Indonesian Brown Bean Soup

Indonesian Brown Bean Soup

Indonesian Brown Bean Soup

Dutch Moesson Magazine (for Eurasians who live in the Netherlands) asks their readers every month for their favorite Indonesian dish. I remake this dish and make a step by step recipe so we can all make it at home. This time Christel and Yvonne have an idea:

I would love to have the recipe of a Indonesian brown bean soup with rice, bay leaves, and leek. I’ve always wanted to make this soup together with my mother but now she has passed away and I can not ask it anymore. I know that she made it from those dried brown beans.

Indonesian brown bean soup

Thank you, ladies, for this delicious idea. A regular, Dutch brown bean soup is delicious, but it lacks spiciness. I definitely have to add some lovely chili salsa (sambal). I also opt for Asian bay leaf called salam leaf. I’m going to use canned beans because that’s just practical. Of course, you can also use dried beans, but you have to soak them overnight.

This Indonesian brown bean recipe is ready in 1,5 hours and is enough for 6-8 people.


  • 1 kilo of canned brown beans
  • 200 grams of pork belly
  • 1 knuckle bone with marrow
  • 100 grams of beef
  • 100 grams of small meat balls
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 small leek
  • 1,5 chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of trassi (fermented shrimp paste)
  • 6 cm of fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • 2 salam leaves (Asian bay leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  1. Cut the pork belly into cubes and bake it the pan so that the fat runs out
  2. For the bumbu (herb paste), add garlic, 1,5 onion, roughly chopped up ginger and the chili pepper with trassi in the blender
  3. Let the blender chop up the bumbu until it is nice and fine
  4. Sauté the bumbu together with the pieces of pork belly
  5. When that is done, add the tomatoes in pieces together with the rest of the onion chopped fine.
  6. Stir-fry well in the pan
  7. Now place the knuckle or shank with the beef in the pan and add 1,5 liters of water (or until the edge of the pan is reached)
  8. Add the leaves of salam
  9. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and let this simmer for 50 minutes
  10. If necessary, remove the froth that forms on top otherwise your soup will turn grey
  11. In the meantime, wash and cut the leek into very fine pieces.
  12. After 50 minutes add a tablespoon of tomato paste together with the brown beans
  13. Add half a tablespoon of salt and taste your soup. If necessary add the other half tablespoon of salt, or less
  14. Do not forget the soy sauce. That is sweet and salty too

Indonesian Brown Bean Soup

I use 1,5 chili peppers. You can, of course, make it as spicy as you like, but I like the spiciness not to be predominant. You can always serve sambal as a condiment.

Trassi is important to me in this recipe. It gives a lot of umami to the flavor.

I buy an ordinary soup package at the supermarket. In Holland they sell these meat combinations to make a broth yourself. It contains a bone knuckle, beef, and small meatballs. Of course you can use premade broth or bouillon too.

My new hand blender is ready, so the herb paste (bumbu) is made quickly. Very handy. I put the garlic, 1.5 onion, the ginger into pieces, the chili pepper and the trassi in the blender and chop a few seconds.

I cut the pork belly into cubes. I also chop up the rest of the onion.

I sauté the pork belly first. The fat that runs out is perfect to stir-fry the bumbu in.

You can also rub the bumbu in a mortar, then it stays a little wetter. But my emersion blender works so well, especially for this soup and it works quicker too.

I stir-fry the bumbu with the meat. The smells are intense and delicious already. The coarsely cut onions can now be added together with pieces of tomato cut into pieces.

After mixing this up well, I add the bone knuckle and the beef. I pour 1,5 liters of water on to it nd I bring it to the boil. I let everything simmer for 50 minutes. The beef becomes tender and the knuckle adds lots of flavor because of the marrow.

During the simmering the marrow gives off froth. I scoop that off a few times.

After 50 minutes the beans can be added and the soup is ready to season. I add half a tablespoon of salt. Then I taste. My soup can use another half tablespoon of salt, but it depends on a lot. The amount of broth, meat, and kind of beans. So keep tasting everytime you add a new ingredient.

I wash and cut the leek into fine pieces. I add half the amount to the soup. The other half I keep to add to the bowls before serving. This way the leek stays nice and crispy.

Immediately after I’ve added the leek, I add the meatballs. They do not need long. When they start to flow to the surface, they are done.

You can also make tiny perkedel (with lots of nutmeg) to add to the brown bean soup. Makes it even more Indonesian.

Do not forget the finishing touch: the sweet soy sauce! I also serve the sauce as a condiment next to the sambal (chili salsa).

There you go. A lovely spicy and full flavoured Indonesian Brown Bean soup. You can eat it with white rice and a cold beer ;-). Selamat Makan!

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