Malaysian sweet potato and courgette rendang

This fragrant, wholesome rendang is full of chunky veg and warming spice. It went down brilliantly in our household during ‘vegan fortnight’ and it’s now a regular on the weekly menu. The recipe is from Jo Pratt’s The Flexible Vegetarian though we’ve slightly adapted it and replaced butternut squash with sweet potato as we tried it both ways and preferred the richer texture and flavour of the potato.


  • Olive oil
  • 8-10 cardamom pods, crushed and seeds removed (discard the husks)
  • ½ tsp whole cloves
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves torn into quarters
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 3cm chunks
  • 150g red split lentils
  • 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • handful coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 2 medium courgettes cut into 3cm chunks
  • sea salt
  • lime wedges and coriander leaves to serve

For the spice paste:

  • 4 shallots (or 2 echalion shallots), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh galangal, peeled and roughly chopped (if you can’t find galangal just use more fresh ginger)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 long red chillies, seeds in, roughly chopped 
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt


  • Cuisine: Vegan
  • Prep & Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Serves: 4


To make the spice paste, put all the ingredients into a small food processor or blender and blitz to form a smooth paste. Set aside or keep covered in the fridge for up to a week.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan with a lid. Add the paste and fry for a minute or so. Add the cardamom seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves and lime leaves. Fry for a further minute, then add the sweet potato, red pepper and lentils. Stir to coat in the paste, then pour in the coconut milk and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a small dry frying pan over a medium heat. Add the coconut flakes and agave/maple syrup, and toss around in the pan until golden brown. Remove from the heat and spread out to cool and crisp up on a small tray lined with baking parchment.

Stir the courgette into the curry. Return to a simmer and continue to cook, with the lid off for a further 10-15 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

Serve the curry in bowls and scatter over the coconut and coriander leaves. Serve with vegan (coconut) yoghurt and/or lime wedges to squeeze over.


A zesty, lime-infused New World Riesling from Australia, New Zealand or Chile would work perfectly with this dish. Depending on how hot your chillies are, this can be quite a spicy dish so try to find a wine with just a touch of sweetness. Equally, a refreshing wheat beer would be ideal.

Tesco Finest Marlborough Riesling 2018 (suitable for vegans and vegetarians), £8.00