Sawut: Sweet Steamed Shredded Cassava Root (Vegan)

Recipe for Sawut, a heavy, sweet snack from Yogyakarta. Shredded Cassava root mixed with palm sugar, steamed and served with grated coconut.

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Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk Sri Rahayu
Nunuk hails from Solo, the historic royal capital and cultural centre of Java, Indonesia. She has been cooking since the age of 12, and also performs and teaches traditional Javanese dance. Her dream is to eventually write her own Indonesian cookbook.

Sawut is a traditional jajanan pasar (market snack), originating in Yogyakarta, Central Java. It can be found in the region around it as well, especially in traditional markets. This humble yet delicious snack is often considered village food, and modernity has almost driven it to extinction.. Compared to trendy snacks loved by the younger generations, sawut is considered old-fashioned (some have never even heard of it). It is less popular these days and can hardly be found in big cities. 

You can eat Sawut for breakfast, ideally accompanied by hot, sweet and strong tea. One portion of sawut can last you until lunch time as it is quite filling. The main ingredient of this dish is cassava root, which is rich in carbohydrates. To prepare it, peel the cassava root and then grate it, mix it with shaved palm sugar, and then steam it. The end result is rather messy and chaotic-looking. This is where the dish gets its name: sawut (or semwarut), in the Javanese language, literally means “chaotic”.

Cassava, although native to South America, grows easily in Indonesia, and people plant it in their fields, gardens and by the road. Besides the root, the leaves are also consumed as vegetables. It is especially popular in Padang cuisines, where you can find gulai daun singkong (a curry of cassava leaves) or just boiled and enjoyed with sambal ijo or sambalado


In Singapore and Malaysia, fresh whole cassava roots can be found in supermarkets or wet markets. They are also available in ready-to-use vacuum packs. When buying it fresh and whole, cut the cassava into a few parts so the size becomes manageable. You can then peel and wash it. Don’t forget to remove the ‘bone’ in the middle of the cassava as this is not supposed to be eaten. 

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Sawut: Sweet Steamed Shredded Cassava Root (Vegan)

Sawut: Sweet Steamed Shredded Cassava Root (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Steaming
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


Sawut is a heavy, sweet snack of cassava, originating in Yogyakarta. The cassava root is shredded and mixed with palm sugar, then steamed and served with grated coconut. 


  • 500 gr cassava root
  • 100 gr grated coconut
  • 100 gr palm sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Mix the coconut with salt, and then steam for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Chop the cassava into 3 parts, peel and wash thoroughly with running water.
  3. Shred the cassava using a grater or shredder. Discard the core, and set the rest aside.

    Shred the cassava


  4. Finely shave the palm sugar.
  5. Mix the cassava with palm sugar.

    Mix the cassava with palm sugar


  6. Steam for about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  7. Sprinkle the grated coconut on top of the steamed shredded cassava and serve.


  • Instead of palm sugar, regular brown or granulated sugar can also be used.
  • Steam the grated coconut and cassava mix in two separate bowls.

Keywords: Non-spicy, Vegan, Palm Sugar

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