Recipe: Sambal goreng buncis - French beans Indonesian style

This spicy dish made of French beans as the main ingredient, has it's roots on the Indonesian island of Java. It is prepared in a hot sauce of tomatoes, chilis and coconut. This dish is also suited for vegetarians.

Serves: 4 - 6
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 40 minutes


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh / dried red chilies, thinly sliced (you can discard the seeds if preferred)
  • 2½ cm (1 inch) galangal
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500 g (1 lb) green beans, stems removed and cut into 1? pieces
  • 1 tomatoes, cored and cut into 10 wedges
  • 150 ml (5 oz) water
  • 150 ml (5 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (can be substituted with dark brown sugar)
  • ½ tsp salt


  1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, chilies, galangal, and bay leaves for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching, until the garlic and shallots starts to turn golden.
  2. Raise heat to medium, add green beans and tomatoes, stir to combine for about 2 minutes until the green beans are starting to soften and cooked.
  3. Add water, coconut milk, palm sugar, and salt. Stir well to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the skillet, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Stir occasionally, don’t allow the coconut milk to boil or it may curdle. The beans should be soft but slightly crunchy. Adjust the salt if necessary.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl. Discard the galangal and bay leaves.

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