Gulai is a type of food containing rich, spicy and succulent curry-like sauce commonly found in 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 color 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. Gulai is often described as an Indonesian type of curry, indeed gulai is the common name for curry dishes in the country, although Indonesian cuisine also recognize kari or kare (curry).
Gulai is originated in Sumatra, 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, Java and also Malay peninsula 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 flavors of different spices into one suave and smooth taste, that it is difficult to figure out individual spices.
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-colored gravy) are often considered as just a few variations of Padang gulai.
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:
Fish and sea food