Gulai Pakis

4 to 6 servings Easy
Total: Active:
0 Ratings 

Ingredients (15)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed, peeled, and minced
  • 1/2 ounce fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1/2 ounce galangal, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, root end trimmed, outer leaves and tough green top removed, inner 6-inch-long bulb finely ground
  • 1/2 ounce fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated; or 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 or more red Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, finely ground
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, finely ground
  • 3 candlenuts or macadamia nuts, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon Indonesian or Thai shrimp paste
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup or more tamarind extract
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (2 pairs)
  • 1 1/2 pounds fiddleheads, well washed and drained, tail base trimmed
Try Amazon Fresh
Nutritional Information
  • Calories528
  • Fat46.19g
  • Saturated fat32.94g
  • Trans fat0.06g
  • Carbs27.4g
  • Fiber2.35g
  • Sugar4.33g
  • Protein13.22g
  • Cholesterol5.11mg
  • Sodium49.09mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (4 servings) Powered by

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.

Gulai Pakis

Gulai Pakis, sometimes gulai paku, is a delicious Indonesian classic dish of fiddlehead ferns cooked in a rich coconut sauce spiced with chiles, galangal, and ginger. Fiddleheads are available in late spring and throughout the summer in gourmet stores or Asian markets. They look like deep green coils and are technically the stage of a fern before its leaves open fully. Select the tender, smaller ones (no more than about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) with the least amount of tail end. The bigger they are, the more fibrous they are.

Fresh or frozen galangal and turmeric can be found in Southeast Asian markets or on the Internet. If you cannot find fiddleheads, substitute yard-long beans or regular green beans, and cut into 2-inch-long pieces.

Join the discussions on where to buy turmeric root and other ways to use it.

Get The Cookbook

Essentials of Asian Cuisine

Fundamentals and Favorite Recipes

Buy Now


  1. 1Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir-fry the garlic, ginger, galangal, and lemongrass until fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric, chiles, ground coriander, cumin, and candlenuts, and stir-fry for 2 minutes more. Add the shrimp paste and stir-fry until 1 to 2 shades darker, about 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and tamarind extract, and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. 2Reduce the heat to low, add the kaffir lime leaves, adjust seasoning with salt, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add the fiddleheads and continue to simmer until they are tender but firm, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with rice on the side and with any grilled fish or meat.
Load Comments

Recommended from Chowhound

How to Make Your Sugar Cookies Taste Better

How to Make Your Sugar Cookies Taste Better

by Amy Sowder | Sugar cookies often look prettier than they taste. Now that's not right. With cookie season well under...

Christmas Cheesecake: The Most Wonderful Dessert of the Year

Christmas Cheesecake: The Most Wonderful Dessert of the Year

by Jen Wheeler | At Christmas time, there are cookies galore, but true dessert lovers still crave something more substantial...

11 Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes for the Holidays
Recipe Round-Ups

11 Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes for the Holidays

by Vanessa Simmons | Christmas cookies, holiday cookies, winter treats—whatever you want to call them, they used to be...