2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 x 400ml cans coconut milk
2 x 250g packets tempeh, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
2 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
juice of ½-1 lime
cooked jasmine rice, to serve
cabbage salad and tomato sambal, to serve, optional
3 shallots, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
2cm piece ginger, peeled
2cm piece fresh turmeric (or ½ teaspoon ground turmeric)
4 long red chillies, de-seeded
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper teaspoon ground white pepper

While rendang curry is more commonly associated with Malaysian cooking nowadays, it’s said to have originated in Indonesia. This dry curry is more often than not made with beef, but I’ve come up with a vegan version using protein-rich tempeh instead. Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian soy product that’s now readily available throughout New Zealand at supermarkets and health food stores. Being fermented, it’s easier for the body to digest than other soy products and provides good amounts of protein, calcium and prebiotics. This is a rich curry, so a little goes a long way. It can easily be halved to feed fewer people. I suggest serving it with a bright crunchy salad dressed with a lime-based dressing, to cut through some of that richness. I served mine with a tofu-less version of my shredded tofu salad with lemongrass-coconut dressing.


1.Put the curry paste ingredients into a food processor or mortar and pestle and pulse or grind until a fine paste forms.
2.You can add 1-2 tablespoons of water to get things moving if using a food processor.
3.Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the paste and cook for 5-8 minutes (it will take a little longer if you’ve added water), stirring often until fragrant and thick. Pour in the coconut milk, tempeh, lemongrass, lime leaves, coconut sugar and salt and bring to the boil.
4.Reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened.
5.Continue to cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring often (especially towards the end when it’s easy for the bottom to catch and burn) until the oil starts to separate out of the coconut milk and the tempeh starts to almost fry in the sauce.
6.Add lime juice to taste and check the seasoning, adding more salt if needed.
7.Serve with jasmine rice, salad and sambal to cut through the richness of the curry.

Recipes, food styling & dish photography Emma Galloway

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