Malaysia by Ping Coombes

Malaysia: Recipes from a Family Kitchen by Ping Coombes , winner of MasterChef 2014, brings Malaysian cuisine into the spotlight, from her family table to yours. Drawing inspiration from her mother and from the late-night stalls and street markets in her hometown of Ipoh, Ping has assembled over 100 authentic and approachable recipes that serve as the perfect introduction to the tastes, textures, and colors of Malaysian fare. 

Ping delivers a full selection of condiments, oils and sauces before setting out the main recipes which are broken down into the following chapters: Small Plates and Snacks, Salads and Broths, Rice and Noodles, Meat and Poultry, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables and Eggs, ‘English’ Food, Sweet Things and Drinks. 

From Beef Noodles Across Two Borders, Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup, Nyonya Soy-Braised Whole Chicken with Garlic Butter Rice to offerings from the ‘English’ chapter such as Malaysian Fish and Chips and My Childhood Chicken ‘Chop’ – a gorgeous crispy chicken cutlet that outshines any cutlet I have seen to date – there is something for everyone. The die-hard adventurer who wants to dive into Malaysian cuisine and the newbie that first wants to dip their toes into the flavors will be equally satisfied with the selection of recipes. 

And the Sweet Things chapter is a bonus offering Peanut Butter and Kaya French Toast Black Rice Pudding and Banana Springrolls along with granitas, panna cotta and more. I bought this book myself when it first came out in October of last year and have made a few of the recipes all with excellent results – the Chicken Satay, Malaysian Spicy Coconut Rice and the Minced Pork with Coriander and Fish Sauce Noodles were all delicious. 

Special thanks to Weldon Owen for sharing Ping’s recipe for Stir-Fried Beef and Celery. Be sure to head over to our giveaway post to enter our contest

Stir-Fried Beef and Celery

Serves 2-4
For the marinade
1 1⁄2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp light soy sauce
Pinch of ground white pepper

8 oz rib eye steak, cut into thin strips
1 tsp Chinese fermented black beans (optional)
4 celery ribs
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp whole black peppercorns, slightly crushed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp water

The star of the dish here is the celery. It’s an undervalued vegetable and often an afterthought thrown into salads or soup stock, or served as crudits, or enjoyed with a Bloody Mary. But I love this vegetable. If I can have it stir-fried with loads of garlic, salt and white rice, I am a happy girl. I find the combination of medium-rare beef and celery divine, so here is my version of Cantonese black bean and beef, given a celery oomph. Serve it with plenty of rice or Congee (page 108).

Mix the ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl, add the beef, and stir to coat, then set aside for 20 minutes.

Soak the black beans, if using, in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes, then drain.

Using a vegetable peeler, carefully peel a thin layer off the celery ribs, to ensure they’re not stringy. Then cut them lengthwise into 1⁄2-inch-wide batons.

Heat half of the oil in a wok or frying pan until smoking, then add the marinated beef and fry over high heat for 30 seconds. Remove the beef and set aside. There might be bits of beef left in the wok or pan, but don’t worry – it all adds to the flavor of the dish. 

Turn down the heat to medium, add the remaining oil and the crushed peppercorns, drained black beans, and garlic, and fry for 1 minute, until fragrant (be careful not to burn the mixture). Add the celery batons and fry for 2-3 minutes, then return the beef to the pan, add the oyster sauce and water. Stir and cook for 30 seconds longer. Serve immediately.

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  • lgroom  on  June 6, 2017

    I've never cooked Malaysian food but that beef and celery dish looks like something I need to try and soon.

  • echilt5  on  June 6, 2017

    I have never made a Malaysian dish before but I would love to learn how to.

  • annmartina  on  June 6, 2017

    On a trip to Singapore I discovered my love for pandan, kaya, and Nyonya cuisine. I brought home quite a few cookbooks and this one looks like a great addition to my collection.

  • meggan  on  June 6, 2017

    Yes – laksa and nasi goreng.

  • jezpurr  on  June 7, 2017

    No I haven't made a Malaysian dish yet. But would love to make some!!!^_^

  • sgump  on  June 7, 2017

    I think a lot of the "Malaysian" food I've prepared over the years has been influenced by outside forces (Thailand, China, India): this cookbook would be a nice addition to my collection, and it might set the record straight as to what's what!

  • lhudson  on  June 8, 2017

    Never have made Malaysian food, but would love to try it.

  • mph993  on  June 8, 2017

    Banana spring rolls (Popiah pisang) looks like a good way to start cooking with this book!

  • JenJoLa  on  June 8, 2017

    I haven't tried making Malaysian food, but I think I have to rectify that soon.

  • kitchenclimbers  on  June 8, 2017

    I don't think so but it looks good!

  • Siegal  on  June 8, 2017

    I never made my own Malaysian food but would
    Like to try

  • kbennall  on  June 9, 2017

    I think I've made malaysian food before once or twice from a recipe a friend shared, but I can't put my finger on what it might have been. Probably something simple, like just a sauce.

  • t.t  on  June 9, 2017

    No, I've never made Malaysian food before, but I'm intrigued now…

  • thecharlah  on  June 12, 2017

    Yes, but just a couple times…

  • PennyG  on  June 16, 2017

    I have never made a Malaysian dish. Out of my 700ish cookbooks, this is one ethnicity I do not have represented.

  • nomadchowwoman  on  June 17, 2017

    I have made laksa once, and I'd love to further explore the cuisine.

  • RSW  on  June 25, 2017


  • Uhmandanicole  on  June 27, 2017

    I made laksa before and also these sweet chili wings I found in a Malaysian cookbook from the library

  • abihamm  on  June 27, 2017

    No, but I look forward too!

  • fiarose  on  June 27, 2017

    i love rice noodles, and have made a bunch of different stir fries with veggies, seafood, and rice noodles with malaysian flavors–but i need to learn more, this cookbook would be the perfect place to start!

  • Elena Rose  on  July 2, 2017

    I would try the Malaysian flaky bread stuffed with ground lamb first.

  • rstaudt  on  July 3, 2017

    Anything with rice noodles would be good, but the stir-fried flat rice noodles with prawns sounds like the first one I would cook.

  • ltsuk  on  July 6, 2017

    no Malaysian foods yet

  • orchidlady01  on  July 9, 2017

    I have never made a dish or recipe from Malaysia.

  • lhudson  on  July 11, 2017

    Would love to try to make Malaysia Food.

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