How many Chinese family will have Gulai Tempoyak on the dining table for Chinese New Year reunion dinner? We have it every year except for the past 3 years. My family enjoys gulai tempoyak very much and we could take the gravy as if we’re drinking soup. If you only have that dish and nothing else, we can eat that with rice for 3 days 3 nights, for all 3 meals!

Everytime we cook for Chinese New Year, we will cook a whole bigggggggg pot and then keep having it for 3 days. The rest of it will be kept in containers in freezer. Relatives from Australia and US will bring back the frozen gulai tempoyak. They will just melt it, boil it, add prawns to it and enjoy!

What the heck is gulai tempoyak? Tempoyak is fermented durians. We will take the flesh of durians and mix it with a little sugar and some salt, leave it overnight to allow it to ferment. Then the whole bottle can be kept in the refridgerator for… hmm… a year! Don’t think “yucks!”, think yogurt! Durian yogurt, anyone?

For the past 3 years (3 seems to be the lucky number in this post, hmmm), however, that dish vanishes from our reunion dinner table. Somehow, it was said to be tedious to prepare and difficult to get nice tempoyak.

Imagine torturing the taste buds for whole 3 years. It then prompted me to learn cooking it. FIRST I am super lucky to have my aunt kept a whole recipe book – recipes from my Amah (my uncle’s mother whom I grew up along with) and the treasure was kept. I copied the recipe and tried about a year ago and SUCCEEDED! Since then, I have cooked 3 times. (3 seems to be just the number!)

Last week, my cousin, Colin, came. Amah was his grandmother. I grew up with 2 cousins – Colin and Kok Wai. Kok Wai stays about 5km away from my house now so we are closer to each other. Colin will stay at Wai’s house so since the childhood siblings are having a get-together, I decided to dirty my hands in the kitchen again.


2 Timun (Cucumber)


About 17 dried chillies, 3 fresh red chilli, 3 serai


half a rice bowl of shallots


Prawns – udang sebanyak-banyaknyerrr – my favourite. Have to cut down though as the cholesterol level increased.


Everything prepared….. wait for me after work ya…


The results – gulai tempoyak udang! This time too watery – sigh… next month will cook again. Practise makes perfect!

One Response to Gulai Tempoyak for CNY reunion dinner

  1. Ocean Girl says:

    Teringin. Kedah say terliurq.

    Reading your post and looking at the pictures make me want to cook. Now I know where to look for the recipe.

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