How to Make Brenebon Soup (+Recipe)

Earlier this year, FAO or UNFAO (Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) announced that 2016 is International Year of Pulses. Excuse me, pulse what? Pulse-dialing? Heart pulses?

Pulses are dried beans. You can click this page to read why pulses matter. For me, pulses are sustainable and good substitute for rice. You know, Indonesians love rice so much but they need to realize they not only need carbohydrate, but other nutritions as well. And pulses are good alternatives, nutritious, cheap, and most importantly tasty.

When I read FAO encourages people to submit pulses recipes, I was excited to share one of my favorite recipes: Sup Brenebon. I am glad that this week it gets featured in FAO website!


Sup Brenebon is a favorite hearty soup in Indonesia, mainly in the eastern parts. It also has found a special place all over Indonesia due to its tastiness and easy preparation. It is often called Brenebon or Sup Kacang Merah (red bean soup). Sup Brenebon is derived from the Dutch Bruine Bonen Soep, which was introduced to the area after the Dutch first came to the archipelago (which is now Indonesia) some 400 years ago. It consists of dried red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) and pork, but non-pork eaters have made Brenebon using chicken or beef. Vegans can also cook tasty Brenebon with mushroom stock. It is easy to make and is “foolproof”. Anyone can make it! You can download the PDF here. You can check other pulses recipes from all over the world too!

But let me put the recipe in this very page too. I make four versions of it:
1. Brenebon (with pork, as it is so originally)
2. Brenebon (nonpork): substitute pork with beef
3. Brenebon (non-red meat): use chicken
4. Vegan Brenebon: use mushroom stock

Sup Brenebon

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

• 200-400g dried red kidney beans, soaked in water for 24 hours (will not sprout) or overnight to cut the cooking time
• 200–300g pork feet (or pork belly), chopped into chunks
• 2,000 ml water
• 5 cloves, or to taste
• 2 nutmegs, crushed
• 5 shallots, finely chopped
• 1 stalk of leek, finely sliced
• 1 stalk of Asian celery, chopped
• 3 tbs cooking oil or butter
• Salt and pepper, to taste
For the stew:
1 In a large soup pot, bring water, beans and pork to boil. Season it with cloves, nutmegs, salt and pepper. And then turn down the heat to simmer until the beans are cooked.
2 In a frying pan, heat butter or oil to stir fry shallots and leeks. Sprinkle the fried shallots and leeks over the soup and add the chopped celery. Serve hot.

I hope it inspires you to cook! Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts about pulses and Brenebon!

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