the soup.

Javanese Coconut Milk Soup (Sayur Lodeh)

Javanese Coconut Milk Soup (Sayur Lodeh)


  • 5 pcs shallots
  • 3 pcs garlic
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 pcs candlenut
  • 3 pcs red chili pepper
  • 2 pcs green chili pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cm of galangal
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 pcs eggplant
  • 2 small chayote
  • 10 pcs long bean
  • 2 pcs sweet corn
  • 100 gr tempeh
  • 750 ml water
  • 250 ml thick coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Blend together shallots, garlic, candlenut, and coriander with blender or hand blender.
  2. Chop red chili, green chili, eggplant, chayote, long bean, tempeh, and sweet corn.
  3. Bring to boil water with blended shallot and garlic. Add bayleaf and galangal.
  4. When boil, add the rest the chopped ingredients. Wait until all the vegetables and tempeh are cooked trough.
  5. Add coconut milk, and season to taste. Cook for another five minutes.
  6. And Sayur lodeh is ready to serve. (Best when still warm)

This sayur lodeh recipe can yield a lot. For my family of three adults, we eat it for lunch and dinner, one bowl per person. So it safe to say it can yield 6 quite generous portions.

part 2  (spicy peanut and anchovies recipe) >>