MERDEKA SPECIAL: Gulai Kawah Daging

by Lisa K. on Tue, August 21, 2018

We are in the final 3 recipes for our #Merdeka #MakanMuhibah food celebration and this time is dedicated to Malay cuisine. Gulai is the chosen dish because it is a special in the Malay food culture especially during festive seasons and special occasions like weddings. Kawah is the way of cooking which is in bulk, in a huge wok over open flames. But no need to start collecting firewood, you can also do it on a stove, in a pot.

It is definitely not curry

Serves 6 - 8 people

This versatile recipe works great for bone in lamb or beef. Use a pressure cooker to speed things up.

Simmering with lid on helps retains moisture and speeds up the cooking process.

Foodster's Verdict

MERDEKA SPECIAL: Gulai Kawah Daging


  • Preparation
  • Total
    1hour 10minutes
    10 shallots
    3 cloves garlic
    3 inch galangal (45g)
    ½ inch fresh turmeric (3g) or about the size of your pinky finger tip
    ½ inch ginger (5g)
    A little water to get the blade moving

    1 cinnamon stick
    1 star anise
    2 cloves
    2 cardamom pods

    100ml oil
    4 tbsp. gulai spice
    2 tbsp. chilli paste
    500g beef, cut into pieces
    1 tbsp. tamarind juice
    2 potatoes, cubes
    500ml water (or just enough to cover beef in the pot)
    100ml coconut milk
    Salt and sugar to taste

1. Blend all ingredients for spices until fine. Set it aside. Rinse blender with a little water (about ½ cup) and leave it for later.

2. Heat up oil and fry aromatics for a few seconds and add in blended spices. Fry until paste shrinks and oil splits (pecah minyak).

If it looks a bit dry, add in a little more oil

3. Add in gulai spice and chilli paste and fry until aromatic, roughly 3 minutes.

4. Add in beef, tamarind juice, potato and water from blender. Simmer until beef is no longer pink.

A lot of meat juices will come out from the beef, so only add water after the beef is no longer pink. From there, you can gauge how much water you need to add

5. Add in more water until it is just enough to cover the pot. Simmer on low heat with the lid on and stir occasionally. Cook until beef is tender (ours took about 40 minutes).

6. Once beef is tender and potatoes are soft, pour in coconut milk and season with salt and sugar. Bring it to a boil again and turn off heat. Serve with rice and condiments.

If you don't like it too rich, you can completely omit coconut milk out of the recipe. Through I suggest to use just a little bit to bring the flavours together