- 01. Cooking at Home
- 02. Nasi Lemak
- 03. Nasi Kerabu
- 04. Lemang
- 05. Rendang
- 06. Dodol
- 07. Satay
- 08. Keropok Lekor
Malay cuisine is popular not only in Malaysia and the surrounding areas such as Singapore and Indonesia but it is well known across the globe. It was developed under the continuous influence of Indians, Chinese and Middle Easterners who went to Malaysia.
The distinguishing features of authentic traditional Malay cuisine is the use spices, as well as coconut milk which is important to produce fatty and thick food. Seasonings such as belacan (fermented shrimp paste)and budu (fermented fish sauce) are important to add to the taste of food. Belacan is also used as a base ingredient along with chilli, onion and garlic to produce sambal, another main seasoning in the dish.
Almost every Malay dish is served with rice, a staple food for the Malays as well as most other ethnicities in Asia. Although there are many types of food in Malay cuisine, usually all are served at once, without the order of serving as in the western culture.
The majority of Malays in Malaysia are muslims and they adhere to the Islamic law that requires them to eat only halal food. Halal means permissible in Arabic. Muslims are not allowed to eat foods that are not ‘Halal’ which includes pork or pig meat.
Halal meat is cut using a method called ‘Dhabiha’, in which there is no blood left in the meat before it is eaten. The Muslim community is also forbidden from consuming alcohol under the Halal law.
Cooking at Home
Preparing a meal at home might be challenging for some. Many of us are lead a hectic lifestyle, juggling work, family and maintaining a social life. It does seem more convenient to just eat out.
However, cooking and eating home cooked meals come with various benefits. It is not only more nutritious but can help build your confidence as you improve your cooking skills. Some of the basic cooking equipments you need to start cooking at home are:
- Cutting knives
- Chopping board
- Wooden spoons
- Measuring jug
- Mixing bowl
- Skillet for frying and sautéing
- Wok for stir-frying
- Pots for boiling, simmering, and stewing
These basic equipments will help you prepare meals at home to be enjoyed with family and friends. If you are interested in cooking Malaysian cuisine but unsure what dishes you can try out, let us help you. Let’s have a look at some of the best Malay traditional dishes that are popular in Malaysia. We are sure you have heard of some of the dishes mentioned below due to its popularity.
Nasi lemak doesn’t really need an introduction as it is a popular dish and well-known all over the world. This traditional Malay cuisine is very popular in Malaysia, Singapore and even Brunei.
The rice is cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves are placed to enhance the pandan smell in the rice. There are also some people who add ginger or lemongrass to the nasi lemak.
Nasi lemak was originally eaten with anchovies sambal (a type of chili gravy), boiled egg, sliced cucumber, and peanuts. Nowadays, it has been diversified with other side dishes such as fried chicken, squid sambal and beef rendang.
Nasi lemak is a common breakfast dish but can be eaten any time of the day. You can find it sold early in the morning at roadside stalls in Malaysia, where it is often wrapped in newspaper, brown paper, or banana leaves.
Here are a few nasi lemak recipes for you to try at home:
A famous traditional food from the east coast state of Malaysia, Kalantan is nasi kerabu. It has gained popularity for its unique combination of being healthy and rich in taste.
Nasi Kerabu is a visually appealing food, served with a mixture of aromatic spices and a choice of proteins. Perhaps the most striking feature of this dish is the blue rice which is naturally coloured with flower petals of the butterfly pea.
The essential accompaniments to rice are long beans, cucumber, kesom leaves and bean sprouts. The common side dishes are fermented fish paste, salted egg, fried fish, grilled fish, grilled meat, crackers, pickled onions, and budu.
If you are interested to male this dish at home, do check out the following recipes:
Lemang is a type of traditional Malay food that must be present during Hari Raya celebrations. It is one of the favorite foods of many.
Lemang is made from glutinous rice, coconut milk and a little salt. It will be placed in a bamboo stem lined with banana leaves, before being baked until cooked. This method of cooking lemang using bamboo was adapted from the native people in Malaysia. The rice tastes very strongly of coconut milk and also carries the more subtle flavors of both banana leaf and bamboo.
Now, lemang can be obtained all year round, but more widely during Hari Raya celebrations. Lemang is tastier if eaten while still hot and it is often served with rendang or serunding (spicy meat floss).
Check out these recipes:
Rendang is actually a food originating from Padang, Indonesia and one of the special dishes of the Minangkabau community. However, it has become a part of the Malay community’s traditional food for a long time.
This dish is made from meat such as beef, chicken, duck and quail. The meat is stewed in a mix of ingredients such as ground chilies, coconut milk, lemongrass, turmeric leaves, ginger and shallots.
The amount of water contained in dry or wet rendang together with the use of spices enables it to last long if stored in the refrigerator.
Usually, rendang is prepared during festive seasons such as Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. It can be enjoyed with a variety of dishes such as ketupat (diamond-shaped rice cake), nasi impit (compressed cube of rice), white rice and glutinous rice.
Here are some recipes for you try out at home:
Dodol is a type of dessert that is very famous in the state of Melaka. The ingredients used to make dodol are coconut milk, rice flour, granulated sugar, gula melakaand salt. All the ingredients will be mixed into a large pan or cauldron and cooked over medium-high heat.
Dodol should be constantly stirred while simmering to avoid it getting burnt or too hot and stick to the bottom and create a crust. The cooking time can last up to 4 hours or more. To get the best and tasty results, the dodol must be dark brown, shiny and thick. Once cool, the dodol can be cut and eaten.
There are many different versions of dodol in terms of color, most of which are dark brown, green and yellow. The common dodol flavours in Malaysia are durian, coconut and banana.
If you love deserts, you can try making dodol at home:
Satay is one of the popular and famous foods in Malaysia. It is made from spice marinated meat pieces which is skewered with a thin wooden stick. It is commonly made from pieces of chicken, beef or even lamb which is grilled over a charcoal fire, and served with a rich, spicy dipping sauce called kuah kacang (peanut sauce).
Without the kuah kacang which is prepared from ground beans and mixed and cooked with various herbs, this dish will not be complete. Sate is usually served together with slices of cucumber, shallots and nasi impit (compressed cube of rice).
Do try out this dish using the following recipes:
Keropok lekor is a type of traditional food on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, especially in Terengganu. The word "lekor" comes from the word “lingkar” which means circle but when spoken in a Terengganu accent, it sounds a lot more like “lekor”. Therefore the meaning of Keropok Lekor is Keropok that is circular.
It is made from sea fish filling and a mixture of sago and a little salt. All of the ingredients will be kneaded and thickened into long ropes. It comes in three main forms which are in lekor (chewy and long), keping (which is crispy and thin) and losong (steamed). Keropok lekor can be eaten fresh as soon as it is picked up with a splash of spicy chili sauce.
Check out these recipes:
The multi-ethnic influence in Malaysia has contributed towards the wide variety of food available from different cultures. Chinese, Indian and Baba Nyonya cuisines are other major types of cuisines in Malaysia.
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