Javanese Lamb Curry

Origin: Java


  • 1 kg lamb or lamb leg
  • 1 pc cinnamon stick (replace with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon if not available)
  • 2 stem lemon grass, outer leaves discarded, cut in two, bruished
  • 1 tsp tamarind pulp soak in 3 tbsp water
  • 2 pc salam leaves or bay leaves
  • 3 pc kaffir-lime leaves, discard the ribs of the leaves
  • 2 gloves garlic
  • 400 ml very thick coconut milk
  • 750-1000 ml hot water (depends how thick or how thin you like your sauce)
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar to taste
  • oil to stir-fry the paste

Spice for the paste

  • 5 pc large red chillies, (de-seeded), chopped
  • 8 pc shallots, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, chopped
  • 6 pc candlenuts, roughly chopped or crashed
  • 1 cm galangal
  • 2 cm fresh turmeric or 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper

Javanese Lamb Curry

This is a very popular dish in Java Island: Gule Kambing. Served usually in many restaurants and street vendor's stall, mostly in the small towns and villages around eastern and middle of Java regions. In my hometown gule kambing is usually sold by restaurant which also serves "Satay Kambing". It is a perfect match but FORBIDDEN for high blood pressure patients!!
Gule Kambing usually served in a deep plate with white rice on the bottom, ladle the meat over it then lot of sauce on the top. To satisfy the chilli fans, we got special "Sambal Terasi" for free 😉


  • Cut the lamb/mutton into small pieces or dice. Wash and drain. Put aside
  • Put all the ingredients for the paste into a blender and blend until smooth. Add a little bit oil if necessary to help the blending process.
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or shallow pan. Saute the paste over medium heat until well cooked & fragrant. Stir all the time to prevent burn. (approx. 5 to 8 minutes
  • Until well cooked & fragrant.
  • Add the meat and bones (if used) and stir to mix. Cook until the meat becomes harder and it's colour turns to whiten.
  • Cook until color turns white.
  • Transfer all to a big saucepan before continue to the next step.
  • Add the hot water and stir to mix.
  • Add cinnamon, salam/bay leaves, kaffir-lime leaves, lemongrass and cloves.
  • Cover the pan, cook over medium and high heat (scale 7 of 9) for 40 minutes until the meat is getting tender.
  • Uncover, add the coconut milk and stir to mix.
  • Add the tamarind juice. Continue to simmer over medium heat and stirring occasionally to prevent the coconut milk from separating.
  • Adjust the seasoning, if necessary add the salt and sugar to taste. Cook for a while until the spices well absorbed and the fluid consistency meets your taste.
  • Serve hot with sprinkling of fried shallots/onions and sambal terasi (if you like it spicy).
Keyword chillies, coconut milk, garlic, Indonesian, lamb

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