Gulai Ajam

This Gulai Ajam is chicken in a rich curry-like sauce. This sauce is seasoned with galangal (laos), ketumbar (coriander) and kunjit (turmeric).

It also needs salam leaf. Or, if salam leaf is difficult to get, use regular bay leaf. Salam has a warm, cinnamon-like flavor. That works nicely with the creamy coconut. This dish fits this time of year…. autumn.

This Gulai Ajam is enough for 3 people and is ready in 45 minutes.

Gulai Ajam (Gulai Ajam) # 285 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch Kookboek, page 244.


1 chicken of 1000 to 1200 grams
1/4 block of santen (coconot cream)
1/4 liter water


5 tablespoons of shredded onions
3 shredded cloves of garlic
5 puffed kemiries (candlenuts)
2 teaspoon ketumbar (coriander)
2 teaspoons laos (galangal)
2 teaspoons kunjit (turmeric)
2 teaspoons Javanese sugar
2 salam leaves (Asian bay leaf)

Cut the chicken into big pieces. Rub onions, garlic, candle nuts, coriander, galangal, turmeric, sugar, pepper, and salt. Sauté in the oil.

Place the chicken in water with salt, the sautéed herbs and the salam leaves. Let it simmer until the chicken is half done. Now add the block of santen and simmer the chicken until it is cooked.

The santen are not in the picture, but santen is a block of coconut cream. You can also use (thick) coconut milk.

For the Javanese sugar I use gula jawa. I buy gula jawa at my Asian store in hard blocks.

Kemirie are candle nuts. I buy a jar of candle nut paste too. One teaspoon is the amount of 2 nuts. If you use ‘fresh’ nuts you need to roast them otherwise they are slightly poisonous.

The sauce needs about 5 tablespoons of onions. I use my emersion blender to mix the onions, garlic, and herbs. With the blender the sauce turns out well mixed and silky.

I use chicken legs because they are easy to handle and eat.

I sauté the herb mix and add it to the chicken with 1/4 liter of water, the salam leaves and the gula jawa. I let this simmer for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes I add the coconut cream (santen). It smells pleasing already.

Now I take out the chicken legs to let the sauce reduce a bit further. If I leave the chicken to simmer in the sauce for too long I’m afraid the meat will turn to dry.

When the sauce is a bit thicker I add the chicken legs again to simmer for another 5 minutes.

Now I turn off the gas and it’s time to serve my gulai ajam.

I love the curry-like and super tender sauce. I sprinkle some homemade serundeng on top and I serve with lemon wedges. I like chicken with a slightly sour sauce. We eat the gulai with brown rice and a stir fried white cabbage.

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1 Response

  1. susni.w says:

    where can i get salam leaf ???

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