Gulai is an Indonesian type of Curry, is a type of food that are rich & spicy  curry like sauce. The sauce commonly have a thick consistency with yellowish colour because of the addition of ground Turmeric & cook together in coconut milk. Gulai that has more watery broth or sauce also called Kalio.



This Gulai Kepala Ikan or Fish Head Curry is very popular & widely served in Indonesia originally from  Padang, West Sumatra. The taste is sour, salty & spicy mix together. For this dish you can use Cod, Red Snapper, Groper or Salmon. In the Asian market you can find fish heads separate, it’s quite popular too for family gathering or just for small family dinner.

The thick & yellowish sauce is one of the most common sauces in Padang cuisine. The rich & spicy sauce that make the dish tasty & also the spicy & sour taste make you forget about fishy smell from the fish.

For some people who never eaten fish head before, might be a little cautious about trying it, because you still can see parts of the face such as the eyes, but be reassured the taste is delicious, especially the fish tender checks are very delicious.




I large fresh fish Head such as Cod, Red Snapper, Grouper or Salmon about 1 1/2-2lbs

2 tablespoons  tamarind pulp, soaked in 1 cup of water and strained for the juice

2 Jeruk nipis/ Lime squezee

5 Kafir Lime leaves

6 bay leaves

2 lemon grass

700 ml coconut milk

I inch turmeric

1 inch  galangal

10 Shallots

5 Garlic

5 red Chillies

4 candlenuts

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

I/4 cup cooking oil for fry the spice


Blanch the fish head in boiling water for about 3 minutes to remove any impurities, drain and set aside.

Chop coarsely then pound or blend the garlic, shallots, chillies, ginger, turmeric, galangal and lemon grass until fine adding a little of the oil if necessary to keep the blades turning.

Heat the remaining oil in a large pan and fry the blended mixture and leaves over low heat, stirring frequently until fragrant add the Kafir lime leaves, bay leaves, lime. Continue cooking for another couple of minutes.

Then add the coconut milk and the fish head slowly. Bring to the boil over low heat then simmer uncovered & keep stirring until it cooked & the liquid reduce, Season to taste with salt and sugar.Serve.

Just be adventure, try & cook some fish head.

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