Category Archives: Malaysian

海南雞飯 Easy Hainanese Style Chicken Rice

Hainanese chicken rice is widely regarded as the iconic dish of Singaporean cuisine. It actually originated from Wenchang on Hainan island (therefore the name), but popularized both in Malaysia and Singapore. Making the dish using the traditional method takes a lot of work. You are required to use a whole chicken cooked under low heat in a pot of water. The chicken is also chilled afterwards so that the skin becomes more more firm, with a jelly like consistency. The rice has to be flavored perfectly with oily, flavorful chicken broth (made from the liquid used to cook the chicken). The chicken is chopped into pieces and typically garnished with cucumbers and peanuts. A dipping sauce also needs to be prepared. All this takes a huge amount of time that just isn’t practical at home.

If you love Hainanese style chicken but looking for a recipe that doesn’t require spending too much time in the kitchen, this recipe found on Sing Tao Daily may be what you are looking for.  It’s a simplified version of Hainanese Chicken Rice that can be made even on week night. The goal is to really cut down on the process, but still maintain the flavor profile of the dish. The major difference between the original Hainanese chicken is that instead of cooking a whole chicken in a water, we pan fry the chicken thigh for a crispy skin.


  • 2 boneless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine – Hua Diao 花雕酒
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Sauce: (Combine all ingredients below to prepare the sauce)

  • 8 teaspoons red pepper sauce (or Tabasco)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ginger, grated
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Remove bone from chicken thigh, dry with a paper towel.
  2. Marinate the chicken with wine, salt and pepper for an hour.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat.  Place the chicken on the pan (skin side down), sear for couple minutes until the skin is browned.  Then flip to the other side and cook until no longer pink and juices run clear.  Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before cutting into strips.
  4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over high heat.  Stir in ginger, scallions and shallots, cook until fragrant.  Add brown rice and chicken broth.  Cook until the rice absorbs all the chicken soup.
  5. Serve chicken with the sauce over brown rice.  I also like to dip the chicken in sweet soy sauce.

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檸汁薑黃雞 Lemon Turmeric Chicken

Turmeric is used in many South and South East Asian dishes. The turmeric plant is in the same family as ginger so similarly the root is the part that is typically eaten. Fresh turmeric is less commonly available, so usually it is used in a dried powder form. The vibrant yellow color can make almost any dish seem more appetizing, and in fact, turmeric is the ingredient that makes curry powder yellow. Be careful when you work with turmeric, as stains may be difficult to get rid of!


  • 3/4 lb chicken breast, cut into bite sizes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 3 tablespoons corn
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1.5 and 0.5 tablespoons turmeric (used in different steps)
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce


  1. Marinate chicken pieces with soy sauce, sugar, 1.5 tbsp turmeric and cornstarch.  Place in fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over high heat.  Stir in chicken pieces and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the meat begins to brown on the outside. Remove from skillet.
  3. Add oil to skillet.  Stir in onion, cook for 2 minutes.  Add pepper and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.  Add corn, tomato, oyster sauce, 1/2 tbsp turmeric, lemon juice and lemon zest.  Lastly, stir in chicken, mix well and serve.


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馬拉盞炒通菜 Spicy Stir fried Water Spinach with Belacan

Water Spinach also known as ong choy, swamp cabbage, swamp spinach and kangkong.  Belacan is Malaysian shrimp paste that comes in a block. Combine the two, and you’ve got a classic Malaysian dish that highlights the characteristics of Malaysian food – strong flavors and vibrant colors.


  • 1/2 lb water spinach (ong choi)
  • 1.5 tablespoon belacan 馬拉盞 (Shrimp Paste)
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 2 bird eye chili, chopped


  1. Wash and trim the water spinach, remove the base stalks (about 1 inch). Cut into 2-3″ sections.
  2. Blanch water spinach in large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in skillet over high heat.  Add garlic, chili, and belacan, stir until fragrant.
  4. Add the blanched water spinach, mix well with the garlic, chili and belacan.  Cook for 1 minute or until soft.

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香辣馬拉盞魚塊 Sambal Belacan Fish Fillet

One of the most famous condiments of Malaysia, Sambal Belacan is spicy hot, sour, salty and sweet at the same time.  We used a mortar and pestle to pound the fresh chilis, garlics, shallots, shrimp paste (belacan), tamarind, sugar, and lime into a paste.  After pounding and roasting, all the juices and flavors came out from the ingredients.  It’s a great condiment that goes well with almost any vegetables and meat, or even plain rice.  Do note that belacan has a very strong taste and smell, and many would agree that it is an acquired taste. You may want to experiment with smaller amounts in the beginning if you are not familiar with it yet!


  • 12 oz White Fish Fillet
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 lb of Asparagus, trimmed
  • Cilantro for garnish

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 hot chili pepper
  • 1.5 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoons Belacan
  • 1 teaspoon Tamarind sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoon red chili flakes


  1. Cut fish fillet into bite sized pieces. Chop asparagus, and onions into 1.5 inch strips. Marinate fish fillets with a pinch of salt. Set fish aside while we prepare the sauce.
  2. Roughly chop garlic, shallots, and hot chili pepper into small pieces, then grind into a paste by using a mortar and pestle. Add in the rest of sauce ingredients and mix well.
  3. Separately cook onions, asparagus, and fish pieces in a large skillet with a bit of oil and medium heat until each are cooked through, setting each cooked ingredient aside on a plate. Be sure not to overcook them! Asparagus in particular are done in about 3 minutes. Onions are done when they turn translucent, and fish is done when it turns opaque and flakes easily.
  4. In the large skillet, heat oil under medium-high heat. Add in the sauce and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add in onions, asparagus, and fish and mix sauce over pieces evenly. Once mixed well, it is ready to serve.

Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Cuisine, Fish Recipes, Malaysian


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