Sayur asem or sayur asam (Indonesian: sour dish or tamarind dish) is a very popular vegetable soup dish in Indonesian cuisine. Common ingredients are peanuts, young jackfruit, melinjo, bilimbi, chayote, long beans, all cooked in tamarind-based soups and sometimes enrichen with beef stock. Quite often, the recipe also includes corn.
The origin of the dish can be traced to Sundanese people of West Java, Banten and Jakarta region. It is well-known belongs within Sundanese cuisine and Betawi daily diet. Several variations exist including sayur asem Jakarta (a version from the Betawi people of Jakarta), sayur asem kangkung (a version which includes water spinach), sayur asem ikan asin (includes salted fish, usually snakehead murrel), and sayur asem kacang merah (consists of red beans and green beans in tamarind and beef stock). The Karo version of sayur asem is made using torch ginger buds and, more importantly, the sour-tasting seed pods.
The sweet and sour flavour of this dish is considered refreshing and very compatible with fried or grilled dishes, including fish and lalapan, a kind of vegetable salad usually raw but can also be cooked, and is usually eaten with sambal terasi.