Celebrate Idul Adha (Eid al-Adha) with this Indonesian lamb curry, a coconut-based curry with soft and tender lamb/mutton that goes perfectly with rice or flatbread.
Kambing (mutton) dishes are commonly served during Islamic festivals in Indonesia, especially to celebrate Idul Adha (Eid al-Adha), or the feast of the sacrifice.
One of the most popular Indonesian kambing dishes is probably gulai kambing, or lamb curry. This is a coconut-based curry dish with a long list of spices. The meat will be super soft and tender, and the umami-rich sauce goes perfectly with steamed white rice.
Ingredients for Indonesian lamb curry
1. Lamb (or mutton)
Mutton is what we commonly use in Indonesia when making gulai kambing.
I use lamb since most grocery stores in the United States carry lamb, and only some specialty markets sell mutton. If you can procure mutton, feel free to replace the lamb with mutton.
2. Coconut milk
Almost all Indonesian curry recipes will need coconut milk, and this lamb curry is no exception.
I use canned coconut milk, which is thicker compared to boxed coconut milk in the US. If you live in Asia, like Indonesia or Malaysia, your boxed coconut milk should have the same thickness as US canned coconut milk.
Like any other Indonesian curries, this dish needs a lot of spices, which make it super delicious.
For the fresh spices, we need shallot, garlic, red chilies, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves.
For the dry spices, we need daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), cardamom, cinnamon, candlenuts, turmeric, coriander, cumin, coconut palm sugar, salt, and ground white pepper.
Cooking Indonesian gulai kambing
1. Prepare spice paste
Use a food processor or a mortar and pestle to grind shallot, garlic, red chilies, candlenuts, ginger, galangal, coriander, turmeric, and cumin into a spice paste.
2. Fry spice paste
Heat cooking oil in a pot and sauté spice paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Indonesian bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add the lamb/mutton meat and stir until no longer pink.
4. Add coconut milk and seasoning
Add the coconut milk, water/stock, coconut palm sugar, salt, and white pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced by half, about 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours.
Other Indonesian curries to try
Indonesian cuisine has so many different curries. If you too are a curry lover, why not give some of these curry recipes a try?
Gulai Kambing - Indonesian Lamb Curry
- 450 gram (1 lb) lamb/mutton meat, cut into bite size pieces
- 2 tablespoon oil
- 1 lemongrass, bruised and knotted
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk)
- 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
- 2 cloves (Indonesian: cengkeh)
- 1 cardamom pod (Indonesian: kapulaga), crushed to reveal the seeds
- 1 inch (1/2 stick) cinnamon stick (Indonesian: kayu manis)
- 1/2 can (200 ml) coconut milk
- 2 cup (500 ml) water/chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar (Indonesian: gula Jawa)
- 1-2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Grind the following into spice paste
- 100 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
- 5 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
- 5-10 red cayenne chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah keriting) (Note 1)
- 4 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
- 1 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
- 1/2 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander (Indonesian: ketumbar)
- 1 inch fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder) (Indonesian: kunyit)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin (Indonesian: jinten)
- Fry spice: Heat cooking oil in a pot and sauté spice paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Indonesian bay leaves, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add meat: Add the lamb/mutton meat and stir until no longer pink.
- Add coconut milk and seasoning: Add the coconut milk, water/stock, coconut palm sugar, salt, and white pepper. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lamb is tender and the sauce has reduced by half, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Serve: Turn off heat and serve the lamb curry immediately with steamed white rice.
- (1) Use Fresno chilies for a milder curry, bird-eye chilies for a spicier curry. You can also use dried chilies.