Collezione: Gulai Ingredients

Exploring the Rich Flavors of Gulai: Ingredients and Techniques

Gulai is a traditional Southeast Asian curry dish that is popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. It is a fragrant and flavorful dish that is usually made with a mix of spices and herbs, coconut milk, and meat or vegetables.

Gulai Ingredients

Here are some of the key ingredients commonly used in making Gulai:


Spices - Gulai is known for its aromatic and spicy flavor that comes from the use of a blend of spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and chili peppers.

Coconut milk - This is a staple ingredient in Gulai, and it adds a creamy and rich texture to the dish. It is made by blending grated coconut meat with water and then straining it to extract the milk.

Meat or Vegetables - Gulai can be made with a variety of meat or vegetables, including beef, chicken, goat, fish, prawns, eggplant, jackfruit, and others.

Tamarind - This sour fruit is often used to add tanginess to Gulai. It is usually soaked in water and then the juice is extracted and added to the dish.

Kaffir Lime Leaves - These leaves are commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine to add a citrusy and herbal flavor to dishes like Gulai.

Lemongrass - Another common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine, lemongrass adds a fresh and citrusy aroma to Gulai.

Galangal - A type of ginger commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, galangal has a more peppery and pungent flavor than regular ginger, and it adds a unique taste to Gulai.

Candlenut - This nut is often used as a thickener in Gulai, as it contains natural oils that can help to create a thick and creamy sauce. It has a mild and slightly sweet flavor.

Bay Leaves - These leaves add a subtle herbal flavor to Gulai and are often used in the cooking process to infuse the dish with their aroma.


These are just some of the key ingredients used in making Gulai. The exact ingredients and proportions may vary depending on the region and the cook's personal preferences.


What are the key ingredients to make Gulai?

Here are six key ingredients commonly used in making Gulai:


Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a key ingredient in Gulai as it gives the dish a rich, creamy texture and a slightly sweet flavor. It's usually used in large quantities and can be either fresh or canned.


Gulai typically uses a blend of spices to create a complex, aromatic flavor. Some of the most commonly used spices include turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and galangal.

Meat or Vegetables

Gulai can be made with a variety of daging or vegetables. Some of the most popular options include chicken, beef, fish, jackfruit, potatoes, and eggplant.

Chili Peppers

Chili peppers are often used to add heat to Gulai. Depending on the desired level of spiciness, different types of chili peppers can be used, including Thai bird's eye chili or Indonesian bird's eye chili.

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir lime leaves are a common ingredient in Indonesian cuisine, including Gulai. They have a distinct citrusy flavor and aroma that helps to balance out the richness of the coconut milk.


Tamarind is sometimes used to add a tangy, sour flavor to Gulai. It's usually added in small amounts and can be in the form of tamarind pulp, paste, or juice.


These are just a few of the key ingredients used in Gulai, but there are many variations depending on the specific recipe and region. Other common ingredients include shallots, coriander, cumin, and bay leaves.

How to cook Gulai with Gulai ingredients by following the recipe?

Here's a general recipe for cooking Gulai with the ingredients :


  • 2 lbs of chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 tbsp of tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • Salt and sugar, to taste

Spice paste:

  • 6 shallots, peeled
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled
  • 1 inch of galangal, peeled
  • 2-3 red chili peppers, seeded
  • 2-3 bird's eye chili peppers, seeded
  • 1 tbsp of coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder


  1. Blend all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor or blender until it becomes a smooth paste.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the spice paste and cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken to the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes until browned on all sides.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and tamarind paste. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and let the Gulai simmer for 30-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
  6. Season the Gulai with salt and sugar to taste.
  7. Serve with Hot rice!

What are the tips on Gulai ingredients to make Gulai taste better? 

1. Use fresh ingredients

Using fresh ingredients can make a significant difference in the flavor of Gulai. Freshly ground spices will have a stronger aroma and taste compared to pre-ground spices. Using fresh ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves will also give the dish a more vibrant and authentic flavor.

2. Adjust the spice level

The spice level in Gulai can be adjusted to personal preference. Using different types and amounts of chili peppers can affect the level of heat in the dish. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can remove the seeds and membrane from the chili peppers, or use milder varieties like bell peppers or Anaheim peppers.

3. Use high-quality coconut milk

Coconut milk is a key ingredient in Gulai, and using high-quality coconut milk can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of the dish. Look for brands that use fresh, high-fat coconuts without any additives or preservatives. Avoid brands that use fillers like guar gum or carrageenan, as they can affect the texture of the dish.

What are the differences of Vegetarian and non-vegetarian Gulai? 

Here are three key differences between vegetarian and non-vegetarian Gulai:

1. Protein Source

The most obvious difference between vegetarian and non-vegetarian Gulai is the protein source. Non-vegetarian Gulai typically uses chicken, beef, or fish as the main protein, while vegetarian Gulai relies on plant-based protein sources like tofu, tempeh, or vegetables like jackfruit or eggplant.

2. Cooking Time

Non-vegetarian Gulai generally takes longer to cook than vegetarian Gulai. This is because the meat or fish needs to be cooked until it's tender and fully cooked. In contrast, vegetarian Gulai typically cooks faster as the protein sources don't require as much cooking time.

3. Spices and Seasonings

The spices and seasonings used in vegetarian and non-vegetarian Gulai can differ. For example, non-vegetarian Gulai may use shrimp paste or fish sauce to add umami flavor, while vegetarian Gulai may use soy sauce or miso. Additionally, non-vegetarian Gulai may use more robust spices like cardamom or star anise, while vegetarian Gulai may rely more on aromatic herbs like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.


In conclusion, Gulai is a delicious and flavorful Indonesian curry that can be made with a variety of ingredients. Key ingredients used in Gulai include coconut milk, spices, meat or vegetables, chili peppers, kaffir lime leaves, and tamarind. To make Gulai taste better, it's important to use fresh ingredients, adjust the spice level, and use high-quality coconut milk.

If you're interested in making Gulai at home, you may want to try Nisabakri Gourmet's Gulai paste. Their paste is made with high-quality, natural ingredients and is free from artificial additives or preservatives. With Nisabakri Gourmet's Gulai paste, you can easily make delicious and authentic Gulai at home.


1. Can I use canned coconut milk for Gulai?

Yes, you can use canned coconut milk for Gulai. In fact, it's a common ingredient used in many Gulai recipes. Just make sure to shake the can well before using and adjust the amount based on your desired consistency.

2. What can I substitute for tamarind in Gulai if it's not available?

If tamarind is not available, you can substitute it with lime juice, vinegar, or even mango powder (amchur) in small quantities. However, keep in mind that the flavor of the dish may be slightly different.

3. Can I make Gulai without using shrimp paste?

Yes, you can make Gulai without using shrimp paste. Instead, you can use miso paste or soy sauce to add umami flavor. Alternatively, you can omit the shrimp paste altogether and add a bit more salt to the dish.

4. How long does it take to prepare Gulai from scratch?

The time it takes to prepare Gulai from scratch can vary depending on the recipe and the ingredients used. Typically, it takes around 45 minutes to an hour to prepare and cook Gulai. However, this can vary based on factors such as the protein source and the level of spice.