Asian dishes - Malaysian

Nasi kandar is a popular food originated from the northern part of East Malaysia in a state called Penang. Nowadays, one can find it everywhere around Malaysia. There are lots and lots of variety of curries and types of food being served.

This classic Malaysian dish combines steamed rice and an assortment of different curries and vegetables like cabbage, ladies fingers and beansprouts. The rice is steamed and occasionally seasoned, and the choice of curries includes various combinations of 4 to 5 curries like fish curry, chicken curry, lamb curry, prawn curry and black gravy. Nasi Kandar is also well known for its Fish Head curry and fried chicken, fish and squids.

Today’s recipe is Fish Head curry.

The ingredients :-


500gms whole seabass fish

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder

1 glass water or additional water as required


1/2 cup oil

1 teaspoon mixture of mustard seeds, fenugreek & cummin

2 stalks curry leaves

1 onion chopped

1 tomato cut into 6

30gms tamarind & little water

1/2 glass coconut milk


  • Add salt, ginger & garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder and water to the fish and mix well.
  • Heat oil, fry the ladies fingers for 3 mins and transfer to a plate.
  • Add mustard, fenugreek & cumin seeds to the oil, followed by curry leaves and onion. Cook for about 2-3 mins and followed by the marinated fish. Let the fish cook for 10 mins by flipping the fish over and adding tomoatoes, tamarind juice and coconut milk subsequently.
  • Lastly add the ladies fingers to the dish.
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Thanks a lot for the recipe! Looks delicious.

Combination of curries, you mean in 1 dish?

The combinations of 4 to 5 curries are added to the steamed rice as shown in the picture. This is the speciality for Nasi Kandar.

Our friend klyeoh on a nasi kandar lunch in Penang last year. Nice photos.

It reminds me of my city, Manchester, and the “rice and three curries” at the Asian cafes in the city’s Northern Quarter. Although not as nice looking as the nasi kandar

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Roti Jala means “net bread” because of its lacy or net-like appearance. This crepe is tender and delicate and eaten with chicken curry, fish curry or rendang. A special cup with five nozzles is used to make the crepe. The batter is poured into the cup and moved in an overlapping circular motion on the pan to create the lacy effect. If you do not have this special cup, use a squeeze bottle or an empty can punctured with holes to create this effect.


1 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 ¾ cup milk

1 egg

½ tablespoon butter

½ teaspoon salt

A drop of yellow coloring or turmeric powder

Little oil to apply on the pan

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a blender .

  2. Heat the pan. The batter is poured into the special cup and moved in an overlapping circular motion on the pan to create the lacy effect. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or as required without flipping over. The crepe should be cooked lightly and not crispy. Fold to the shape as shown in the picture.



This looks like it would be a fun tool to have in a kitchen!

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Chicken Varuval (spicy dry-fried chicken) is a South Indian speciality chicken dish in Malaysia originated from Chettinad, region of Tamil Nadu in Southern India. This recipe is everyone’s favourite dish in Malaysia. It has an intense flavour of herbs and spices.



600gms chicken
1 tablespoon wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 egg
1 cup oil


1 cinnamon
4 cardamon
4 clove
4 dry chili
4 stalk curry leaves
1 large onion
3 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
Salt as required

Detailed illustration available here -

I just saw one of those specialty squeeze bottles for roti jala at a cookware shop in Penang last weekend. Looked pretty nifty - costed only MYR 3 (70 US cents), so I bought one.


Now you can start making roti jala. :blush::+1:

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Oh yes, I intend to.

So far, I get my roti jala fix from a very good purveyor, which happened to be just 10-minutes’ drive from my apartment.

Kuih Gulung


This is a simple and easy food available for breakfast or tea.


A - batter

1 cup all purpose flour

1 egg

1 ½ cup coconut milk

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoon oil

A drop of green colouring

B – filling

½ grated coconut

¾ cup palm sugar

½ cup water

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoon all purpose flour

  1. Blend all the ingredients in A and pour into a container

  2. Combine all the ingredients in B and cook till the sauce thickens and slightly dry.

  3. Heat a non-stick pan. Scoop some batter in a ladle and pour on the pan by swirling in circular movement to form a thin crepe.

  4. Cook till the crepe starts to lift from the pan. Remove the crepe to a plate and repeat the process till the batter finishes.

  5. Finally put a spoonful of coconut filling on each crepe, fold in the sides and roll up like a spring roll. Repeat the process for all the remaining crepe and serve.


Didn’t know this one, thanks for introducing.

Do you grate your own coconut, if yes, how do you do that?

Here, we usually buy the grated coconut from the market and it is easily available.

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ASSAM FISH (Spicy Tamarind Fish) is a classic Malaysian dish and is prepared in many different styles by Malay, Chinese and Indian. Eventually, what we get is a spicy, tangy & sour tasty fish which will definitely tempt anyone!

Spicy tamarind fish

Ingredients :-

500-600gms Grouper fish
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 cup oil

2-inch ginger
2-inch turmeric
1 bulb of garlic
1 onion
1 lemongrass
5 dry chili soaked in hot water (seedless)
Little water as required to blend

8 cherry tomato
2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
50gms tamarind + 1/2 glass water
3 pcs red cili padi (seedless)


  1. Marinate fish with salt for 15 minutes, deep fry and keep aside.
  2. Blend all ingredients in B into rough paste.
  3. In the same oil, add the chili paste and cook till the oil separates.
  4. Add tamarind water, sugar, salt, cherry tomato, chili and cook for 2 mins.
  5. Pour the sauce over the fried fish and serve.

Here is a detailed instruction of SPICY TAMARIND FISH which I have included for better understanding.

Here is a Lamb Rendang recipe which is simplified and easy for rendang lovers.

Video recipe



500 gms Lamb meat without fats

1 teaspoon ginger paste

1 teaspoon garlic paste

2 tablespoon vinegar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 glass water


1” fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1” galangal

1 lemongrass

4 pcs kaffir lime leaves

10 dry chilies (boiled in hot water and seeds partially removed)

3 tablespoon grated coconut - lightly roasted


8 pcs shallot – sliced

1 cinnamon

4 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon jaggery or brown sugar

200 ml coconut cream


  1. In a pan add ingredient A, cover, and cook the meat in low flame for 30 minutes or until the meat is cooked.

  2. Blend item B to smooth paste.

  3. In a pan add oil, cinnamon, shallot, and saute the shallot till light brown.

  4. Add the blended paste and cook till aromatic.

  5. Add the coconut cream, jaggery, meat, and cook for 15 minutes or till sauce thickens. Ready to serve.


Rendang recipe sounds great. I’m going to be trying that in the near future. I’m guessing I’d want to be using something like lamb shoulder for this? What sort of size would you cut the cubes into, please?

1" cubes will be fine for this recipe.


I’m making a beef rendang tonight. The recipes are all over the map.

I’m mostly using a recipe from my Terrific Pacific cookbook, calling for beef, coconut milk, curry powder, coriander, cumin, dried chiles, black pepper, ginger, onion, garlic, brown sugar.

I added turmeric which was mentioned in another recipe.

I have dried tamarind powder, dried galangal and dried lemon grass somewhere. I am not sure whether I will add these yet.

Some recipes also call for star anise, nutmeg, candle nuts and/or clove.

If you have a favourite recipe could you paraphrase or link to it?