Sambal Goreng with Brown Beans

Today I make sambal goreng with brown beans. In Holland we call them ‘brown beans’ but I see them online also as ‘common beans’. How do you call them?

This delicious dish fits perfectly with super cold weather like we’re enjoying this week. Temperatures below zero make me want spicy food!

The beans are cooked in a creamy broth of sambal trassi (chili salsa with shrimp paste), salam leaf and lemongrass.

If you do not have salam leaf, a curry leaf or regular bay leaf is fine too. No lemongrass? Add some drops of lemon juice of about a quarter lemon. Or add half a teaspoon of lemon zest.

I use about 500 grams of brown beans (from a can) so I double the ingredients for this recipe.

Sambal Goreng with Brown Beans #47 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page


1/4 kg of cooked brown beans, whether or not out of a can
3 tablespoons of sliced onions
1 clove of sliced garlic
1 teaspoon sambal terasi (or 1 teaspoon sambal oelek and 1/2 teaspoon terasi)
1 teaspoon of laos (galangal)
1 teaspoon of Javanese sugar
1 blade sereh (lemongrass)
1 salam leaf
1/8 block santen (coconut cream)
2 tablespoons of oil
some salt

Rub onion, garlic, sambal, laos, sugar and salt together to make a paste. Sauté in oil until the onions turn yellow.

Add 4 scoops of water from the bean tin and the block of santen, the sereh, the beans and the salam and simmer until the oil from the santen floats to the surface.

Remove the sereh and the salam leaf before serving.

This recipe is super easy. The ingredients (onion, garlic, trassi and peppers) do not have to be mixed with an Indonesian cobek (mortar). You can use an emersion blender or food processor. Do not grind it too long; the onions need to be still recognizable for a crunchy taste and texture.

My sambal trassi is finished so I rub a chili pepper with trassi (shrimp paste) directly in the mortar. You find a complete recipe for this sambal here.

I deseed the chili peppers because my 8-year-old daughter wants to eat this sambal goreng with brown beans too. She helps me in the kitchen today.

Deseeding and taking out the lighter part to which the seeds are attached will lower the spiciness immediately.

Salt helps to grind the herbs finely. I use 1 teaspoon of salt for my 500-gram beans. Keep in mind that canned beans are already salted. Better add too little salt than too much. You can always add salt later.

I’ve bought liquid Javanese sugar (because my supermarket didn’t sell anything else). Usually, I use Javanese sugar (or gula Jawa) that is sold in blocks. If you do not have Javanese sugar substitute it with brown (or white) sugar.

I sauté the herbs in the oil until the onions turn yellow.

I add some water and some of the liquid from the brown bean can. I make sure that the onions are just under water.

I bring this to the boil gently. Then the rest of the herbs can be added: santen, salam and sereh (lemongrass).

Santen is coconut cream. It takes a while before it is completely dissolved. I’ll wait for the santen to become completely liquid and do not add the beans immediately because the beans are already done and will turn in to porridge otherwise ;-).

Of course, you can also use coconut milk, which contains certainly less fat, but I think this winter recipe deserves santen ;-).

I let the dish simmer now for about 2 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly and the herbs give off lots of flavor.

I like to keep the broth pretty liquid so it will mix well with my white rice. I think the smell of the salam leaf works really well in this sambal goreng with brown beans.

You can make this a day in advance so the beans have even more time to suck up all the lovely flavors, but we cannot wait.

While outside a thin layer of fresh snow falls, we eat! Selamat Makan!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *