Malay Dishes

“The Culinary Prowess and expertise of our Malay Ancestors; and the Types of Food they brought along with them from their Motherland”.

Compiled & Created by Noor Rahim
21 June 2014

Dear Readers,
This article is written with you in mind and for purposes of record and the enlightening of the present generation of Young Malays of Sri Lanka; and furthermore for the generations to come.
We should indeed be proud of the culinary dishes that our ancestors brought down with them over the past three centuries ago.
Most of these indigenous dishes of ours have been adopted by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka. The original names have been replaced with the equivalent languages of the other ethnic groups and in time I feared that we, as Malays, would forget the wonderful culinary artistry of our ancestors; and stand the risk of being forgotten with time and forever. Hence it is hoped that not only you, as Malays, should taste these wonderful dishes; but also call it by the “Malay” names that our ancestors used. This is just a very small step towards preserving our Language (Bahasa Ibu) & a giant step in being proud of the culinary expertise and foods of our ancestors.
Some of the “dishes”, most of the recipes and all the pictures depicted in this article have been taken from the Website. The aim is to rekindle your memory of the food that has been placed on the dining table with the names in the original Malay script; as we also have our own localized Malay names for these dishes. Hence go ahead and compare these names according to what your Elders called these dishes in Sri Lanka. You are urged to replace the names of the “dishes” for which we use words from other languages and start using words in our “Bahasa Ibu”. Hopefully you will be able to connect.
Where ever possible we have included simple recipes with the local names of the “dishes” as commonly known and as submitted by contributors to this article. These recipes are only guidelines to give the reader a basic understanding of the food described. Readers can further access various recipes through the media, website and books on culinary; which are readily available.

Valuable contributions (information) have been made to this all important article by the following persons:

G. Leeza Falaldeen
Nilam Hallaldeen
Shehara Lye
Geoffrey Meedin
Dilani Suhood Noor
Banthaan Packeer
Gazaan Pallie
Mashood Passela

(Named in alphabetical order)

This article would not have been possible if not for the contributions made by the above persons and for the support given by the “Young Melayu”Facebook site and its Readership. This article is dedicated to the Sri Lanka Malay Community. Any omissions or error that may have accrued in the compilation of this article is regretted.

Compiled & Created by: Noor R. Rahim
June 2014.

Many of our local Malay desserts are derived from sticky or glutinous rice and/or eggs and sweeteners. Ketan is rice pudding cooked in coconut milk and sugar syrup; kueh lapis is a layered pudding of rice flour or mung bean flour. Bubur Santan is rice porridge cooked in palm sugar and coconut milk (BUBUR is the Malay word for Porridge). After cooking, what sticks to the bottom of the pot is brown, crunchy, and sticky – and makes a snack which is loved by children and “the young at heart”. We often use the word “congee” for porridge which is Chinese. Tamils call it “kunji” and the Sinhalese “Kandha”.

SERIKAYA also called SERIKAYA TELOR (Steamed egg & coconut milk pudding). 

No festivity in a Malay home is complete without the serving of serikaya at the end of a meal. Serikaya was also at times accompanied with a “kolikuttu” banana.
This Malay delicacy is a household name and a renowned dessert, which is famous among the Sri Lankan populace; restaurants & hotels – be it a small boutique or 5 Star Hotel. It is called Wattalappam by the Tamils and Wattallappang by the Sinhalese. The menu sheet will have it as “Wattalappam”.

The basic recipe is as follows:

10 eggs with the white and yolk well beaten;
500 grams of Juggery (Gula Aren a.k.a Gularing. In the Western countries they are sold as Gula Jawa or Gula Malacca) cut & ground finely;
1 teaspoon of vanilla;
Cardamon and cinnamon (Kayu Manis) for flavor;
1 cup of thick coconut milk;
Cashew nuts may be used in the mix.
All the above are mixed/stirred thoroughly and steamed until it reaches the required consistency; and served with raisin and cashew nuts as garnishing.
Serikaya Telor (Steamed Egg and Coconut Milk Pudding)
Another recipe for Serikaya:
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup water
8 large eggs, beaten lightly
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
4 cups coconut milk (canned is acceptable)
Cook the granulated and brown sugar in water over low heat for 3 minutes, or until the sugars are completely dissolved and form a syrup; let the syrup cool.
Whisk in the eggs, salt, vanilla, and coconut milk.
Pour the mixture into a 2-quart heat-proof dish and steam over hot water for 15 minutes, or until the pudding is firm.
Serve warm or chilled.


DODOL – Also called dodol by the Sinhalese. The common dodol is prepared by cooking together a mix of rice flour, coconut milk, kitul/palm juggery or treacle and or the addition of brown sugar for sweetening; cardamoms to which cashew nuts are added at a later stage. The mix being constantly stirred until it cooks to form a soft, oily, dark-brownish sweetmeat. The cooked mix is then laid out on a flat board to cool; and then cut to portions of desired size.

DODOL LINYE or NIMMAK - which is a serving of the dodol whilst it is still in the liquid state (the brown stage, soft and like custard) and before it becomes hardened. That was a favourite part of the dodol when it is half done; you pour thick coconut milk and eat it with a spoon like a pudding. The serving had to be eaten when still hot or warm. In Malay countries it was called “NI'MAT” meaning delicacy. MENI'MATIKAN means to taste/to enjoy.
A soft pudding which was also called “Sauh Dodol”; depending on the consistency of the mixture and the cooking. The watery version of Kueh Segu (mixed with coconut milk, gula aren and cardomons) was called Conjee Segu (called Segu Conjee by Malays in Sri Lanka). KUEH is also spelled as KUE.
SAUH DODOL – Dodol made with the inclusion of the segu or sawo seeds. This is a softer type of dodol and much lighter in colour than the dodol described above.

120 g of instant coconut powder or its equivalent in fresh coconut milk
12 Pine screws
½ teaspoon of salt
1 table spoon of sugar
285 g pearl sago (small tapioca pearls)

Soak pearl sago for 5 minutes.  Drain well in colander.  Bring 625 ml water to boil in a saucepan.  Lower heat, and pour in the pearl sago, stirring as you pour.  Keep stirring until sago turns transparent.  Drain with a strainer and leave to stand under running tap for 3 minutes.  Drain excess water and pour sago into a bowl.  Add in ingredients B and stir well.  Scoop into a well rinsed jelly mould to set.  Chill in refrigerator or simply let it cool on its own.


These are Oil Cakes. There were two types. One with the “konde”; and the other made “flat”. Oil CAKES are called “Kavun” by the Sinhalese and “Panniyaram” by the Tamils. The ingredients for the two types are different.


There is also cucur kacang which is similar to the mung ata Kavun by the Sinhalese and is prepared by cooking together rice flour, ground green gram, kitul treacle and crushed cardamoms after which it is kneaded into a paste, flattened on a board and cut into the desired shape before being coated in a batter of rice flour, coconut milk, egg and turmeric and deep fried. It is then coated in syrup made of sugar, water and desired vanilla or essence.


Deep fried flour batter in a mould and fried in oil. Eaten plain or with honey (Honey is “MADU” in Malay).


A small glutinous cup cake; eaten with coconut scraping. These are prepared by steaming in special moulds (a small cup) a mixture of rice flour, kitul juggery and coconut milk until it turns into a puffed appearance. It is served with grated coconut.
“Kue” means cake, pancake, pastry. In Sri Lanka we used the word “kue” for breakfast. Eg – Sudah makan kue? Have you eaten your breakfast?


There are variety of Dosi preserve dishes made out of “Nanas” (pineapple); Dongdong (ambrella in Sinhalese) and “Mangga” (Mango). These fruits were boiled in sugar syrup; and once it reaches the required consistency was allowed to cool in the cooking utensil or earthen jars and served as a delicacy.


It is a type of rice based cake. Popular among the Sri Lankan and is popularly known by the same name. It is a rich brownish cake made of rice flour, roasted and pounded green gram, scraped coconut, juggery, sugar and sweet cumin. Bibbikkan.


It is similar to the “lavariya” made by the Sinhalese. It is prepared by placing a
mixture of scraped coconut, sago and treacle all boiled together on to the centre of a  stringhopper; after which it is folded into two and steamed on mats similar to the making of stringhoppers.


Also called “Pilus” (In Indonesian) or “Pillos” by our elders.
Pilus is prepared by mashing bananas, flour, sugar and coconut milk together into a paste and frying small quantities of it in coconut oil until it turns brown in colour. These pilus are usually consumed with sugar syrup poured over it. It is a most popular Indonesian snack like the Serikaya. Serve it hot. Some also serve this delicacy with a scoop or two of ice cream.


Serves: 4
155g (1¼ cups) plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
1 egg
40g butter, melted
1 teaspoon rum or imitation rum essence
4 ripe bananas, sliced
500ml (2 cups) oil for frying
Prep: 10min ›  Cook:15min  ›  Ready in:25min
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and vanilla. Make a well in the centre, and pour in milk, egg, melted butter and rum. Mix until smooth.
Fold in banana slices until evenly coated.
Heat oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 190C.
Drop banana mixture by tablespoon into hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove bananas from oil and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.


Known as “Belanga Santan” by Sri Lankan Malays and as “Divul Kiri” by the Sinhalese. It can be partaken as a dessert or a cool drink depending on the consistency (thickness) of the mixture.

Recipe Ingredients:

For Servings 2
2 wood apples
250 g jUggery
thick coconut milk from 1 coconut


1 Open the wood apple and scoop out the inside.
2 Put the inside of the wood apple and all the other ingredients in a grinder.
3 Grind till smooth and serve chilled.


Wajik is a tea time snack. It is a sweet dish and made with glutinous rice. How darker the wajik looks depends on the palm sugar that you use. It is somewhat  similar to Sauh Dodol. Please see picture below.

500gm glutinuous rice (soaked overnight)
750ml coconut milk (from 1/2 or 1 coconut)
1 tsp air kapur sirih(lime water)(use to eat with betel leaf/sirih)
2 screwpine leaves
a pinch of salt

Ingredients (B):
350gm brown sugar/gula melaka/palm sugar/gula aren
150ml water


1. Wash glutinuous rice and soak overnight with 1 tsp lime paste water/air kapur sirih.
2. Then toast and steam with coconut milk, knotted screwpine leaves and salt for 30 minutes or until the milk evaporates.
3. Once cooked take a fork and turn anti-clock wise and loosen the rice.
4. Leave it to cool.
5. Meanwhile, mix brown sugar and water and cook in a pan.
6. For those who are using gula merah sieve it first.
7. Leave the sugar syrup to boil at least 5 minutes
8. Lower the flame and mix in the glutinuous rice and mix it thoroughly.
9. Stir constantly for 3 minutes and close the flame.
10. Pour it into a cake pan and leave it to cool before serving. You can use a banana leaf to flatten the rice in the cake pan.

Note: Chunam is quicklime; slaked lime for smearing on betel leaf and eaten .It is this lime that am referring to as lime water. When the rice is soaked overnight with the air kapur sirih it gives a nice aroma for the glutinous rice. This is an option and can be omitted.

DADAR GULUNG. (Stuffed Pancake Roll)

In Sri Lanka it was called by its Tamil name “surut appam”. It is a mix of grated coconut, gula aren, cinnamon (kayu manis) constantly stirred over a slow fire. The mix then being laid over a pancake and rolled into shape.
2 cups fresh-grated coconut
10 Tbs. grated Java dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken in half
¼ tsp. salt
Mix the grated coconut, grated Java dark brown sugar and granulated sugar, cinnamon and ½ tsp. salt together.
Fry the mixture in a dry pan over medium/low heat, constantly stirred for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mixture is dry.
Remove the cinnamon stick, and set it aside.
1 cup rice flour
½ cup cornstarch
1¾ cups coconut milk
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
3 drops green food coloring (optional)
Vegetable oil
Mix the rice flour, cornstarch, coconut milk, ½ tsp. salt, green food coloring and egg into a smooth batter.
Lightly oil an 8-inch frying pan, and pour 3 tablespoon of the batter into the pan. Make sure the pan is equally covered with the batter so it becomes a thin layer pancake. Fry for one minute, turn the pancake over and fry for another minute. Remove and set aside.
Place 2 Tbs. of the coconut mixture on the near edge of the pancake. Fold over once, then tuck in the left and the right sides and fold over once more. Press gently to distribute the filling evenly. In Sri Lanka we rolled the stuffing without any folds.
Serve at room temperature. Makes 10-12 servings.


I believe " sillare " is a Tamil word. This is a popular sugary tid bit made of small flat pieces of flour batter; fried, dipped in “melted” sugar; and left to cool before serving.
An after lunch/dinner dessert. Basically it is a custard pie made with cornflour,  condensed milk, nuts and raisins (usually Bird's custard powder);and is served with bananas. Garnishing consists of cashew nuts and raisins.
FIRNI can also be made with Semolina (Rulang), condensed milk, rose water, cardamoms and cashew nuts


Kichchadi is a congee (bubur is the correct Malay word) made with green gram (mung beans) and gula aren. Note: congee is Chinese for porridge; but is commonly used term among Malays for porridge.
It is cooked thick and cut into chunks. It is also served in a slightly liquid form too and makes a nice rich nutritious conjee/bubur. The name Kichchadi sounds Tamil.


This porridge had seven ingrediants Segu, Semolina (Rulang), Barley, Green Gram, Umping, Noodles and Raisins. It was boiled with coconut milk and juggery. This porridge was very often seen being sold in the streets of Colombo by street vendors. It is eaten hot. The term “Ealu Kanjee” is a Tamil name meaning “Seven Conjee”.


NASI PUTIH – Boiled plain glutinous rice served steaming hot.
NASI GORENG – Fried rice. Rice cooked in butter or ghee and served with fried egg and vegetable garnishing.

This recipe for Nasi Goreng serves 2.
4 cups cooked rice
1 thinly sliced medium onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 medium eggs
1 tsp shrimp paste or belachan
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
3 Tbsps oil
Salt to taste
Cucumber, tomato and cilantro for garnishing
Prawn crackers (optional)

NASI KEBULI – Rice cooked in ghee with chick-peas. Served with other side dishes.
NASI KUNING – Yellow rice cooked for formal occasions.
NASI KUNYIT – Rice cooked in turmeric.

 Please note the difference between Nasi Kuning and Nasi kunyit. They are virtually the same except that Nasi Kunyit is made entirely from glutinous rice. We in Sri Lanka only made Nasi Kuning with "Muttu Samba" rice. Our elders also made "Mangkuk Nasi" (The Nasi Kuning being compressed into a cup or bowl - MANGKUK. (Changkir is another word for cup, but used for purposes of drinking tea or coffee). We longed to see the surprise embedded in the rice. Usually it was "blachan sambal" and a piece of meat or two or even a fully boiled egg. I don't think Nasi Kunyit was a rice dish made by our folks. In Malaysia I believe they make "Nasi Kunyit" similar to "Kiri Buth". For glutinous rice makes it like "Parchor". Nasi Kuning is a favourite at occasions and festivals. The Sinhalese call (Nasi Kunyit without the kunyit) "Kaha Buth"; and I guess the famous "Lamprais" claimed by the Dutch Burgher is an adaptaion of the "Nasi Kuning" that was of "Indonesian" origin. After all the Dutch came to Sri Lanka from Batavia bringing along our Forefathers to fight besides them and named Nasi Kebuli as “Lamprais”.
 They call it "PULUT PAUH" in Malaysia. It is glutinous rice with coconut milk and ripe mango thrown in. We used to eat it with ripe plantain instead of ripe mango. Also with curries and/or “Katta Sambal” which is our equivalent of “Blachan”.


Nasi Lemak and Nasi Santan are the same.
Nasi lemak rice is quite easy to make. Just normal rice cooked with santan with a little bit of salt. As for flavouring of the nasi lemak, some people put pandan, some use lemon grass; depending on your own preference.



The Malays, especially those of the east consume a variety of appe or hoppers. These include appe santang or milk hoppers prepared by pouring thick coconut milk on to the centre of the hopper which could then be consumed with sugar or treacle, appe tayer or curd hoppers made by adding
curd to the hopper which could then be eaten with sugar or a sambol and appe ayer (air) prepared by adding sliced plantains, chopped cashewnuts, egg, jaggery and sugar to the hopper batter after which it is prepared the usual way by greasing a special semi-circular hopper pan and heating it over a low flame.



A pie is called "PASTEL". Pronounced as "Pas+Thel". We Malays were famous for this delicacy that was made of a thick pastry of flour + eggs + coconut. The stuffing was popularly made of a mixture of small pieces of cooked meat, perut, paru-paru (called tenteng by us Malays), potatoes (UBI or KENTANG), onions (BAWANG) and TERONG, The mixture was wrapped up in the pastry and shaped into a half moon shape and deep fried. Hence my belief is that this is a meat pie and we derived the name "PASTOLE" from the name "PASTEL". Usually only tripe and pieces of meat from Daging Sapi/Samping are used as meat for this delicacy.
It is a short eat that is renowned and prominent among the Malays and the local populace of Sri Lanka.


Called puttu by the Tamils and pittoo by the Sinhalese. I believe the name is derived from the noise that the vendors make off their Puttoo making carts as they vend their way in the streets of Indonesia; to which I was a witness. Originally the ingredients which comprised of steamed wheat or steamed rice flour mixed with coconut kernel scrapings and at times cooked rice was placed in an hollowed out (seasoned) section of “bamboo” and steamed until ready for serving. The puttoo was eaten with coconut milk and various combinations of curries and chutneys/sambals. It was also eaten with sugar and ripe bananas by those with a sweet tooth.


Synonymous with Puttoo. (Babath means cleaned and Perut means stomach– often mistaken for stomach & intestines by our local Malays. (Tripe as it is called locally in the market). The word for intestines is “USUS”. No puttoo dish was complete without a plate of Babath Perut. It is a traditional food combination; and is popularly sought after savory dish by Sri Lankans.


Refers to all types of fried meats.
DAGING CUKA – A Meat stew. Also called “Bistake” by some.

Basic recipe:
First boil beef with vinegar salt and pepper till it is soft. Then add Padang leaves, sliced Bombay onions, sliced green peppers and mix well while stirring. Cooked like a normal curry. Once cooked, it is a moist type of curry with very little or no gravy.

Fried dried meat. We also have a delicacy in fried lungs which we called “Tenteng goreng”. The Malay word for Lung is “Paru Paru”. We believe it is called Tenteng Goreng to keep in line with Dendeng Goreng. In most instances the Paru Paru is cut into thin slices and dried prior to frying – the same way meat is sliced into thin strips; marinated and dried prior to frying; to make Dendeng Goreng.

A shrimp paste.
Ingredients :
1 cup dried shrimp powder
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
3 teaspoons chili powder
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2/3 cup lemon juice
Salt to taste
 Method :
Heat up a dry frying pan and fry the shrimp powder for a few minutes, stirring frequently. Do not overcook. Remove and set aside on a large plate. Using the same pan, heat the desiccated coconut, stirring well until reaching a rich brown colour. Remove and place on a plate to cool. With a food processor, blend the remaining ingredients until a smooth paste. Add the shrimp powder and desiccated coconut, cover and blend again. If necessary, add a little water in the blender.  Turn on to a plate and shape with your hand to make a round, flat cake. Serve with white rice and curries.

A world wide established and renowned dish. It can be Satay KAMBING; Satay AYAM or Satay SAPI/SAMPING. (SAPI is a commonly used word for SAMPING in the Malay World). In Sri Lanka our Elders cooked Satay as “Satay Kiring” or “Satay Masak”. The recipe is the same except one is Barbecued in skewers over a flame and the other is cooked in a pan. This Indonesian snack is usually served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce.

2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons teriyaki marinade, and sauce
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch thick strips

1.    Heat grill.
2.    In small bowl, combine all ingredients except chicken; mix until smooth.
3.    Loosely thread chicken strips onto four 12 inch skewers.
4.    When ready to grill, place chicken on grill over medium heat.
5.    Brush chicken with peanut butter mixture.
6.    Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center, turning once           and brushing with peanut butter mixture.

Ingredients : Serves 6
500 g (1lb) Rump steak
1                  Lemon rind
1                  Medium onion, roughly chopped
2                  Light soy sauce
1 - 2 tbs     Oil (or more if necessary)
1 - 2 tbs        Ground coriander
2 tsp           Ground cumin seed
1 tsp           Ground turmeric
1 tsp           Ground cinnamon (Kayu Manis)
!/4 tsp        Salt
1 tsp           Sugar
2 tbs           Roasted Peanuts


Cut the beef or meat into small cubes as desired
Put lemon rind, onions and 1 tablespoon of oil in the electric blender and blend until you get a smooth paste
Add the remaining ingredients and blend further for a few more seconds longer; adding remaining tablespoon of oil into the mixture
Pour the mix (marinade) over the meat, mix thoroughly and leave it for at least 1 hour
Thread the marinated meat, about 6 pieces to a skewer
Grill over glowing coals or under a preheated griller just until meat is cooked
Serve with peanut sauce, ⦁ nasi⦁ lemak and a salad or if liked serve a satay gravy instead of the peanut sauce

       CAR MELAYU.

A Malay Pickle which is sought after by the local populace and well known for its distinctive flavour. Usually accompanies a meal of rice. There is also a sweet and sour version; which includes pieces of pineapple, mango and olives (Veralu) which is a standalone delicacy.


Nasi Padang, named after its birth city in Sumatra, is 100 percent Indonesian. One could choose from among more than a dozen dishes side dishes. E.g. curries with floating fish heads or rubbery cow’s feet or brain or vegetable dishes. etc.


Gulai is the common name for curry dishes, namely those from north Sumatra. We in Sri Lanka called it “KUAH” which in reality is only the gravy portion of the curry (be it a vegetable, fish or beef curry). Indonesian curries have regional variations that depend on the types of meat and fish available -- though gulai almost always incorporates cinnamon. Opor and rendang can be considered gulais, there are other options too to cater to one’s own culinary delights and liking.

SOP BUNTUT. (Ox Tail Soup)

“SOP” is the word used for soup, in Malay. It is also called “SOTO”.
Oxtail soup is loved by Indonesians from all classes. Usually comes complete with steamed rice, pickles, lime and sambal to comprise a full meal.


This is a very strong soup with a yellow broth full of celery, tomato, and great chunks of goat meat. Ginger, lime leaf, candlenut and spring onion give it peppery smell that adds to its refreshingly earthy flavor.

Sop Kaki Kambing. (Goat Feet Soup)


1-kilogram goat leg or feet or shank pieces*
3-liter water
Spices to be ground:
1 medium onion
1 shallot
3 cloves garlic
3-centimeter (1-inch) ginger, scrapped
Other Spices:
1/2 nutmeg, grated
5 green cardamom pods
5 cloves
5-centimeters (2-inches) long cinnamon stick
1/4 ground white pepper
1 tablespoon ghee (minyak samin)
400 milliliter evaporated milk or a mix of 200 milliliter 33% cream and 200 milliliter of water
Salt as required.

Sop Kaki Sapi.

I’m sure one will remember how we used to yearn for the bone; so that we could scoop out the delicious “SUNGSUM” (marrow from the marrow bone). We used to call it “Song-Song”.


2 kg beef shank, cut as desired
8 big size potatoes, peeled, cleaned, cubed
6 carrots, peeled, clean, ring sliced (as desired)
5 cherry tomatoes, cubed
Vegetable oil for sautéing
Water as need (for boiling)
Salt, pepper and sugar as needed

2 medium sized onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, bruised
4 knucklebones ginger, bruised
30 cloves (can be reduced - it became 30 due to my mistake in reading the recipe)
Fried red onion (bawang goreng)
Sliced green onion
Sambel cabe rawit

1. Boil beef shank using pressure cooker for 25 minutes. Sift the broth and set aside.
2. Re-boil beef shank (using the broth) together with potatoes and carrots over moderate heat.
3. Heat oil in a skillet. Sauté all spices until fragrant and wilted, then add into the boiling beef. Season it with salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well and continue cooking over small heat until set.
4. Adjust the taste, add salt, pepper and sugar when needed. Remove from the heat. Serve with steamed rice or rice cake. Garnish with fried onion/green onion.


Called “Terong Goreng” by our elders.
Grilled purple eggplant topped with heaps of chili sauce made from dried shrimp paste (balacan), it calls for a substantial portion of rice to even out the very spicy flavor.


Perhaps Padang’s most famed curry, rending, is not necessarily an everyday food since it takes time and skill to make.
Its secret is in the gravy, which wraps around the beef for hours until, ideally, it’s splendidly tender.
A dried version, which can be kept for months (like jerky) is generally reserved for honored guests and important celebrations.


The breadfruit is a favourite dish of the Malays. It is prepared in three ways-

Cooked similar to the cooking of a white potato curry.
Fried similar to potato chips. Could be eaten with syrup. They could also be fried and dipped in melted sugar, left out to cool and served as a sweet.
Cooked in melted sugar and called “Sukun goreng madu”.


“Kolak” means stewed with coconut milk and “Kari” is for curry. Kolak Kari contained seven type of vegetables and yams from the following – wattakka (LABU in Malay), sukun, nangka, nivithi or spinach (BAYAM in Malay), maekaral or long beans (BONCI PANJANG in Malay), batala or yam (UBI MANIS IN Malay) and unripe papaya. They were all cooked together to produce a thick gravy.
Generally this was a dish produced to go with rice and was always served in Malay homes after the recital of “Mowlood” during “Ashura”.
There was also a small cutlet that went with this menu and was called by its Malay name “CUCUR BADAK”.


300g sweet potatoes
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
Boil until the potatoes are cooked. Peel the skin and mash the potatoes.
Add 1/2 cup of flour and knead until soft. Divide into equally sized portions (you can make about 6-8 depending on the sizes)

To be ground together:
1/2 grated coconut
20gs dried shrimps 1 stalk lemon grass
2 fresh red chillies
2 cloves of garlic
2 shallots
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt and sugar, to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and fry in 2 tbs of oil until dry (usually until the coconut is light) take 1 portion of the sweet potato mixture and flatten slightly. Put in 1 tsp of the filling in the centre and seal.
Heat oil and fry the cakes until it turns golden in colour.


Although this is a favourite dish of the Malay Community it is believed to be of Indian origin. Kaliya is a mix of fried and cubed potatoes, brinjals, ash plantains and cashew nuts cooked into a thick curry. This dish too is a must at various events of religious and other festivities.

There may be other dishes that may not have been covered by this article. There may also be variations to the dishes mentioned; and different ways of cooking these mouth watering dishes. Please view this article as one more step towards keeping the Malay Spirit alive; and more so in the revival mode of our ageing and fast disappearing Traditions & Customs.
Thank you all for your time and your efforts in this venture. We hope you have enjoyed reading this article in as much as we have taken great pleasure in presenting it to you; in the most simple way we could.

Terima Kasih sekali lagi.
Noor R. Rahim

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