Malay food is known for its vibrant, diverse flavors and rich spices like kaffir lime, lemon grass, ginger, black peeper, coriander and turmeric.
The moment you think of Malay food, series of dishes like laksa, nasi lemak, rendang, mee goreng, nasi goreng, mee rebus, gulai tumis, asam pedas, ayam paprik, satay, ikan bakar, and rojak that hits your brain and the list too, goes on. Roti canai, a bread served with curry sauce is a common food enjoyed for breakfast.
Malay dishes are rich in spices and coconut that gives richness and a hint of sweet aroma. For example, Beef rendang unfold in layers with an opening flavors of lemon grass and ginger, followed by a strong chili, beef and creamy coconut milk.
We all accept that coconut milk is high in saturated fats and therefore we tend to control the intake of coconut based foods to avoid the risk of getting heart diseases.
Dishes, made with less coconut and more vegetables are really delicious. For example, Nasi kerabu is a wonderful, delicious mixed rice with grilled and flaked mackerel (ikan kembung), roasted grated coconut, vegetables and herbs. This dish can be easily prepared at home and can limit the amount of coconut as well.
There are also many delicious Malay dishes, with no coconut milk added!
Popiah, a type of fresh spring roll, filled with shredded vegetables, is a popular street food in Malaysia. Otak-otak another street and party food is a mixture of fish and spice paste, wrapped in banana leaf and barbecued. It is an easy and simple dish to be made at home with less salt.
Homemade mee-goreng is a real zest with a flavor of garlic, tomato, fresh bean sprouts, dried bean curd, potato, chili, shallots and scallions with a dash of sugar and salt, stirred with yellow noodles!
Penang Assam laksa is another delicacy! It is a hot and sour noodle dish with mackerel fish in tamarind soup base, garnished with cucumber, mint leaves, Vietnamese mint leaves, ginger flower, lettuce, chili and pineapple.
Gulai tumis, a sour & hot tamarind fish curry over the rice is so delicious that everything on the plate would be gone in a minute. The garnish of ginger flower (bunga kantan in Malay) adds grassy and citrus aroma to the dish.
Ayam paprik, spicy chicken stir-fry is a colorful delicious dish with chicken, onion, green beans, bell pepper, carrot and cauliflower. It is an easy recipe to prepare at home. Just heat oil and stir-in garlic, chili paste, chicken breast pieces, green beans, carrot, red and green bell pepper, pounded chilies and a dash of salt. This dish goes well with a bowl of steamed rice for lunch or dinner. Ayam goreng kunyit (turmeric fried chicken), is another chicken stir-fry dish with turmeric, long beans, onion, garlic, and chili.
Sambal eggplant is made with eggplant, sambal and dried shrimps. The sambal, a stir-fried chili paste made with chilies (both dried and fresh), shallots and garlic, adds color and flavor to the dish. Steamed rice and sambal eggplant, a colorful combination!
Malay food is a mixture of Chinese, Thai, and Indian with herbs, spices and rich in flavor. Enjoy the blend of spice & culture and the regular physical activities, as well!