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Gulai Kambing - Indonesian Lamb Curry

First of all, Happy Idul Adha to all who celebrate this holy day. Today’s recipe still features lamb, always a fitting dish for this day :) And it is a so simple dish to make despite the long list of ingredients. I basically just dump everything in a pot and let it slowly simmer away until the meat is extra tender and super flavorful from all the sauce. ♥

Gulai Kambing - Indonesian Lamb Curry

Gulai Kambing - Indonesian Lamb Curry

Gulai Kambing - Indonesian Lamb Curry

5.0 from 2 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • 450 gram lamb, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
  • 2 bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 2 cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh)
  • 1 lemongrass, bruised and knotted
  • 1 cardamom pod (Indonesian: kapulaga)
  • 1 cm cinnamon stick (Indonesian: kayu manis)
  • 1 liter thin coconut milk (Indonesian: santan cair)
  • Grind the following into spice paste
  • 7 shallots (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 5 red chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah keriting)
  • 4 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric (Indonesian: kunyit)
  • 1 cm fresh galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds (Indonesian: biji ketumbar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds (Indonesian: biji jinten)
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper


  1. Heat cooking oil in a pot and sauté spice paste, kaffir lime leaves, bay leaves, cloves, lemongrass, cardamom pod, and cinnamon stick until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the lamb and stir until no longer pink. Pour the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Turn off heat and serve immediately with steamed white rice.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • indugetscooking indugetscooking says:

    Love the brown color of the curry. It looks a lot like our Indian curries, but the ingredients are different. Totally yummy looking dish!

    • Anita Anita says:

      The long list of spices does resemble Indian curry, isn't it? Oh, and I love Indian curries, which reminds me that it has been ages since I made one :)

      • vishnu vishnu says:

        actually what color for Indonesian lamb curry yellow or brown

        • Anita Anita says:

          Hi Vishnu, ideally it should stay yellow, but I overcooked it slightly making the sauce reduced a bit much and became brown.

        • FM Wong FM Wong says:

          Indinesian lamb curry is green colour

  • Star Star says:

    Is it okay to omit the kaffir lime leaves? Or is there a substitute you would recommend?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Star, if you cannot find kaffir lime leaves, please use lime zest. I use a ratio of 1 kaffir lime leaf = 1 teaspoon lime zest.

  • Steven Steven says:

    I noticed this recipe calls for thin coconut milk (santan cair) while other recipes on your website call for thick coconut milk (santan kental). What is the difference?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Steven, for those who still prepare their own coconut milk from freshly grated coconut, we get our thick and thin coconut milk like this: (1) Mix freshly grated coconut flesh (using 1/2 a coconut) + 250 ml hot boiling water, mix, once the temperature cools until it is not too hot to handle with hands, press this mixture through a sieve to get about 250 ml of thick coconut milk. This is called 1st press. (2) Repeat step 1 from the same grated coconut flesh from step 1 to get another 250 ml of thick coconut milk. This is called 2nd press. (3) Repeat step 1 again from the same grated coconut flesh from step 2 to get 250 ml of thin coconut milk. This is the 3rd press. Some people will say only the 1st press yields thick coconut milk, but some considers the first two presses as thick, and only the last (3rd press) as thin. If you buy canned coconut milk, the regular one is to me not thin enough and not thick enough. For thin coconut milk, I add the same amount of water to the regular canned coconut milk, so for example, from a typical 400 ml canned coconut milk, I add another 400 ml water, and I get 800 ml thin coconut milk. For thick coconut milk, I usually opt to buy canned coconut cream. I hope this clarifies the difference between thick and thin coconut milk. :)

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