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Home >> Travel Guide >> Malaysia >> Food >> Malay Food In Malaysia
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Malay Food In Malaysia
Nasi LemakVariety is the spice in Malay food. The traditional culinary style has been greatly influenced by the long-ago traders from neighboring countries, such as Indonesia, India, the Middle East, and China. Malay food is often described as spicy and flavorful as it utilizes a melting pot of spices and herbs.Malay cooking incorporates ingredients such as lemon grass, pandan (screwpine) leaves, and kaffir lime leaves.

Fresh herbs, such as daun kemangi (a type of basil), daun kesum (polygonum or laksa leaf), nutmeg, kunyit (turmeric) and bunga kantan (wild ginger buds) are often used. Traditional spices such as cumin and coriander are used in conjunction with Indian and Chinese spices such as pepper, cardamom, star anise and fenugreek. Seasonings play an important role in Malay cooking as they often enhance the food taste and flavors. Many of the seasonings are not dried spices but are fresh ingredients such as fresh turmeric, galangal, fresh chili paste, onions, and garlic. A combination of fresh seasonings and dried spices are normally pounded together to make a fine paste and cooked in oil. Fresh coconut milk is often added.

Rice is the staple diet in any Malay meal. It is often served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper too. Most meals are eaten by using your fingers, and eating utensils are kept to a minimum. All dishes are served at the same time, accompanied by a refreshing drink. Fish is popular in Malay cooking, as with other seafood such as shrimps and cuttlefish. Beef and mutton are very popular choices but never pork as it is against their religious beliefs to eat pork. The other popular white meat is chicken.

One of the most unique Malay dishes is the "roti jala" (lacy pancakes), which sometimes replaces the staple rice. Roti jala is an ideal accompaniment to any dish with lots of rich gravy and is often served during special occasions. It is made from a mixture of plain flour and eggs, with a pinch of turmeric powder and butter. Desserts are a must for any Malay meal. Easily available at most local restaurants and roadside stalls, Malay desserts are invariably very sweet and include ingredients such as coconut milk, palm sugar, and flour.

Popular Malay dishes include: -

Akak
Cooked in a mold over a fire, there are two versions of this finger food. One sweet (akak manis) and the other savory (akak berlauk). The former has a generous dose of sugar as an ingredient while the latter has a filling of cooked beef.

Ayam Goreng
This is a popular chicken dish. Simply meaning fried chicken, this dish is prepared by first marinating the chicken with various spices like turmeric and curry powder. It is then deep fried in hot oil and served.

KeropokKeropok Lekor / Keping
A popular and the most visible fried snack in Terengganu, the keropok is made of fish meat, ground to a paste, and mixed with sago. Coming in two main different forms, the long chewy ones are called 'lekor', while the thin, crispy ones are called 'keping'. Keropok is best eaten hot with its special chili dip.

Ketupat Sotong
A popular tea-time dish, it features squids stuffed with glutinous rice, bathed in a sea of cooked thick coconut milk. The stuffing is first soaked in coconut milk for an hour and a half before it is stuffed into the squids. Little skewers of coconut leaf rib hold the stuffing in place.

Laksam
A delightful yet simple dish, the laksam is akin to the western pasta dish. Like the latter, it has both the flour dough and the gravy that goes with it. However, unlike the pasta, laksam is made using both wheat and rice flours, and the dough is steamed instead of boiled. Laksam's gravy is made of fish meat, which is boiled, pureed, and later mixed with coconut milk.

Nasi Dagang
The dish is made by cooking rice and glutinous rice together, to which coconut cream is added once it is cooked. Nasi Dagang is eaten with its own specially made side dishes of tuna fish curry and a light vegetable pickle.

Pulut Lepa
Made of glutinous rice and fish, this snack food is prepared over a barbecue. Boiled fish meat is mixed with sliced onions, and dried chilies and coconut. The mixture is cooked until it is dry. This is then used as a filling for the glutinous rice rolls. Wrappings of banana leaf cover the food before it is cooked over the fire.

SatayRendang
A meat dish that is prepared with coconut milk, chilies, onions and other condiments. Eaten with rice, the tasty tender meat is a delectable dish, a must at most Malay function.

Sata
A savory dish, the sata is cooked wrapped in a banana leaf over a low-fire barbecue. Fish meat, shallots, and ginger are pounded to a paste. This paste is then wrapped in banana leaf before it is cooked.

Satay
Satay is another popular Malay dish. Pieces of marinated chicken or beef are skewered and cooked over a charcoal fire where they are periodically brushed over with oil. The skewered meat is then served hot, accompanied by a special peanut sauce.
 
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