Kitchen Tips

A Roundup of Authentic Malaysian Ingredients

Malaysian cooking incorporates a host of authentic local ingredients that play a pivotal role in bringing out a distinct flavour in the cuisine.

The local ingredients are what is grown in the tropical land and used in the traditional and contemporary dishes that adds a zing to it.

Here’s a roundup of authentic Malaysian ingredients you should know:

Asam Gelugur


Image Courtesy: Google Images:

Also known as asam keping in Malay, is a large rainforest tree native to peninsular Malaysia. It is grown especially in the northern states for its medicinal value. The leaves are dark green, shiny, long and narrow with a pointed tip  with dark red flowers. The fruits are bright orange-yellow, which is dried and used as a condiment in curries or stewed in sugar as a candy. It is said to reduce cholesterol and have slimming effects on the body and also tooth ache.

Banana leaves and flower


Photo courtesy Food Stories. Used under Creative Common Licence

Due to the migration of a lot of south Indians to Malaysia the banana leaves became a staple in serving meals since it’s a tradition in South India. In fact, the enzymes on the leaves that gets mixed with the food while eating on banana leaves is said to improve digestion. It is also associated with Thai cuisine since the Thais use it extensively in their cuisine. In Malaysia, however, it is used to wrap or pack a few dishes and cook them on high heat to bring out a distinct flavour. The banana flowers are used to make curries and salads the popular Kerabu Jantung Pisang.



Photo courtesy: Pinot Dita, used under Creative Common Licence

At first it looks like macadamia nuts, but they look larger and also belong to the family of macadamia nuts . Also known as candleberry, it is used in most of the pastes, satays and coconut-milk based curries. It is said to be slightly toxic when consumed raw so it has to be cooked before you consume. It is known to have been beneficial in promoting hair growth, cure illness such as diarrhea, constipation, mouth sores, and fever.

Laksa leaf:


Photo courtesy: Citrus and Candy. Used under Creative Common Licence

Also known as Vietnamese coriander, is commonly used in Southeast Asian cooking. In Malaysia it is called daun laksa which means Laksa leaf. The taste and odour are similar to mint and the shredded leaf is used as an essential ingredient of Laksa soup and hence it is known as laksa leaf. It is said that in Australia the plant is being investigated as a source of Kesom essential oil.



Photo courtesy: Gabriel Sai Used under Creative Common Licence

Keropok are deep fried crackers made from dried paste from the mixture of starch with other ingredients. The most popular keropok in Malaysia is the Lekor, which originates from Terengganu and Amplang, and in Sabah. The Mukah town in Sarawak is also historically known as a fishing town for the making of Keropok.

Here is a list of top 10 Malaysian ingredients you must know.

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