Green beans in coconut cream

Adam Liaw
Green beans in coconut cream.
Green beans in coconut cream. Photo: William Meppem

The key to these beans is the "rempah" – the paste of onion, garlic, ginger and chilli that forms the basis of many Malaysian and Indonesian dishes. Think of it as a south-east-Asian mirepoix.


• ½ small brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped

• 2 cloves garlic, peeled

• 2cm ginger, peeled

• 2 large red chillies, stems and seeds removed

• 2 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 stalk of lemongrass (optional)

• 1 cup coconut cream

• 1 tbsp fish sauce

• 1 tsp sugar

• 400g green beans, tails removed, cut into 5cm lengths


Combine the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies in a small food processor and blend to a smooth paste. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the oil, then add the paste to the pan together with the lemongrass (if using). Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently so that it doesn't stick to the pan, until the mixture is fragrant, darkened, and the oil separates from the paste. Add the coconut cream, fish sauce and sugar and bring to a simmer. Add the beans and simmer until the beans are cooked to your liking, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning with a little more fish sauce or sugar if needed and serve. 

Also try: Adam Liaw's turmeric pork belly with fresh sambal