Category: Recipes

Bubur Cha-Cha

Bubur Cha-Cha

Bubur Cha-Cha is probably one of the more well-known Nyonya desserts, so much so that they are commonly found in Hong Kong/Cantonese-style cafes. Even here in the United States, I can find it on the menu of some Asian cafes as Nanyang Bubur Cha-Cha or 南洋摩摩喳喳. Nanyang means “south of sea,” generally known as Southeast Asia in Chinese…

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Rempah Fish (Fried Fish Stuffed with Sambal)

Rempah Fish (Fried Fish Stuffed with Sambal)

If there is one Nyonya dish that I wish I could make in the United States but couldn’t, this rempah fish or fried fish stuffed with sambal would probably be it. Why? Because a true and authentic Nyonya rempah fish (‘Hu Chee Rempah” in Penang Hokkien) can only be made with hardtail mackerel, a fish that is not available in…

Acar Recipe (Acar Awak)

Acar Recipe (Acar Awak)

Nyonya loves pickled vegetables of all kinds. So, there is no surprise that my family in Penang is partial to pickled or preserved foods—vegetables, fish stomach (perut ikan), and cincaluk (preserved baby shrimp). Grandmother was a huge fan of pickled Nyonya dishes. I grew up watching her and my aunt making lots of acar (also called acar awak) or pickled…

Asam Prawn (Tamarind Fried Prawn)

Asam Prawn (Tamarind Fried Prawn)

Asam prawn or “asam heh“. This tamarind fried prawn recipe was posted on Rasa Malaysia, but I am adding it here on Nyonya food because asam prawn is a very popular Nyonya recipe…

Jiu Hu Char (Fried Jicama/Yambean with Shredded Cuttlefish)

Jiu Hu Char (Fried Jicama/Yambean with Shredded Cuttlefish)

While Nyonya and the Peranakan are born and raised in Malaysia and Singapore, they mostly observe Chinese lunar calendar and celebrate numerous Chinese festivities.  The year-round Chinese festivals call for festive foods—dishes that are significant to the festivals, for example: jiu hu char or fried jicama/yambean with shredded cuttlefish and loh bak. In my family, jiu hu char is an…

Bee Koh Moy/Bubur Pulut Hitam (Black Sticky Rice Dessert)

Bee Koh Moy/Bubur Pulut Hitam (Black Sticky Rice Dessert)

Nyonya and Peranakan are known to have sweet tooth; their penchant for everything sweet is most pronounced in their skills in making very delicate, sinfully sweet, and utterly delightful Nyonya kuih—local sweet cakes that are eaten throughout the day—and many decadent desserts. My mother was the biggest sweet tooth in my family. She loved sticky-sweet foods and was notorious in my…

Assam Laksa (Nyonya Noodles with Fish Broth)

Assam Laksa (Nyonya Noodles with Fish Broth)

Assam laksa, also spelled as Asam laksa, the piquant, pungent, sour, and fiery hot noodle dish with fresh vegetables bathed in a fish broth is a Penang Nyonya creation. Known simply as Laksa in Penang, it’s found almost everywhere in Penang–kopitiam (coffee shops), roadside stalls, mobile push carts, and hawker centers. With perfect balance of tartness and spicy flavor, Assam…

Loh Bak Recipe (Five-Spice Pork Roll/卤肉)

Loh Bak Recipe (Five-Spice Pork Roll/卤肉)

Loh bak or five-spice pork roll (卤肉) is one of the festive dishes in my family. Much like many Nyonya or Straits Chinese families in Penang, my family celebrates festivals according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Every year, there are numerous festivities when special festive foods are served: Chinese New Year, homage to ancestors, the 7th month of Chinese calendar…

Nyonya Stewed Pork Ribs

Nyonya Stewed Pork Ribs

Stewed pork ribs with taucheo (fermented bean paste) was one of my mother’s recipes, one that I am fortunate to learn. It brought back a lot of sweet memories as I was preparing it today. It was my father’s favorite dish–one that garnered special attention as my mother would spend hours slowly stewing the pork ribs until the meat falls…

Spring Rolls Recipe (Fried Popiah Recipe)

Spring Rolls Recipe (Fried Popiah Recipe)

Spring rolls, or locally known as “popiah” (簿饼) is a popular snack for Nyonya households in Penang. In fact, spring rolls or popiah are so popular that every ethnic group in Malaysia–be it Chinese, Malay, or Muslim-Indian (known as “mamak“)–has their own interpretation of spring rolls. So, there is no exception that Nyonya has their own take on this popular…

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