Bursting with flavor, Malaysian recipes are as vibrant and dynamic as the country itself.
If you like your food fragrant, spicy, tangy and tempting, these 25 amazing recipes will give you lots of options for entertaining.
Malaysia has a rich history as a cultural melting pot. So it’s no surprise that their cuisine is a unique blend of different tastes and traditions.
There’s something for everyone here, and every dietary preference.
If mango chicken, followed by coconut ice-cream sounds like your idea of a perfect pairing, you’re in the right place!
And I’ve included a bit of everything – aromatic appetizers, mouth-watering mains, and delightful desserts.
If you love to cook (and eat!), you’ll have a ball working your way through this list.
It’s time to reclaim rice. Boring, plain, white rice is given a creamy upgrade here, turning it from a stodgy side to the star of the show.
This easy recipe adds coconut and lemongrass to give your fragrant rice that tastes of the tropics.
Serve with fried anchovies and crunchy peanuts for a truly Malaysian experience.
The clue is in the name here. Asam pedas translates to ‘spicy sour’ so prepare your tastebuds for a treat.
Creating this fiery, flavorful, classic is easy. Simply simmer fish in tamarind juice, spices, tomato and okra.
With only four ingredients, it’ll take you no time to pull together this crunchy, tangy snack.
Of course, you have to wait a couple of hours for the brine to do its thing. But all good things take time.
And a jar of crunchy, tasty chilies is worth the wait.
Sambal belacan is a spicy Malaysian condiment made of chilies, belacan (shrimp paste), and lime juice.
Everything is blended together to make a piquant paste that’s used to add flavor to rice, noodles or curries.
It also makes a great relish and/or marinade for meats and fish.
There’s nothing finer than a steaming bowl of creamy, comforting korma on cold nights. That’s not just a tongue-twister, it’s a fact.
This vegetarian version brings the taste with spices like ginger, cumin, fennel, and coriander.
It’s hearty, healthy, and perfect for both family dinners and fancy feasts.
Traditionally, nasi ulam is made with 100 different herbs, but let’s be honest, few people have the time (or pantry space!) for that.
This recipe gives the flavor, without the work. Lime, turmeric, ginger, and a variety of herbs are added to rice to transform it into a delicious side or appetizer.
Serve with chilis and cucumbers if that’s still not enough flavor for you!
7. Peanut Sauce
Every cook needs a jar of this creamy, zesty peanut sauce in their kitchen cupboard.
Spicy and aromatic, this is perfect for chicken or beef satay. You can also use it as a dipping sauce or mix into noodles for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
No meat? No problem. Liven up your next vegetarian dinner party with this tantalizing tofu curry.
Fried tofu balls are simmered in spicy coconut milk and curry powder. With this on the menu, you may even convert a few carnivores!
Sipping this refreshing, thirst-quenching fruit juice will make you think you’re sitting under a Malaysian palm tree, basking in the balmy breeze.
Calamansi is a type of fruit, indigenous to Southeast Asia. It looks like an orange, but tastes like a lime.
Blended into an icy beverage, it’s perfect for hot days and summer gatherings.
Juicy chicken, fragrant spices, and creamy coconut milk are the base of this dish. Chicken rendang is a classic for all the right reasons.
This is the ultimate one-pot meal, so be sure to make a big batch. Leftovers taste just as good as the original, if not better!
Malaysian food isn’t just about rich curries. If you want lighter fare, check out this fruity salad.
Perfect for summer, when mangos are at their best, it’s quick and easy.
But don’t be fooled by the simplicity. This dish is loaded with complex flavors, as the mango is tossed with red onion, coriander, mint, and sambal.
12. Kaya Toast
Toast isn’t exactly any cook’s go-to meal. But this is no ordinary toast, thanks to a secret ingredient – kaya.
Kaya is made of eggs, coconut milk, and sugar. In this recipe, it’s used as a jam, resulting in something best described as the Malaysian version of French toast.
Deep-fried potato is a guaranteed favorite. But here, things get interesting with the addition of cilantro and shallots.
These potato patties are perfect for game-day entertaining, potlucks, or just switching up your snack game.
14. Roti Canai
Roti canai is Malaysian flatbread, so you’ll want plenty on hand when sampling the delicious curries on this list.
You can also dip it into spicy soup, eat with salad or just use it as a vehicle to get your food to your mouth.
And best of all, you won’t need to be an expert baker to make a batch of this bread.
Simply mix the dough, knead, and stretch it out thinly before frying as you would a pancake.
This is a sweet, tangy stir-fry made with juicy mangos and tender chicken.
So quick and easy, this is ideal for those nights when you’re short on time, but big on hunger.
A hot weather favorite, this juicy salad is a delectable mix of sweet pineapple, spicy cucumber and zesty lime.
Toss. Chill. Serve. This is a simple dish that punches above its weight.
There’s a lot of wiggle room with this unique salad that works as both an appetizer or a dessert.
Make this recipe your own by choosing your favorite fruits (apples, pears, berries and guava work well).
Toss and drizzle them with a sweet and spicy paste to give them that Malaysian spin.
Peanuts and sesame seeds round off the dish with a satisfying bite.
18. Mee Rebus
Mee rebus is warming noodle stew with a dash of spice and a hint of sweetness.
It’s thickened with potatoes and served in a broth of shrimp, bean sprouts, and mouth-watering Malaysian flavors like lime, ginger and garlic.
In Malaysia, this bowl of sticky sweet rice would be known as bubur pulut hitam. But you won’t have to perfect your pronunciation to appreciate this delicious pudding.
In this simple and comforting indulgence, rice meets sugar and coconut milk for a creamy porridge that’s delicious hot or cold.
Gluten-free and vegetarian, these sweet potato balls aren’t as decadent as they sound, but they definitely hit the spot.
Rice flour is mixed with puree sweet potato to form a dough. Fry until crispy and serve piping hot for an irresistible, crowd-pleasing snack.
The ultimate Malaysian street food, these four-ingredient fritters are a unique and delicious way to use up your spotty bananas.
Mash the bananas with a dash of flour and an egg, fry into golden fritters, and devour.
Malaysians take their desserts very seriously. And in a country where summer is reliably scorching, ice-cream takes center stage.
This version blends rich coconut with pandan – a tropical plant with fragrant leaves. Oh, and it turns the ice-cream green, which is a nice surprise.
Try this one in March for a Malaysian-St. Patrick’s Day fusion!
This soup is intense… in a good way. It’s just the right mix of creamy and spicy, with a touch of sweetness.
In Malaysia, this soup is considered dessert but we say eat it any time. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a midnight snack.
As you’d expect from a dish with ‘cha cha’ in the name, this delightful dessert is a bowlful of fun.
A unique alternative to traditional puddings, sweet yams are simmered in coconut milk with pandan, taro, tapioca and sago.
It’s not your average porridge, and that’s a very good thing.
Pineapple jam is dolloped onto a sweet cookie base in this perfect pastries.
Bite-sized and highly snackable, they’re tailor-made for when you need a fresh and fruity pick-me-up.
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