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Nasi Lemak with Sambal Ikan Bilis (Malaysian Coconut Cream Rice with Anchovies Chili Paste)

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Finally we cooked Nasi Lemak, a popular and authentic dish of Malay heritage. Nasi Lemak means “coconut cream rice” which is cooked in coconut cream instead of using plain water to give it a nice coconut aroma. You can add in Pandan or screwepine leaves for additional fragrance. Nasi Lemak is traditionally wrapped up with banana leaves with other sides such as roasted peanuts, hard boiled eggs, anchovies (ikan bilis) and most importantly the Sambal (chili).

For a more deluxe version, you can always order other entrees to go with it, such as Curry Chicken, Mutton Curry, Sambal Cuttlefish, Kangkung Belacan, Sambal Egg (mostly spicy dishes) and etc. You can find the recipes in the site and prepare to accompany the Nasi Lemak.

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Chee Cheong Fun (Steamed Rice Noodle Roll)

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This is one quick dish that you can prepare for an easy lunch – the Chee Cheong Fun (豬腸粉). It is literally translated as pork intestine noodles in Chinese because the rice noodle rolls resemble to pork chitterlings. The rice noodles are traditionally made with rice flour mixture, spread a thin layer on a cheese cloth, steam to become a thin layer of noodle then roll it up, similar to pork chitterlings.  

Back home, there was always an old uncle riding a motorbike with big mobile food cart on the bike, calling out “Chee Cheong Fun” around my neighborhood. My family always couldn’t resist not to order from the uncle. The specialty for the Chee Cheong Fun in my hometown, Klang and Kuala Lumpur is the additional ingredients such as the stuffed tofu/vegetables (釀豆腐), meat balls, bean curds are added to compliment the dish. In different area like Penang, the rice noodle are served as simple as mixing it just with shrimp paste.

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Hakka Stir Fry Taro Dumpling “Suan Pan Zi” (客家炒算盤子)

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We love taro a lot and we were thinking to make the Pork Belly with Taro which Eric wanted to eat all these while. But it requires too much of work and then it was often put aside. While I was researching about the dish, I stumbled across this long forgotten Hakka recipe Stir Fry Taro Dumpling or Abacus Beads “Suan Pan Zi”(客家炒算盤子). I was so excited as I didn’t have this for years. So I have decided to give the recipe a try. Obviously Pork Belly with Taro was put aside again.

Since my father side is Hakka, that’s why I know of and have tried this dish. We often get to eat various traditional Hakka dishes whenever we go back to “Semenyih”, our old home town (老家) in Malaysia. My uncle is a great cook and he will always prepare a big meal, like 8-10 dishes sometimes double the dishes because we have so many relatives visiting.

In Chinese the dish is called 炒算盤子 “Chao Suan Pan Zi”, literally means Stir Fry Abacus Beads. The taro is steamed and prepared into dough form then shaped into round balls resembling the beads on the Chinese Abacus, an old calculating tool before calculator.

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Ipoh Shredded Chicken Hor Fun (鸡丝河粉)

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Ipoh is famous with its signature dishes of Bean Sprouts Chicken (芽菜雞) and Shredded Chicken Hor Fun (雞丝河粉). You can actually find many of these combination food stalls all over Ipoh. The locals recommended Lou Wong (老黃) or Onn Kee (安記) in the town if you have a chance to pay a visit in Ipoh.

This time I was only preparing the Shredded Chicken Hor Fun or Flat Rice Noodle, and in an easy way. Usually a whole chicken (preferably free range chicken / 土雞) is used by poaching in a hot water bath till cooked, and then cool down in an icy bath. This is the important part to maintain the smoothness and juiciness of the chicken texture. But for a smaller portion I am just using a chicken quarter and breast for cooking.

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Claypot Chicken Rice (瓦煲雞飯/煲仔飯)

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When we talk about the good food in Malaysia, you don’t want to miss the famous Claypot Chicken Rice (瓦煲雞飯).  I remember when I lived in Malaysia with my family, we loved to go to the hawker stall near my house in Klang for the claypot chicken rice.  Essentially, the claypot is filled with rice, topped with chicken and other ingredients such as chinese sausages, mushroom and especially salted fish pieces that gave an extra taste. Then the claypot chicken rice is cooked using the most traditional way on top of charcoal fire which makes it so fragrant and delicious.

To cook a perfect claypot chicken rice, the most important thing is to know how to control the charcoal fire. You practically have to stand there to fan the charcoal in order to control for high or low heat, and not to burn the rice.  One of the best parts of the claypot chicken rice is the crispy rice bits (not burnt rice) that are stuck on the side and the bottom of the claypot that makes it so unique tasty.

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Lama Kitchen is a food and cooking blog fills with savory food with great cooking recipes and ideas for those of you who love food and home cooked meals. Read more