Indonesian Curry


By Scott Dusek

Serves 4

Printer Friendly Version

This is a quick and easy recipe. Candlenut is a subtle but star flavor in this dish, it has a flavor similar to macadamia nut and adds a lot of complexity. You could make the curry paste yourself, but you’d need to source a lot of ingredients, process them, then let the paste sit for days. Indonesian curry pastes are basically fermented and the melding of flavors is hard to recreate at home, believe me I’ve tried and it still wasn’t as good as this silly 99 cent packet. This is a fun dish to make for curry lovers, they likely haven’t had this style before. If you love this dish I recommend trying making Beef Rendang, known as “the king of curries”, next.  


  • 1 lbs of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • ½ head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can of Coconut Milk (full fat, not lite)
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 1 large onion or 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 packet of Gulai*
  • 6 cloves of garlic, diced
  • Juice of ½ – 1 lime
  • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder 
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • Brown sugar to taste (~1 Tbsp) 


  • Dry brine chicken (unwrap, sprinkle with salt, let sit in fridge uncovered overnight)
  • Swap powdered turmeric for thumb sized piece of fresh turmeric 
  • ¼ cup cilantro stems finely diced
  • Cayenne pepper to taste, the Gulai has plenty of heat already so be careful.
  • A bit of curry powder can be helpful, not too much though.  
  • Some fish sauce
  • A bit of peanut butter
  • You can substitute chicken breast (but I wouldn’t). Skip the browning process if you do. 


  1. Pre-heat large pan to medium heat. Add oil and brown the chicken thoroughly. Develop some nice fond in the pan. Make sure to add salt if you did not dry brine the chicken. Set aside chicken aside.
  2. Add some new oil, drop in ~¼ tsp of cumin seeds, let cook for 1 min. 
  3. Add 2 or 3 Tbsp of Coconut milk (congealed fatty part) ⅓ packet of Gulai, onions, ginger, and carrots. Cook for 3-4 minutes
  4. Add remaining Gulai, remaining coconut milk, and cauliflower
  5. Bring to slow boil, reduce to simmer.
  6. Slice browned chicken to desired size. 
  7. Add chicken and Turmeric powder
  8. Let simmer until cauliflower is tender and chicken is fully cooked (~15 min)
  9. Remove from heat 
  10. Add juice of half a lime, taste, add salt as needed. Add juice of other half of lime if needed. 

Name: Gulai
Brand: Indofood
Size: 45g net weight
Price: ~$1

I get it at 99 Ranch on Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Facing the back of the store (meat counter) it’s one aisle to the right of the soy sauce aisle, at the end (towards the back of the store) on the left. Kari, another flavor from Indofood also works. The key ingredient you want to see included is candlenut. Bamboe brand is a poor substitute. 

Written by:

Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.

Be First to Comment

What do you think? Leave me a comment.