Archive for the ‘Malaysian’ Category

Our guest writer Bee Yinn Low

For some time I have been a great fan of two site authored by Bee Yinn Low
I am therefore thrilled that she has allowed me to publish one of her recipes Chai Buey.
With very little change in the method, this recipe will work very well in a thermal cooker.
To see more recipes from Bee Yinn Low why not visit her sites Nyonya food and Rasa Malaysia
If you like Asia cooking they are certainly worth a visit.

Copyright - Bee Yinn Low

While I am always excited about the reunion dinner and the many courses of traditional Chinese New Year dishes, I have to confess that it’s the leftover that really tickles my taste buds. Yes, I am talking about chai buey, or 菜尾, literally meas “leftover.” In Penang, especially in my Nyonya family, the day after the first day of New Year is when we make a huge pot of chai buey—a soup or stew concocted with all the leftover ingredients from the reunion dinner. It’s generally consisted of meat (chicken, roast pork, duck), vegetables (preferably fresh “mustard green/gai choy/ 芥菜” or kiam cai/picked salted mustard green), and all the other leftover from the reunion dinner, including steamboat (hot pot). The chai buey is infused with tamarind juice, bean paste (taucheo), some dried red chilies, with some peeled assam keping (optional). You then stew the chai buey over low heat to bring out all the flavors of the leftover ingredients, and the end result is a pot of mouthwatering, appetizing, and utterly delicious stew that I can eat for days…

This is my chai buey that I made a couple of days ago with some leftover roast pork, mushrooms, and other leftover Chinese New Year dishes. The great thing about chai buey is that it just gets better overnight or days later as the flavors break down and continue to develop with time. My late mother would keep chai buey for up to 3-4 days, while she kept adding fresh mustard greens to the soup. Everyone in my family loves this dish—the soup goes so well with steamed white rice and sambal belacan, and the dish is full of hidden treasures, if you are willing to dig in and find the goodies.

As chai buey is made of leftover foods, there is really not a proper recipe to create the dish. It’s really flexible and you can use your taste buds to create your own version of chai buey and use the key seasoning ingredients below to bring out the flavors:

  1. Tamarind juice—soak a golf-ball size tamarind pulp in 4 cups of water and extract the juice
  2. Yellow bean paste or taucheo—this gives you the earthy and salty taste in the stew/soup
  3. Dried red chilies—remove the seeds of the dried chilies and dump them into the soup. A great chai buey should be slightly spicy.
  4. Mustard green or gai choy (芥菜)—we love this vegetables in chai buey, nothing can replace it. In Hokkien, it’s called “kua cai.”
  5. Water—since this is a soupy stew, you should add water because the best part is sipping the sour soup!

For the perfect balance of flavors, use some salt and sugar (optional) to achieve your desired taste.

Note: Chai Buey can also be found at the many economy rice stalls in Malaysia, and some chicken rice stalls also serve chai buey. I have to warn you that it’s not the most appetizing and photogenic looking stew/dish, but once you try the flavor, I am sure it will win you over. Enjoy!

Written by Bee Yinn Low and taken from her site at Nyonya food .


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Rice fields in Indonesia

Probably like you, many of the meals I cook, involve serving them with rice. If you own a thermal cooker there are two way to deal with this.
If your thermal cooker has only one inner pot (some thermal cooker have two) I can either put a trivet in the bottom (its legs in the food) and put something like my cake tin containing part boiled rice on the trivet or cook your rice about 30 minutes before I want to eat in a separate saucepan. If you on the other hand have a Mr D’s top pot you can follow the recipe and then put the top pot in the inner pot before placing the inner pot into the outer container.
In the past I have tried many methods of cooking rice. These include Jamie Oliver’s rice cooking method from his book “Ministry of Food” and Madhur Jaffrey’s methods from her book “Illustrated Indian Cookery”. All of these work but take far more time than my method and do not seem to be any better.


  • 1/2 cup of rice per person. I always use Basmati rice except for when I am cooking Thai food. With Thai I prefer Jasmine rice.
  • 1 cup of water for each 1/2 cup of rice.
  • Salt to taste.


  1. Add the water to a saucepan.
  2. Add salt tasting the water until you can taste the salt. Vary the amount to your taste but remember if you can’t taste the salt in the water your rice will tend to be bland.
  3. Bring the water to the boil.
  4. Pour the rice into the boiling water and bring it back to the boil.
  5. Boil it gently (a rolling boil) for 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and put a lid on the pan.
  7. Leave for about 30 minutes and you then will have perfectly cooked rice.
  8. Before serving fluff up with a fork.

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I just love Malaysian curry and this one is very versatile. Although I have made this with beef meatballs you can add whatever meat you prefer.
For this meal you will need to either buy or make up your own Malaysian curry powder. I have put the ingredients to make your own and any that you don’t use should be stored in a sealed container until needed again. Like all spices to get the best flavours you should not keep it too long.


  • 2 tbls coriander seeds
  • 1 tbls cumin seed
  • 3/4 tbls fennel seed
  • 1/2 tbls chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Grind all of these ingredients in a grinder.


  • 2 tbls cooking oil
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1½” fresh ginger, sliced
  • 5 tbsp Malaysian meat curry powder (see above)
  • 1-2 tbs chili powder, or to taste
  • 12 small beef meatballs (I used ready made but you can make your own)
  • 1 can coconut milk, combined with 2 cups of water
  • 2 star anise
  • 8 curry leaves
  • 2 potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in the inner pot over a low heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry on a low heat until the onions are soft.
  3. Stir in the Malaysian curry powder and chilli powder. Cook for 2 minutes make sure it doesn’t burn.
  4. Turn up the heat to medium and add the meatballs. Make sure they are nicely covered by the curry mixture and cook until they brown. You may need to add a little more oil but don’t add too much.
  5. Remove the meatballs and keep on a plate.
  6. Add the coconut milk, star anise and curry leaves. Slowly bring to a boil
  7. When the curry is boiling, start carefully adding the meatballs back into the inner pot, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the potatoes bring back to the boil and boil 5 minutes uncovered, then add tomato paste, season with salt and stir gently to mix
  9. Put on the lid, turn off the heat and place the inner pot into the insulated outer pot.
  10. Shut the lid and leave to cook for a minimum of 2 hours. If you leave it longer it will not be a problem.
  11. When ready to serve stir in the coriander.
  12. Check the seasoning. Adjust if necessary.
  13. Serve with bread or steamed rice

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