French Beans Belacan

French beans belacan is one of the most popular Malay-style vegetable side dishes in Malaysia and Singapore. The addition of shrimp paste and chillies enhance the taste of the stir-fried french beans.

5 stars

Preparation 15 mins
Cooking 10 mins


Stir fry Spicy French Beans, Malaysian Green Beans

Malaysian, Singaporean, Indonesian

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Nutrition per Serving

412 kcal
36 g
29 g
8 g

Instead of kangkung belacan, consider giving french beans belacan a try. It is an equally delicious dish. This dish is a Malay stir-fry dish which is well known throughout Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. The use of belacan or fermented shrimp paste along with pounded chillies make this dish very special. The smell of belacan is very pungent and can be such a turn off especially to those who have no love for it! However, its savouriness actually enhances the flavours of many dishes in the Southeast Asian cuisine especially those which are spicy.

Why french beans instead of kangkung?

If you didn't know, kangkung is also known as Chinese water spinach. This style of stir-fry is more common with kangkung, a leafy vegetable that is much softer after cooking. However, for this recipe, I substituted it with french beans instead as they are crunchier. If you prefer the crunchiness of vegetables, then french beans will be a great choice.

Substituting fermented shrimp paste

Belacan is a type of fermented shrimp paste found in Malaysia and Singapore. Made out of tiny shrimps known as krill, the shrimps are steamed and then fermented. After fermentation, they are fried and shaped into blocks. If you are unable to obtain belacan, substitute it for any other shrimp paste such as terasi (Indonesian) or kapi (Thai).


1 tbsp
shrimps (dried)
chilli peppers (dried)
garlic clove(s)
2 tbsp
2 tsp
shrimp paste (dried)
250 g
french beans
2 tbsp

Steps to Prepare

French Beans Belacan Step 1

Step 1 of 3

Soak dried shrimps and dried chillies separately in hot water for 10 minutes. Then, remove the seeds from the dried chillies. Roughly blend shallots, garlic, dried shrimps and dried chillies.

French Beans Belacan Step 2

Step 2 of 3

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Fry the blended ingredients until fragrant. Add 'belacan' and give the dish a few quick stirs.

French Beans Belacan Step 3

Step 3 of 3

    • 250 g french beans
    • salt
    • 2 tbsp water

Add french beans and some water. Mix well and add salt to taste. Simmer at low heat till the beans are cooked.

Published: January 11, 2013

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