150 Gangsa (Bandjarmasin)

150-gangsaGangsa is a gamelan instrument and has nothing to do with food ;-). But why is this dish called gangsa? My online indo-food lovers know the answer. Gangsa in Javanese means ‘bronze’. In the context of food, it means ‘stir-fry’. Gangsa could also refer to the color.

Online I search for ‘Gangsa Bandjarmasin’. I see lots of Indonesian recipes with beef and coconut milk; a traditional recipe from Kalimantan. Beb Vuyk describes Gangsa in her book too. The combination of kencur, coriander and mutton sounds delicious. I make it today with creamy, tender lamb. Practicing dish for spring 😉

This dish takes about an hour to make and is good for 2-3 people.

Gangsa Bandjarmasin from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 152.


1/2 kg of beef or mutton
2 tablespoons oil
3 cups of water

Herbs and spices

3 tablespoons chopped onions
1 teaspoon sambal terasi
2 chopped and pitted chilies
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Kaempferia galanga (kencur)
piece of asem (tamarind) the size of a walnut

Mix the tamarind, salt and a spoonful of water and rub it into the meat. Let it marinate for at least an hour. Rub onions, chilies, coriander, turmeric and Kaempferia galanga (kencur) together to a paste. Fry the paste in the oil, that should not be too hot. Add the water, and the meat that is cut into cubes and let it simmer until the meat is tender.

Mutton is a bit different than lamb. Sheep meat is much more fragrant and has a slightly bolder flavor. I choose lamb because I can get it everywhere easily now and I prefer the tender taste. I get 500 grams of good quality at my Muslim butcher shop. Delicious.

Sometimes I doubt how long I have to let the lamb simmer. I think it’s quite different every time. With less quality meat it takes longer. With very fresh lamb you must ensure that you do not overcook it. This recipe with beef is different. Beef needs a lot of time to become tender and juicy. Simmer beef for at least 3 hours. I buy larded beef most of the time. You do not have to eat the fat, but it adds to the flavor of the dish.


Today I choose the quick version with lamb. In total I simmer the meat for 45 minutes.

Kencur (kaempferia galanga root) is my new favorite herb. You need just a little bit. The taste is pretty strong. For the 500 grams of meat Beb suggests to use 1/2 a teaspoon of kencur. That’s plenty. If you add more, it will dominate the flavor too much.

150-gangsa-kruiden-tjobekRub the herbs finely. That brings out all those fragrant flavors. Rub the meat with the tamarind. Because it is an acid, it will tenderize the meat.

A simple spring dish. Full of flavor because of the pleasant combination of coriander and kencur. The turmeric gives the dish that lovely yellow ocher color.

Beb Vuyk, best known for her Groot Indonesisch Kookboek (Great Indonesian Cook Book), was much more than a great cook. She belongs to the most important Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) writers and journalists of her time. Check this out.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

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