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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sweet and sour fish


* 1 large fish such as lapu-lapu or tilapia

* 1 large onion, sliced

* 1 each of red and green bell pepper, julienned

* 4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons ginger, julienned

1 cup vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

3 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon MSG or vetsin

1 cup cooking oil

* 1 carrot, sliced (optional only)

1. Clean the fish and rub with salt and vetsin.
2. In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the fish until golden brown.
3. Place the fish in a serving dish and set aside.
4. Remove the used oil from the pan and put in about 1 tablespoon of fresh oil.
5. Saute the garlic, ginger, and onion.
6. Add the bell peppers and saute until half-cooked.
7. Put this mixture on top of the fish in the serving dish.
8. Return the pan to the heat and put the vinegar, salt and sugar.
9. Bring to a boil and thicken with the dissolved cornstarch.
10. Pour this sauce over the fish and serve immediately.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Plus-sized murtabak draws the crowd

KOTA BARU: A stall selling its very own king-sized murtabak – aptly named the “Royal Murtabak” – has been the focus of many during the fasting month here.

A long line of people is seen crowding the stall hours before the breaking of fast every day to buy the plus-sized delicacies.

Hawker Nik Faizah Nik Ab Rahman, 53, has been making and selling the extra big murtabak since 1995.

“I learned how to make murtabak from my mother who named it the Royal Murtabak,” she said.

Her mother had named the delicacy – dough wrapped in meat – the Royal Murtabak in the 1970s after the then Sultan of Kelantan Al-Marhum Tuanku Yahya Petra suggested it to her when dining at her stall.

Nik Faizah, who has three children, began learning the art of making the jumbo-sized murtabak at the age of 15.

Later, she took over her mother’s stall along Jalan Merbau here and made it a speciality for those breaking fast.

Sold at RM11 per piece, the response is so good, thanks to the double chunks of pastry and meat, rolled in with eggs, a secret recipe of spices, and a large serving of onions which her customers love.

Nik Faizah said that during the non-fasting period, she sells about 80 pieces daily but once Ramadan begins, sale of the delicacy would increase to 300 pieces daily.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Malaysian Chicken Curry with Roti Canai

I came across the Chicken Curry Recipe on Seasaltwithfood, another talented cook from Malaysia. I always like the drier version of Malaysian chicken curry. Without hesitation, I printed the recipe and made this curry for dinner.

Malaysian Curry Chicken Recipe


2 Chicken Breast (about 650 to 700 g) Bone In, cut into smaller pieces
4 Medium Yellow Wax Potatoes
6 Large Eggs, boiled
60 g Chicken Curry Powder
10 g Chili Powder
2 Sprigs Fresh Curry Leaves
1 Medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 Can (400 ml) Coconut Milk
1 1/2 Cup Water
5 Tbsp Of Peanut Oil
Salt To Taste



  1. Cut the chicken into smaller pieces and marinate with 1 Tbsp of curry powder.
  2. Marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  3. Boil the eggs, cool and shelled.
  4. Then boil the potatoes until they are cooked but still firm. Peel and quarter.
  5. In a heavy pot, heat the oil and add the chopped yellow onion, together with the curry leaves. Cook until the onions are lightly brown.
  6. Add the curry and chili powder. Cook until they are fragrant.
  7. Mix in the marinated chicken and cook for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked.
  8. Add the coconut milk with 1 1/2 cups of water.
  9. Bring the curry sauce to a boil and then lower the heat and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes.
  10. Then, add the eggs and potatoes and cook further, for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Season the curry with sea salt and serve warm or at room temperature.

The curry turned out to be marvelous. I have to warn you that the 10g of chili powder is a killer. If you can't take the heat, I strongly advise you to reduce it by half or omit it.

You should also use the Malaysian curry powder available from Asian grocery stores (not the kind from the supermarket shelf) as it uses a different blend of spices and gives you the distinct taste.

I serve it with Roti Canai (it's called Roti Paratha in Singapore) which is a type of flat bread found in Malaysia, often sold in Mamak stalls (Food stalls own by Indian Muslims). Most of us don't have the skill to make Roti Canai. We usually purchase the frozen packets (I use Kawan brand) from Asian grocery stores and pan fry them.

If you wish to take up the challenge to make Roti Canai at home. Here is the link to the recipe and video on how to make Roti Canai:

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Curry laksa

Laksa is almost everywhere available. Basically there are two types of laksa: curry laksa (curry mee) and assam laksa. The curry laksa is served in a coconut curry soup while assam laksa refers to noodles served in a sour fish soup. The noodles used are thick though thin noodles (bee hoon) are used too.

Spicy or not? Laksa for sure is one of the more spicy dishes you will find in Malaysia. In general of all Malaysian food, I found the Malay laksa spicier then the Chinese laksa. The assam laksa, with it's sour fish has a distinct different taste then anything else with the exception maybe of the Tom Yam soups you find in Malaysia and Thailand. Curry Mee is usually less spicy though you may have to ask for no sambal if you don't like it too spicy.

Curry laksa or curry mee

Curry laksa, or simply laksa in Malaysian food is a coconut based curry soup. Ingredients usually include tofu, fish, prawn and cockles. In Malaysia some hawkers sell chicken laksa, leaving the prawns. Laksa is usually spice also because it is served with sambal chili paste.

This kind of laksa is also known as curry mee in Penang while in other states people know it as curry laksa. The real difference is the kind of noodles used, thick white noodles in laksa mee while in curry mee they use the yellow noodles. Curry mee is one of my more favorite mee dishes and Mee Gerai Tzien Fatt in Sitiawan serves some of the very best curry mee in the surrounding of Pangkor and Lumut.

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