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Malaysian curries


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What are your favorite Malaysian curries? And for those of you who cook them, how do you make them? These questions are prompted by this exchange in Tag Team Foodblog II: torakris/snowangel. Note that what prompted the exchange was a purchase of fresh turmeric root, so if any of you make a rempah with the fresh root or can direct Susan and other people who are interested to some good recipes including fresh turmeric, that would be great. But most anything connected with Malaysian curries is grist for the mill.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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hi Everybody!

I joined egullet quite some time back, but I'm afraid I have not been very active in the forums :sad: - long story?!! :blink:

:biggrin: ...Anyway, in regards to Pan's question - "What are your favorite Malaysian curries? ...I have a few Malaysian curry recipes on my website.

There's the typical Malaysian 'Chicken Curry' - the kind that goes great with Roti Canai...

And there's quite a few other Malaysian curries & 'sort-of' curries on the site.

On the website, under 'Indian Food' - there's curry recipes for:

- Mutton Korma (or Kurma)

- Fish Head Curry

- Pineapple Shrimp Curry

- Fish Molee

- Lamb Cashew Korma (or Kurma)

- Coconut Crab Curry and a typical Vegetable Curry cooked at home in Malaysia.

Under 'Eurasian Food' - there's recipes for:

- Devil Curry (This is a Portuguese-Eurasian style of Devil Curry)

- Pork Vindaloo

- Prawn Bostador

- Granny's Meatball Curry (I named this because this is my 'comfort' curry my granny used to cook when when I was a kid)

- Ham Hock Curry (I think my dad 'invented' this curry :cool: ...cos I don't know anyone else who cooks it..!!)

- Curry Feng

- Curry Puffs (a curry-filled snack)

Under 'Nyonya Food' - there's a recipe for - Chicken Kapitan.

Also, there are 'sort-of' curries (especially if you make it more saucy) under 'Malay Food' - Beef Rendang, Ayam Masak Merah and Sayur Lodeh.

And in all the pages, you'll find the recipe for a typical Malaysian Chicken Curry as well as a typical Malaysian Fish Curry that's cooked at home.

Cheers - Pam :biggrin: (Packo)

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Thanks, Pam. I notice you mention Sayur Lodeh. Sayur is not a type of curry, but a different type of food that we could have another thread on. When I think of the curries I used to eat in Terengganu, I think of them as having a somewhat thicker, or at least different kuah (sauce) than sayur, redolent of coconut milk, fresh tamarind, and spices. Sayur is also made with coconut milk but has a different taste and spice profile, and is typically used as a side dish to a curry.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Thanks, Pam. I notice you mention Sayur Lodeh. Sayur is not a type of curry, but a different type of food that we could have another thread on. When I think of the curries I used to eat in Terengganu, I think of them as having a somewhat thicker, or at least different kuah (sauce) than sayur, redolent of coconut milk, fresh tamarind, and spices. Sayur is also made with coconut milk but has a different taste and spice profile, and is typically used as a side dish to a curry.

Hi Pan,

You're right about what you said about Sayur Lodeh.

A friend of mine, a Malay girl from Singapore, used to make this Sayur Lodeh with quite a bit of fine pureed udang kering (dried shrimps).

So we kind of ate her Sayur Lodeh (curry) as the main dish, with rice.

Sometimes, the kuah (sauce) was so thick, we used the Sayur Lodeh (& sauce) on some soft chow mein type of noodles (yellow noodles), garnished it with broken up pieces of kropok (shrimp crackers), fresh lettuce, fried shallots, fresh sliced red chilies, a wedge of limau kesturi (kalamansi lime), and ate it "Indian Mee Rebus" (Blanched Indian Noodles) ..style :laugh:

So I guess, I had her version of Sayur Lodeh in mind.. :wub:

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I've had nonya versions of sayur lodeh that were eaten as the main dish in a Singaporean context. I think it's very dangerous to try and say anything is or isn't "a type of curry" especially with the word's very widespread use and the diversity and regional variation that happens around a dish.

We do make a rempah with fresh tumeric root, the partner was taught how by his nonya stepmom. I'll try to get the proportions and get back to this thread. It's very handy to have packets of it in the freezer, and now is the time in the US to make it, the chillies are ripe and the shallots have dried out.

regards,

trillium

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I've had nonya versions of sayur lodeh that were eaten as the main dish in a Singaporean context.  I think it's very dangerous to try and say anything is or isn't "a type of curry" especially with the word's very widespread use and the diversity and regional variation that happens around a dish.[...]

Alright, then I'll say that on the East Coast of the Peninsula, no-one I knew would have ever called a sayur dish a gulai (=curry).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 2 years later...

Trying my hand at some Malaysian curries. The following is from Curry Cuisine :

Daging masak merah - red curry of beef.

Instead of sirloin steaks, I used sirloin tip roast cut into chunks. I braised it slowly in the oven instead of cooking on top of the stove so the meat was tender and infused with flavour.

gallery_13838_3935_89.jpg

It was wonderful: spicy, sweet with the raisins, and crunchy with the cashews.

Caulitflower was not the prettiest of sides, but it was good along with the cumin basmati rice,

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...
Alright, then I'll say that on the East Coast of the Peninsula, no-one I knew would have ever called a sayur dish a gulai (=curry).

Oh but up north in Penang at least, anything with gravy *is* gulai :biggrin:

There are lots of recipes using fresh tumeric root but I'm too lazy to translate. :wacko:

But one of the easiest dish to prepare and a Negeri sembilan specialty is Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi.

Chicken in Spicy Coconut Milk Gravy

(Ayam Masak Lemak Cili Padi)

1 chicken (abt 1.5kg / 3 lbs), cut into pieces

* 10 shallots (small purple onions)

* 8 cloves garlic

* 5 red chillies (remove some seeds to moderate spiciness)

* 2.5cm fresh ginger root

* 2.5cm fresh turmeric

(* blend these into a paste, adding some oil if needed)

5 fragrant lime leaves

2 stalks lemon grass

2.5cm galangal, sliced

1 tsp coriander powder

2 cups water

3 cups coconut milk

salt & pepper to taste

5 green chillies, halved lengthwise

10 red or green bird's eye chillies (optional as very spicy)

Heat some oil in pan & saute blended paste with lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal & coriander powder for about 5 mins until fragrant. Add chicken pieces & fry for another few mins. Add water and simmer, uncovered, until chicken is half-cooked. Add coconut milk and continue simmering (never boil anything with coconut milk as it may curdle) until chicken is fully cooked & tender. In the last few minutes of cooking, add the green chillies & bird's eyes chillies.

(I found the recipe on the Net and the only things I'd opt out would be the galangal, coriander powder and pepper. As for the bird's eye chillies, just bruise a few and toss it in. Oh, and I always add some potato chunks too.)

You can use different meat or even some veggies like the fiddlehead to makethis dish.

masaklemaksiputsedut.jpg

(This one is of Siput Belitong and there are several variations of this dish here.

Traditional dishes like rendang, etc is always made with fresh tumeric root too.

Another simple stir-fry dish is the Sotong Masak Kunyit (Stir-fried squids with tumeric). Rub/marinade the squids with the tumeric root (pounded). Heat some oil in wok, toss some sliced onions, some chopped garlic, add the squids, some sliced fresh red chillies, and salt to taste. If you have lemongrass, toss in a stalk (bruised) and some coriander leaves or spring onions if you have any. Don't overcook or the squids will be rubbery.

Edited by JustKay (log)
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Alright, then I'll say that on the East Coast of the Peninsula, no-one I knew would have ever called a sayur dish a gulai (=curry).

masaklemaksiputsedut.jpg

(This one is of Siput Belitong and there are several variations of this dish here.

One of my all time favorite dishes, my grand aunt used to whip up a wicked version. Sigh bad couple of years, lost many elder relatives...

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Under 'Nyonya Food' - there's a recipe for - Chicken Kapitan.

I'm curious about this dish. Is it based on the Anglo-Indian "Country Captain" chicken curry dish or something else again?

Country Captain uses prepared curry powder which typically consists of cardamon, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, tumeric, etc. And the chicken is cooked in chicken broth like a stew.

Ayam Kapitan is not like a curry at all. It doesn't use curry powder. The recipe typically uses chilli paste, onions, lemongrass, fresh tumeric root and sometimes a bit of belacan. Lime juice is also added. And it's cooked in coconut milk with ground candlenuts as a thickening agent.

They don't taste the same. :wink:

See one here.

Edited by JustKay (log)
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Under 'Nyonya Food' - there's a recipe for - Chicken Kapitan.

I'm curious about this dish. Is it based on the Anglo-Indian "Country Captain" chicken curry dish or something else again?

Country Captain uses prepared curry powder which typically consists of cardamon, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, tumeric, etc. And the chicken is cooked in chicken broth like a stew.

Ayam Kapitan is not like a curry at all. It doesn't use curry powder. The recipe typically uses chilli paste, onions, lemongrass, fresh tumeric root and sometimes a bit of belacan. Lime juice is also added. And it's cooked in coconut milk with ground candlenuts as a thickening agent.

They don't taste the same. :wink:

See one here.

It doesn't matter if they are different dishes now (there are lots of variations), I'm more interested in if one is based on the other. What does "Kapitan" mean in Malay for instance?

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It doesn't matter if they are different dishes now (there are lots of variations), I'm more interested in if one is based on the other. What does "Kapitan" mean in Malay for instance?

I think they are totally different. Not based on one another.

Kapitan in Malay means Chinese community leader.

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It doesn't matter if they are different dishes now (there are lots of variations), I'm more interested in if one is based on the other. What does "Kapitan" mean in Malay for instance?

I think they are totally different. Not based on one another.

Kapitan in Malay means Chinese community leader.

They are different dishes, but related which is what I was interested in. "Kapitan" is likely to be based on the Portuguese "Kapitan Cinas", hence you modern definition of community leader.

The dish that you decribe is often mentioned as a Eurasian dish, and there seem to be lots of variations. Some without any coconutmilk and there is a related Nyonya dish called "Kare Kapitan". So there are many variations on the recipe, some with spices, some with only turmeric. Charmaine Soloman calls the dish "Country Captain" in her Singapore section of her asian cookbook. Her recipe is very basic, esssentially resembling the Anglo-Indian dish.

"Country Captain" is a very widely distributed dish, there are modern regional English and Southern American cookbooks that list the dish, that have little idea of it's Asian origin.

The oldest English recipe I have is from 1827:

"A Country Captain,

Cut a fowl in pieces, and shred a large onion very

small, and fry it brown in butter. Sprinkle the fowl

with fine salt, and dust it over with fine curry-powder, and

fry it brown; put all into a stewpan, with a pint of soup,

and stew it slowly down to one half: serve it with rice."

No that far from some modern asian versions.

There are lots of folk-tale about the origin of the name "Country Captain", most serious accounts are based on the Hobson-Jobson definition, that is it is an Indian dish. "Country" refers to anything from India rather then England, so the chicken dish is the "favourite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships". This seems to be another folk-tale.

Julie Sahni in her regional Indian cookery that Country Captain is simply known as "Kapitan" in some areas.

So not the same dish, but certainly related.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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  • 9 months later...

Adam, there was a Kapitan Cina, but also a Kapitan Keling (Indian community leader) in any of several places, definitely including Penang (if you do a Google search for "Kapitan Keling," you'll get pages of results for "Masjid Kapitan Keling"/"Kapitan Keling Mosque" in Penang), and I believe Malacca. That might or might not help with derivational issues.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Thanks Pan, that helps quite a bit thank you.

Did you know that in Savannah, Georgia "Country Captain" is (or was) a popular regional dish.

With the curry powder? No, I didn't know that.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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