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Gulai Nangka Padang (Padang Young Jackfruit Curry)

Posting Date: 08/27/17

Gulai Nangka Padang (Padang Young Jackfruit Curry)

Gulai Nangka Padang (Padang Young Jackfruit Curry) originated in Padang as indicated by the name. Dishes from this area tend to be hot and spicy. You can adjust the heat of Gulai Nangka by using less chili peppers if you have low tolerance to heat. Another famous Padang dish is Beef Rendang. You can find Gulai Nangka in all Padang restaurants. I normally ordered Gulai Nangka along with Beef Rendang. The thing I like the most about Gulai Nangka is the sauce. The sauce is very flavorful and good with rice because rice soaks up all the flavor from the sauce. Gulai Nangka is like yellow curry in term of the sauce appearance but in my opinion it has more flavorful because of the spices. In addition to gulai nangka, Padang also has Gulai Ayam. So, gulai nangka is the vegetarian version.

If you have never had jackfruit before, there are 2 types sold in Indonesian markets, the ripe one which is yellow and the unripe one which comes from young jackfruit and is greenish in color. In Indonesia, people buy fresh young jackfruit to make gulai nangka but it is difficult to find in US. Fortunately, you can find it in a can. If you have worked with jackfruit before, you appreciate how convenient it is to use canned jackfruit because you don't have to cut it open, clean it, and deal with the sticky substance that comes with jackfruit. That's why I always use can ones. However, if you want to use fresh ones, you can do it. You will have to boil it first to soften it before you can use it. Young jackfruit looks similar to artichoke heart in term of consistency. So, you could replace it with it. However, I have never tried it before but I think it will work well with it.

Traditionally, red chili peppers are used but they are difficult to find in my Asian stores. So, I use sambal oelek instead. Sambal Oelek brand I use doesn't contain garlic or shrimp paste. Thus, I got the chili peppers I need without any other ingredients I don't want.

Jackfruit is low in calorie and protein. So, if you need protein, you can add fried tofu in gulai nangka and still make it vegetarian dish.

This recipe serves 3-4 people.


  • 2 cans of young green jackfruit, drained and rinsed. Set it aside in a colander to drain more liquid from rinsing it with water.
  • For spice paste: 4 medium size of shallots, about 85 grams, quartered
  • For spice paste: 3 cloves of garlic, halved
  • For spice paste: 1/2 tablespoons of sambal oelek or to taste. If you can find fresh red chili peppers, you can use them instead of sambal oelek.
  • For spice paste: 1" of fresh ginger, sliced
  • For spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • For spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon galangal powder
  • For spice paste: 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • For spice paste: 1 candlenut
  • For spice paste: pinch of anise seeds
  • 1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, white part only and green part discarded. Smash white part with the back of knife so that it opens up and can release the flavor during cooking.
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves. If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves, you can substitute kaffir lime leaves with lime zest from 1 lime.
  • 1 clove
  • 350 ml of coconut milk
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 g tamarind paste or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • warm white rice. The sauce is good with rice because rice soaks up the flavor. So, make sure you serve it with rice.


  1. Place shallots, garlic, sambal oelek, ginger, turmeric powder, galangal powder, cardamom powder, candlenut and anise seeds into food processor. Pulse it until it becomes smooth paste.
  2. Heat 1.5 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add spice paste, lemongrass, bay leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and clove to the pot. Saute it until it becomes fragrant and shallots are cooked, about 4-5 min. Make sure you keep sauteing the spice paste from time to time so that you don't burn it.
  3. Add young jackfruit into the pot. Stir fry it until it is coated with the spice paste and slightly soften. Add coconut milk, water, tamarind paste, salt, sugar, and black pepper. Stir the liquid to mix seasoning. Let the liquid to boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium. Stir the liquid from time to time to make sure coconut milk doesn't curdle. Cook until jackfruit is soft and fully cooked. Taste it and add more seasoning if needed. Stir the liquid to mix additional seasoning. Depending on the thickness consistency of the sauce you want, you can cook it a little longer to thicken the sauce. I prefer mine slightly thicker instead of runny. Remove the pot from the heat once the sauce has reached the consistency you want.
  4. Transfer it to a serving bowl and serve it with warm white rice.

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