Malaysian Food

I have eaten many types of food in my lifetime. However, one food that I cannot live without is Malaysian Food. There is no single word to describe Malaysian Food. The 3 main people in Malaysia (Malays, Chinese, and Indians) uniquely created cross cultured food that is called Malaysian Food. Malaysian Food also includes Nyonya cuisine which is a cross between the Malays and Chinese.

These days, when I crave for some home cook Malaysian meals, I cook it myself rather than driving to a different state.

Note: I am updating the recipes. If you find a dish you like and the recipe is not listed, please let me know. I will add the recipe here.

Some of the dishes that I will share with you on my blog includes Klang Black Hokkein Mee, Curry Puffs, Chee Cheong Fun and Sauce, Nasi Lemak, Bah Kua/Bak Kua/Bak Kwa/DIY Pork BBQ/Pork Jerky, Indian Rojak, Satay, Wonton Mein, Popiah, Hai Nan Chicken Rice/Hai Nan Nasi Ayam, Char Kway Teow, Bah Kut Teh, Kaya, Beef Rendang, Prawn Noodle, Chinese New Year Food, Crepe.

There are a few variation of Malaysian Laksa. The more popular ones are Malacca Laksa / Laksa Lemak / Singapore Laksa, Penang Assam Laksa,

Check out Teckiee’s Sambal Heh Bee recipe.

The following links will bring you to Mamafami’s Roti Canai and Auntie Lily’s Canai Dhall Sauce recipes respectively.

This summer, a sister at church introduced frozen burger patties from Costco to me. They are not only convenient on days that I don’t feel like making complicated meals but they are also a good stock-up food for unexpected guests. Wheat buns, ground beef patty, lettuce, mayonnaise and condiments stacked up for a healthy meal. Click here for my version of Sambal Burger.

Click here for food finds in the US that tastes almost like Malaysian food.

Klang Black Hokkein Mee

I can almost reproduce Klang Black Hokkein Mee in my own home, with the exception of the flame taste. Check out the link to find out what I mean by flame taste. Doesn’t the photo inspire you to make your own?

Usually, Chinese grocery in the US sells the yellow thick noodles that is used in this dish. I get my fresh thick noodles from Uwajimaya, in the form of Udon. However, if you are interested to making your own because you cannot find it at your local grocery stores, Auntie Lily has the recipe to make the noodles itself. Note, in her recipe, lye water is called. I read from the comments section that you can substitute lye water with baking soda. Her ingredients include 350g sifted high protein flour, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp lye water, 100ml to 150 ml water.

Once you have the noodles, you are ready to make some Hokkein Mee. The following is her KL Black Hokkein Mee Recipe. The last time I made this dish, my helpful husband washed the pork before I made my crispy lard (Bah Eu). Needless to say, a few pork oil explosions went off in my kitchen. I had to put a lid on and the Bah Eu turned out soggy. So, moral of the story is if you wash the fatty pork, wipe it dry before you fry them. Also, I read in one of the forum, there is a kind of black thick soy (Yuen Chun Thick Caramel Sauce) that you can use instead of the regular black soy sauce.

500g fat yellow hokkien noodles (tai lok meen) – soak noodles in cold water for 15 mins to get rid of some of the lye water used to make these noodles.
100g meat (pork or chicken) – cut into thin slices
150g prawns, shell and devein
100 g squid – cut into bite size
100g Choy sum wash and cut into 1 inch pieces
100g pork fat, cut into cubes and fried till crispy (keep the oil)
2 cups stock/water


1 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp dark soy sauce(add more if not dark enough)
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp monosodium glutamate(optional)


Season the prawns and squid with a dash of salt, sugar and pepper.

Heat 2 tsp of the lard (from frying the pork fat) and saute the squid and prawns. Dish out and leave aside.

Add in another tsp of lard and brown meat, sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper to the meat before turning over to brown the other side.

Add in stock/water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes before adding in the choy sum.

Then add in the noodles and the seasoning, mix well, cover wok with lid and simmer until noodles is tender. Add more dark soy sauce if the color is not black enough and simmer noodles till gravy is thick.

Add in the cooked prawns and squid and more lard.

Turn the heat to high again and give noodles a quick stir. Add the crispy lard cubes before dishing up the noodles.

Serve with sambal belacan.

Curry Puffs

Photo above was taken with my new Canon Rebel Xsi. Photos below were taken with Casio EXILIM.

My daughter said that it was the best ever. The outer layer (skin) is crunchy yet flaky. The inner layer (filling) is smooth. I was glad.

I think a good curry puff is one that stays enclosed, even after going thru the deep frying process.

(reference: The food of Malaysia by Periplus Editions)
5 tbsp oil
1 medium sized red or brown onion finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp kurma powder or chicken curry powder
2 tsp meat or chicken curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups finely diced, cooked chicken
2 large potatoes boiled and finely diced
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups white flour
10 tbsp butter or margarine (I used butter the last time and the pastry did not turn out as good as when I used shortening.)
Just over 3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
Make the filling first. Heat oil and fry the onion gently until golden brown. Add the curry powders, chili, turmeric and fry gently. Add the chicken, potatoes, sugar, pepper, and salt and cook for 5 minutes. Mix well and leave aside to cool.
To make pastry, mix flour with butter or margarine, water and salt and knead well. Let it rest for 1/2 hour. Cut the dough into circles 3 inches in diameter. Take a tbsp of filling and place in center. Fold pastry over to make a half circle and crimp at edges. Deep fry in hot oil until golden.
Author’s hints: Not all margarine are suitable for pastry. The Malaysian brand Planta is recommended; Crisco is a suitable substitute.

I haven’t tried Auntie Lily’s Spiral Curry Puff recipe yet but I can imagine it will be very tasty as well.

DIY Chee Cheong Fun

This is a simple dish to make if you can find ready made rice noodle sheets.

If you can find fresh flat rice noodles(Kway Teow), you can improvise it by rolling it. Otherwise, you can make your own Koay Teow, I haven’t try it myself. Here is the recipe taken from Chinese Snacks by Huang Su Huei. Mix 3 cups rice flour, 3/4 cup cornstarch, 6 cup water until well. Grease a 8″x13″ baking pan with 2 tbsp oil. Pour 3/4 cup batter into the pan. Distribute the batter evenly. Steam for 5 minutes over high heat and remove. This recipe seems easy enough. If you don’t have such a big baking pan to put into your steamer, adjust the amount of batter accordingly.

Fubon in Portland sells these long strips of Chee Cheong Fun. All you need to do is steam it for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce is quite easy to make as well: 1/4 cup Sweetened soy sauce, 2 tbsp Sesame paste, 2 tsp Hoi Sin sauce, 1 tbsp Sesame oil

Nasi Lemak

This one dish meal is my all time favorite. I can eat this every day.

The following are in the photo:
a) achar. Please refer to recipe in Auntie Lily‘s website.
b) curry chicken with okra
c) cucumber
d) cashew nut
e) shrimp sambal
f) egg
g) ikan bilis
h) coconut rice

Please check out Auntie Lily‘s version of nasi lemak.

I found the following sambal sauce recipe nasi lemak from SimplyLinnish. I am going to try this using my new pounder. Perhaps even add a stalk of lemon grass to my sauce.

200g Dried chilies
soaked in warm water
half an onion
4 shallots
Salt and sugar to taste

Grind chilies in grinder to grind till rather fine.
Add in both onions & shallots to grind till fine.
Fry chili sauce in hot oil until oil seeps through the sauce.
Season with salt and sugar.

Indian Rojak

I attempted Indian Rojak tonight. It was surprisingly laborious. We loved the prawn fritters and the sweet potato sauce. I followed the recipe from “Hawkers Galore – A guide to Penang Hawker Food”. Thanks Pa for the copy of the book.

300 gm small prawns for fritters (see below for recipe)
4 pieces fried tau kwa sliced
300 gm blanched bean sprouts
1 medium bangkuang (jicama), shredded
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 large boiled potatoes, sliced
1 large cucumber, shredded
150 gm cooked squids, sliced (optional)
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
150 gm freshly ground peanuts

To serve Indian Rojak
Place prawn fritters, tau kwa, potatoes, squids and egg slices.
Sprinkle over with bean sprouts, shredded cucumber and bangkuang.
Ladle sauce over and garnish with ground peanuts and sesame seeds.

Sauce Ingredients
4 tsp finely ground chilies
10 shallots
2 tsp tamarind for 3 cups juice
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
300 gm sweet potatoes
4 tsp sugar
4 tsp oil

Sauce Preparation
Grind chilies, garlic, shallots into a rempah. Boil sweet potatoes and pass thru fine sieve.
Heat oil and fry rempah.
Add tamarind juice and bring to boil.
Blend in sweet potatoes and simmer for 30 minutes over a very low fire, stirring occasionally.

Prawn Fritters Ingredients
330 gm small prawns, minced
150 gm self raising flour
(1 cup self-raising flour = 1 cup cake flour + 1 tsp baking powder + pinch of salt)
8 tsp water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp pepper
oil to deep fry

Mix all ingredients into a thick batter.
Heat oil and deep fry batter in cylindrical lengths of 6 cm.
Drain well and slice into 1/2 cm pieces.

Bah Kua

Only two pieces left for me to take a snapshot of it. We used to drive 6 hours to Vancouver, B.C. Canada to buy authentic “Mei Jen Siang’ Bah Kua. They are quite pricey as well. The store would vacuum pack for us and put a label that can go thru custom. However, our hearts still beat faster when we pass imigration for fear that we cannot bring this snack over to the US.

These days, when we have the crave, we make our own.


1 lb minced meat, with some fats
1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
slightly less than 1 tbsp of light soy sauce
1 tbsp cooking wine
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cooking oil


Put minced meat in a big bowl. Add in seasonings. Use chopsticks and stir in one direction until meat becomes gluey.

Put the meat on SILPAT (as shown in photo) or parchment paper. Cover with a big plastic cling wrap. Use a roller to roll the meat to 2mm thick.

Place in baking tray and bake in preheated oven 257’F (125’C) for 20 minutes. After that, increase the temperature to 356’F (180’C) and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes. Then, remove the meat from the oven and flip over on a piece of parchment paper and continue to bake for about 10 minutes.

The time used to bake the meat depends on the thickness of the meat.
Here is a link to another version of Bah Kua. I haven’t tried it out yet, but almost any recipes from Lily’s website will taste good.

Chowtimes has recipe as well as step by step photo to make Bak Kwa!


This dish is an all time favorites of the young and old. I found the Ayam brand satay seasoning and satay sauce to be quite authentic and very convenient to use. i marinated pieces of chicken thigh meat with the satay seasoning and inserted them into the bamboo skewers to broil in the preheated oven. Keep a close watch because it may burn. i turn them once after 3 minutes. serve these satays with the satay sauce and some sliced red onion and cucumber.

Wonton Mein

Growing up in Malaysia, we would eat Kon Low Mein as a family activity on the weekends. Finally, I have mastered the art of making charsiu. If I buy frozen wontons, making this dish is a breeze.

Char Siu is Chinese barbequed pork; sometimes simply called Chinese roast pork. Its distinguishing color is red, supposedly from the barbeque sauce marinade. It is readily available in most Chinese restaurants and Noodle shops – the ones where you see barbequed or roasted ducks and chickens hanging in the window. There are brand name readymade ‘Char Siu Sauce’ which can be found in most Oriental grocery stores; and in the ethnic, Asian or Oriental aisle of your supermarket. To make your own Char Siu, refer to

The following recipe is from

½ lb Chinese ‘red’ barbequed pork [Char Siu, in Chinese dialect], sliced
8 ‘coils’ [individual portions] wonton noodles [Chinese thin egg noodles]
16 cups chicken stock [you can make your own clear chicken soup or use a good store bought chicken stock]
½ lb Choy Sum [also called Chinese Chard, Chinese Flowering Cabbage or Bok Choy Sum] [Sawi Manis in Malay], cut into bite-size [Substitute: bok choy or your favorite leafy greens]
2 stalks scallions, finely chopped [optional]
4-6 fresh green Serrano chilies, finely sliced [Substitute: 2-3 fresh jalapenos] [optional]
½ cup white vinegar [optional]

INGREDIENTS for Wontons:
½ lb fresh minced [chopped] fairly lean pork
40 wonton skins [more or less]
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, finely mashed or pounded
½ inch ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1½ tbsp corn flour
½ tsp white pepper
½ tsp salt
1 tsp corn flour combined with 2-3 tbsp water, for sealing wonton skins [Stir well just before use]
FYI : The spelling for ‘Wonton’ varies in different parts of the world – Won Ton, Wan Ton, Wanton, Wan Tan and Wantan. The common spelling in USA is ‘wonton’. Wonton noodles [mee] can be found in the refrigerated section of most Oriental grocery stores. The ‘fresh’ noodles are lightly coated in flour and ‘coiled’ into individual portions for easy serving [usually 8 in a package]. Dried wonton noodles may also be available – which require a longer blanching or cooking time.

To Prepare Wontons:
In a bowl combine minced pork, egg, garlic, ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, corn flour, white pepper and salt
Put a heaped teaspoonful of pork into the center of a wonton skin, lightly dab the edges with the corn flour & water ‘glue’. Bring the corners together, give it a twist sealing out as air as possible [Best made ahead of time and refrigerated]

Putting it all together:
[Optional] finely slice green Serrano chilies, add white vinegar, set aside in a condiment dish
In a stockpot, bring chicken stock to a boil, then lower heat to keep hot
In a large pot, bring water to a rapid boil, blanch choy sum until just al dente, strain well, set aside for garnish
In the same boiling water, using a ‘spider sieve’ cook wonton noodles one coil at a time for a min or so, remove from boiling water, dip into a bowl of fresh water before dipping into the boiling water again
Drain well and put into individual serving bowls
In the same boiling water, carefully drop in a few wontons at a time, cook for 2 mins or so [test one for doneness]

Pour hot chicken soup stock over noodles, garnish with a few wontons, sliced roast pork, blanched choy sum and chopped scallions
Serve hot immediately, and if preferred, a condiment of sliced pickled green chilies on the side

For ‘Dry’ Wonton Mee – blanch noodles, drain then toss well with a 1-2 tsp sweet dark soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil. Garnish with sliced roast pork, choy sum and wontons; or serve the wontons in a small bowl of chicken soup with chopped scallions. ‘Dry’ Wonton Mee is sometimes referred to as Kon Lo, Konlo or Kon Loh Mee.

Laksa Lemak

The taste of Laksa Lemak is closer to Singapore Laksa as it has coconut milk in the broth. Deep fried fish cakes, seafood like Squid, Scallops and Cockles can be added for a richer version of Laksa Lemak.

Recipe for Laksa Lemak is adapted from Ghillie Basan’s cookbook.
Serves four to six

For the spice paste
8 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
40g fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
2 lemon grass stalks, chopped
6 candlenuts or macadamia nut
4 dried red chilies, soaked until soft
30 ml/ 2 tbsp dried prawns, soaked until soft
5-10ml / 1-2 tsp belacan
5-10ml / 1-2 tsp sugar
15ml / 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the laksa
6 shallots finely sliced
600 ml / 2 and half cups coconut milk
400 ml / almost 2 cups chicken stock
90g / 3 and half oz shrimp, shelled
225g / 8 oz fresh rice noodles or dried rice vermicelli, soaked in lukewarm water until pliable
90g / 3 and half oz bean sprouts
fresh mint to garnish

1) Using a mortar and pestle or food processor, grind all the ingredients for the spice paste mixture, apart from the oil. Bind the paste with the oil and set aside.

2) Heat enough oil in a wok to fry shallots until crispy and golden. Drain and set aside.

3) Heat oil and cook spice paste over a low heat for 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and chicken stock and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Add the prawns and simmer gently for about 5 minutes until cooked.

4) Ladle the noodles into individual bowls. Add the bean sprouts and ladle over the broth and seafood, making sure the noodles are submerged in the steaming liquid. Garnish with the crispy shallots, and mint.

Assam Laksa

I used to drive 5 hours from Dallas to Houston to a Malaysian restaurant because I was craving for this dish. Later, I found a simple way to recreate this childhood dish of mine. The secret ingredients are Daun Kesum / Rau Ram, the Laksa Spice packet and a can of sardine. Fresh Chili, cucumber, pineapple, mint and thin slices of cucumber can be used to garnish. Lemongrass is one of the ingredients in the Laksa Spice Paste. I had the opportunity to buy a fat stalk this weekend. For this photo shoot, I included it, just for the looks. Afterwards, I gave a good pound and throw it into the stock. I also added additional ketchup to the stock to make the Laksa a little thicker and less spicy for the children.

I used the HupLoong brand Laksa Spice because that was the brand I could find in the local stores. However, I have read a reader commented in Auntie Lily’s blog that the ChanHong’s brand is better than the HupLoong brand.

The following photo shows Laksa Spice, fresh Daun Kesum / Rau Ram leaves, fresh Mint leaves and Rice Noodles.

If you are interested in making Assam Laksa from scratch, Auntie Lily has the recipe.

Hai Nan Chicken Rice

Perfecting this dish is not an easy task. Let me explain. To achieve tender cooked chicken is difficult. Sometimes, when the whole chicken is right out of the refrigerator, the exterior will cook faster than the interior. Hence, when you cut the chicken up, you will see blood surrounding the chicken. After entertaining guests with this dish, I learned:

  • guests do not like to see blood.
  • non-malaysian guest do not like to eat raw cucumber.

So, I improvised a little. I marinated the cucumber, the Thai style (4 tbsp each sugar and vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 T water). Another trick is sprinkle some sour plum powder over the raw tomato. My mother in law brought me the sour plum powder from Taiwan. I have not seen it here in the US.

Recipe adapted from Ghillie Basan’s cookbook
Serves four to six
1 chicken
30 ml/2 tbsp light soy sauce (or salt)
15 ml/1 tbsp chinese rice wine
50 g / 2 oz fresh root ginger, peeled, thickly sliced and crushed
4 garlic clove, lightly crushed
2 spring onion (scallions), crushed
1.5 litres/ a little over 6 cups chicken stock
10 ml/2 tsp sesame oil
salt and ground black pepper

For the sambal
10 red chilies, seeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
25g/ 1oz fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
15 ml/ 1 tbsp sesame or peanut oil
15-30ml /1 -2 tbsp fresh lime juice
10 ml/ 2 tsp sugar
2.5 ml/ half tsp salt

For the garnish
fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
dark soy sauce
1 small cucumber, halved lengthways and finely sliced
3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

1) Rub the chicken, inside and out, with 15ml/ 1 tbsp soy sauce (or salt) and the rice wine. Place the ginger, garlic and spring onions in the cavity. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

2) Bring the stock to the boil in a deep pot. Immerse the chicken in the stock. Bring back to boil, cover the pot and turn off the heat. Leave the chicken to steep for 15 minutes. Lift the chicken to drain the cavity, reheat the stock to boiling point, cover the pot, and steep the chicken off the heat for a further 15 minutes. Repeat the process every 15 minutes, until the chicken has steeped for 1 hour.

3) Lift the chicken out of the stock, allowing the juices to drip back into the pot. Plunge the cooked whole chicken into a bowl of ice water to firm up the chicken skin (I usually skip this step and simply rub a thin layer of sesame oil throughout the whole chicken instead). Bring the stock back to the boil Drain the chicken from the ice water, trim off the wings, neck and legs and add it back to the stock. Rub the remaining 15ml/ 1 tbsp soy sauce and the sesame oil over the chicken and set aside.

4) Keep the stock simmering, skim off any fat. Use some of this stock to cook rice in rice cooker.

Bah Kut Teh

The following ingredients are secret to a delicious Bah Kut Teh and it is very close to original Klang Bah Kut Teh.


Cook fresh pork bones and garlic (whole bulb) in water until the bones fall apart. It will take a few hours, so I like to prepare this “high stock” a day before I actually cook my Bah Kut Teh.

During the high stock cooking process, I skim off the bloody stuff that float to the top. When the bones are super soft, turn off the heat and let this high stock cool down. I use only the stock and trash the rest of the bones. Fat floats to the top at a certain cool temperature and this temperature makes it super easy for one to remove the fat. Beyond this temperature, when it becomes too cold, the fat and the stock sticks together. After a few experiments, you will know what I mean by the right cool temperature. In the winter time, the fat will rise to the top and turns slightly solid at room temperature. In the summer time, I need to put the high stock in the refrigerator for a little while for the fat to solidify at the top. You can save this fat (lard) for baking purposes, if you desire.

My Grandpa, Lee Boon Teh never used prepackaged Bah Kut Teh spices. Mom never had a written recipe from Grandpa. She just cook from memory. She uses spices like star anise, cloves, Angelica Sinencis, Goji (wolfberry) and white peppercorn.

These days, it may be hard to find some of these herbs. So, I use prepackaged Bah Kut Teh’s spices as shown below. Follow the instructions on the package but instead of using water, use the high stock that you prepared.

This prepackaged spice was sent to me by my sister. A relative who had the business mind, put all the secret ingredient in a package and sells it now. The package has a photo of my grandpa (upper right corner).

I like to use Pork Ribs, Mushrooms, Goji to my Bah Kut Teh. So, here’s the final product of my Bah Kut Teh. It does taste like the way it looks, which is absolutely delicious.


Bread with Kaya and butter (imagine eating this with soft boil egg for breakfast)

My Kaya looks green because I used pandan essence. It is also smoother because I put the Kaya in the blender prior to serving.

The recipe calls for 1 bowl each of sugar, eggs (3-4 medium sized eggs), coconut milk and 4 pandan leaves. You can use breadmaker with jam function or in a non-stick pot under slow flame. Periodically scrap down the sides.


As a little girl, I remember going to my grandma’s house to eat this dish. The kitchen was very rustic with a wooden stove. Grandma had lots of mouth to feed, 12 children and many grandchildren. This dish certainly satisfy the taste buds of the young and old.

8 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 tbsp salted soy bean paste
1 pound jicama (shredded)
2 hard bean curd cakes, fried and sliced thinly
1 tsp black soy sauce
1 cup cabbage (shredded)
1 cup green beans
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt

20 large po piah skins/lumpia (individually wrapped is preferred)
sweet black sauce (tim cheong) to taste
long leaf lettuce
fresh chilies (optional)
bean sprouts (blanced in hot water briefly and drained)
roasted peanuts (remove skin, coarsely ground)
fried shallots

(The following can be omitted if going completely vegetarian)
8 peeled shrimps
3 eggs lightly beaten and make 3 thin omelets. After cooked, cut into thin strips and set aside.

To make the filling, fry garlic and salted soy bean paste until fragant. Reserve 3 tsps of this. Leave the remaining fried paste in the pan and add the jicama. Cook for 5 minutes until softened. Then add the fried bean curd. Season with black soy sauce.

In separate pan, use 1 tsp of the reserved garlic and soy bean paste mixture to fry the shrimp until cooked. Repeat with cabbage and then with the beans.

Mix cooked cabbage, beans and shrimp into the cooked jicama and add sugar and salt. Leave to cool.

To serve, put all the prepared ingredients on the table. Place a po piah skin on a flat surface, spread with a little sweet black sauce if desired. Place a lettuce leaf, a little of everything from the jicama mixture, egg, bean sprout, peanuts and shallots. Fold in the sides and roll up.

Beef Rendang

Many years ago, we brought Beef Rendang home to US, from Malaysia. Yes, vacuumed packed Beef Rendang.

Later, when we were still living in Texas, we flew from Dallas to California for Malaysian Food. And our order always included Beef Rendang. After we moved to Portland, Oregon, we drove 3 hours to Seattle to eat Beef Rendang from a Malaysian Restaurant. My craving for Malaysian foods was especially strong when I was pregnant. Thank God, my husband was kind enough to fly or drive with me.

One day, not long ago, I discovered the secrets to making this popular Malaysian Rendang dish.

Secret 1: Use Beef Shank. Cook the beef shank until it is tender. It usually takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Secret 2: Use pre-mix Rendang sauce. In the past, I have used the Indofood brand and it tasted good. Yesterday night, I used a combination of Indofood brand and Hup Loong brand and it tasted even better. Photo shows a stalk of fresh Lemongrass and the two types of pre-mix for Rendang.

Secret 3: Use fresh Lemongrass. I cook the sauce with Lemongrass. When the sauce is cooled, I use a blender to “semi-puree” the sauce. The sauce will still have fibers from the Lemongrass. Don’t worry about it.

Secret 4: Use Coconut Milk. I use canned ones because we don’t have the luxury of fresh coconut milk in the US. I just use the brand that is on sale. I choose the can that has no dents, latest expiration date and sound “liquidish” when I give it a shake.

A note on Lemongrass

  • Use only the bottom 3 or 4 inches of the Lemongrass.
  • In room temperature, fresh Lemongrass shrinks over time and lose their fragrance from the outer layer first. So, I always choose the Lemongrass with the fattest bottom.
  • When I have left-over Lemongrass, I bruise it and cook it with rice.
  • Before Lemongrass loses its fragrance, make a hip Lemongrass drink with Jaden’s recipe or EFTL’s recipe.

Finally, if you are interested to cook Beef Rendang from scratch, I found beef rendang recipes on the following sites, when I googled: ThamJiak, Kuali, AllRecipes, Recipezaar

Char Kway Teow

What made it taste authentic are these sauces. Use 2 tsp each for 600gm of Koay Teow.

The following recipe was adapted from Hawkers Galore book.

This dish tastes best when Koay Teow is fried in small amounts. It is suggested that the ingredients be divided into a few portions and fried separately.

600gm Koay Teow
300gm medium sized prawns, shelled
300gm cockles shelled (optional)
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
4 tsp ground chilies
4 tsp soy sauce (preferably the brand shown above)
300gm bean sprouts
10 stalks chives cut into 3 cm lengths
300gm lard cut into 1 cm cube
8 eggs

Heat lard cubes for dripping. Add chopped garlic and heat through. Remove.

Heat 2 tsp garlic oil. Add prawns, bean sprouts, Koay Teow, chilies, and soy sauce. Fry till well-mixed and cook thoroughly. Break in egg and stir fry. Add chives, cockles and fry till evenly distributed. Serve hot.

Prawn Noodle

A simple dish with the help of pre-made paste. The taste is highly addictive.

Sambal Burger

Delimas crispy prawn chili condiment goes well with the burger for a Malaysian fusion taste. The crunch from the prawn and the spice from the chili induce one’s appetite on a hot summer day.

Chinese New Year Food

Raw Fish Salad

(Yu Sheng or Yee Sang in Cantonese 鱼生)

Recipe adapted from The Cooking of Malaysia and Singapore by Ghillie Basan

Serves 4-6

175g/6oz fresh tuna or salmon, finely sliced
115g/4oz white fish fillet finely sliced
25g/1oz fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of 2 small limes
225g/8oz daikon (white radish), cut into julienne strips
2 carrots, cut into julienne strips
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into julienne strips
4 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and cut into julienne strips
1 pomelo, segmented and sliced
4 fresh lime leaves, finely sliced
50g/2oz preserved sweet melon, finely sliced
50g/2oz preserved sweet red ginger, finely sliced
ground black pepper
30ml/2 tbsp roasted peanuts, coarsely crushed to garnish

For the dressing

30ml/2tbsp sesame oil
15ml/1 tbsp light soy sauce
15ml/1 tbsp red vinegar
30ml/2tbsp sour plum sauce
2 garlic cloves crushed
10ml/2 tsp sugar

1) In a shallow, non metallic dish, toss the fish in the ginger, garlic and lime juice. Season with black pepper and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

2) Place the daikon, carrots, cucumber, spring onions, pomelo and lime leaves in a large bowl. Add the preserved melon and ginger.

3) In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Adjust the sweet and sour balance to taste.

4) Just before serving, place the marinated fish on top of the vegetables in the bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and sprinkle with roasted peanuts. Place the bowl in the middle of the table and let everyone toss the salad with their chopsticks.

Additionally, Jellyfish can be added to this dish.

Here are the ingredients that I used: Shrimp Crackers, Pomelo, Jicama, Red Bell Pepper, Raw Salmon Fish, Pickled Ginger, Parsley, Lime Leaf, Plum Sauce, Sesame Seeds and Coarsely Ground Roasted Peanuts. Deep-fried shredded Wonton Skin can be used in place of the Shrimp Crackers.


Mom used to make this for us. When I got to the US, I tried making it. Once, I ran out of eggs but tried making it. My lesson was, it won’t work without eggs.

* 3/4 cup flour
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 cup milk
* 2 eggs
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 1 tbsp melted butter (I substituted with olive oil)
* 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

I used a blender to blend all of the ingredients for crepe. You can certainly use a fork to beat the ingredients if you do not have a blender. Make sure you break up all the flour lumps. If you are not sure, you can strain the batter before making your crepe.

I usually let the batter sit in the refrigerator a little while before using it. It has to go into the refrigerator because eggs and milk will go bad in room temperature, if left out too long.

To make the crepe, I used a non stick pan. (No oil was used on the pan.) I pour a little batter on the heated pan and swirl the pan around to make a circle. When the sides begin to brown, carefully, flip the crepe over.

Serve and eat the crepe while it is still warm. You can top the crepe with fresh fruits and some whipping crème if so desired. You can even make a Mille Crepe Cake if you have more time.

“Malaysian” Food Finds in the US

Recently, I found a kind of bread sold here in the US at Trader Joes called Pugliese. Buy it, heat it in the oven, and it will taste like Fresh Bread from Guys selling them on motorbikes.

For Malaysians living in the US, Trader Joes also sells roasted edamame nuts and my Dad said it tasted like “Malaysia’s Kacang Putih”.

13 responses to “Malaysian Food

  1. seeva

    where can i buy ready made sambal belacan in the usa online,please and thank you

  2. Seeva,
    I haven’t purchased any Malaysian foods online. However, Little Corner of Mine has online stores in her blog. Perhaps she can help you out.

  3. Pingback: High Stock (高湯) « Stream in the Hip Desert 新沙漠甘泉; Hip Food

  4. Doris Tan

    Dear Mrs HBT, thank you for sharing so many authentic Asian recipes. I would like to try your curry puffs as my family loves them. Before I get going, does this recipe allow for baking the puffs instead of deep fying? Thanks. Doris Tan from Singapore.

  5. Dear Doris,

    Welcome to my blog. The pastry recipe for curry puffs that I posted works best if it is deep fried.

    To achieve the layering in baked puffs, you will need two kinds of dough.

    (makes about 20 puffs)

    dough one:
    2 cups of flour
    5 tbsp shortening (or lard)
    10 tbsp water
    1/4 tsp salt

    dough two:
    1 cup flour
    5 tbsp shortening (or lard)

    These two types of dough needs to be prepared separately.

    After dividing the doughs into 20 individual portions for each of the doughs (40 total), carefully wrap dough two inside of dough one. Make sure none of the dough two “show through”. Flatten and roll the two doughs ball. (This process is best shown with photos. I will find time to post this in future.)

    Brush one beaten egg yolk on the top of the puffs and bake in a preheated 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes.

  6. Kenny

    That pic of Char Kway Teow looks really good!
    I have been trying to make my own Char Kway Teow like the ones the hawker stalls make but its still missing some stuff. I have both the Caramel sauce and the ABC sauce…and use lard but still I think some secret ingredients are missing…funny how you check online for Char Kway Teow recipes and all they mostly put is noodles and regular soy sauce!

  7. June Koh

    Hi Lee Ping,
    Your curry puffs look so good. I would like to try it out with the shortening. You mentioned that the shortening is better than the butter. There are a few types of Crisco shortening. Do you mean the veg one?

    many thanks

  8. (replied via email)

    Hi Kenny,
    Welcome to my blog and thank you for your compliment on my Char Kway Teow.
    My apologies for not replying to your comment earlier. My family and I just got back from our one week vacation in Alaska.

    My hometown (Klang) Char Kway Teow has fresh clams (“Si Ham” in Hokkein language). I have omitted this main ingredient from my dish as I can’t get fresh clams here where I live. Perhaps this is the flavor you are looking for.

    2 additional tips:
    1) fry your Kway Teow in smaller portions.
    2) use very high heat on a steel wok.

    Dear June,
    Thanks for your compliments. It has been a while since I made curry puffs. However, the shortening has two flavors. I have tried both and they tasted good. One is the plain flavor and the other is butter flavor. I think I bought the Crisco brand.

    Hope that helps…

  9. ade

    HI for yr curry puff recipe,

    1 1/2 tsp kurma powder or chicken curry powder
    2 tsp meat or chicken curry powder

    if i were to use chicken curry powder for both, meaning i add in 3 1/2 tsp of chicken curry powder? will the taste differ?

  10. Hi Ade,
    Recently, I combined two of my curry powder into one container. When it was time to use them to make curry puffs, I simply scooped out 3 1/2 tsp of the combined curry powder. I am not sure if I can tell the taste difference. But what I can tell you is they all taste great. Freshly made deep fried curry puffs are one of the most memorable appetizers that your guest will remember eating.

    My advise is to use the Malaysian Curry Powder, if you are shooting for the Malaysian curry puffs taste.

  11. Lee

    Oh the bah kut teh looks so successfully prepared. Once again, a woman with too many talents, especially culinary ones! I bet, W and kids enjoy savouring every last drop of the stock and polishing their bowls.

  12. Theres L

    Fantastic blog which I just discovered…..which is what I need to feed my family all malaysian mouth watering much missed food…what a culinary delight malaysian cuisine are ….thank you…

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