Malay cuisine has a range of flavours spicy, sharp, sweet and sour created through use of spices and herbs like lemon grass, ginger, tamarind, lime and coconut milk. The flavours differ in each locality Kelantarim cuisine for example has a sweetish taste due to liberal use of coconut milk and sugar in cooking. Kedah's cuisine is spicier the influence of Indians who arrived here during the spice trade centuries ago. Negeri Sembilan's cuisine is robust due to the influence of its Sumatran settlers centuries ago.Some popular Malay dishes are:

For the following we thank the great website "Malaysian Food" at  where you also find a 
very useful GLOSSARY:

We have put their list in the abc and complemented it with a few more dishes:


What are Malay Dishes?

Ayam Masak Merah : Red-Cooked Chicken - is similar to the Italian famous dish Chicken Cacciatore except for it spicy hotness. Pieces of chicken are first pan-fried to a golden brown then slowly simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. This popular Malay dish is especially scrumptious with nasi tomato [tomato rice].

Beef Rendang : Malay Spiced Coconut Beef - This hot, dry spiced dish of tenderly simmered meat offers the typical Malaysian taste of coconut, balanced with robust, tangy spices. Rendang is a must-have on special occasions such as weddings, ideally served with nasi kunyit [turmeric rice]. During Ramadan & Eid, the Malay New Year, Rendang is sure to take center stage on bountiful tables of feast in homes everywhere. During this festive season, a special rice cake called Lemang is made to eat with Rendang. Lemang is made from glutinous rice and santan [coconut milk], carefully packed into bamboo poles lined with banana leaves and cooked in the traditionally way over low open fires.

Ikan Bakar : BBQ Fish - or Ikan Panggang is a general term meaning grilled or barbecued fish. A popular local fish for grilling is Ikan Kembong [chubb mackerel, also called Indian mackerel]. The fish, kept whole is marinated in spices, coconut milk, and sometimes stuffed with sambal, then wrapped in fresh banana leaves and grilled over hot charcoals.

Ikan Pari Bakar : BBQ Stingray or Skate Wings - A popular method of cooking stingray or skate wings is by barbequing. The wings are marinated in spices then wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over hot charcoals. A spicy sambal sauce with fresh shallots is served with it.

Laksa : Noodles in Tangy Fish Soup - Thick rice noodles are served in a tangy fish soup/gravy. Not at all fishy, the soupy gravy is made with mackerel and lots of aromatic herbs. Fresh garnishing of shredded cucumber, lettuce, pineapple, onion and fragrant mint leaves finishes the dish. In general the term Laksa refers to Malay style laksa, sometimes called Malay Laksa. There are slight variations in different parts of the country. The key ingredient is tamarind, used as a souring agent, giving it a tart tangy taste. This version of laksa from the 'hawker food capital' - Penang, is especially famous and well known as Penang Laksa or Penang Assam Laksa.

Lontong : vegetables cooked in coconut milk and served with rice cakes and sambal.

Malaysian Chicken Curry : or Kari Ayam in Malay, is a typical chicken curry cooked in almost all Malaysian homes. This basic recipe uses a Made in Malaysia Meat Curry Powder. It has just the right blend of spices for an authentic 'Malaysian-tasting' curry! Some ingredients may vary - Malay homes might add serai [lemongrass], lengkuas [galangal], kunyit [fresh turmeric root] or assam jawa [tamarind].

Malaysian Fish Curry : is a typical fish curry cooked in almost all Malaysian homes. This basic recipe uses a Made in Malaysia Fish Curry Powder. It has just the right blend of spices for an authentic 'Malaysian-tasting' fish curry! Some ingredients vary - Malay homes might cook with lengkuas [galangal], assam gelugor [tamarind skins], cili padi [Thai Bird chilies], serai [lemongrass], assam jawa [tamarind] and belacan [also spelt belachan or blacan] a dried shrimp paste.

Mee Goreng : fried noodles with bean sprouts, eggs, prawns.

Mee Jawa : Indonesian style Noodles - is a popular Malay noodle dish influenced by the Indonesian island of Java. The soupy gravy is made from fresh prawns and ladled over yellow egg noodles [chow mein]. Slices of potato, tofu [soy bean cake], egg, vegetables and shrimp garnishes the dish.

Nasi Dagang : originated in the cast coast state Terengganu and Kelantan. Fragrant unpolished glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and served with tunafish curry.

Nasi Goreng: fried rice with prawns, chicken, eggs, mixed vegetables.

Nasi Kerabu : herbal rice served with fried fish

Nasi Lemak : Coconut-flavored Rice Meal - is rice cooked in coconut milk made aromatic with pandan leaves [screwpine leaves]. It is typically served with Sambal Ikan Bilis - fried dried anchovies cooked in a dry sambal sauce, and garnished with cucumber slices, hard boiled egg and roasted peanuts. Traditionally packaged in a banana leaf, it is usually eaten as hearty breakfast fare.

Nasi Padang : rice with curried meat, fish and vegetables.

Otak Otak : Malay Fish Mousse - fresh fish fillets are blended with light spices, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and other aromatic herbs, into a sort of fish mousse. The fish mousse is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or grilled. It makes an exotic appetizer or cocktail party bite!

Roti Canai : Indian Pastry Pancake - Indian in origin, this rich and flaky pastry pancake has now come to be known as a favorite Malaysian 'appetizer' in Malaysian eateries all over the globe. Roti Canai [also called Roti Prata] is served with a side of curry for dipping, usually a Malaysian Chicken Curry.

Roti Jala : 'Net' Bread or Crepe - is a net-like or lacy type of crepe made from a flour batter. A special cup or mould with small holes, is used to form a lacy crepe cooked on a hot griddle. Roti Jala, an alternative to rice, is an ideal accompaniment to curries such as Malaysian Chicken Curry, Mutton Kurma, Chicken Kapitan, Lamb Cashew Korma [also spelt Korma].

Sambal Sotong : Spicy Squid - fresh squid [calamari] are cooked in a classic Malay sauce; a spicy robust sauce made with chilies, shallots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and belacan [also spelt belachan or blacan], a dried shrimp paste. Sambal Sotong is also a popular accompaniment to the country's un-official national dish - Nasi Lemak.

Sambal Udang : Spicy Prawns - whole prawns or shrimp are cooked in a classic Malay sauce; a spicy robust sauce made with chilies, shallots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and belacan [also spelt belachan or blacan], a dried shrimp paste paste. Sambal Udang is the perfect accompaniment to the country's un-official national dish - Nasi Lemak.

Satay : BBQ Sticks - This famous meat-on-a-stick appears on menus from New York to Amsterdam. The secret of tender, succulent satay is, of course, in the rich, spicy-sweet marinade. The marinated meat; chicken or beef, are skewered onto bamboo sticks and grilled over hot charcoals. Some satay stalls also serve venison and rabbit satay. A fresh salad of cucumbers & onions are served together with a spicy-sweet peanut sauce for dipping. Ketupat, a Malay rice cake similar to Lontong, is also an accompaniment to satay, great for dipping in satay sauce. Dee'lish!!

Sayur Lodeh : Coconut Vegetable Stew - Sayur Lodeh means a variety of vegetables in coconut gravy. Vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, green beans and cauliflower, are stewed in a lightly spiced coconut broth. For a complete and hearty meal, the vegetable stew is served with a Malay rice cake called nasi impit more familiarly known as Lontong. A great vegetarian dish!

Sup Kambing : Mutton Soup - mutton bones, shanks or ribs are slow simmered with aromatic herbs and spices. Garnished with fried shallots and fresh cilantro, it is a hearty meal served with steamed rice. This flavorful soup - surprisingly earthy, satisfyingly meaty, elegant and subtle - will forever change the way you view soup. Oxtails are perfect in this recipe to make Sup Ekor, also called Sup Buntut [Oxtail Soup].

Telur Belada : 'Chili-ed' Eggs - an 'egg-cellent' recipe for those days when all you've left in the fridge are eggs.. Hard-boil those eggs, 'chili' them up with sambal, kick it up a notch with a touch of belacan; serve with steamed rice and you've got yourself a meal!

Ulam : raw herbs and plants taken with main meals, served with sambal belachan (prawn paste).


What are Malay Desserts?

Kuih Talam : Steamed Coconut Pudding - this 2 layered pudding made of rice flour, sago flour and coconut milk is cooked by steaming. Pandan [screwpine] leaves lends essence and the green color to one layer. A white coconut layer goes on top. A not too sweet and light dessert!

Onde Onde : Coconut Poppers - small round balls made from glutinous rice flour with pandan [screwpine] leaves essence, filled with palm sugar and rolled in fresh grated coconut. A delight to eat as it pops in your mouth with a sweet sensation of oozing palm syrup!

Pulut Hitam : Black Rice Pudding - a rice pudding made from black glutinous rice sweetened with brown palm sugar. A surrey of creamy coconut milk is swirled over the rice pudding before it is served.

Pulut Inti : Glutinous Rice with Coconut Topping - a kind of 'dry' rice pudding made from glutinous rice & coconut milk. It is cooked by steaming. The dessert rice is topped with fresh grated coconut sweetened with palm sugar. It is traditionally wrapped in banana leaves folded into a pyramid shape.


C-Right 2014 by and Langkawi Gazette


Nasi Lemak LangkawiNasi Lemak, Our National Dish

Does Malaysia have a national dish? No authority or national agency has yet come forward to set things in stone, but by default, that honour would have to go to nasi lemak. Simply rice cooked in coconut milk (knotted pandanus leaves and even ginger or a stalk of lemon grass may be tossed into the pot to add fragrance), imparting a creamy texture to the grains, nasi lemak is available on almost every street corner and in almost every local-themed restaurant, served with everything from chicken to beef to cuttlefish. It can be eaten at any time - breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, tea, dinner, supper, post-boozeup - and the mingling of flavours and textures (creamy, hot & spicy, crunchy, nutty, etc) makes it simply - sheer ambrosia.

Nasi Goreng Kampung

Fried rice with dried anchovies and traditional condiments

About this dish: Nasi Goreng Kampung is a traditional, village style fried rice, usually very spicy. Any extra sambal paste can be kept in the fridge up to one month. You can also use the sambal for fried egg noodles or fried vermicelli.

Tip from the chef. Cook the rice for this particular dish the night before. The rice will be fluffier in texture.

Remark: Chilli padi are small green or red chilli also known as bird's eye chilli. It is very spicy. Use it sparingly if you are not used to spicy food.

Preparation time: 40 minutes.
Actual cooking time: 5 minutes.


Mee Goreng Mamak

This is the most popular version of the fried yellow egg noodles. The Chinese and Malays also have their own versions. Mee mamak noodles are fried in a dark soy sauce. Ingredients include shrimp paste, chicken, egg and crushed peanuts. It is served with several halves of mini lime which should be squeezed generously over your noodles.

Stir fried egg noodles with prawn, chilli, vegetable on fritters, potatoes and bean curd.

Preparation time: 90 minutes.
Actual cooking time: 10 minutes

Laksa Johor

South Malaysia favourite fish gravy noodles with shredded julienne of cucumber, bean sprouts, bitter and lime leaves accompanied with spiced prawn paste sauce.

About this dish: Laksa`s are spicy, fragrant soups popular in South East Asia. There are many different versions. This one is not too spicy and is unique to Malaysia. Johor is the name of Malaysia's southernmost state.

Tip from the chef: This dish can also be cooked with normal spaghetti instead (but not al dente cooked).

Remark: Laksa noodles are made out of rice flour and can be bought in any special Malaysian food stores. Unfortunately the three types of leaves are only available in South East Asia.

Preparation time: 120 minutes.
Actual cooking time: 20 minutes.