I don’t know what’s the fascination with Malaysians and fried rice, but there is at least 20 types of fried rice that I have had. There’s probably more than that, just that I didn’t know. There’s the chinese fried rice. Even within the chinese style, you’ve got a couple of versions. With pork, without pork, seafood, chicken, and the list goes on. And then you have the Malay style which uses belacan, anchovies, spicy, seafood, chicken, etc. And Malaysians are so influenced by the Thai flavours that you have Tom Yum fried rice, pineapple fried rice and etc. Not forgetting the mamak style too.
My personal favourite is the classic chinese fried rice, nasi goreng sambal belacan and nasi goreng kampung (village style). Today I’ll share the recipe for the chinese fried rice and belacan fried rice.
The thing about fried rice is that it’s better when the rice is a day or two older. As it will not turn into mushy fried rice. But in case you don’t have a day old rice, just cook your rice with a little less water so that you get a more grainier rice.
Chinese Fried Rice
Seafood or chicken or pork
Peas (if you like, I don’t)
Green spring onion/Chives chopped for final garnish
Stir fry sauce/oyster sauce
Chopped chilis (optional)
Garlic and onions fried first. Throw in your seafood or meat
Add the veges and then add the egg and scramble to bits
Thrown in the rice and stir fry with a little bit stir fry sauce and soy sauce for taste.
Just before turning off the heat, add your spring onion/chives. Walla, you’re done.
Nasi Goreng Belacan (Shrimp Fried Rice)
Belacan (Dried shrimps)
Prawns or chicken
Thick soy sauce
Hot Chilis (optional)
Fried egg (Any style you want. Most people eat it with sunny side up, easy over or omelette)
Fry the onions, garlic, ground chili, belacan and seafood/chicken in a pan
Add the veges and chilis
Once vege is cooked, add in the rice, thick soy sauce and fish sauce
Stir fry till the rice is coated with all the sauce
I have never made chicken briyani. It seemed like a complicated cooking process and was pretty much a recipe for failure. Or at least that was the impression I had. Also, having the luxury of buying briyani from a store pampered me all my life and that somehow never motivated me enough to cook it, up until now.
I must say, for a first timer, my briyani turned out to be really good!! I made a small mistake of overcooking the rice a tad bit and underestimating my chicken before I layered them together. Therefore, after combining both the chicken and rice, I had to cook it a little longer till the chicken was thoroughly cooked. Resulting in a slightly mushed rice. But since it tasted good, that small glitch was easily ignored.
Here is my simplified version. And it’s really easy to make. There is a whole load of ghee used in this recipe. If you are looking for a low fat meal, turn back now. And if you are on a diet, screw the diet?
Chicken as needed (I used 1/4 chicken, specifically the thigh and drumstick piece per person)
2 cups basmathi rice (for 3 person)
2 onions sliced very thin (I used a slicer)
1 whole garlic chopped fine
1 bunch of coriander chopped fine
20~30 cashew nuts (you can also use raisins but I dont like the sweetness in my briyani)
4 tbsp yogurt
3 green chilis split half and seeds removed
2 tomatoes diced
2 cinnamon stick
6 star anise
Garam masala / curry powder
3 bay leaves
Ghee & Oil
Marinate the chicken with yogurt, most of the garlic and chopped coriander in a bowl. The longer you marinade the meat, the more tender it gets. But because I am impatient and am always cooking on the go, I did this first while preparing the rest of the ingredients. So that’s like just 30mins marination.
In large non stick wok or dipped pan, fry the cashew nuts in 1 tbsp of ghee and 1 tbsp of oil (I used olive oil, but this is a matter of choice). Once the cashew nuts are golden brown, take them out and keep aside
In the same wok, add another tbsp of ghee and oil, fry the thinly sliced onions (only use 3/4 of the onions you have prepared). Fry till the onions caramelize and brown and become slightly crisp. Do not burn. Take them out and keep aside
Using the same wok, fry 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise, 4 cloves and 4 cardamom (slightly crush them first with the flat side of the knife to open it up) and a pinch of onions (just for flavour). Once the spices have toasted, add the rice and 1/2 tsp turmeric and let the rice take some heat. If you have saffron, this is the time to put it in. Only tossing the rice for a minute on the pan, dish out the rice and spices into a cooking pan and pour in 5 cups of water and 2 tsp salt and cook in medium heat for exactly 5mins and turn off flame. The idea is to get a half cooked rice. Drain the rice immediately. (This is the mistake I made as I let the rice sit in the water and it ended soaking up all the water)
Now for the chicken, fry 2 cloves of chopped garlic, the balance of the onions, cinnamon stick, star anise in the wok. Add in the chilis and tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Let this boil for a while and then add bay leaves, 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder and 1 tbsp cumin powder. This will turn into a thick curry paste. At this point, add in the chicken together with all the marinate into the wok and close the lid. Let the chicken cook 3/4 through which is about 5~10mins. I forgot to mention, add salt…and make it a little saltier than usual as it will need to flavour the rice.
If you feel that your curry is far too watery, remove some of the curry and add more of the spice mixes.
In the same wok, add the drained rice (no need to remove the spices in it) over the chicken & its gravy, layer the top of the rice with the caramelized onions. Close the lid tight to create pressure cooking and let this cook on low to medium heat for 5~10mins till the rice is somewhat cooked.
In a sauce pan, melt 2 tbsp of ghee and keep on standby
When the briyani is ready, add in the cashew nuts and stir the gravy and rice together. Take the melted ghee and pour it all along the edges of the wok. This will create a crisp texture and add more flavour. Close the lid for another couple of minutes. Using your judgment based on how cooked is the rice. You dont want to over cook it or else it becomes mushy.
Alternatively, you can also boil eggs and add into your briyani. To be served with raita. I made cucumber raita which is just grated cucumber with yogurt and salt. As for the curry, as mentioned in step #6, I scooped up 2 spoons of the gravy into another pan, added 1 cup of water and 1 tbsp of curry powder and let it boil till it was the consistency I wanted.
I have never made Tom Yum from scratch. It was always a tom yum paste which I would tweak to my liking. But seeing this post on #highheelgourmet.com, I was tempted to try making it from scratch and boy was I happy or what with the results! i’m not going to post the recipe here since Miranti has done an amazing job explaining to finite detail on how to make this. Do go and try!
This is a Malaysian favourite and it’s pure sin on a plate as it’s full of carbs, oil and would easily total up to 700 calories per serving. If you are too concerned about the dial on the weighing scale, then don’t even bother trying this.
The term “mamak” is referred to the Indian Muslim clan that created this dish. “Mamak” can be a derogatory term if used in that manner but somehow when you say “mamak” and “mee goreng” it is completely acceptable. The indian muslims in Malaysia are exceptional entrepreneurs. If you had been to Malaysia, you’ll know why. There’s a “mamak” restaurant or stall almost in every part of Malaysia. It’s the biggest food chain business and soon you know it, it’ll be heavily franchised too. One of my fav mamak shop called Ali Maju can be found in most township and is running 24/7 and even at 3am, their business is running well with the shop swamped with customers. And the guy making the mee goreng is constantly at his station, frying up plates and plates of mee goreng all night long…
Now that you know how famous this plate of noodles is, maybe you’d like to try it. The original mamak mee you get from the stalls is just plain noodles with fried prawn tofu, sawi and egg. My version of course has the goodies – prawns and fishballs or fishcakes (whichever that is in the fridge).
1 packet of yellow noodles (If you are buying this in a chain store, it would say Singapore noodles)
2 cloves of garlic sliced thin
6~8 prawns, shells removed and deveined
4~6 fishballs sliced to 3 (that’s 2 hemisphere and 1 flat circle)
4 stalks of sawi cut into 3in lengths (If you can’t get sawi, you can use Kailan or choy sum)
4~6 small sized pre-fried tofu sliced to halves or threes (you can alternatively deep fry regular tofu if you can’t prefried tofu. It’s just a lot of work and oil required. I would recommend buying this ready made from the asian shop)
2 tbsp of sambal chili with prawn (This is the most important ingredient. If you can’t find this, you might not get the similar taste. Use ground chili instead)
Dark soy sauce for colour
Salt to taste
Fry the garlic in a wok with some oil before adding the prawns and fishballs
Add the sambal chili with prawn and fry some more
Once the prawns and fishballs are cooked, add the noodles and top it with the dark soy sauce
Using your mad skills, stir in the noodles in the wok like a pro till the noodles is covered with all the sambal and dark soy sauce. The noodles takes about 5~10mins to cook. You can add in your salt now or wait after step #5 to salt
Once noodles is cooked, beat 2 eggs in a bowl. Make some space in the centre of the wok and pour in the egg mixture. Give it some 10 seconds before stirring the noodles with the egg. The idea is to coat all the noodles with egg.
Once egg is cooked, add in the tofu and sawi. Give it another minute for the sawi to get some heat. Don’t forget to check for seasoning one last time. And then you are done. Get ready with the fork to dig in! Yummm…
Nothing like a little scent of home and comfort of pastry puffs…
I do owe an apology, more to myself rather than to you un-judging people, for not posting here in almost a week. I know for some bloggers, a week is perfectly normal but I was doing a daily post and suddenly having to go on a break like this seemed weird. I have been extremely tied up with friends visiting, the election drama in Malaysia, heartache that followed and etc.
The only thing that is comforting is food, what else. And this is the easiest thing to make which is quintessentially Malaysian.
1 can of Sardine (you should be able to get this in any asian shop)
1 red onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp lime juice
2~3 Pastry sheets
1. Remove the skin and bones of the sardines. Do not throw away the tomato sauce
2. On a pan, fry the onions and garlic with some oil till softened. Add the chili powder and the sardines together with all the tomato sauce
3. Break up the sardine into pieces and add salt to taste. Once it’s cooked, turn off the heat and add the lime juice.
4. Cut your pastry sheets in a reasonable rectangular size (I cut 1 pastry sheets into 6 rectangles)
5. Add a good spoonful of the sardine on the pastry and roll up
6. Beat the egg and use as egg wash on the top of the pastry. Bake pastries on a tray with baking sheets in the oven on 180 deg C for about 20~25mins till they become golden brown.
The trick to getting the cutlets crispy on the outside and soft inside shall be revealed…
In fact, I can say it in a few words. You cannot have too damp of a filling. When your filling is soggy, the cutlet loses its shape when you fry as it soaks up too much oil – resulting in mushed cutlets. Keep the filling as dry as possible. Especially the mashed potatoes and the tuna has to be drained well from the can. Also, the exterior needs to be crisp when fried. A good bread crumb would do the trick. If you don’d have bread crumbs, you can always blitz cream cracker biscuits or even oats/cornflakes.
1 can of tuna in water (large) – flakes if you want this easier
2 medium sized potato skin removed (or 3 if potatoes are small)
1 large onion diced
1 green/red chili diced (without seeds)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 egg yolk
1 egg white
salt to taste
Boil the potato in a pot till it’s ready to mash. Drain the potatoes thoroughly before mashing it.
Add drained tuna into mashed potatoes. Together with chili powder, turmeric and salt. I would taste for salt at this point rather than later but that’s just me.
Add in the onions, chili and egg yolk. Using your hand (which is the best), mash all the ingredients together. If you just had your nails manicured and don’t want it to stain then maybe get someone else to do it or use plastic gloves. Nothing like using the hands to integrate the potatoes and tuna.
Make the cutlets into bite size balls. You can make them flat or rounded (like I did)
Next, coat the cutlets in egg whites before coating them in bread crumbs
Fry the cutlets in a pan with oil that reaches at least half the cutlet’s height. Fry till it’s bronzed on all sides evenly.
* This should give you at least 15~20 cutlets. Depending on the amount of potato you used and cutlet size. Usually eaten as a side dish for rice & curry. But I understand if you have the tendency to pop it into your mouth while it’s still hot from the pan *winks*
I always had my reservations, don’t ask me why, when it came to garlic chives. I never knew how it would taste and was a little skeptic on how to cook it. I put aside my reservations and am extremely happy that I discovered that garlic chives is not only so yummy, it has officially become my favourite stalk *winks*
Before I started cooking, I kept getting this amazing whiff from the freshly chopped chives. It was making me a little impatient as I wanted to cook and eat the chives so bad!! Anyway, you should not use the very end of the chives. I got rid of the last 3 inches of it which were the least green portion of the chives. Still not sure what I was going to do, I decided to peep into my refrigerator and found regular firm tofu and minced chicken. And I thought…hmm…this could work and I wasn’t wrong. The outcome was phenomenal!! Here is the recipe!
3 firm regular tofu cut into 8 cubes/each
1 bunch of garlic chives cut into 2.5 inches lengths
200 grams of minced chicken (I’m guessing any meat you have in hand should do the trick)
2 cloves of garlic sliced thin
3 tbsp of thick soy sauce
3 tbsp oyster sauce
Soy sauce to taste
I wanted the tofu to be hard and less flimsy when I stir fry. So, I pre-fried them in a pan turning them around each side till they had a nice golden hue on all sides. Once done, I kept aside
Next, I started to saute the garlic in a wok with some oil, before throwing in the minced chicken. Once the chicken was cooked, I splashed in the thick soy sauce, oyster sauce and salty soy sauce and gave it a good stir.
I threw in the chives and tofu into the wok and made sure the sauce was evenly coated on all the tofu cubes. I hardly took 15 minutes to make this dish. (Not to mention I was very impatient at this point)
This dish is best served with hot and steaming cup of rice. It’s gorgeous!
Being born Sri Lankan, did not expose me much to sambar since sambar is not on the menu. However, being in Malaysia exposed me to other Indian food and sambar is a staple side dish for banana leaf rice (yum) or thosai. My personal favourite is with rawa thosai as shown in the picture. My mother tried making the sambar on several occasions and sadly for her, it didn’t turn out very well. I don’t blame her since she has been cooking Sri Lankan dishes all her life.
Lucky for me, marrying into a Malayalee family imparted me with a few good recipes and one of them is the sambar (dhal curry). I never knew how simple it was to cook this up till I actually tried it myself. Okay, maybe I modified this recipe a little and it’s not entirely the Malayalee fashion but it’s just as good or better than restaurant standards. First and foremost, you will need the split Toor Dhal (yellowish) and sambar powder (preferably Baba’s) which you can get in any Indian groceries. Once you have this two basic ingredients, you can cook up a sambar in no time. The vegetables that go in doesn’t have to be as per recipe. You can tweak it with whatever vegetable you have in hand. There was a one time that I made a pumpkin sambar since I ran out of carrots and potatoes. Let me tell you, the pumpkin sambar was out of this world. So, don’t be too rigid with recipes, alright?
3 tbsp of grated coconut (ground very fine) – optional
1 tsp of tamarind paste (you can add more if you like it more sour)
Salt to taste
Special for tempering:
1 tsp black mustard seeds
4~5 curry leaves
3 dried chilis
1/2 red onion diced
If are making sambar with brinjal or okra, instead of putting it in the sambar, you can fry it together with the tempering ingredients and dump into sambar in the end.
Firstly, rince the dhal thoroughly and then boiling it in a pot under a medium flame with double the amount of water. Boil the dhal till it’s soft to mash with your fingers.
Most of the water would have evaporated. If you still have some water left, you can chose to keep this or just pour out the excess water.
Add more water till it’s triple the amount of dhal. Dump in all your onions, chili, vegetables and sambar powder into the sambar. Let this cook till you have cooked your vegetables through. Good idea to check the potato as it usually takes the longest. You want your potato to be soft and easy to mash so that when you eat, it just melts in your mouth.
Once your sambar is cooked, add salt, tamarind and coconut. If you feel your sambar is not thick enough, add more sambar powder. And if it’s too thick, add more water. Let the sambar simmer for another minute or two and then you can turn off the flame.
Assuming you are an excellent multi-tasker, while your sambar is cooking, you can fry all the tempering ingredients in a another pan till the onions are caramelized. If you are frying brinjal or okra with this, start frying the vegetable first before adding the tempering ingredients as the vegetables take a while to cook.
After your sambar is done, add the tempered ingredients into it. And walla! Sambar is done. I’re sure if you make a dilute version of this, you can turn it into a soup!
My buddies Hana and Su will attest to how madly in love I am over this dish. I’d at least order this in a restaurant for lunch at least once a week. Sometimes I have it 2 days in a row. I never got tired of it. And probably never ever will. How could I?? The eggy gravy is the most lustrous liquid that slides through the tip of the tongue and bursts into million explosions on my taste buds.
Anyway, that was when I was still back in Malaysia. Since then, it has been a little bit of a challenge finding my char hor fun here in Western Australia. Although there are a few decent Chinese/Malaysian restaurants around but the few that I tried didn’t succeed in pleasuring my taste buds. So here I am, with my wok and chopsticks…ready to plate up another one of my favourite dishes. Bring it on!
1 packet of flat rice noodles or fresh hor fun
12~15 prawns shells removed and deveined (you can leave the tail tip on)
12~15 rings of squids
4~5 fish cakes thinly sliced
8~10 4cm chicken slices (If you like pork or beef, feel free to replace with your meat of choice. My husband says hor fun is not hor fun without pork *rolls eyes*)
1 whole of garlic finely chopped (You can use just half actually…but I love garlic so much!)
4 stalks of choy sum (or sawi) cut to 4cm lengths
½ a carrot sliced thin (1cm thickness)
1 cup of cabbage (no bigger than a 2x2cm squares)
2~3 tbsp of corn flour (diluted in very little water)
3 tbsp stir fry sauce or oyster sauce
3 tbsp fish oil
3 tbsp thick soy sauce
Soy sauce for taste
Ground white pepper for taste
First, to prepare the noodles, rinse the noodles in water. If the noodles appear to be clung together, it’s a good idea to use boiling water to separate them. Do not try to break it up yourself as it will break into crumbly pieces.
Use 1 clove of chopped garlic to flavour some oil on the pan. Stir fry the noodles in the oil with thick soy sauce and salty soy sauce. Once noodles is cooked, keep aside
On a different wok, heat some oil and stir fry the balance of the chopped garlic, meat, prawns, squids and fish cake. Once the seafood is cooked, add in the carrots cabbage and add 3 (medium sized) bowls of water.
Add the stir fry or oyster sauce and fish oil into this gravy till the vegetables are nicely cooked. Add the the choy sum and cook a for another minute
Stir in the diluted corn flour to thicken the gravy. You only need the gravy to be slightly thickened. Add salt and white pepper for taste
Break in 3 eggs into the gravy and stirring the gravy as you added the eggs. Turn off the flame immediately and now the gravy will be a thick eggy liquid
Plate the earlier prepared noodles on a deep set plate and top it with generous ladleful of egg gravy like in the first picture. If you like extra spice, serve with chopped chilies (chili padi) in soy sauce.
This being my first post, I want it to be special. Hence, Nasi Lemak! It is not that Nasi Lemak is my signature dish or specialty or anything like that. Having said that, Nasi Lemak is my favourite meal of all time. Heck, I don’t know anyone who comes from Malaysia and not like Nasi Lemak. It is just that good. So rich in calories and fatty with coconut cream. Not forgetting all the fried condiments. The operative word here is evidently “fried”.
My oh my, this is the best way to start the day on a Sunday morning or a perfect way to end Friday night after a long night of partying and boozing. Of course these spoken as if I still lived in Malaysia, where every corner there is a hidden gem of a restaurant that serves freshly steamed coconut rice with mind blowing spicy anchovies or shrimp sambal. Bliss!! But here I am, without a choice, forced to cook my own version of Nasi Lemak. Not that I don’t enjoy cooking, but cooking nasi lemak on a Sunday morning or late night on a Friday is a big no-no. So, nasi lemak has become more of a lunch or dinner meal these days…sadly.
Truthfully, I attempted making nasi lemak at least five times before I got it right. The first two attempts were disastrous! On both occasions, the sambal was potent. It turned out to be an uncooked chili concoction with a strong stingy taste. My husband who normally enjoys my cooking, spat his first mouthful of the awful tasting sambal and rice. I don’t blame him since I didn’t attempt eating it at all. Sadly, I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. My recipe was right and I didn’t miss any ingredients. Luckily on my 3rd attempt, I sort of got it right. The trick is to use lots and lots of oil to make the sambal. Stirring constantly for a really really long time. So it appears, perseverance was the key. And by my 5th attempt, I was able to get a close to perfect nasi lemak as pictured above.
The other thing that sets apart normal rice to nasi lemak is the coconut milk rice. The sweetness of the coconut milk infused with rice is something quite wonderful. And what makes this rice even more irresistible is the sweet aroma of pandan (screwpine) leaves that fills your nostrils and awakens a hungry beast in your stomach. In an event that you can’t find pandan leaves, use small pieces of ginger as replacement. The effect is equally inviting.
If you get the sambal wrong the first time around, fret not and try again another day! And as a precaution, maybe don’t invite friends over if you are going to try this for the first time, if you know what I mean.
Coconut Milk Rice
2 cups of rice (Typically I use Jasmine rice, but this is really a matter of preference)
1 cup of coconut milk
2 cups of water
A pinch of salt
2 screwpine (pandan) leaves – use 2 small pieces of ginger (skin removed), maybe a 2x2x1cm in size as a replacement
Sambal Belacan (Shrimp paste)
5~10 dried chilies soaked in hot water (use accordingly to achieve desired heat)
4~5 small shallots
2~3 cloves of garlic
1 red onion thinly sliced in rings
1 tsp belacan (shrimp paste)
1~2 tsp of chili powder (optional)
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1 tsp tamarind paste
4 Chicken drumsticks
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp tumeric powder
Hard boiled eggs
Thinly sliced cucumbers
Fried peanuts (with skin)
Like cooking normal rice, once rice is rinsed and drained, add the coconut milk, water, salt and the screwpine leaves to the rice pot and cook. You might want to knot the screwpine leaves so that it is easier to remove once your rice is cooked. If you are using a rice cooker, you have less to worry about. But if you are using a steel pot to cook the rice, be warned that the coconut easily burns at the bottom of the pot. Best to grease the pot before cooking.
Grind the soaked dried chilies, shallots and garlic in a blender.
Heat pan with 4~5 tbsp of oil and add the ground paste into the hot pan. [Warning, the paste can splatter at the first introduction to the hot oil] Add in the belacan that has been crumbled or dissolved in very little water. Keep frying the paste till it becomes caramelized and fragrant and starts to get darker in shade.
Add the red onion and chili powder (Remember, chili powder is optional. You don’t want to end up making a chili concoction. Exercise heat accordingly). Let the red onion caramelize in the sambal. Adding more oil as and when needed.
Once the sambal is fully cooked, add sugar, salt and tamarind paste dissolved in 1/2 cup of water. Let this simmer for a while before turning off the flame and setting aside
Mix all the spice powders and salt in a bowl. Toss the chicken drumsticks in the bowl to evenly coat it with the spices. Deep fry the chicken till its dark brown and fully cooked.
Serve the rice hot from the pot with the sambal, fried chicken and all the condiments on the side as shown in the picture. Bon apetit!