New Potato Rendang with Green Beans and a Cook Book Giveaway

Many Asian dishes are naturally vegan–i.e. contain no meat products and no dairy–or are easily adapted. It’s not surprising since fresh vegetables are a large part of our diet, coconut milk is our “milk” of choice, and cheese hardly shows up in any of our dishes.

So when I found out that my food writer friend Robin Asbell was organizing a virtual potluck to launch her new mega-book I was excited to participate. Big Vegan, Over 350 Recipes, No Meat, No Dairy, All Delicious is a celebration of just how satisfying and alluring plant based cuisine can be. The book contains many easy Asian-inspired recipes that are not quite traditional but are still very appealing. They include: “Tofu Pad Thai,” “Edamame Dumplings in Handmade Green-Tea Wrappers” and “Vietnamese Noodle Salad with Lemongrass, Seitan, Sprouts and Basil.”

Robin is a Minnesota-based chef, food writer, and cooking teacher and an expert in natural foods. So you can be rest assured that her recipes are wholesome and tasty.

My contribution to the potluck is “New Potato Rendang with Green Beans.” Now my mom makes a mean beef rendang and I love her recipe. However, because it is such an involved process and uses a laundry list of ingredients that requires a trek to the Asian store, I never make it, preferring instead to wait until the next time I see mom again.

Granted Robin’s recipe doesn’t use traditional ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, nor the myriad spices, but that’s the beauty of it. All the ingredients are available at your neighborhood grocery store, the steps are simple, thus making the dish a lot more accessible to American home cooks.

I made the dish with no expectations and I’m definitely a fan! It isn’t as authentic as my mom’s rendang, but for as little effort as it takes (at least compared to her version!), it satisfies with a good approximation of Southeast Asian flavors. I’ll be making it again for sure.

Chronicle Books is giving away a copy of Big Vegan for my readers. If you’d like to win a copy, please leave a comment and tell me what your favorite Asian vegan dish is, or why you like rendang by November 7th. If you’re eating Asian, you’ve probably had several vegan dishes without even realizing it! Please don’t forget to leave me your email address so I can contact you if you win.


New Potato Rendang with Green Beans

Adapted from Big Vegan, Over 350 Recipes, No Meat, No Dairy, All Delicious (Chronicle Books, 2011) by Robin Asbell

In Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia, rendang is most commonly made with beef but you can use your choice of meat, as well as vegetables, as this recipe demonstrates. The green beans at my grocery store were a little sad looking so I used sugar snap peas instead. Since I had some kaffir lime leaves in the freezer I tossed some in and I substituted ground coriander for the cloves.

Time:1 hour
Makes: 4 servings

1 large red Fresno chili, seeded
1/4 cup/30 g minced onion or shallot
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon, zested
1 lime, zested
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, or 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup/240 ml coconut milk
2 Kaffir lime leaves, crushed to release their essential oils
1 lb/455 g fingerling or small new (baby) potatoes, halved
4 oz/115 g sugar snap peas or green beans, trimmed
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a coffee grinder or mini chopper, combine the chili, shallot, ginger, garlic, lime and lemon zests, turmeric, and coriander. Process to puree them to a smooth paste. If needed, add a little of the coconut milk to help it puree. Or use a mortar and pestle (which is what I did!).

In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Fry the paste until fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves and mix well. Add the potatoes and bring them to a simmer, stirring. Cover and check often, stirring and adding water as needed to keep the potatoes from sticking.

When the potatoes are almost tender, about 8 to 10 minutes, add the beans, carrot, tamari, and salt and keep stirring. Cook until the vegetables are tender, another 3 to 4 minutes (or cooked to your liking), and the sauce is completely thick and coats the vegetables. Squeeze half of the zested lime over the vegetables, taste, and add more as desired. Fish out the kaffir lime leaves and discard.

Serve hot with white rice.


Here some other rendang recipes to try:

Rasa Malaysia: Rendang Daging (Beef rendang)
Serious Eats: A series of rendang recipes to try
Seasaltwithfood: Indonesian rendang recipe

And if you’d like to check out the rest of the Big Vegan Virtual Potluck, here are the links:

Green and Red Spaghetti
Sandra Gutierrez

Bengali Curry of Cauliflower and Kidney Beans
Robin Robertson

Spanish Chickpea Fritters
Julie Hasson

Sundried Tomato-Kale Calzones AND 
Pumpkin Cherry Bundt Cake
Leinana Two Moons

Peanut Butter Tart with “Ganache”
Tara Desmond

Matcha Scones with Golden Raisins
Carol Golden

Maple Barley Granola with Pecans
Robin Asbell

Mango-Jícama Salad with Lime Dressing and Pepitas    
Susan Russo

Armenian Red Lentil Stew with Sesame Brown Rice
Bryanna Clark Grogan

Korean Miso-Tofu Soup
Nancie McDermott

Squash Quesadillas with Cranberry-Jícama Salsa
Jill Nussinow


30 thoughts on “New Potato Rendang with Green Beans and a Cook Book Giveaway

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  3. Rendang!!! Yum! Just yesterday I was thinking of rendang. I am going try this rendang. This is really good. we could have a guiltfree pleasure leading us into the cool weather. :))

  4. My favorite, if uninspired, vegan Asian dish is miso soup, without the bonito of course. I love it with some wakame and tofu and green onions. Quite ordinary but always delicious!

    1. Hi Teslaca,
      Miso soup is not uninspired! When made from scratch, the dashi requires a lot of care and patience to make and adds so much flavor to the soup. Definitely one of my Japanese staples. Oh btw, traditional dashi uses bonito flakes so if eating at a restaurant you should ask if you don’t eat fish. Cheers, Pat

  5. I have tried a rendang only once before, and I loved it, so it will be interesting to see how this vegan version measures up.

    1. Hi Rosemary,
      The flavors in this vegan rendang aren’t as intense and sock-you-in-the-face but it’s still tasty. It’s great for a quick meal. I highly recommend it! Cheers, Pat

  6. I am always a huge fan of Indian curries when the weather starts to get cooler. There is just something about chana masala that says “comfort” to me.

    1. Hi Angela,
      Definitely! Nothing beats a pot of spicy curry on a cold winter’s day, although I do enjoy them anytime I have a craving. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers, Pat

    1. Hi Kaitlyn,
      Pad Thai is my go-to dish and also my benchmark for a good Thai restaurant. If the pad Thai is tasty, most other dishes are fabulous too! Cheers, Pat

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  8. Indeed Pat! For those who aren’t grew up in West Sumatra, we only heard beef and potatoes being used for rendang. Even people who grew up in Java, they only know beef and potatoes. In Minangkabau culture, the people use many other resources such as water buffalo, duck, cassava, green jackfruit, red bean etc. I recalled I used to get rendang from Minangese family a mix between beef and red bean when I was a kid. That rendang was last for couple months.

    1. Hi Pepy, I’ve never had green jackfruit or cassava in rendang. My mom always uses beef and/or potatoes. I’ll have to ask her about it. But Indonesian cuisine has so many regional variations I’m not surprised. THanks for stopping by. Cheers ,Pat

  9. Hi

    Your rendang dish is really interesting cos I’ve never tasted vegan rendang before. Whenever the rendang is mention… Beef always come to mind. This is a very good alternative to healthy eating and not missing out on the spices.

    I love rendang and anything that is spicy… Will definitely try out your recipe.

    My favourite Asian vegan dish is chap chye soup ( mixed vegetable soup, nonya style )

    Thank you for the giveaway.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Yes, this is definitely a “cleaner” version of traditional rendang and much simpler to make. Do try it. And I love chap chye too! Cheers, Pat

  10. Rendang…..Wow! One of the most popular Asian food voted on CNN recently. I like the typical burnt coconut milk taste which makes rendang smells so fragrance. I’m a lazy cook so I usually make a large amount of rendang paste with a food processor, divide them into one-time-cook needed amounts and store them in freezer. Simply defrost them in a pot, add in coconut milk and beef, that’s it.

    People here sometimes cook rendang with a kind of red bean, but yours cooked with green bean which is very interesting. I’ll try this recipe. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Komet, I didn’t realize that rendang was voted one of the most popular Asian dishes on CNN. I’ll have to look that up! You are a very practical cook, I definitely have to pick up this tip from you. Or I could ask my mom to make a big batch of rendang paste for me so I can freeze it! I did like the sugar snap peas in the recipe and I’m sure any type of vegetable would taste yummy in the sauce. It’s different from a traditional rendang but it’s still good and very easy to make. Cheers, Pat

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