Sayur lodeh means “vegetables cooked in coconut milk” it’s a dish that has Indonesian origins from Java.






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There are a few versions around Malaysia but perhaps the most popular is from Johor. Common vegetables include cabbage yam bean and eggplant, sometimes noodles and/or prawn are added, but I use a selection of vegetables from The Agrarian Kitchen’s garden.


  • 50 g dried shrimp
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, white part only, bruised
  • 800 ml coconut cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 potatoes, peeled
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 1 leek, white part only  
  • 1 parsnip, peeled
  • 200 g green beans, trimmed
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, trimmed
  • 2 ox heart tomatoes


  • 5 red bird’s eye chillies
  • 5 red Asian shallots (or 2 small red onions)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1-cm piece toasted belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 2-cm piece peeled turmeric

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Place the dried shrimp in a blender and blitz until finely chopped. Remove from the blender and set aside.
  2. For the rempah, place all the ingredients in a blender and blend with a little water into a smooth paste.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Fry the rempah for about 5 minutes or until the oil separates from the paste. Add the lemongrass, coconut cream and about 800 ml water. Bring to a simmer and season with salt.
  4. Cut the vegetables as you like and add to the mixture, starting with those that take the longest to cook and adding the rest when they are nearly tender. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender, then serve.


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