Malaysian & Singaporean Recipes

Spicy Steve's Malaysian & Singaporean Recipes

Spicy Steve's Favorite Recipes


STARTERS & SAUCES

Sambal Assam
(Sour Chilli Sauce)
This is a hot and sour sauce for those of you who enjoy these flavours. The sauce goes well with Ikan Panggang (Barbequed Fish). These sauces can easily be modified to your own taste by adding such other ingredients as sauteed shallots, garlic, more sugar, or less tamarind.

Satay Peanut Sauce
A good satay should have an accompanying peanut sauce and there are many different versions. This satay sauce is Kajang style and comes from just outside the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. It is on the slightly sweeter side, although you can make it hotter or tarter by adding extra chilli or tamarind juice. Personally, I add extra sugar as I love a sweeter sauce.


SOUPS & SALADS

Cucumber and Pineapple Kerabu
(Cucumber and Pineapple Salad)
Another great light and refreshing kerabu (Salad) that offers the contrasts in flavour between the cucumber, onion and pineapple, with lime and a hint of chilli thrown in to liven things up. Try alternating ingredients to create your own kerabu.

Laksa Lemak
(Spicy Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)
This is a classic! Carol Ko of the Rasa Singapura Restaurant in the Richmond Public Market has contributed this "party size" recipe. It makes 10 to 15 portions, so reduce appropriately if you want a small batch. Carol's Laksa is so good that we are willing to travel over 40 minutes just to eat it. My wife makes great Laksa as well but it is a lot of work and more of a week-end project. The flavours of this soup are true to the type of Laksa that you find in Singapore and Southern Malaysia which are coconut based curry soups versus the clear tamarind sourish Laksa you find in Penang, in Northern Malaysia. The flavour is creamy yet spicy with the hint of fresh herbs such as lemon grass and laksa leaves. I personally order or make it with a mix of yellow mee (noodles) and lei fun (white laksa noodles) but anyway you eat it, it's great.

Mango Kerabu
(Spicy Sweet Mango Salad)
This is an incredible salad that will excite your tastebuds. Make sure you make it with really ripe sweet mangoes. The sweetness combined with the tinge of chilli and the fragrant corriander leaves (cilantro) is a taste to die for. It's pure heaven. Kerabus are very simple salads made in Malaysia and Singapore which can include both fruit and vegetables to create a medley of taste sensations. That spicy addition of chilli and sometimes fresh herbs is what makes them so unique.

Urap Tangeh
(Bean sprouts with Grated Coconut Salad)
Another example of a salad. This one has toasted coconut as the integral ingredient. If you are a vegetarian or do not like a salty shrimpy taste, leave out the dried prawns.


BEEF, PORK & OTHER MEATS

Babi Tempra
(Fried Pork with Lime Juice and Soy Sauce)
Pork is very popular in Nonya cuisine as it is with the Chinese. This dish is another good example of Nonya food in that the heavy dark soy sauce is used along with lime juice. It is not a particularly spicy dish and is really more of a mild stew. Cook it long and slow and let the flavours soak in. I think it tastes better made with chicken and reheated the next day.

Daging Goreng State
(Malaysian Deep Fried Satay)
This isn't satay on a stick, but a quick and delicious alternative.

Daging Rendang
(Beef Rendang)
A Malaysian Classic. There are many different recipes for good Rendang but to me they should be creamy, rich and thick. This is my wife's recipe and it always tastes better the next day after the meat has absorbed all the flavours and becomes more tender. The ground paste in Malaysian curries is often referred to as the 'rempah'.

Pork and Green Beans in Dark Sauce
This is one of my wife's regular dishes and one of my favourites on a plate of rice. What makes this so nice is the texture of the beans which can either be deep fried or shallow fried to obtain the crispy exterior. Always make sure your oil is hot before you add the beans to minimize oil absorption and drain on paper towel after cooking. If you want a vegetarian dish leave out the pork.

Spicy Steve's Malaysian Beef Satay
(Barbequed Beef Satay on a stick)
This is a classic Malaysian and Singaporean "Hawker" dish. Hawkers are food vendors who usually specialize in one or two dishes and work out of mobile road side stalls or stalls in "Hawker Centres" and markets. This is the concept on which our Food Courts are based. The Satay Man can usually be seen with his small charcoal BBQ fanning away at the coals and creating spectacular shows of erupting flames as he sizzles the satay. Give me a plate of good satay with peanut sauce, ketupat (pressed rice), cucumber and red onions and I have reached nirvana. The marinade is so good, you can eat them hot off the barbeque without the peanut sauce, but you must try both.


CHICKEN & OTHER POULTRY

Ayam Panggang Ketchup
(Grilled Spicy Soya Sauce Chicken)

Ayam Percik
(Spicy Barbequed Chicken)
This spicy barbequed chicken dish hails from the North Eastern State of Kelantan and is a typical example of the many wonderful varieties of grilled and barbequed chicken found in "Hawker" stalls and small roadside restaurants all around Malaysia.

Beef & Chicken Satay Kajang
(Barbequed Beef & Chicken on a stick)
This is the classic Malaysian and Singaporean dish. I have eaten it all over Singapore and Malaysia, and it is far better than the Indonesian and Thai equivalents. Give me a plate of good satay with peanut sauce, ketupat, cucumber and red onions and I am "a very happy camper". This version is from a little town in Selangor, Malaysia which has become famous for their satay. The marinade is so good, you can eat them hot off the barbeque without the peanut sauce, but you must try both.

Chicken Tikka
This is a classic Indian dish which can best enjoyed baked in the oven (Tandoor style) or grilled or barbequed on skewers. The yoghurt helps to both marinate the meat and keep the juices in as it is cooked. This is a mild dish, however, that isn't anything a little extra chilli couldn't cure if you wanted.

Curry Kapitan
This is a well known mild curry that's origins maybe debated. Many say it is Malay, some say a Chinese cook at sea served it to the 'Capitan', and I have even heard the 'Capitan' was Portuguese sailing out of Malacca. This one I was told was a 'Nonya' version from Penang, however, others I have seen from Penang have included that distinct 'Nonya' ingredient - tamarind. Whatever you believe, this is a nice dish to serve and you can always add tamarind or extra chillies to kick up the flavour intensity.

Gulai Ayam
(Malay Chicken Curry)
A good standard chicken curry. The secret to the curry is the 'rempah' or wet paste made from a multitude of fresh herbs and spices. Use this as a base recipe and then add extra chillies if you want it hotter the next time.

Indian BBQ Chicken
This is a simple and mild aromatic dish which is delicatelyvflavoured and could be spiced up with an extra couple of teaspoons of chilli if so desired. It is a great dish to make the night before so the spices marianate well, and bring out just in time to barbeque or grill. This recipe is from my adopted Malayalam "Auntie" in Johore Bahru, but it's flavours to me seem more North Indian.

South Indian Chicken Curry
This is a recipe I picked up from my Malaysian friend Clarence Fernandez. Clarence is a Christian Indian (Malayalam) whose ancestors came from Kerala in South West India.  He loves food and having travelled India widely, this recipe is his unique concoction, although it is faithful to his South Indian roots, particularly in its use of pungent fresh curry leaves.


FISH & OTHER SEAFOOD

Chilli Padi Prawns
Chilli Padi often refers to the small fiery bird's eye chillies, and they give this Malay dish its very evident bite. Although it is a hot dish, don't let that put you off. It is also very tasty and would go well with a bowl of coconut rice.

Ikan Panggang
(Grilled Fish)
All over Malaysia and Indonesia, Ikan Panggang is a common and popular dish you will find, particularly in coastal and riverine areas. Good things come in small packets and using banana leaves is an easy way (and environmentally friendly) for the locals to wrap their fish and grill it. Using banana leaves, which you can find frozen at Asian grocers, semi-steams the fish and retains all the juices. It also allows you to add things to the package, like sauces, and not have them dripping all over your barbeque.

Lemak Udang Nanas
(Prawns in Coconut Milk with Pineapple)
Marcia of the Restoran Bibik Neo in Melaka (Malacca) served me this dish. This is a wet, creamy and fairly mild curry. I was told that Nonyas traditionally chop and blend their food finely and generally cook slowly on lower heat than the Chinese. The low heat is particularly important when dealing with coconut milk which one must never let curdle from over boiling.

Malayalam Fish Sothi
The Malayalam people hail from the South Western Indian State of Kerala. Kerala is a multicultural area that is as much rich in spices as it is in diverse religions and cultures. Fish Sothi is one of the classic Malayalam curries made all the richer by the addition of coconut milk, commonly found throughout Southern India. This is a mild curry but you can spice it up if you like it hotter.

Black Pepper Prawns
A delicious dish that represents both modern Malaysia and Singapore and includes influences from the Indians, Chinese and even the Europeans - butter! This is a dish to wake up your taste buds. You can also make this dish with chicken, pork, crab or squid instead of prawns.

Black Pepper Squid
A delicious dish that represents both modern Malaysia and Singapore and includes influences from the Indians, Chinese and even the Europeans – butter!  This is a dish to wake up your taste buds.

Butter Prawns
Butter Prawns are considered a modern creation which reflects both Malaysia and Singapore’s cultural diversity.  The contributions of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Western ingredients combine to make this dish a real winner.  The buttery dominance of grated coconut is accented by a hint of fiery chilli and the distinct flavour of curry leaves.

Pepper Prawns
A simple South Indian Seafood dish that is quick and easy to prepare.

Portugese Sambal Prawns
This Chilli Prawn recipe hails from Jennie Santa Maria, the cook at the Restoran San Pedro, one of the original Portuguese restaurants behind Portugal Square, in Melaka (Malacca).

Sambal Assam Prawns
(Prawns in Tamarind and Chilli)
My wife's old school friend, Carol Lee, of Kuala Lumpur, is typical of the ethnic mix of many modern Malaysian Chinese. Carol is a mix of Teochew and Hokkien, while her auntie in Melaka (Malacca) is Peranakan; a Nonya. Carol cooked us this lovely traditional Prawn Sambal which with the addition of the Assam (Tamarind) gives it that slight tartness typical of Nonya cuisine.

Sambal Goreng Udang
(Nyonya Fried Prawn Sambal) - Creamy, a touch tart, but not too hot! A delicious dish

Singapore East Coast Chilli Crabs
On many of my numerous trips to Singapore, I would often go out with family and friends in search of great seafood, and in particular, Chilli Crab, one of the classic dishes of Singapore. There are two popular areas to go in Singapore for Chilli Crab: Pongol in the north of the island and the East Coast. Both are areas where you can enjoy good food in the outdoors. This is a delicious version of East Coast Chilli Crab. It is sweet and zesty and a real crowd pleaser. It is also not as difficult to make as it may look. Once you have assembled all the ingredients it is very quick and should be served right away. Make sure you use fresh crab versus frozen to enjoy this dish at its very best. You can serve with French Bread to soak up all the sauce.


RICE, NOODLES & BREADS

Char Kway Teow - Johore Hawker Style
(Chinese Hawker Style Fried Fresh Rice-Flour Noodles)
This is a recipe I obtained while watching a "Hawker" near my mother-in-law's house in the suburbs of Johore Bahru, Malaysia. This recipe uses no prawns, chives or sugar as is commonly used by many other "Hawkers", however it is quite traditional in other respects, particularly using cockles and lard to cook in. You can substitute prawns for cockles and add some Chinese chives if you want vegetables or more colour. Vegetable oil can be substituted for lard.

Fried Mee Siam
(Fried Siamese Noodles)
This dish originated in the north of Malaysia where the culinary influences of Thailand (formerly Siam) sometimes fuse with Malaysian food. This dish is popular in Penang, culinary capital of Northern Malaysia. It is simple to prepare and can be served hot or at room temperature. This recipe was provided by Carol Ko of the Rasa Singapura Restaurant in the Richmond Public Market (a suburb of Vancouver, BC).

Ketupat
(Pressed Rice Cakes)
This is basically the starchy carbohydrate to accompany and complete your meal of satay with peanut sauce. It is very different in texture to just having steamed rice, and well worth the effort to make it. Perfect for a summer barbeque outdoors. Ketupat is also served with cubed pieces of red onion and cucumber to dip in the peanut sauce and accent the flavour of the satay.

Laksa Lemak
(Spicy Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)
This is a classic! Carol Ko of the Rasa Singapura Restaurant in the Richmond Public Market has contributed this "party size" recipe. It makes 10 to 15 portions, so reduce appropriately if you want a small batch. Carol's Laksa is so good that we are willing to travel over 40 minutes just to eat it. My wife makes great Laksa as well but it is a lot of work and more of a week-end project. The flavours of this soup are true to the type of Laksa that you find in Singapore and Southern Malaysia which are coconut based curry soups versus the clear tamarind sourish Laksa you find in Penang, in Northern Malaysia. The flavour is creamy yet spicy with the hint of fresh herbs such as lemon grass and laksa leaves. I personally order or make it with a mix of yellow mee (noodles) and lei fun (white laksa noodles) but anyway you eat it, it's great.

Spicy Steve's Singaporean Mee Goreng
This is a classic dish of Malaysia and Singapore and although its origins are distinctly Indian, it has evolved with the influences of other cultures as well. Many variations exist however, this recipe is quite faithful to the typical dish you would taste prepared by an Indian Mamak in the Hawker Stalls of Singapore.

Vegetable Biryani
This was a real winner with our camera crew as they were being introduced to spicy food during the first shoot. It is mild, but very aromatic in its flavours. Biryanis are great on their own for the vegetarian or an excellent accompaniment to a spicy meat curry. This is a dish that mixes well, even with other cuisines. Feel free the alternate the spices or the vegetables to create your own unique version. You can even add meat and turn it into a "one pot wonder" for a complete meal!


VEGETABLES

Avial
(South Indian Vegetables with Yoghurt) - A smooth tasting vegetarian dish.

Cheater's Sambar
(Lentil and Vegetable Curry)
While the classic Sambar recipe has a teaspoon or two of Sambar Masala - a classic South Indian spice mixture - this is the lazy man's version of this delicious dish from the South West of India. Classic Sambar can be a thick curried stew filled with vegetables, a meal to itself, or made runny in a soup or dhal version spooned over rice or served as a side dish. If you have Sambar Masala, add a teaspoon or two to this recipe, if not, this is still a winner. A great meal for a cold night.

Cold Tofu with Oyster and Soy Sauce
Another of my wife's specialties. Simple, light and refreshing. Don't let tofu scare you off as this dish will convert you. Served cold, it's a great summer time dish. I think this dish is best if you fry your own shallots rather than use packaged ones. After you have crisped up the shallots, pour them with the bit of hot boil they were cooked in over the tofu. Delicious!!

Cucumber and Pineapple Kerabu
(Cucumber and Pineapple Salad)
Another great light and refreshing kerabu (Salad) that offers the contrasts in flavour between the cucumber, onion and pineapple, with lime and a hint of chilli thrown in to liven things up. Try alternating ingredients to create your own kerabu.

 Mango Kerabu
(Spicy Sweet Mango Salad)
This is an incredible salad that will excite your tastebuds. Make sure you make it with really ripe sweet mangoes. The sweetness combined with the tinge of chilli and the fragrant corriander leaves (cilantro) is a taste to die for. It's pure heaven. Kerabus are very simple salads made in Malaysia and Singapore which can include both fruit and vegetables to create a medley of taste sensations. That spicy addition of chilli and sometimes fresh herbs is what makes them so unique.

Raita
(Indian Cucumber Salad)
Probably the most famous Indian salad known in the west, Raita can be used as salad in its own right, or as a condiment with hot curries to provide a cooling balance. This is also a very healthy and rich creamy recipe that is certain to please lovers of cucumbers.

Vegetable Biryani
This was a real winner with our camera crew as they were being introduced to spicy food during the first shoot. It is mild, but very aromatic in its flavours. Biryanis are great on their own for the vegetarian or an excellent accompaniment to a spicy meat curry. This is a dish that mixes well, even with other cuisines. Feel free the alternate the spices or the vegetables to create your own unique version. You can even add meat and turn it into a "one pot wonder" for a complete meal!


DESSERTS & DRINKS

Lassi
(A Fruit Yoghurt Drink) - Quick and Easy.