Vegan Rendang Recipe with Tofu & Seitan

Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 40 Mins Total Time: 50 Mins

Rendang is one of my favourite dishes that Singaporeans and Malaysians inherited from Indonesia. Rendang is an incredibly flavourful culmination of spices and aromatics, so it is perfect for veganising. The traditional dead animal flesh can be replaced by any vegan protein. This vegan rendang recipe is made with homemade seitan and defrosted frozen tofu. The defrosted frozen tofu will mostly disintegrate and become part of the delicious gravy.

First, a little bit about rendang. Rendang is the signature dish of the Minangkabau culture, but has spread all over Southeast Asia because it’s super tasty. The Minangkabau people or Urang Minang are an ethnic group from West Sumatra, Indonesia. According to Wiki, the Urang Minang are ‘one of the largest matrilineal society in the world, with property, family name and land passing down from mother to daughter.‘ How cool!

Rendang is served at special occasions like weddings and Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr. It is usually made in huge batches because it tastes even better the day after. We don’t have to wait for a special occasion to eat our vegan rendang though, because it tastes good and we deserve to enjoy food. I normally make my rendang the day before I want to eat it. Which also explains the horrible photos in the instructions section, because my indoor lighting at night is awful!

In this vegan rendang recipe, I used extremely spicy dried chillies that are approximately 50,000 – 100,000 SHU. If you are using generic dried chillies like the ones you can get in Singapore, or the supermarket, then use 10-15 chillies instead for a good spice. The chillies determine the colour of the rendang. If you only use a little, the rendang will be yellowish like mine. For a sexy red colour, you need to use a lot of less spicy chillies or add some with red chilli powder.


Candlenuts look like macadamias but they cannot be eaten raw. Theoretically, cooking them in the rempah should be enough to neutralise the toxins, but I always toast them beforehand, just in case. I also think it makes it taste better!

Share / Save:


0/22 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • For Rempah


0/10 Instructions
  • If you are making your own seitan for this dish, make sure you keep the simmering broth to use as stock later.
  • Toast the candlenuts briefly until kind of browned.
  • These are the spices you need!
  • Blend or pound everything in the "For Rempah" section until it forms a paste. If you are pounding, you don't need to add oil, but if you blend, the oil helps everything come together.
  • Heat up 3 tbsp of oil in a large pot or pan (if you didn't add oil to your rempah then you need to use 5 tbsp) and fry the whole spices until fragrant.
  • Add the rempah, the fry slowly, stirring frequently on low heat until the paste darkens and becomes sticky and thick. Be careful not to burn it!
  • Add the vegan protein and the last remaining lemongrass stalk.
  • Mix everything together and fry for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk, stock from the seitan (or normal stock), kaffir lime leaves, and kerisek. Simmer and stew for 30 minutes at least, or until rendang is mostly dry. Add sugar and salt to taste.
  • Serve hot. Rendang tastes better the next day!


  1. Looks delicious! For the rempah, it does not specify how many inches of ginger. I assume it’s 1, just like the galangal? Also, would you say that macadamia or cashews are good alternatives if I don’t have access to candlenuts? Thank you!

    1. Oops! Yes it should be 1″ or a thumb-sized piece of ginger. If you don’t have candles you can use macadamia or cashews. Macadamias are a better substitute as they end up creamier but you may have to soak them first as they will be harder to blend.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *