Daily Cooking Quest

Home / All Recipes / Indonesian / Gulai Nangka - Jackfruit Curry

Gulai Nangka - Jackfruit Curry

Spicy, tender, succulent, and flavorful jackfruit curry is a must-have when dining in a Padang restaurant. Now you can make this delicious curry in your kitchen with my recipe.
Gulai Nangka - Indonesian Jackfruit Curry

Gulai Nangka - Indonesian Jackfruit Curry

Indonesia is a multi-ethnic country with a wide variety of cuisines. One of the most popular cuisines in Indonesia is Padang cuisine. Unlike many other cuisines, Padang cuisine is widespread across the country. It is almost impossible not to see a Padang restaurant in any neighborhood. Understandably, most Indonesians’ favorite food will involve a Padang dish or two.

Some of the more popular Padang cuisine dishes include: rendang, telur balado, terong balado, ayam pop, ayam bakar, gulai ayam, gulai daun singkong, gulai nangka, and sambal cabe ijo. The official list of dishes is much longer. You can eat only Padang cuisine every lunch and dinner for a week or two before the need for any repeat.

For me, Gulai Nangka is one of the must-haves whenever I visit a Padang restaurant. Among the many Indonesian jackfruit dishes, Padang jackfruit curry is my favorite.

Let me share my recipe to make a Padang restaurant Gulai Nangka (jackfruit curry). The ingredients will be long, but it is easy to cook this curry at home. For Padang food lovers, I promise you will love this recipe.

Ingredients for gulai nangka (Indonesian jackfruit curry): young jackfruit, coconut milk, shallot (or onion), garlic, ginger, galangal, red chilies, star anise, cardamom pods, candlenuts, kaffir lime leaves, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), tamarind, turmeric, salt, and palm sugar.

Ingredients for gulai nangka (Indonesian jackfruit curry): young jackfruit, coconut milk, shallot (or onion), garlic, ginger, galangal, red chilies, star anise, cardamom pods, candlenuts, kaffir lime leaves, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves), tamarind, turmeric, salt, and palm sugar.

Ingredients for Gulai Nangka (Indonesian jackfruit curry)

(1) Puree garlic, ginger, galangal, red chilies, and candlenuts into a smooth paste. Mix tamarind with water to get tamarind juice/paste. (2) Sauté spice paste, turmeric, star anise, crushed cardamom pods, daun salam, and kaffir lime leaves. (3) Add young jackfruit pieces. (4) Add coconut milk, water, tamarind juice/paste, salt, and palm sugar.

(1) Puree garlic, ginger, galangal, red chilies, and candlenuts into a smooth paste. Mix tamarind with water to get tamarind juice/paste. (2) Sauté spice paste, turmeric, star anise, crushed cardamom pods, daun salam, and kaffir lime leaves. (3) Add young jackfruit pieces. (4) Add coconut milk, water, tamarind juice/paste, salt, and palm sugar.

Young jackfruit (canned vs. fresh)

I usually buy canned young jackfruit since it is not common to find fresh jackfruits in the US. It is also more convenient to use canned jackfruits since they are ready to cook once drained.

If you want to use fresh jackfruit, select a green unripe jackfruit. The ripe fruit is not for cooking, but you can enjoy the ripe yellow fruits if you choose the wrong one.

For those living in Indonesia or other countries where the markets sell fresh young jackfruits, you can usually buy a portion of the fruit and not the whole fruit. Jackfruit is quite a large fruit, so there is a tacit understanding that most people will not buy a whole fruit.

Handling fresh jackfruit is tricky since it is very sappy and sticky. Please oil your blade with each cut, or it will be difficult to clean it later. If you buy it fresh from a traditional market, you can request the seller to cut the jackfruit, saving you from doing this chore yourself.

Finally, you will need to boil fresh young jackfruit in a pot of water for one hour before they are ready to be used in this recipe.

The curry is done when the jackfruit is tender and a fork can goes through the meat easily.

The curry is done when the jackfruit is tender and a fork can goes through the meat easily.

How to cook Gulai Nangka (Indonesian jackfruit curry)

1. Prepare spice paste

Puree onion/shallot, garlic, red chilies, candlenuts, ginger, and galangal into a smooth paste.

TIPS: If the paste remains chunky, add 1-2 tablespoons of water, and puree again.

2. Make tamarind paste/juice

Mix tamarind with three tablespoons of warm water. Massage with hands until the mixture is dark brown and thick. Strain to remove all the seeds and pulps to get tamarind paste/juice.

3. Cook the curry

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté spice paste, star anise, cardamom pods, turmeric powder, Indonesian bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the young jackfruit and mix well.

Add coconut milk, water, tamarind, salt, and palm sugar. Once it boils, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the jackfruit is soft.

Adjust salt and sugar as needed. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

The finished curry will also has a reduced sauce and a darker color compared to when it starts.

The finished curry will also has a reduced sauce and a darker color compared to when it starts.

How to eat in a Padang restaurant

There is an unwritten rule to what one should do when visiting a Padang restaurant for a sit-down meal.

First, you walk into the restaurant and scan for empty tables. If you spot one, walk to it and take a sit.

Soon, a waiter will bring you a serving of steamed white rice along with approximately a dozen dishes, each dish enough to feed one to two persons. It is similar to a dim-sum experience but with Padang cuisine flair.

Tea is usually the norm, but you can ask for other drinks like bottled water, coffee, or soft drinks.

Partake only the dishes you want to eat unless you are willing to pay for everything. It is best to set aside the plates/bowls you don’t want to eat or ask the server to take those away from the table.

If there is a particular dish you want, you can ask for it specifically from the server. You can also walk to the counter with a mountain of different dishes, each one looking more delicious than the next. Select the ones you want and request to be sent to your table.

After you finish your meal, signal a server for the bill. Make the payment and be on your merry way with a full belly.

Transfer jackfruit curry to a serving bowl and serve with steamed white rice.

Transfer jackfruit curry to a serving bowl and serve with steamed white rice.

Other Padang cuisine recipes to try

If you love this jackfruit curry and want to give other Padang cuisine dishes a try, you may want to try my other Padang recipes:

1. Padang meat dishes

2. Padang vegetable dishes

3. Padang egg dishes

4. Padang noodle dishes

5. Padang chili relish

Gulai Nangka - Padang restaurant jackfruit curry.

Gulai Nangka - Padang restaurant jackfruit curry.

Gulai Nangka - Jackfruit Curry

4.9 from 9 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 2 hours 15 mins

Total Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Serves: 8

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 560 gram young jackfruit, cut into bite size pieces (Note 1)
  • 4 tablespoon oil
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves (Indonesian: daun jeruk), remove the ribs
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 can (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 800 ml water
  • 10 gram tamarind (Note 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon palm sugar
  • Spice paste (grind the following ingredients)
  • 10-20 red chilies (Note 3)
  • 100 gram shallot/onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri) (Note 4)
  • 1 inch ginger (Indonesian: jahe)
  • 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat and sauté spice paste, star anise, cardamom pods, turmeric powder, Indonesian bay leaves, and kaffir lime leaves until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the young jackfruit and mix well.
  3. Mix wet tamarind with three tablespoons of water, massage with hands, and strain to get a thick tamarind juice/paste.
  4. Add coconut milk, water, tamarind, salt, and palm sugar. Once it boils, lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours or until the jackfruit is soft.
  5. Adjust salt and sugar as needed. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

Notes

  • (1) I use 2 cans of young jackfruit totaling 560 grams.
  • (2) Can be substituted with 2 pieces of asam kandis or asam gelugur.
  • (3) I am using dried red chilies, but you can use fresh ones too such as Fresno, cayenne, or bird-eye chilies. When using dried chilies, soak the chilies in hot water to soften before using them.
  • (4) Can be substituted with an equal amount of macadamia nuts.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Kristen Kristen says:

    Anita, your blog is my dream come true! I am a Canadian living in Jakarta and am in love with the complex flavours of great Indonesian food (especially Pandang). Before your blog, I was only able to find either westernized versions of my favourite dishes with too many ingredient substitutions, or recipies that were not in English, making translating with my slooooooooow Bahasa Indonesia a chore! I love your recipes, photography, and that you include the proper Indonesian names for all ingredients. This will make my time at the market much easier. Well done, and thanks! kp

    • Anita Anita says:

      You are welcome Kristen.♥ I know the pain, my Mom used to give me her recipes and they are all in Indonesian (or, gasp, Chinese even), and hunting those downs in the States, hah, not easy. Thought I would spare people the hurts. :)

  • simplysedap simplysedap says:

    Thank you for sharing all these wonderful recipes with us. Gulai Nangka is one of my favourite food and I can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and am never tired of it. Do we have to preboil the young nangka before cooking it with the spice paste? My nangka turned out rather tough but the outer layer turned very dark. hope to do better next time. I love many many of your recipes. Much appreciate your effort.

    • Anita Anita says:

      If the jackfruit is not young enough, it tends to be tough. And the trick is like what you have suggested, just boil the jackfruit separately until soft first before proceeding with the rest of the recipe. :)

  • Chris Steggles Chris Steggles says:

    Hi Anita, Your blog is very good. I tried the nangka recipe & it was good. However not sure if I prepared the nangka correctly. I found the sticky sap a real problem to clean off all the knives & cutting board & my hands. How are you meant to prepare the nangka when you start with a whole unripe nangka just cut from the tree? Your guidance would be appreciated. Thanks Chris

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Chris, when preparing from a whole unripe nangka, usually the "meat" needs to be boiled for 30 minutes to 1 hour first to remove the stickiness, then washed and drained before using them in cooking. I am sorry I omitted this step in the instruction. To clean the sticky sap from hands, knife, and cutting board, coat them in cooking oil and rub until the sap dislodge. Then proceed cleaning with soap as usual. If you don't mind the oil, you can also pre coat your knife and cutting board with some oil first before cutting the fruit, and use a pair of disposable gloves while cutting the fruit, these steps will reduce the cleaning time a lot.

      • Ravi Ravi says:

        What I do is cut the baby jackfruit into half and leave it for a few minutes. The sap will mostly seep out of the fruit and the middle part. This can be easily cleaned off with kitchen paper towel. As for the knife all you need to do is heat the knife lightly over a lit stove and again use old newspaper or paper towel to wipe it clean. Wash the knife with soap. This is the easiest way I have found to clean the knife.

  • Anu Anu says:

    I love Jackfruit curry and I cant wait to try this.. I'll keep you posted.

  • UM UM says:

    Is it possible to use young Jackfruit in brine from a can? I cant find young jackfruit in the netherlands. Thank you!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi UM, certainly. Most of the times, I use canned young jackfruit too since it's also very difficult to get fresh young jackfruit in the US.

  • Farhan Farhan says:

    Hi Anita, Really grateful for your blog. Indonesian living through freezing australian winter (maybe not so cold if the yardstick is the US). I'm hosting a dinner for a group of friends. I hope to impress them with the recipe. Much appreciated.

  • Rufaizal Nottingham UK Rufaizal Nottingham UK says:

    I have not tried / tasted Indonesian Padang dish before. I have tried cooking this ‘gulai nangka muda’ based on your recipe it tastes good. I am not sure though if my cooking tastes as it should since I have never tried this meal before. May be next trip I should fly to Padang and try this dish there to be sure how it should taste.

  • Yumcha Mama Yumcha Mama says:

    Oh I love this dish! I am definitely going to try this recipe as I always choose it at nasi Padang. I live in Singapore but so far have not tried cooking Malay food but I really feel it's time to start being more adventurous. Thank you for what looks like a great recipe!

  • Tara Tara says:

    Such a flavorful curry and wonderful use for jackfruit! I especially love the tips for working with jackfruit. Looks amazing!

  • Kris Kris says:

    Oh my goodness! I'm a sucker for a good curry and this was DELICIOUS! Can't wait to make again. Thank you! :)

  • Jacqueline Meldrum Jacqueline Meldrum says:

    That sounds so delicious. So many tasty spices.

  • Irena Irena says:

    Had a can of jackfruit from one of those random purchases so was excited to try this recipe. Okay, I didn't have all the ingredients and couldn't be bothered to go to an Asian grocer BUT I did use this recipe as a template and browsed through my herbs and spices. I happened to have quite a few things, plus fresh ginger and garlic etc. Turned out super nice, loved the texture of the jackfruit...very meaty.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: