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Malaysian Recipes

Malaysian recipes are quite simple but it takes effort to make like anything else especially if you're not familiar with. You have got to start somewhere. Ingredients are not difficult to get in Malaysia (of course!) though in western countries you may have to look for special shops or sometimes at markets.

What is your favorite food in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a food paradise. Not surprising if you look at the population of Malays, Chinese and Indians who all contribute to the unique Malaysian cuisine. But what did you enjoy the most in the Malaysian cuisine?

Was it the special Malay redang? Or a Chinese noodle soup? Did you rave about the tosais or roti canai? Please tell other travelers so they can benefit from your experience:

Your favotire meal in Malaysia

Since we have 3 major races living here in peace and harmony, everyone here eats each other's food. That makes the variety of food in Malaysia very wide. If you're planning to come to Malaysia and want to try eating the food before coming, here is your good resource of recipes. We will extend the list of recipes. So, be sure you come back to get more Malaysian recipes.

Do not forget to check additional e-books for Indian food can be found here. More Chinese recipes here and here

  • Nasi Lemak
  • Beef Rendang (Beef Chunks cooked in coconut milk)
  • Nasi Dagang
  • Spicy Eggs
  • Chicken Rice
  • Special Stir Fry Noodles
  • Roti Canai
  • Tomato Chutney
  • Chick in a Hurry

Penang Passion

There are few places in the world where people are so crazy about food as in Penang. Penangians are food crazy which results in an excellent cuisine unimaginable for those who have never been in Penang.

Koh Tze Yin wrote a book full of anecdotes, stories and ... recipes about the Penang cuisine. Here are more details

Penang Passion

In the first year of the Pulau Pangkor Newsletter, I have gathered some great Malaysian recipes. At the time they were only available for the Pulau Pangkor Newsletter readers. However, they are now available for everyone who enjoys a great meal. Click here for the free e-book.

Malay Food

One of the easier to make Malaysian recipes is Nasi Lemak, together with Roti Canai, the National dish of Malaysia.

Nasi Lemak


  • 300g long grain rice
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 slices ginger
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (halba)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 375-400ml coconut milk (from 1/2 a grated coconut)
  • 2 pandan leaves, knotted

Wash rice until clean then drain. Put rice, shallots, ginger, fenugreek and salt in a rice cooker. Pour coconut milk over the rice. (The level of the coconut milk should be 2cm above the level of the rice.) Cook rice until dry then use a wooden laddle to loosen the grains.

Sprinkle the rest of the coconut milk over the rice. Give it a stir with a pair of chopsticks to distribute the milk evenly. Stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the rice to absorb the coconut milk. Keep rice warm before serving with other condiments.

Sambal Ikan Bilis: Malaysian Recipes - Nasi Lemak

  • 1 bombay onion
  • 1/2 cup dried ikan bilis (anchovies)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsps tamarind juice
  • 4 shallots
  • 8 dried chillies
  • Prawn paste (belacan) (Optional)
  • Salt and sugar to taste


Fry the ikan bilis until crisp and put aside. Grind the prawn paste together with shallots, garlic, deseeded dried chilies. Slice the bombay onion into rings. Heat 2 table spoons oil in a pan and fry the ground ingredients until fragrant.

Add in the onion rings. Add tamarind juice, salt, sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally until the gravy thickens. Add in the ikan bilis and mix well. Serve with steaming hot Nasi Lemak.

Beef Rendang (Beef Chunks cooked in coconut milk)


  • 600g beef topside, cubed

Grind together:

  • 4 tbsp chilli boh
  • 7 shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4cm piece ginger
  • 2 onions
  • 4 stalks lemon grass, finely sliced
  • 3cm piece galangal
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp fennel powder
  • 1 litre thick coconut milk (extract from four grated coconuts)
  • 1 litre water
  • 1/2 cup kerisik (pounded dry-fried grated coconut)
  • 1 tbsp finely-shredded daun limau purut (lime leaves)


  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp brown sugar or to taste

Combine beef, coconut milk, water and ground ingredients in a deep saucepan. Simmer over low heat for one and a half to two hours until beef turns tender.

Add kerisik and continue to cook until the gravy turns thick and dry. Add seasoning and daun limau purut. Cook until beef is almost dry.

Nasi Dagang


  • 1kg nasi dagang rice
  • 750ml thin coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fenugreek halba)
  • 50g ginger, julienned
  • 10 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 250ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Wash the rice in several changes of water until water runs clear. Place rice in a large bowl and pour in enough water to reach 5cm above the rice. Allow to soak for 2-3 hours. Drain.

Prepare steamer and steam rice for 20-25 minutes, or until half-cooked.

Take rice off the steamer and stir in the thin coconut milk, followed by the halba, ginger, shallots and garlic. Set aside, covered, for 2-3 hours.

Reheat steamer. Mix thick coconut milk with the sugar and salt, and stir this through the rice. Steam until rice is well cooked. Serve warm with Gulai Ikan Tongkol, Fish Sambal and Spicy Eggs.

For perfectly cooked nasi dagang, use equal amounts of liquid (in this case, coconut milk) and rice.

Spicy Eggs

More like a sambal, the thick gravy is sweet, sourish and spicy. It is very appetizing and takes off the heavy edge from the nasi dagang.


  • 5 eggs, hard boiled

Ground ingredients:

  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 5 shallots
  • 1 big onion
  • 2cm knob ginger
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons chilli boh
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Shell the hard-boiled eggs and heat enough oil in a wok to deep fry the eggs until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Blend, or pound the ground ingredients to a paste.

Heat oil in a wok and sauté the ground ingredients until fragrant.

Add the chili boh. Fry until aromatic before adding the eggs, vinegar and tomato ketchup. Season to taste with sugar and salt.

Enjoy your Malaysian recipes cooking!

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Chinese Food

Apart of the samples of Chinese Malaysian recipes below, you can get more then 500 other recipes here and here

Chicken Rice

Ingredients: For the chicken:

  • 1 chicken, cut off legs and neck
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce

For the rice:

  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 3-4 cm piece ginger, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Chilli sauce:

  • 10 fresh red chillies seeded, pounded
  • 2 cloves garlic, pounded
  • 6cm piece ginger, pounded
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Spring onion curls
  • Coriander leaves
  • Cucumber slices

For the chicken: Bring water to a boil in a pot (the amount of water should be just enough to cover the whole chicken). Put in chicken and cook for nine to 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow chicken to remain in the stock for five minutes, then remove chicken and immerse in a basin of cold water. Reserve chicken stock for cooking the rice.

Hang the chicken up to air. Combine sesame oil and light soy sauce, then brush it all over the chicken. Set aside.

For the rice: Wash the rice clean, then drain. Heat up oil in a wok and stir-fry garlic and ginger until lightly browned and fragrant. Put in rice and stir-fry well. Dish out rice and put into a rice cooker. Add enough chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and a dash of sesame oil. Cook until rice is done.

To serve, scoop warm rice into a rice bowl and overturn this on the plate. Serve with cut-up chicken and chilli sauce. Garnish with cucumber slices, spring onion curls and coriander leaves.

For the chilli sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients together, mix well and add a tablespoon of chicken stock oil skimmed from the stock or soup.

Special Stir Fry Noodles


  • 200g fresh home-made noodles
  • 150g prawns, shell but leave tails intact
  • 100g chicken meat, sliced thinly
  • 1 Bombay onion, sliced thinly
  • 75g bean sprouts, tails removed
  • 1 black mushroom, soaked and sliced
  • 75g salt fish, sliced thinly and soaked for 10 minutes
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup stock


  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp light Soya sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chicken stock granules
  • A few drops of thick soy sauce.

Scald noodles in hot water for 30 seconds, then rinse in cold water. Strain noodles in a colander. Heat 2 to 3 tbsp oil in wok. Fry noodles in hot oil briskly.

Remove and run noodles through tap water again. Strain. Deep-fry salt fish till crispy. Pound the salt fish and set aside.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok and stir-fry onions till slightly limp. Dish out and put aside. Add chicken meat, mushrooms and prawns. Put in noodles, bean sprouts, seasoning and stock and stir-fry well. Add a dash of sesame oil, put in the soft onions and combine well.

Dish out and garnish with pounded salt fish, red chili curls and chopped spring onions.

Instead of homemade noodles, you can use fresh wantan mee that is readily available in the wet market or supermarket. Happy cooking your Chinese Malaysian recipes.

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Indian Food

I love Indian food, and fortunately in Malaysia there's plenty. Apart of the recipes mentioned below, you can get more Indian Malaysian recipes here

Roti Canai


  • 400g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 20g sugar
  • 40g margarine
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Oil or ghee for greasing and cooking

Put flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Rub in margarine and mix egg and the rest of the ingredients well to form a soft dough. Leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.

Divide dough into 10 pieces. Roll into balls and rub oil or margarine lightly over each ball. Keep the balls in a container and leave aside.

Grease a marble slab. Press and flatten the balls of dough with your palm on the slab. Use your fingers to make each ball very thin.

Twirl the flattened dough until it becomes thin. Fold the sides to the centre. Flatten the dough again.

Place on a hot griddle and cook slowly over a low heat. Turn over dough and spread more oil when needed to brown both sides of the roti.

Tomato Chutney


  • 500g tomatoes
  • 2 red chillies, seeded
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 100ml vinegar
  • 1 tbsp raisins

Blanch tomatoes and remove the skins and chop coarsely.

Heat oil in a wok and fry cumin and mustard seeds until they start to pop. Add garlic, ginger paste and turmeric powder and fry until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil until it has a glazed appearance.

Remove from fire and add in vinegar and raisins.

p/s: The best tomato chutney we had was at the Tiger Rock. Mohan's wife made really good one. Yummy...

Chick Curry in a Hurry Malaysian Recipes - Chick Curry in a Hurry


  • 700g chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup oil

Marinade (A)

  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Ground spices (B)

  • 10 fresh red chilies
  • 4 dried red chilies, soaked
  • 2 tbsp meat curry powder
  • 10 shallots
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3cm knob ginger


  • 2 stalks lemon grass, smashed
  • 2 stalks curry leaves
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced


  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1–2 tsp sugar or to taste

Marinate chicken with (A) for 10–20 minutes. Heat oil in a wok and fry chicken for 5–10 minutes.

Dish out and set aside. With the remaining oil fry onions, lemon grass and curry leaves for 1–2 minutes. Add ground spices (B) and fry until fragrant and oil rises.

Add the pre-fried chicken and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the chicken from getting burnt.

Cook until chicken is tender. Add seasoning to taste.

Dish out and serve with hot plain rice, bread, chapatti or roti jala.

Refer back to Malaysian Food page for details of the Malaysian Recipes.

Looking for books about Malaysian food? Check out our bookshelf. You might find something interesting there.

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Free Malaysian recipes E-book

The Pulau Pangkor Newsletter released in it's first year an exclusive E-book with Malaysian recipes which can be found on Pangkor Island and other places in Malaysia. This e-book is now available for all readers of the Pulau Pangkor website

Free Pulau Pangkor Recipes ebook

Click here for the free

Dim Sum

Typical Chinese dish in Malaysia

Dim Sum is a typical Chinese dish which you mostly find for breakfast or lunch. Sundays are a good moment to see many Chinese consuming dim sum with friends and family. Read more about Dim Sum

Ikan Bilis

Specialty of Pangkor Island, read more about Ikan Bilis and how you use it in your dishes

Ikan Bilis