Sayur lodeh is a super flavourful, super healthy Indonesian soup. Not only that, but it's quick to make, so it's perfect for an adventurous weeknight meal. Quick, exciting and delicious – the holy trinity! Great for those nights when you want to try something new, but without the faff.
Fortunately, our Balinese spice paste (a.k.a. bumbu bali) can be made in advance, in batch, and even frozen. That means making authentic and tasty Indonesian food, like this sayur lodeh, is that much quicker.
'Sayur' means 'vegetables' in Indonesian, and 'lodeh' is the word used to describe vegetables cooked in coconut milk until soft. And that’s exactly what sayur lodeh is. So in English it roughly translates to ‘vegetables cooked in coconut milk’. It’s a Balinese vegetable soup, featuring veggies cooked in creamy coconut milk. And it's often eaten at celebrations throughout Indonesia, along with Nasi Uduk and Spicy Sambal.
🌟 Why this recipe works:
- We developed our sayur lodeh recipe while living in Bali, so you know it’s authentic! Living in Bali and eating all of the amazing food on offer was really inspiring, as well as attending cooking classes.
- You only need 7 ingredients. No more running around the supermarket looking for obscure things which sometimes don’t seem to exist!
- It's really versatile. It’s an easy recipe so you can really make it your own, and it’s hard to get wrong.
🍽 Equipment needed
All you will need to make sayur lodeh is a large pan or a wok, and deep bowls for serving. Nice and easy!
📋 Ingredient notes
These ingredient notes and instructions (below) are an overview of the recipe to go with the images. Please head to the recipe card below for the full ingredients, instructions and notes.
- Bumbu Bali - Bumbu Bali is a Balinese Spice paste that is used in a lot of Balinese recipes. It’s made from fragrant spices which give it a characteristic flavour and aroma. We’d recommend making a batch, and then freezing it so it’s ready for a later date.
- Vegetables - there are no rules on which vegetables go in sayur lodeh so feel free to follow your heart! Try using seasonal veg as it’s often more flavourful and has a smaller carbon footprint. We’ve used sweetcorn, cabbage, green beans and carrots because we loved how colourful they were in this vibrant soup.
- Salam leaves - aromatic leaves used often in Indonesian cooking. You can sometimes find them in the world foods section at your local supermarket but not always. If you struggle to get hold of them then use bay leaves instead.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
1. Begin by frying off the Bumbu Bali in a splash of oil. Doing this releases the flavours which makes the base of the sayur lodeh.
2. Next, pour in the coconut milk and the water. Give it all a stir so that the spice paste is combined with the coconut milk and water.
3. Now add the salam leaf (or bay leaf).
4. Add the carrots and green beans. Bring the pan up to a gentle simmer, and cook the veggies in the coconut milk for about 10 minutes.
5. After 10 minutes, add the cabbage and sweetcorn. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
6. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Before serving, take out the salam leaf (or bay leaf). Ladle into deep bowls and serve with steamed rice.
👩🍳 Expert tips
- Variations - feel free to change the veggies. Use seasonal veg, or just whatever you have on hand! This recipes is a great way to use up veggies.
- Spice - if you like your meals fiery (like we do!) then take it up a notch by adding some red chillies.
- Protein - adding some extra protein like tempeh, tofu or other meat alternatives will add another texture to the soup. It will also mean that it’s more filling, and great for getting those macros up.
- Texture - it should be watery like a stew. This is the main difference between sayur lodeh and Sayur Kare (Balinese vegetable curry), which has a thicker sauce.
Yes, it can. Sayur lodeh freezes really well, and it will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. We’d recommend freezing it in individual portions as this makes it easier to manage. You’ll essentially have a healthy ready meal on hand when you need it!
Absolutely. It will keep well in the fridge for up to 2 days. We’d recommend holding the sweetcorn back so that it doesn’t sit in the soup and go rubbery. Instead, add it in when you’re heating it up to eat.
Definitely. Frozen vegetables are a great way to get lots of veggies in, especially if you’re in a rush and the fridge is empty. It makes everything much easier! However, we would recommend using fresh vegetables for the best results.
🍛 What to serve it with
In Indonesia, sayur lodeh is often served as part of a huge feast with lots of other dishes at celebrations. Try serving it up alongside any of these:
🇮🇩 More Indonesian recipes
If this soup has got you curious about trying more Indonesian recipes, try some of these Indonesian staples:
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Sayur Lodeh (Vegetables in coconut milk)
- 5 tbsp bumbu bali
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 salam leaf or bay leaf
- 300 g sweetcorn
- 200 g carrots - chopped into slices
- 200 g green beans - chopped into inch pieces
- 350 g cabbage - sliced
- ¼ tsp salt
- Start by frying off the Bumbu Bali in a splash of oil for a few minutes.5 tbsp bumbu bali
- Once fragrant, pour in the coconut milk and the water. Give it a gentle stir so that the spice paste combines with the coconut milk and water, to make a pale yellow broth.2 cups coconut milk, 2 cups water
- Add in the Salam leaf (or bay leaf).1 salam leaf
- Pop in the carrots and green beans. Bring the pan up to a gentle simmer, and cook the veggies in the soup for 10 minutes.200 g carrots, 200 g green beans
- Next add the cabbage and sweetcorn and simmer for another 2 minutes.350 g cabbage, 300 g sweetcorn
- Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and remove the Salam (or bay) leaf from the pan. Ladle into deep bowls and serve with steamed rice.¼ tsp salt
- A bay leaf is a fine swap for the salam leaf, they're very similar.
- Change up the vegetables for whatever you have in the fridge, or whatever is in season. This soup is versatile.
- Increase the protein by adding tofu, tempeh or vegan chicken alternative.
- If you want it to be spicy, add a chopped chilli or two after the paste.
- Freezing – this dish freezes well for up to 3 months.
- It also keeps well in the fridge for two days. If making ahead, we'd recommend keeping the sweetcorn back so it doesn't go rubbery sitting in the soup. Instead, add the sweetcorn when you reheat it.