Leo’s Green Beans in Galangal Coconut Milk

This is an easy introduction to home-cooked Asian food. It is very flexible, has no rough edges and doesn’t elicit cries of “Whad’s this?” Most importantly, I have not yet found a person (including hot dog, hamburgers and fries eating teenagers) who does not love it.


Deep pan with heavy bottom suitable for frying onions and subsequently cooking the green beans
Slotted metal spoon

INGREDIENTS – for 6 to 8 people

3 tbl vegetable oil
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 tsp garlic powder or equivalent chopped fresh garlic (I prefer garlic powder)
2 tsp galangal (laos) powder (Penzeys Spices Ground Galangal is the most consistent)
2 tsp salt (depending upon the amount of salt in the chicken broth)
1 tbl dark brown sugar
2 tsp Sambal (Indonesian red pepper sauce/paste) OR 1.5 tsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (*)
3 cups chicken broth
6 oz canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 tbl lemon juice
2 lbs frozen green beans


Fry chopped onions in vegetable oil till toffee brown with dark brown edges – it is impossible to overdo this as the brown flavor will boil into the coconut milk and broth sauce
While cooking the unions, measure into a small bowl: garlic powder, galangal, salt, brown sugar, and sambal
When the onions are done, stir these 5 ingredients into the pan all at once
Turn off fire or remove pan from fire for a minute, and quickly but carefully add chicken broth
Stir well to loosen and mix in all ingredients
Add coconut milk and lemon juice
Turn fire back on or put pan back on fire and bring to a boil on medium heat (to not affect the coconut milk flavor), stirring occasionally
Add green beans
Slow simmer beans till done
If you prefer your food more spicy, add small amount(s) of sambal while cooking the beans, slowly stirring it in. Give the sambal time to establish itself before adding more.


Rice or mashed potatoes
Barbequed chicken thighs or steak


This is a perfect dish to prepare the night before. The longer the beans sit in the sauce, the better they will taste.
Reheat slowly on low flame when ready to serve.
This is also a rewarding dish to prepare more than you need and keep in your refrigerator for a couple of days for another meal, possibly with a different meat and/or different accompaniments (such as mashed potatoes, couscous or sweet potatoes instead of rice).
Again, reheat slowly on low flame when ready to serve.

Now you have the idea, let me suggest that you can successfully freeze part of this dish, defrost it, and reheat it slowly.

(*) Both are available in many grocery stores. Both are chili red in color.

Sambal is frequently called Sambal Oelek and comes in a screw-top glass or plastic jar. It is the preferred spice to add heat to this dish as it does not introduce additional flavors. Crushed red pepper flakes can be used instead of Sambal Oelek, but adding them to the mix and waiting for the flakes to release their flavors and heat will require much patience.
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, which is a thinner Vietnamese style red pepper sauce, comes in a pull-top plastic squeeze bottle. It is made by Huy Fong Foods in Rosemead, CA.
Huy Hong Foods also makes Sambal Oelek.



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3 Responses to “Leo’s Green Beans in Galangal Coconut Milk”

  1. Zultah August 13, 2016 at 3:24 am #

    I will try this recipe, sounds yummy. Zultah

  2. jean June 14, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    How wonderful Leo! WELL DONE.

    • Leo Keukens June 14, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      Thanks, Jean. You are one of the first people to visit my site.

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