10 Cookbooks That Can Help You Recreate Memories of Malaysia When You Are Abroad

Home-grown recipes for the homesick

Exploring foreign lands and new, exotic food either during a short trip, studying overseas or while working abroad is a given must-try experience. Though like most of us, there’s nothing quite like the comfort and familiarity of food from home.

While there are plenty of local Malaysian recipes to be found online, sometimes all you need as a culinary companion is a good old cookbook to guide you step-by-step without having to search, click or fiddle with touchscreens while you’re cooking. This shortlist includes chefs from a wide variety of backgrounds; well-known culinary personalities, former cooking reality show contestants and even a student.

Satiate your Asian taste buds and recreate memories of home while abroad with these 10 useful cookbooks of authentic Malaysian food:


The Complete Malaysian Cookbook – Betty Saw

The Complete Malaysian Cookbook (some time ago Rasa Malaysia) takes you on a voyage through Malaysia’s culinary legacy where each state’s best formulas are displayed. From Johor Laksa to Penang Acar, this book contains kitchen-tried formulas sourced from home kitchens to the imperial kitchens.

This accumulation of more than 200 Malaysian recipes gives an agent test of the extensive variety of sustenance that the nation brings to the table. The determination is separated into areas on every one of promontory Malaysia’s 11 states and the two states on the island of Borneo. This is the second release of this great accumulation. The main release was reproduced seven circumstances. Much of the recipes are delineated by shading photos in its 264 pages.

Veteran chef Betty Saw is one of Malaysia’s most loved nourishment journalists and the creator of the tremendously famous daily paper sustenance section, ‘From Betty Saw’s Kitchen’. With more than 30 years of experience, she shares her insight and pragmatic cooking tips on different TV cooking programs and in a number of cookbooks.


Malaysian Cooking: A Master Cook Reveals Her Best Recipes – Carol Selvarajah

This is a fascinating and energizing gathering of recipes that can without much of a stretch be repeated in your kitchen to mirror the superb scope of fragrances and flavours found in the mixed blend of Indian, Chinese, Malay and Nonya nourishment found in this great nation where sustenance outweighs everything else.

Malaysian Cooking presents the craft of utilizing Malaysia’s most sweet-smelling cooking fixings to prepare with awesome scents to energize both the sense of taste and smell. Since over seventy percent of what we taste originates from smell, the fragrances created by our food are vital to the satisfaction of eating.

Enlivened by affectionate recollections of fragrant cooking from her youth days, writer Carol Selva Rajah has incorporated into this book an accumulation of new and customary Malaysian dishes for anybody wishing to serve the best kinds of Malaysian nourishment at home.


The New Mrs. Lee’s Cookbook: Nonya Cuisine – Lee Chin Koon & Shermay Lee

The latest edition of “Mrs Lee’s Cookbook” was relaunched with new updates for the new generation by Mrs Lee Chin Koon’s granddaughter, Shermay Lee. It was first published in 1979 when Mrs Lee was 70 years old. With over half a century worth of cooking experience, she wrote the cookbook especially for her grandchildren and other cooks of this generation in hopes that the Nyonya tradition would be passed on and continued.

The cookbook has since had numerous reprints and steadily became widely accepted as the definitive authority on Nyonya cuisine and culture. The new and revised edition allows for any beginners to cook classic Peranakan dishes such as the Mee Siam, Ayam Buah Keluak and Pong Tauhu Soup, to name a few. There’s also new and rather useful sections – a complete and detailed glossary of ingredients and basic kitchen equipment that you’ll need to cook your Peranakan dish. Each recipe is illustrated with a step-by-step guide to preparation and basic cooking techniques.

Cooking your very first Nyonya cuisine might be quite a challenge as it often involves long preparation periods with a bunch of complex ingredients. But with Mrs Lee’s Cookbook, rest assured that even as a novice you’ll be able to create almost any classic Peranakan dish with surprising ease.


Traditional Cape Malay Cooking – Zainab Lagardien

In Sugar and Spice, Zainab Lagardien features conventional Cape Malay recipes, and in addition some that have been embraced by her group throughout the years. A few, particularly those in the breads section, are of her own development.

This gathering of 166 recipes covers rolls, cakes, cakes, puddings, cheesecakes, scones, biscuits, doughnuts, koeksisters, breads, konfyts and jams. The direct and useful guidelines will speak to tenderfoots, finished pastry specialists, and any individual who is keen on taking in a period respected method for heating that is customarily passed from mother to girl.


Malaysian Meals in 30 Minutes – Sara Khong 

In case you’re a mum with a bustling calendar yet yearning to create great, quality dinners for your family, Sara Khong has quite recently distributed a cookbook in view of you – Malaysian Food in 30 Minutes. This cookbook plans to urge urban-occupants to eat at home by offering efficient recipes.

Recipes are separated into five areas: Condiments, Rice and Noodles, Chicken and Fish, Vegetables and Tofu, Snack and Dessert and Beverages. Simply pick a dish to make and Sara’s cookbook will demonstrate to you how it can be thrown together under 30 minutes. The cookbook likewise includes helpful tips and traps on kitchen association, food stockpiling, kitchen instruments, utensils and machines.


Brahim’s: Malaysia’s Favourite Traditional Recipes – Ibrahim Badawi; Fatin Ibrahim

With over 162 pages of stories and recipes, Brahim’s the cookbook is separated into three interesting areas: the historical backdrop of Malaysia’s food, Ibrahim’s example of overcoming adversity and the 42 recipes. In Brahim’s, there is a recipe to make Thai Green Curry Chicken the long way, which implies you should make the zest glue without any preparation, and the easy route utilizing Brahim’s prepared to-cook sauce. The cookbook is unique in a way that shows both the long way and short way to make Brahim’s special sauces.

For those experimenting with the recipes, the book is additionally loaded with helpful tips and tricks that can be utilized. For example, did you realize that you can test whether oil is sufficiently hot for a good broiling by plunging the end of a wooden spoon into it? On the off chance that air pockets conform to the finish of the spoon, then the oil is prepared for browning. Tips like this are in abundance in the book, and infinitely useful in case you’re experimenting with their recipes, or even your own.


Malaysian Student’s Cookbook – Izarra Azuddin

In her final year as a degree student in Melbourne, Izzara Azuddin battled with the inconveniences of being far from home and went through her days trying different approaches with her mum’s recipes and newfound food that were well known in the city. She put together each recipe that worked for her and created the cookbook to help other students who would be looking for simple and budget-friendly approaches for straightforward home-cooked food.

Written in both English and Bahasa Malaysia, the Malaysian Students’ Cookbook was composed for cash and time-starved tertiary understudies. Including a blend of straightforward Malaysian and Western recipes, from generous dinners to simple sweets, this book intends to be an average student’s respite for Malaysian food, despite having restricted spending power, time limitations and an absence of utensils.


Malaysian-Inspired Desserts – Brian Chen

A former contestant in the reality shows MasterChef Malaysia and The Apartment, Brian Chen, also affectionately known as Abang Brian, is now a certified chef and graduated from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. He’s also now the owner of his very own bakery called Happy Cakes and has added a new entry to his illustrious profile – the author of the cookbooks, Cooking with Kids and his latest work, Malaysian-Inspired Desserts.

His repertoire of Malaysian-inspired desserts is no different, all drawn from his childhood experience, travels in foreign lands and his own personal preferences and tastes. There is also a chapter dedicated on healthy deserts, which includes a flourless and sugarless carrot cake, that was influenced by his parent’s battle with a life-threatening illness.

Many of his creations contain a distinct Malaysian touch while interlaced with other influences he’s picked up along the way through his years abroad and time in culinary school.


The Fat Spoon Cookbook – Pong, Melissa; Pong, Michelle

Many Klang Valley urbanites would be familiar with Fat Spoon, a rustic little eatery opened in 2010 in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, owned and run by sisters Melissa and Michelle Pong. The quaint and charming eatery carries a repertoire of Nyonya-inspired delights that incorporate family tradition seamlessly combined with Gen-Y inventiveness. The sisters have since created a delightful collection of recipes that offers a glimpse into how the many unique dishes of Fat Spoon is made, such as the ulam fried rice, pumpkin fritters and cempedak spring rools with vanilla ice-cream.

The Fat Spoon Cookbook truly reflects their chic personality and passion for good food, especially their magical touch of bringing back the old in a brand spanking new setting. Among the old-school favourites from their family recipes are some original creations that showcases the sisters’ ingenuity and flair for the muhibbah by marrying of the old and the new.

Though merely a small sampling of what their eatery has to offer, the book manages to convey a small slice of that rustic yet homely atmosphere from the sisters’ childhood that would, they hope, encourage you to re-live yours by trying out the cookbook’s recipes – and perhaps become a source of inspiration to create your own.


The Best of Chef Wan: A Taste of Malaysia / Simply Sedap – Chef Wan

A household name and perhaps the most recognizable chef in Malaysia, Chef Wan shares a generous 138 recipes in “The Best of Chef Wan.” It’s a comprehensive collection of dishes carefully selected and perfected by the culinary personality, including his very own favourite Malaysian dishes. This compendium features six categories – Meat, Poultry, Fish and Seafood, Salads and Vegetables, Rice and Noodles and Soups.

You will find classic Malaysian dishes such as the Nyonya Squid Sambal, Nasi Ulam and Terengganu Beef Curry. There are also regional specialities like the Fried Tom Yam Vermicelli, Thai-style Beef in Spicy Gravy and Chettinad Chicken. It’s written in a way that even the most novice cook will find easy to follow as it’s supplemented with a complete glossary of ingredients. “The Best of Chef Wan” truly is the definitive cookbook for Malaysians away from home and desperately craving a local flavour.


We're just a small group of friends who love food, culture and Malaysia. We saw the rise of mediocre food, deteriorating relationships and missed the good old days of Malaysia where food was good, homes were warmer and full of friends and family. So we rolled up our sleeves, and made Butterkicap with the hope that it will bring people and flavors home.

Love Malaysian food and culture? Find Malaysian recipes and stories on culture here in the Butterkicap community. Join us.

Sign up for Butterkicap

Tweet us 

Show the world just how amazing Malaysian food is.

Hashtag us at #butterkicap

Please check your feed, the data was entered incorrectly.