Ingredients in Malaysian Cooking

EnglishScientificMalaysian Term (mostly Malay, but some in local Chinese/Indian dialect)Notes
anchovy, scaly hairfinSetipinna tatyikan bilisVery small fish, often salted and dried.
aniseedPimpinella anisumjintan manis
Asam fruitGarcinia atroviridisasam gelugorBright orange yellow fruit. Sundried slices are known as asam keping and are used in curries and soups, or stewed in sugar.  Dried rinds of underripe fruit are used in curries in place of tamarind and used for dressing fish.
bananaMusa acuminata × Musa balbisianapisang
bean paste, fermentedtaucheo豆醬/豆酱 (dòu jiàng, "bean paste") or 黃豆醬/黄豆酱 (huáng dòu jiàng, "soybean paste", "yellow bean paste") in Chinese.  Sometimes written as towcheong.  Paste made from salted and fermented soy beans.
bean sproutstaugeh
candlenutAleurites moluccanabuah keras
chilli, bird's eyeCapsicum frutescenschili padi
chives, garlicAllium tuberosumkuchai
choy sumBrassica rapa, subspecies chinensissawi
coconut butterCocos nuciferakerisikToasted coconut paste, used in dishes such as laksa and beef rendang.
coconut milkCocos nuciferasantan
cuminCuminum cyminumjintan putih
fenugreekTrigonella foenum-graecumhalba
fern, vegetableDiplazium esculentumpucuk paku
galangalAlpinia galangalengkuasa.k.a. blue ginger
ginger flowerEtlingera elatiorbunga kantanShowy pink flowers are used as decoration, while flower buds are an important ingredient in laksa
grouperEpinephelinae subfamilyikan kerapu
Indian boragePlectranthus amboinicuslemujuSimilar to oregano in flavour and odour.
jícama / yam beanPachyrhizus erosussengkuangCommonly refers to the edible tuberous root of the plant. The rest of the plant is very poisonous.
lemongrassCymbopogon citratusserai
lime, Calamansi×Citrofortunella microcarpalimau kasturi
mackerel, chub or IndianScomber japonicus, Rastrelliger kanagurtaikan kembong
mackerel, SpanishScombridae familyikan tengiri
mackerel, narrow-barred SpanishScomberomorus commersonikan tengiri batang
noodle, flat ricekuay teow河粉 (hé fěn) in Chinese.  Flat noodles made from rice flour.
noodle, laksalaifun瀨粉/濑粉 (lài fěn) in Chinese.  Round noodles made from rice flour and/or tapioca starch.
pandan / screwpine leavesPandanus amaryllifoliusdaun pandan
pomfret, blackParastromateus nigerikan bawal hitam
pomfret, silver or whitePampus argenteusikan bawal putih
radish, Chinese whiteRaphanus sativus var. longipinnatuschye tow / chai towUsed to make savoury "carrot cake", or chai tow kway (菜頭粿/菜头粿).
radish, preserved, saltedRaphanus sativus var. longipinnatuschye poh / chai poh
rice, glutinousOryza glutinosapulut
sambalsambalChilli based sauce normally used as a condiment.
scad, torpedo or hardtailMegalaspis cordylaikan cencaru
scad, yellow- or gold-bandedSelarios leptolepisikan selar kuningSmall fish often served fried in nasi lemak.
shrimp, driedhae bee蝦米/虾米 (xiā​ mǐ) in Chinese.
shrimp pastebelachan
snapper, redLutjanus roseusikan merah"red fish"
sugar, palmgula melaka
threadfinPolynemidae familyikan senanginSilvery grey tropical fish.
tofu, firmtawkwa / tahu kuning
tofu pufftaupok / tow pokFried bean curd cube, spongy inside, great for soaking up laksa flavours.
vermicelli, mung bean / glass noodlestunghoon粉絲/粉丝 (fěn sī) or 冬粉 (dōng fěn) in Chinese.  Thin noodles made from mung bean starch.  Transparent when cooked.
vermicelli, ricemeehoon / bee hoon米粉 (mǐ fěn) in Chinese.  Thin noodles made from rice flour.  White when cooked.
Vietnamese mintPersicaria odoratadaun kesuma.k.a. daun laksa ("laksa leaf")
a.k.a. Vietnamese coriander
water spinachIpomoea aquaticakangkonga.k.a. morning glory, water convolvulus

Other Cooking Terms

oil separates (stage in cooking)pecah minyak
spice pasterempah

Units of Measurement

cattykatimassEquivalent to around 1 1/3 pound avoirdupois, formalised as 604.79 g in Malaysia
taeltahilmassEquivalent to around 1 1/3 ounce avoirdupois, approximately 37.7994 g.
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