Sayur Bening: Clear Spinach & Corn Soup (Vegan)

A simple Indonesian clear soup recipe with spinach and corn, perfect for a hot summer’s day — vegan, quick and easy; a light meal on its own.

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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.

Some of you might remember Popeye the Sailor, a muscular American cartoon character who swallows a can of spinach to acquire superhuman strength. Popeye was quite popular during my childhood in Indonesia. My mother often referred to him when she wanted me to finish my sayur bening, saying, “Eat your spinach if you want to be as strong as Popeye!”

I did what she said. I would finish up every leaf on my plate, hoping I would be as strong as Popeye (it’s amazing what a positive influence a cartoon can be!) Now, as a grown up, I still like eating spinach and still believe that spinach makes me strong, except now I know it’s because spinach is rich in iron and other vitamins.

This sayur bening (bening means clear in Indonesian) recipe is simple, refreshing and nutritious. Most children like it because it has a clean taste, and look forward to nibbling on the pieces of corn after finishing the spinach.


This soup is definitely great for summer days. It can be served with or without rice, and is equally enjoyable eaten warm or cold. To make it a complete meal, serve it with steamed rice, ayam goreng and sambal terasi

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Sayur Bening: Clear Spinach & Corn Soup (Vegan)

Sayur Bening: Clear Spinach and Corn Soup (Vegan)

  • Author: Nunuk Sri Rahayu
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3 1x
  • Category: Vegetables, Soups & Stews
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegan


Sayur bening is a simple Indonesian clear soup with spinach and corn, perfect for a hot summer’s day. This recipe is vegan, quick and easy, and can be eaten on its own as a light, one-pot meal.


  • 200 gr spinach, cut into bite size, washed thoroughly, set aside.
  • 1 corn cob, cut into small pieces (1 cm each), washed and set aside.
  • 4 shallots, peeled, thinly sliced.
  • 4 pieces of small Thai lesser ginger. Scrape the outer skin, wash and smash using the back of a knife.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Sugar to taste.
  • 1.5 litres water.

Sayur Bening ingredients


  1. In a pot, bring the water to boil.
  2. Add the shallots, lesser ginger, salt, sugar and corn.
  3. Cook for about 15 mins until the corn is cooked. Adjust the seasoning. The taste should be slightly sweet, but not too much.
  4. When done, add the spinach and turn off the heat immediately as the spinach will continue cooking in the hot soup.
  5. Transfer the soup into a serving bowl.

Keywords: Spinach, Corn, Clear Soup, Shallots, Healthy

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  1. This looked deceptively plain when I cooked it, but it had a really nice flavour from the fingerroot, very refreshing 🙂


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