10 Recipes to Celebrate Malaysia’s National Day

10 Recipes to Celebrate Malaysia’s National Day

Mouthwatering local mains and desserts are a must-have to commemorate Malaysia’s Independence Day

Good food is never far away in the multi-ethnic and diverse Malaysia. What better way to celebrate National Day than to dig into the best of local cuisine? Even though there is no parade this year, there’s no stopping you from whipping up a family feast at home that will bring fireworks to the dinner table terms of flavors and aromas!

1. Malaysian Butter Prawns

Crunch through that crispy shell to get to those succulent prawns in this family cze char favorite, Malaysian Butter Prawns. Leaving the shells on in this seafood dish allows them to get super crispy on the outside in the deep fryer and allows for the creamy spicy egg and margarine coating to adhere a bit better to the prawns. The heat from the chilies are balanced out by the generous amount of creamy margarine, making an addictive combination that will be polished off the family dinner table in no time.

2. Otak Otak

There’s certainly no lack of fresh seafood in Malaysia and Otak Otak is a popular way to convert your excess fish meat to an aromatic snack that can be paired with Nasi Lemak or Laksa alike! The name Otak actually means brains in Malay as this banana leaf-wrapped treat is white in color when made in the non-spicy way, and has the same squishy texture as brains. Don’t be put off though, any Malaysian will tell you that it’s an incredible tasty, tofu-soft soft fish cake that will be gone within seconds of unwrapping.

3. Mee Goreng Mamak

Whenever you feel those hunger pangs coming on, a hearty plate of Mee Goreng Mamak will leave you patting your stomach with contentment in no time. If you are wondering why this noodles are so addictive, the secret lies in the umami sauce that’s made up of soya sauce, dried shrimps, chili, peanuts and the sourish tamarind. Char those yellow noodles to perfection in a wok and be prepared to dig in within minutes! 

4. Kang Kong Sambal Belacan

One of the most sought after family sharing dishes, Kang Kong Sambal Belacan is super easy to whip up and infuses the water spinach with the spicy flavors of fragrant chili prawn paste that every Asian pantry usually is well stocked with. Pair this vegetable dish with other stir fries or soups, and enjoy the meal with steamed white rice to offset some of that heat.

5. Burbur Cha Cha

Absolutely bursting with bright colors, it’s hard to take your eyes off Burbur Cha Cha once you have spotted it. This Peranakan dessert is the best enjoyed after a tongue-numbing meal, as the cool creamy coconut soothes the heat within your first mouthful. Making this classic treat can be a fun family affair with the kids, as they can help to knead, color and roll out the vibrant tapioca jelly dough.  It can be served either cold or warm to your liking. 

6. Nasi Kerabu

Nasi Kerabu is a pretty peaflower coconut rice dish that is very popular on the East Coast of Malaysia, in Kelantan and Terengganu. Its distinctive blue coloring comes from the mild-tasting butterfly pea flower and this dish is often paired with sides such as torch ginger salad, salted egg, flaked fish and crackling shrimp crackers. It also goes well with fried chicken, stuffed chilies, salted egg and beansprouts, and is an aromatic meal that can be enjoyed over and over again.

7. Assam Laksa

Love the mix of sour and spicy? Assam Laksa offers the best of both worlds in a single, steaming hot bowl. Asam keping is the main sour agent of this Penang classic, and the other main ingredient - the strong-tasting mackerel – lends a bittersweet taste to the gravy. A slurp of these noodles sends an instant zing through your senses, with the lingering taste of rich mackerel. It’s best finished within the hour, else the noodles will turn soggy!

8. Curry Puff

Craving for a piping-hot, fulfilling midday snack? Curry Puff is the typical Malaysian street food that will fill you up in no time. Curried potatoes and egg are stuffed within a golden, crusty shell, which keeps it warm for a long time while offering a nice crunch when you bite into it. Other variations include sardine and tuna filling, which are usually spiced as well to wake you up from the midafternoon slump. If you are folding curry puffs for the first time, don’t fill it up too much – it’ll help a lot with the folding!

9. Cendol

When the blazing afternoon heat has left you sweating in its wake, digging into an icy-cool Cendol provides instant relief. It definitely helps that this classic Malaysian desert is brightly colored and covered in addictive Gula Melaka syrup, which soaks the ice with its caramel-like and nutty sweetness. The lime green Cendol jelly is a must-have for this dish, and is fun to make if you have some time on your hands. Large flavorful mung beans provide contrast and texture to this ice bowl, and its served with a drizzle of coconut milk over the top.

10. Beef Rendang

You can’t go wrong with a luscious, creamy pot of Beef Rendang when you have a family to feed. A generous mix of spices go into the rempah (spice paste) for the base of this Malaysian classic, which will fill your house with some mouthwatering scents when you are frying it up. Simmering the beef gravy over low heat allows the spices and meaty juices to seem into the gravy without drying up too fast. It’s best served with white rice or coconut rice to soak up all rich, earthy sauce!

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