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Garlic : Try and buy garlic that has a purplish colour on the skin. This is generally better quality and has a much stronger flavour than garlic that is all white in colour

Ginger : If you cannot get good fresh ginger then an excellent alternative is Gourmet Garden ginger in a plastic tube.

Prawns : Usually when prawns are used to flavour a vegetable dish they are peeled and cleaned then chopped and placed into a bowl. In every case where prawns are shelled, cleaned and cut up it is necessary to add a small amount of sugar and mix in. This should then be set aside while the rest of the dish is prepared and added as indicated in each recipe.

Cooking oil : In Malaysia palm oil is used a great deal but in a more health conscious Australia canola oil is used instead.

Timing : Ingredients in these dishes should be added in the order indicated. Although this is not critical for every ingredient there are cases, such as Shao xing wine, where certain ingredients MUST be added at the right time.

Three main rules :

Rule number one of Asian cooking is not to overcook vegetables. Just cooked and still a bit crisp is always best.

Rule number two is do not use too much salt. Salt can always be added later but it can never be taken out once added to a dish.

Rule number three is always taste your dish as you cook it. Adjust according to the flavours you like.




Noodles : There are several different types of noodles used in Malaysian cooking.

The term mee is generally used to describe egg noodles (typically the instant style of noodles).

Rice noodles are called mee hoon. The English version is rice vermicelli.

Kuay teow are the flat rice noodles that look like tape worms.

Glass or cellophane noodles are the third type of noodle and are not widely used.

There are also dish names associated with noodles like mee siam. In this case siam refers to the fact that this is a Thai style noodle dish. mee goring is again a dish name and in Malaysia it generally refers to an Indian style of cooking noodles.

Rice : There are many varieties of rice. In Australia the choice is far more limited than in Malaysia but generally the rice sold here is high quality.

In my cooking I tend to use good quality long grain rice like Sun Long.


Rice needs to be cooked until it is just done. Over cooking rice will ruin the texture so you need to practice at getting the right quantity of rice to water mix. Using a proper rice cooker is best.



Many vegetable dishes in Malaysian cooking include a small amount of meat, usually pork, chicken or prawn, to add extra flavour.





Chilli : It is difficult to recommend how much chilli to put in any dish as everyone's taste differs. The recipes here I would regard as fairly mild to my taste. To someone not accustomed to eating chilli they may seem medium to hot. Experiment with the amount of chilli you use to suit your own taste. The reason I recommend Babas chilli powder is that it has great flavour and is not too hot. Some other chilli powders sold in Australia have no flavour and are scalding hot. If you use fresh chilli instead of powder then test the chilli first by nibbling a very small piece. This will help you to determine how hot they are.


Vegetable dishes : Many vegetable dishes in Malaysian cooking include a small amount of meat. This is usually pork or prawn and it is used to add extra flavour.

For those people who do not eat meat for one reason or another, the meat can easily be excluded from the dish. Alternately for those who do eat meat, it is equally possible to add more meat and turn the vegetable dish into a combination meat and vegetable dish that can be served on its own with rice.

Some dishes where leaves and stems are cooked it is necessary to add the stems first to ensure they cook properly. If you add both stems and leaves at the same time the leaves will be overcooked by the time the stems are done.


MSG : Yeah I know, everyone in the west has gone crazy about not having MSG in their food. Well in Asia it has been used and is still used in many dishes. I cook with MSG but never more than a pinch or two. If you really don't want to use it then simply leave it out. The USA Food and Drug Administration classifies MSG as 'generally safe' but like any food, it can have adverse reactions in a limited number of people.


Preparation : The real secret to making Malaysian cooking easy is your preparation. In most recipes it will be the preparation that takes more time than the actual cooking.


Make sure you get all your ingredients out on the counter, get all your chopping, mixing and grating done before you start to cook. I have all the sauces, powders, spices and prepared meat and vegetables lined up on the counter next to the stove. This way I don't have to go searching through the cupboards looking for something half way through the cooking process.


Ready for action! Everything set out in advance.


Measurements : Ingredient measurements given in my recipes are a guide only. I tend to cook by taste rather than blindly following set quantities. I don't use standard measuring spoons so a teaspoon of ingredients simply means what fits on one of my normal spoons, neither heaped or flat. The best advice I can give to any cook is to 'taste as you go'.


Time : You will note that I rarely give any actual timed instructions for my recipes. This is because you should learn to cook using your senses to tell you when a dish is done. Remember not to overcook vegetables but to ensure meat like chicken is always completely cooked. This is something you will learn the more you cook.


Heat : With most dishes you start with a high heat and then after quickly stir frying for a few minutes you reduce the heat to medium. The main exceptions to this are deep frying where a high heat is maintained thorough out and long term cooking like curries where the heat is usually medium to start with and then turned to low and left to simmer.


Low heat, used for simmering soups and curries.


Medium heat used for most dishes that don't require deep frying


Medium high. Usually used for dishes where you are trying to brown or sear meat


High. Used most often for deep frying.


Curry : There are all sorts of curry recipes but they all follow one basic rule. Unless you see a nice layer of oil come out and float on top then they are not finished.





All the recipes on this disc/website are original and copyright (C) 2010 Dorothy P.C. Loader.

Dorothy's Food Blog