Hawker Style Cooking

This post is a kind of continuation to my last week post ‘Goat Meat’.

Since I had my first experience cooking tongseng (Indonesian goat meat curry) which I posted last week, I simply can’t stop wondering why the Hawker Style tongseng almost always tastes better than home made tongseng including the one I cooked.

To satisfy my curiosity I went to one of the famous tongseng and goat satay hawkers near my home. Of course I ordered Tongseng and watched carefully when the hawker prepared and cooked the tongseng.

After that visit, I tried to cook Tongseng the Hawker Style

Here’s my Hawker Style Tongseng Recipe

The Ingredients

Main ingredient:

  • the goat meat

The goat meat used by the hawker for 1 serving of tongseng is the same amount of the goat meat used for 10 skewers of goat satay hence already cut into small cubes.

  • I used 300 gram of goat meat, cut into small cubes

Other ingredients:

  •  ½ cup of coarsely sliced onion or shallots
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of Indonesian sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)

  • 3-5 red chilies, cut diagonally
  • 50- 100 gram of coarsely sliced cabbage
  • 2 red tomatoes, cut into wedges

How to prepare the curry soup (kuah gulai)

The hawker has prepared the curry or gulai soup at home and then sends it to his tongseng stall.

When asked what ingredients are used, he refused to reveal them. However, he mentioned that the secret of the tongseng taste lies on the ingredients of the curry soup hence it’s not to be shared – fair enough.

Although didn’t share the recipe of his curry soup, the hawker was very helpful. He  advised me to use instant curry paste (bumbu gulai) rather than trying to prepare the curry spice-paste myself.  He did not say which brand is the best but suggested that I try out different brands and find out which one I like the most – then stick with what suits me best (….perhaps this is his secret recipe….who knows he’s being sponsored by one of the curry spice-paste producers 🙂

I follow the hawker’s advice and will try out different brands of instant curry paste or bumbu gulai until I find which one tastes best.

Ingredients for the curry soup:

  •  1/2  pack of  instant curry spice paste – this time I used Bumbu Gulai Indofood  (note: one pack is for 500 gram of goat meat)

Bumbu gulai Indofood


  • coconut milk (diluted from 1 pack of coconut cream powder in 300 ml water)

How to prepare the curry soup:

  •  On a pan or wok stir fry the curry-paste (bumbu gulai) until fragrant

  • Then add coconut milk, stir until mixed well
  • Continue to cook until it boils then remove from heat

How to prepare the goat meat:

  • Put the goat meat cubes in a plate or bowl, cover the meat with the sliced onion, garlic and chilies then pour in kecap manis and stir until mix well

How to cook the Tongseng:

  • Put a pan or wok on medium heat
  • Pour in the cooking oil until hot
  • Stir fry the mixed goat meat until well cooked

  • Add in the cabbage and tomatoes, continue to stir fry until wilted

  • Then pour in the curry soup, continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so until the soup is boiled and the meat is tender
  • Add salt and pepper and more kecap manis if needed

  • Remove from heat, sprinkle with fried shallots on top (optional)


Here’s the result of Tongseng the Hawker Style……..

Indeed it tastes better……


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