The Malaysian Kitchen

The Malaysian Kitchen: 150 Recipes for Simple Home Cooking by Christina Arokiasamy is a balance of authentic Malaysian favorites like Beef Rendang and Char Kway Teow Noodles, while also sharing her own modern iterations, such as Wok-Fried Spaghetti with Kale and Sambal (which we are sharing with you today).

Vivid on-location photography by David Hagerman takes the reader into the spice markets, coffee houses, fishing villages, and kitchen gardens that inspired each recipe and food photography by Penny De Los Santos brings those recipes to life.

While I appreciate authentic, I am a huge fan of titles that mix it up a bit - giving a new twist to classic recipes. Street food is another passion of mine and the author has devoted a chapter to this with recipes for Five-Spice Savory Potatoes, Ginger-Sesame Chicken Wings and Nasi Lemak (a rich and creamy rice). I have made the potatoes and the wings and both were scrumptious. I want to try the Five-Spiced Barbecue-Roasted Pork later this month when we are having new friends over - that with the Nasi Lemak should be impressive.

Desserts are also served up with recipes for Vanilla Thins, Banana Bonbons, Pandan Chiffon Cake and lots of other sweet treats. The Malaysian Kitchen is a perfect balance of the classic dishes of Malaysia meshing well with today's cook. Christina is also the author of The Spice Merchant's Daughter, another favorite on my bookshelf. 

Special thanks to HMH and the author for sharing a recipe with our members today. Head over to our cookbook giveaway page to enter our contest to win a copy of this beautiful book.



This is my modern take on the quintessential Malaysian comfort food mee goreng (page 150). This common dish is prepared at makeshift stalls and small coffee shops throughout thecountry. The locals normally gather around popular mee goreng trucks with a plate in theirhands as the vendor stir-fries the noodles in a large cast iron wok attached to the trunk.I love this modern adaptation in its use of spaghetti, soy sauce, and sambal, all tossed in thesizzling-hot wok. I have also replaced Asian greens with kale, cabbage, and tofu, as theirtextures easily pair with spaghetti. Since the recipe uses spaghetti, the noodles will not be astender as fresh yakisoba in traditional mee goreng; nevertheless, it is satisfying and keepingwith the Malaysian style of seasoning. Before stir-frying make sure you have all your ingredientsready to go. This dish is prepared quickly, and any delay in the process or sequence caneither overcook the ingredients or make the noodles stick to the wok. And keep in mind asyou stir-fry that you want the noodles to make contact with the side of the wok, where it is the hottest, in order to obtain a charred flavor.


¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Sambal Ulek (page 44 or store-bought)
½ head cabbage, finely chopped
2 cups chopped kale
8 ounces store-bought fried tofu, thinly sliced
1 pound spaghetti, cooked al dente
¼ cup kicap manis (sweet soy sauce - if you cannot find, adding brown sugar to soy sauce will work to the consistency of molasses, or to taste)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 large eggs, beaten

Heat a wok or a large deep skillet over medium heat for about 40 seconds. Add the oil, pouring it around the perimeter of the wok to coat the sides and bottom. When the surface shimmers slightly, add the garlic and shallots and cook until golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the sambal and cook for another for another 30 seconds, until fragrant and the oils separate onto the surface.

Add the cabbage, kale, and tofu and stir-fry until the vegetables are slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

Now add the cooked spaghetti and toss well to combine with the vegetables, mixing carefully to prevent the noodles from breaking; stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add the kicap manis and soy sauce and continue to mix well.

Push the noodles to one side of the pan. Add the beaten eggs on the opposite side to create a thin layer and then immediately bring the noodles back over the egg. Do not stir or mix at this point; allow the egg underneath to set and to cook undisturbed for at least 30 seconds. Raise the heat to medium-high, then gently lift the noodles from underneath and stir-fry continuously until the eggs are fully cooked, about 2 minutes; the noodles should no longer appear wet from the eggs.

Continue to stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes more, then taste and add more kicap manis if needed. Serve immediately.

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  • PennyG  on  7/20/2017 at 7:40 PM

    I prefer authentic, but am always up for trying something that sounds delicious!

  • heyjude  on  7/20/2017 at 8:23 PM

    This would be a new cuisine for me.

  • hirsheys  on  7/20/2017 at 8:25 PM

    Honestly, I Think there's a place for both. I love it when books include the traditional versions, as well as riffs on them.

  • lgroom  on  7/20/2017 at 8:57 PM

    I appreciate learning the traditional methods of cooking, but I love trying fusion cooking too.

  • EmilyR  on  7/20/2017 at 10:24 PM

    I prefer authentic, but if something sounds interesting and fusion I'm willing to try it!

  • lkgrover  on  7/20/2017 at 11:07 PM

    I have this book, and I highly recommend it. Malaysian food uses a lot of spices, and the author writes a lot about the health benefits of various spices. It also uses coconut (and its derivative product like coconut milk) and seafood often. The cuisine seems similar to Malaysia's neighbors, Thai and Indonesian (and occasionally southern Indian).

  • stockholm28  on  7/20/2017 at 11:20 PM

    I'm all for fusion, but love learning the classics too.

  • BethanyMeira  on  7/20/2017 at 11:34 PM

    I love borh authentic and fusion recipes. To quote my 4 year old "it's so hard to decide!"

  • TrishaCP  on  7/21/2017 at 6:04 AM

    Another one that likes fusion and classics here.

  • lhudson  on  7/21/2017 at 8:16 AM

    Sweet and tangy pineapple salad

  • sipa  on  7/21/2017 at 8:45 AM

    I do love Malaysian food, there use to be a chain of Malaysian restaurants with 2 in Boston/Cambridge and 1 in DC. They had awesome Roti Canai and the DC one had the best eggplant dish. I still dream of those 2 dishes.

  • Siegal  on  7/21/2017 at 12:25 PM

    I'm a traditionalist for sure

  • love2chow  on  7/21/2017 at 1:09 PM

    I prefer to start by learning the traditional recipes, although I do like fusion when done well.

  • BMeyer  on  7/22/2017 at 8:08 AM

    Perfect Peanut Sauce

  • sgump  on  7/23/2017 at 5:26 PM

    Authentic or fusion, you ask? I prefer the traditional--but I always like to reduce the fat or calories without compromising the original TOO much.

  • abihamm  on  7/26/2017 at 5:33 PM

    For me , I really use a combination of traditional and fusion. :)

  • blizzful  on  7/26/2017 at 11:17 PM

    Coconut-butter prawns!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  7/27/2017 at 10:18 AM

    I mix my cuisines alot but I also love authentic food

  • meggan  on  7/28/2017 at 8:39 AM

    whatever tastes good!

  • monique.potel  on  7/28/2017 at 10:38 AM

    i do not have any malaysian cookbook and i am lusting for this one

  • SilverSage  on  7/29/2017 at 2:20 PM

    Malaysia is a missing country in my cookbook collection.

  • matag  on  7/30/2017 at 12:12 PM


  • tagubajones  on  8/4/2017 at 9:41 PM

    Beef rendang...

  • RSW  on  8/6/2017 at 7:27 PM

    I like to know the authentic version and then a little fusion

  • Ordinaryblogger  on  8/7/2017 at 6:33 AM

    I like authentic

  • DarcyVaughn  on  8/8/2017 at 12:28 AM

    I'm more of a traditionalist, but will experiment out of necessity (ie unavailability of ingredients).

  • Jenamarie  on  8/9/2017 at 1:00 PM

    It really depends on the recipe and style.. I like to experiment, but the classics are popular for a reason!

  • akrupnick  on  8/11/2017 at 9:15 PM

    I'm more of a traditionalist, but there have been some great fusion cookbooks that don't go too far (in the past, fusion got a bad name because of crazy mash-ups) so I am becoming more open minded.

  • t.t  on  8/13/2017 at 11:27 PM

    I like to start with the traditional (so I know what I'm starting with) before experimenting with fusion.

  • thecharlah  on  8/14/2017 at 8:20 PM

    I love learning traditional recipes from different cultures and then branching out into more contemporary versions.

  • orchidlady01  on  8/18/2017 at 3:46 AM

    I like to learn traditional recipes but later add things to change them up.

  • Dechen  on  8/24/2017 at 9:50 AM

    Malay style chicken rice sounds great! I would love to try a few recipes and have my Malaysian friend taste-test them!

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