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Gulai ayam.JPG
A plate of chicken gulai.
Place of originIndonesia[1][2]
Region or stateSumatra[1] and Nationwide in Indonesia, also popular in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Southern Thailand
Associated national cuisineIndonesia
Serving temperatureHot and room temperature

Gulai is a type of food containing rich, spicy and succulent curry-like sauce commonly found in Sumatra, Indonesia. The main ingredients might be poultry, goat meat, beef, mutton, various kinds of offal, fish and seafood, and also vegetables such as cassava leaves and unripe jackfruit. The gulai sauces commonly have a thick consistency with yellowish colour because of the addition of ground turmeric. Gulai sauce ingredients consist of rich spices such as turmeric, coriander, black pepper, galangal, ginger, chilli pepper, shallot, garlic, fennel, lemongrass, cinnamon and caraway, ground into paste and cooked in coconut milk with the main ingredients.[3] Gulai is often described as an Indonesian type of curry,[2][4][5] indeed gulai is the common name for curry dishes in the country,[1] although Indonesian cuisine also recognise kari or kare (curry).


Gulai is originated in Indonesian archipelago specifically in Sumatra,[1] Indonesia and is thought to be the local adaptation of Indian curry, developed and derived from Indian influence on Indonesian cuisine. The dish is popular and widely served in the Indonesian archipelago, especially in Sumatra, Malay peninsula and also Java and Borneo. The thick and yellowish gulai sauce is one of the most common sauces in Minangkabau cuisine, to give a rich and spicy taste to meats, fish, or vegetables. Gulai often described as succulent and spicy, yet subtly combining flavours of different spices into one suave and smooth taste, that it is difficult to figure out individual spices.[6]

The ingredients are simmered and slowly cooked in coconut milk, spice mixture and chili pepper. The thick golden, yellowish, succulent and spicy gulai sauce has become the hallmark of Padang restaurant's window display everywhere. In Padang, smart cooking means the capability of preparing gulai. Rendang (beef simmered in coconut milk and spices), asam padeh (sour and spicy stew) and kalio (watery and light-coloured gravy) are often considered as just a few variations of Padang gulai.[7]

The gulai sauce found in Minangkabau, Aceh, and Malay cuisine usually has a thicker consistency, while the gulai in Java is thinner, served in soup-like dishes containing pieces of mutton, beef or offal. Gulai is usually served with steamed rice, however, some recipes such as goat or mutton gulai might be served with roti canai.

Some variations of Indonesian gulai according to its ingredients:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "40 Indonesian foods we can't live without". CNN. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  2. ^ a b Hunt, Kristin (16 March 2014). "A beginner's guide to the curries of the world". Thrillist. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Resep Gulai Ayam" (in Indonesian). Resep Masakan Indonesia. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  4. ^ Lilly T. Erwin. "Aroma Rasa Kuliner Indonesia: Sajian Gulai (Indonesian Culinary: Gulai (Curry))". Gramedia International. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Padang-Style Chicken Curry (Gulai Ayam)". SAVEUR. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  6. ^ Tan, Christopher (24 February 2014). "Spice World". SAVEUR. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  7. ^ Donny Syofyan (24 November 2013). "By the way ... I just can't live without Padang food". The Jakarta Post.
  8. ^ "Resepi Gulai Telur Itik" (in Malay). MyResipi. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  9. ^ "Gulai Kambing" (in Indonesian). 17 August 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  10. ^ Kompas Cyber Media (24 May 2016). "Gulai Gajebo, "Makanan Surga" dari Ranah Minang". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Gourmet or Garbage?". My Cooking Without Borders. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  12. ^ Kompas Cyber Media (19 October 2009). "Gulai Kepala Ikan". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Gulai Nangka (Indonesian Unripe Jackfruit Curry)". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  14. ^ Setiawati, Odilia Winneke. "Resep Sahur : Gulai Daun Singkong Tumbuk". detikfood (in Indonesian). Retrieved 23 July 2018.

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