Sambal Goreng Brown Beans with Bacon

74-bruine-bonen-spek-afNever knew that brown beans with bacon can be made the Indonesian way. This Beb Vuyk recipe number 74 shows that it is quite tasty and easy. It is of course the ultimate winter dish, but I also love heavy food with warm weather. We have lived in the Middle East for a while. The cuisine there is pretty heavy. It costs a lot of energy to cool a body when it is 50 degrees celsius. 😉

This ultimate winter dish is ready in 40 minutes and enough for 2-3 persons.

Sambal Goreng Brown Beans with bacon #74 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 91.


1/4 kg of cooked brown beans, whether or not from a can
100 grams of lean smoked bacon, diced
3 tablespoons of chopped onions
1 clove of sliced garlic
1 teaspoon of sambal terasi (or 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1/2 teaspoon of terasi – shrimp paste)
1 teaspoon galangal
1 teaspoon Javanese sugar
1 lemongrass stalk
1 salam leaf
asem the size of a walnut (tamarind)
1/8 block of santen
1 tablespoon of oil

Rub onions, garlic, chilli, galangal, sugar and salt together into a paste. Fry the bacon in the oil very gently, so that the fat can come out without making the bacon too hard. Remove the crispy bacon from the pan. Add the herb mix to the remaining oil and bacon fat and fry them until the onions are yellow. Also add the drained beans, the coconut cream (santen), asem water (tamarind) made with a piece of asem the size of one walnut and with 4 spoons of boiling water, the salam leaf (Asian bay leaf) and the lemongrass. Simmer until the oil from the santen floats to the top. Stir the bacon through in the end.


I like frying bacon. The smell is always amazing. I cut my lovely piece into 1 cm cubes and let them become nice and crunchy in the pan.


I do not use oil or butter. There’s fat enough in the meat to become super crispy.


When they are cripsy enough I take them out. I leave all the fat in the pan to sauté my herb mix.


I mix my herbs with an emersion blender. You can use the mortar, but I like a fine bumbu. The beans can suck up the flavors better.


Now It can be sautéed in the wok.


When the onions are yellow I add the rest of the ingredients.


I add the drained beans, the asem water (tamarind), the santen  (coconut cream), the lemongrass stalk and the salam leaf (Asian bay leaf). I let it simmer now for a while.


I wait until all the santen have melted. Oh, it smells so good! The beans are already cooked, so I do not simmer this too long. When the coconut is melted away I spoon the cripsy bacon through.


We eat our brown beans with bacon and white rice and homemade acar. I love spicy food, so I add a big scoop of Indonesian chili salsa with shrimp paste. Really delicous recipe!

Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.

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