Sweet Corn, Green Beans, and Cabbage in Tamarind Soup

Vegetable Recipes

(My version of sayur asem)

Sweet Corn, Green Beans, and Cabbage in Tamarind Soup

Sweet Corn, Green Beans, and Cabbage in Tamarind Soup

Here’s another favorite, Indonesia-origin, vegetable dish in our home. Though its main ingredient is tamarind, a sour fruit typically used in many Southeast Asian cuisines, this soup has a lot more to offer than just a tangy flavor. It has a good balance of sweet, sour, and spicy. The vegetable selections of corn, green beans, and cabbage give crunchy texture to the dish, while a little bit of hot peppers adds a nice punch.

Here’s my take on this East Java version of sayur asem or the vegetables sour soup:

List of things we need:

  • 1 small bag of frozen sweet corn
  • 1 cup of green beans cut into shorter lengths (traditionally Indonesians use Yardlong Beans instead of green beans).
  • 1 small cabbage (remove wilted outer leaves, halve, remove the stem, and slice). If you can’t find a smaller cabbage, use ½ of the regular size.
  • 1 inch cube cut of seedless wet tamarind/ tamarind block
  • 4 shallots
  • 3 garlic
  • 4 Candlenuts
  • A pinch of shrimp paste
  • 2-3 Thai peppers
  • Salt
  • ½ inch cut of Galangal root for the aroma

Cooking steps:

  • Fill 1/3 of a large pot with water over medium heat
  • Chop and mix shallots, garlic, Candlenuts, shrimp paste, Thai peppers in a food processor
  • Add the mixture into the pot along with tamarind, Galangal root and a little bit of salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat a little bit, and let the broth cooks for another 20-30 minutes or until the tamarind dissolves.
  • Remove galangal root and tamarind pulp, before adding the vegetables into the broth, using a food colander or strainer and a big bowl. (Strain the broth using a colander or a food strainer into the big bowl and then return the broth back to the pot.)
  • Add the vegetables into the pot and bring to boil.
  • Turn of the heat and cover the pot with a lid. I let the vegetable soup rest for half hour to an hour before serving. That way the vegetables have some time to absorb all of the wonderful flavors. It taste even better the next day too!

Serve 4-6.

Easy Summer Menu: Sweet and Spicy Corn Salad


A few weeks ago, Jeff prepared a corn dish to serve alongside our steak and tomato salad. He basically just cooked thawed frozen corn kernels in a little bit of butter and cayenne pepper powder. I couldn’t believe how that simple process produced such a delicious dish. I was hooked and inspired to create a salad out of it.

This colorful salad just screams summer, don’t you think? 🙂 It’s a little sweet and spicy, lemony, crunchy, and mmm…it’s got that wonderful cilantro’s fragrance!

Here’s what we will need for my version:

  • A bag of thawed frozen corn or peeled fresh corn kernels from four to six ears
  • One tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • One red bell pepper (cored and chopped)
  • Cayenne pepper powder (I also added three fresh cayenne peppers. But PLEASE adjust to your piquant-tolerance level)
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • A handful of chopped cilantro (if you’re not a cilantro fan, go with parsley).
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon


  • Heat up a medium pan
  • Melt the butter
  • Add the chopped bell pepper and corn kernels. Cover with a lid and let cook for 5 minutes (until the butter and water that comes out of the corn and bell pepper start to bubble).
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne powder, cilantro, and drizzle with the lemon juice. Mix and serve. You could also chill it in the fridge and serve it cold.

This time I served the corn salad with grilled lamb shoulder and tomato salad. Delicious!