A Spicy Beef West-Sumatra Style

Origin: West Sumatra


  • 500 g brisket
  • l water to boil the beef
  • 1 stem lemon grass, bruished, cut into two pieces
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp soak in 2 tbsp water
  • 2 pc salam leaves or bay leaves
  • 2 cm galangale, bruished
  • 5 pc kaffir lime leaves
  • 400 ml thick coconut milk
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • oil

Spice for the paste

  • 5 pc large red chillies, de-seeded, chopped
  • 8 pc shallots, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cm fresh turmeric, roasted or 1 tsp turmeric pulver
  • 2 cm fresh ginger

A Spicy Beef West-Sumatra Style

Gulai Gajebo is hot-chilli dish from Padang, West Sumatra Province. Eventhough the name Gulai in Indonesia refers to Curry-based dishes, but this dish is far away from being like a curry.
In my opinion it is similar to Sambal Goreng from Java, only the Sumatra's version is of course a little bit spicy!!. In his homeland the Minangkabau people use curly large chillies which is more spicy than the normal ones.
Originally, this dish is made with brisket which have a lot of fat on them. Attention: No go for "high-risk hypertension patients" !!!!! For this reason, this dish is not always available at each Padang restaurant throughout Indonesia. But in its native land, this dish come up even with 3 categories : brisket with few fat, lot of fat and last: no meat but only fat!!
For you who doesn't like fat maybe you'll get stomachache already just by imagining it but you may believe..The Minangkabau people call it as "Food from Heaven" ha ha 😉 I myself prefer beef shank, for me it still has fat on it but not too much. Of course you can prepare this dish with any kind of beef to suit your needs & taste!
Whatever you choice, the coconut milk sauce which cooked slowly for such a long time makes this dish tastes soooo delicious ;-). A perfect combination between spicy & a little bit sourness which makes you forget your high colesterol!! 😉 If preferred you can add more bird-eye chillies on the recipe, of course, on your own risk!! 😉


  • Put the brisket & 1.5 lt cold water into a large saucepan, bring to boil & cook until the beef well cooked. Let it cold.
  • When it is cold, skim off and discard the fat that floats to the water surface. Keep the stock about 500 ml for the soup. Slice the meat thinly. Put aside.
  • Put all ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor. If necessary, add a little bit oil to help the blending process and blend untill smooth.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a Wok or big saucepan. (Don't add oil if already added in a blender).
  • Stir fry the paste, lemon grass, galangale, kaffir-lime leaf and salam/bay leaf. Stirring all the time until well cooked & fragrant (approx. 10 minutes).
  • Add the stock. Bring all to boil. (Transfer the paste into a large saucepan then add the stock, if you use a saucepan instead of a wok to proceed the next step).
  • Adjust to medium heat, continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add the beef, coconut milk, salt, sugar and tamarind water. Stir to mix.
  • Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes until the coconut milk becomes thicker. Stirring occationally. Adjust the seasoning, add salt and sugar if needed.
  • Ensure that beef is tender enough before you stop cooking. Serve hot with rice.
Keyword beef, coconut milk, spicy, Sumatra

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