Malaysia is famous for being a country brimming with delicious, taste bud-tingling, and possibly even life-changing food. When travellers visit our beautiful country, their agenda usually includes binging on our famous nasi lemak, satay, and several other delectable Malaysian goodies.
Unfortunately, our food is also known to be not all that healthy. Malaysians are particularly fond of foods that are filled with sugar, deep-fried, or soaked in a vat of oil, making it difficult to come across recipes and menus featuring “healthy Malaysian food”.
Well, we’ve gone and done the impossible and have compiled ten healthier versions of our favourite Malaysian recipes, kick-starting with the quintessentially Malaysian:
1. Healthier Nasi Lemak
Healthy nasi lemak? Is that even possible? Here’s how they did it: virgin coconut oil instead of santan retains that vital coconutty flavour we associate with nasi lemak. Anchovies are cooked in the microwave instead of deep-fried, but are still crisp and good. The sambal gets its explosive kick from dried chillies, shallots, tamarind, garlic, along with brown sugar and olive oil. Recipe here.
2. Healthy Otak-Otak
We love our otak-otak, but the ones sold at the pasar malam are often filled not only with colouring, flour fillers, and other unknown additives. This homemade version uses snapper fillets, chilli paste, coriander powder, turmeric powder, eggs, and kaffir lime leaves for a beautiful baked otak-otak. There’s also a secret ingredients which you’ll have to find out in the recipe here.
3. Ikan Bakar Yogurt
This ikan bakar is chock-full of flavour from the chilli, turmeric, black pepper and curry powder along with a blend of garlic, onion and ginger. Yogurt is used instead of coconut milk to save on the calories but it tastes just as great thanks to the spices and herbs. Recipe here.
4. Healthier Rendang Tok
You might scoff at a healthier version of our beloved rendang tok, but this recipe certainly does it justice by retaining its fragrance, flavour and spice kick. This version substitutes the coconut milk with 2-3 tablespoons of kerisik (coconut paste), keeping it low cal but still coconutty and scrumptious. Get recipe here.
5. Young Mango Kerabu
This recipe features young mango, tomatoes, along with diced onions, chillies, and ikan bilis dressed in a tangy lime sauce. Tart, crisp, juicy, spicy and sweet all at the same time — nobody can say no to a mango salad. Recipe here.
6. Chicken Stir-fry with Sweet Basil Leaves
This recipe is quick and easy for a weeknight while still delivering maximum flavour thanks to the garlic, ginger, onion, chilli paste and sweet basil leaves used. Served with hot brown rice for maximum pleasure. See recipe here.
7. Goreng Peria Berdaging (Bitter Gourd & Beef Stir-Fry)
Bitter gourds are filled with minerals and vitamins but are unfortunately not well-liked. This recipe masks the bitterness with chilli paste, sauteed red and white onions, as well as a little bit of ketchup, making it a delectable dish to go with some brown rice. Recipe here.
8. Healthier Chicken Satay
Yep, you can make chicken satay at home too! We’ll just leave out that piece of fat in the middle and the brushes of oil while on the grill. This recipe allows you to make satay from either chicken legs or chicken breasts. It tastes so fabulous you don’t even need the peanut sauce to go with it! Recipe here.
9. Curry Prawns
Prawns are high in protein and low in fat, making them a great addition to any meal. They taste amazing stir-fried with garlic, curry powder and then simmered in light coconut milk, which goes great with a plate of brown rice and some steamed veggies. Recipe here.
10. Sayur Lodeh (Malay Vegetable Curry)
Brimming with veggies, this is a beautiful, colourful curry that’ll please even the big time carnivores thanks to its rich flavour from the medley of spices used. The recipe features some coconut milk, but if you’re uncomfortable with its high saturated fat content (although sat. fat isn’t all evil), you could always substitute it with yogurt. Serve with brown rice for a pleasurable meal. Recipe here.
So there you have it, ten healthy Malaysian dishes to test out at home! Let us know how it goes in the comments section below or on our Facebook page!