This Vegan Mushrooms Rendang is full of flavors and packed with wonderful aromatics.
Rendang is a popular dish in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is often served at kenduri (celebration), Hari Raya, or special ceremonies as this dish often takes a long time to prep and cook.
Traditionally, the meat is slowly simmered in a mixture of chili paste, coconut milk, and finished off with toasted coconut paste (kerisik). Personally, I didn’t get to try many traditional rendang dishes made from meat but I love mushroom rendang made from lion’s mane mushrooms or mushrooms stems from home.
After doing a lot of research about this dish, I decided to tackle this dish using King Oyster mushrooms. This dish does take some time to cook, especially making the spice mix from scratch and cooking it down to a paste. Despite the time needed, this dish is worth the effort.
Vegan Mushroom Rendang Steps
First, prepare the kerisik (toasted coconut) by toasting some desiccated coconut in a heated non-stick pan, without oil, until golden brown. I used frozen coconut flakes–desiccated coconut is a great alternative as well.
My favorite ingredient to use is lion’s mane mushrooms or seasoned mushrooms stem normally sold as mock mutton. Since it’s harder to source these ingredients here, I decided to use King Oyster mushrooms instead.
Instead of slicing the mushrooms, simply tear off the mushrooms so it has that fibery mouth feel after you cook it.
Part 1: Prepare the spice paste (rempah)
Here I’m using dried chilies which I’ve removed the seeds and then boiled the chilies until soft. Other spices include lemongrass, shallots, garlic, candlenuts or sub with macadamia, and galangal.
Feel free to use some turmeric if you can find fresh ones. My recipe is for guidance and you can always adjust the spicy level but adding more chilies or more lemongrass if you like the taste. I do prefer to put less garlic than shallots but some like to use the same amount.
Traditionally, mortar and pestle are used to pound the spices but I’m using a blender. A food processor is another great one to use if you like your rempah with a fiber-y look.
Part 2: Cook the rempah
Cook the rempah in a heated pan with oil. I added pandan leaves and bruised lemongrass stalk for the aroma. While stirring constantly, cook the chili paste until you see the oil starts to separate from the chili. This step can take between 20-30 minutes depending on the volume of your chili paste.
How to put everything together
Once the rempah turns darker, add in the coconut milk and King Oyster mushrooms and toss everything until well combined. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the mushrooms to absorb the rempah.
Then, season with sugar, salt, and finally add in the kerisik and some chopped lime leaves before serving. Serve with some Nasi Kunyi (Turmeric Rice) and Acar (Nyonya Pickle vegetables).
Check out my other Mushrooms recipes:
This Vegan Mushrooms Rendang is
- Spicy and Flavorful
- Delicious and Aromatic
- Packed with delicious mushrooms
- Fragrant with wonderful spices
- Tasty and Appetizing!
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Vegan Mushrooms Rendang
- ¼ cup [3oz] desiccated coconut used frozen
- 20 oz King oyster mushrooms hand torn into large chunks
- 3 tablespoons palm sugar or coconut sugar (adjust to taste)
- green part of lemongrass from the rempah
- a handful of lime leaves and/or turmeric leaves sliced thinly
- a few pandan leaves knotted (optional)
- 1⅓ cups [~300ml] of coconut milk
- oil for cooking
Rempah to make Chili Paste
- 25 dried chilies seeds removed, boiled until soft
- 150 g [6-8] of shallots
- 30 g [½ bulb] of garlic
- 5 candlenuts (buah keras) or macadamia nuts
- 5 slices of galangal or 2 slices of ginger
- 3 stalks lemongrass white part only
- 1 teaspoon salt
How to make the Kerisik (Coconut Paste)
- To make the kerisik (toasted coconut), place the frozen desiccated coconut in a heated non-stick pan.
- While stirring continuously, toast coconut until golden brown, then transfer to a mortar or food processor. Pound or pulse until fine. Skip this step if your desiccated coconut is super fine. Set aside until ready to use.
How to prepare the mushrooms
- Prepare the mushrooms – Clean mushrooms with a damp towel, then cut off the tough ends.
- If your mushroom is large enough, slice it in half, then tear each half into 2, so you'll have 4 parts. Repeat until you are done with all the mushrooms.
How to make Chili Paste (Sambal)
- To make the chili paste, place all the rempah ingredients in a blender, then add enough oil (about 2 tablespoons) to get the blender running. Blend or pulse the ingredients into a smooth paste.
- Heat a large non-stick pan, then add about 2-3 tablespoons of oil.
- Slowly pour in the chili paste and add in the green part of the lemongrass, and pandan leaves (if using). 'Fry' the chili by stirring continuously over low-medium heat.
- Cook the chili paste until it turns darker or when you see some oil is starting to separate from the mixture.
How to put everything together
- Add in the coconut milk and cook for another 30 seconds, then add in the mushrooms and cover the pan with a lid.
- Let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes or so until the mushrooms are fully cooked through.
- Season with salt, sugar, and let it simmer for another minute or so.
- Finally, fold in the toasted coconut and lime leaves.
- Discard the lemongrass stalk and pandan leaves before serving. Enjoy!
This was delicious! Not like I’ve had before but still rich and creamy – and yummy! Especially with the king oyster mushrooms which I’ve never had before. Thank you!
Hello! I’m so excited to try this! How important are the candlenuts to the recipe? I’m having trouble finding them. I could spring for macadamias, but they’re expensive given how few the recipe calls for.
Hello Misha, you can omit the nuts, it does give a slight nutty and a little ‘creamier’ taste.
I would love to try this for my vegan friend. Does it really only take 5-7 minutes for the coconut milk to boil down to a thick sauce? In my experience with chicken rendang, it takes 30 – 60 minutes (depending on how thick I want the sauce to be). Also, if I’m cooking for someone who can’t eat food that’s spicy (a little spicy is ok), how do I get the rempah to turn reddish and dark without too much chillies? One more question: I have found, after years of making rendang, that adding tamarind really made it taste like rendang from West Sumatra. Have you tried adding tamarind and would you recommend it?
Thanks a lot Sweepeck for your questions. Depending on the surface of your pan, the smaller it is, the longer it takes. I used a big wok with a good flat surface. Some peppers are not spicy like Korean pepper, they usually have a mild version. My homemade sambal does use tamarind and for sure, you can use that too. It’s going to be so yummy. Happy cooking. Best, WoonHeng
This recipe is amazing! The mushrooms really blend themselves well to the rendang sauce.
Thanks so much, Nicky! It’s really my favorite way dish. 🙂
Could regular oyster mushrooms or other mushrooms work (or is the shape/texture too dissimilar)? Also, what types of chiles do you recommend for making the rempah? Thanks!
Hey Safiyyah, you can. Since oyster mushrooms are thinner compare to king/trumpet, please adjust the cooking time accordingly. I used Thai dried chiles, that’s the closest I can get here. If you can find dried fresno, that will work great as well. Let me know if you need anything else. 🙂
Would this work well with button mushrooms or baby bellas? It seems those are the only I can find where I live.
Hey Nusayba, yes, you can. 🙂 Happy cooking.
This was amazing ! Never had meat rendang so no baseline, but the texture pf the mushrooms was wonderful.going to double it next time! Even had candle nuts and lime leaves. This is soo tasty and madeyour wontons last weekend. They were so good, we made them 2 days later, again.thanks for the terrific recipes!
what kind of dried chilies do you use? there is no photo,. dried thai chile?
Hey Paula, yes, dried Thai chiles. 🙂
Hi! I don’t have lime leaves or candlenut/macadamia nuts. Can I do without? I really hope so as I want to make this now 🙂
Hello Alison, yes you can omit those. Good luck and hope you like this version. Happy cooking! Best, WoonHeng
I managed to get hold of lime leaves and used a small handful of walnuts to replace the candlenuts. I also used seitan alongside the mushrooms, and it’s delicious! Thank you once again for an amazing recipe!
woohoo, thanks Alison. That’s so awesome! Lime leaves make me drool everytime. 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this recipe and I love the subs. Many thanks! Have a beautiful day. Best, WoonHeng
I made this during the Superbowl! I had a huge craving for something from home and this hits the spot. My husband and I were so accustomed to having our rendangs with chicken or beef but since we’re on a plant based challenge this month, we gave this recipe a try though with my own chili paste. Anticipating we’ll eat up the whole pot clean (which we did), I saved some portion for leftovers because rendangs ALWAYS taste even better after a day or two. This meal is packed with flavor and will be making its way into my recipe binder. If I don’t feel like dealing with meat or even purchasing them, this option is a great substitute. I’ll definitely try the chili paste/sambal in this recipe the next time I’m making this version of rendang.
yay, thanks so so much Niny! Thank you for sharing your feedback and super grateful for this kind and sweet message. I wish you and your husband all the best wishes on the plant-based journey. I know you both will do so awesome with all your cooking. 🙂 hope you get to try other recipes soon. Have a beautiful day. Best, WoonHeng
Hi made this and loved it was wondering could you make a large batch of the paste before hand and freeze it for later?
Hello Rich, thanks so much and really happy to hear that you loved this recipe. Yes, I like to keep my sambal in the fridge too in ice cubes for ease of transferring. You can also store them in a glass jar but try not to overfill it. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions. Have a great one!
We’ve tried making this recipe but we can’t quite get the sauce quite right. We end up with a light brown sauce, that tastes a bit like Thai curry.
It’s still delicious though! 🙂 How do we get the bumbu to really darken?
Hi there, thanks so much for sharing your feedback. You’ll need to cook the chili paste until it starts to dry up, then add in the coconut milk. Next, you’ll add in the mushrooms and cover to cook the mushrooms. Once you added the sugar and toasted coconut paste, it slowly turns into a dark ‘sauce’. You can check out my YouTube video, it starts to darken at around 4:59 minutes. You’ll need to slowly simmer until you see the oil starts to separate. Hope this helps.
thanks, we’ll give that a try!
awesome, let me know. 🙂 Thanks, WoonHeng
This looks amazing and I am making it right now. Just not sure about when to put in the lime leaves?
Many thanks, Cynthia. You will fold in the lime leaves in the last step. Hope you like this recipe. Best, WoonHeng
Thank you for your instructions 🙂 It was soooo good!! Thought I was right back in SE Asia. YUM!! It had such a depth of flavor and it was perfectly balanced. Loved the lime leaves in it. Thank you for letting me travel through food 😉
Thanks soo much for your sweet feedback. I really love SE Asian food and this dish makes me miss home even more. 🙂 Thank you for joining me in this ‘travel’ 🙂 Best, WoonHeng
I love Indonesian food!! From first look I thought it used potatoes but using mushrooms is genius. I will have to try to recreate. Thanks!
yay! Thanks so much! I hope you like this version. Best, WoonHeng
Thanks so much! Mushrooms gave it an amazing texture, yum! Wishing you a wonderful year ahead. Best, WoonHeng
Oh my goodness, thanks for sharing this yummy recipe for vegans! Looks so good. I’ll definitely going to try it real soon and let you know the result.
Thank you so much Cindy!