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home > Malaysia Singapore Food > Nyonya Recipes 












Malaysian-Singapore Recipes - Nyonya Cuisine

myMalaysiabooks brings to you traditional Nyonya recipes of Malaysia and Singapore - Unique Malaysian and Singapore dishes of Asia


Best Home Nyonya Recipes

Acar Ikan - nyonya pickled fish

acar ikan

Nyonya Cuisine (Peranakan food) is a blend of Chinese and Malay cooking styles, that originates from the Peranakans or Baba and Nyonya (or Nonya) of Malaysia and Singapore. This cuisine is unique to Malaysia and Singapore - the food of the communities that are found mainly in Penang, northern part of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Melaka

Nyonya Rice Dishes

Nyonya Dishes and Curries

Nyonya Kuih / Nonya Kueh

Nyonya Rice Dishes

A selection of rice meals prepared in Nyonya style. Examples are:

Nasi kunyit - yellow rice, cooked from glutinous rice with coconut milk and turmeric; usualy served with chicken curry (Malay and Nyonya)

Nasi Ulam - rice mixed with vegetables, a variety of local aromatic herbs, grounded salted fish, desiccated coconut, etc. Popular in Penang and Kedah.

Pulut inti - glutinous rice cooked with coconut milk and served with grated coconut mixed with palm sugar (brown sugar)


Nasi Ulam

(Rice with herbs and vegetables)

Nasi Ulam - Malaysian  rice with herbs and vegetable Ingredients

Two cups of rice, cooked with 2 stalks of lemon grass and pandan leaves


5 -6 shallots, sliced

100g dried salted fish fillet, fried and pounded

100g dried salted prawn, pounded and fried

50g desiccated coconut

lime juice

Ulam vegetables:

Some Daun kadok (sirih tanah)

Some Daun cekor (leaves of Indian galangal)

some mint leaves

2-3 limau perut leaves

red and green chillies

2 stalks bunga kantan (flower of blue ginger)

Other herbs and vegetables as desired


Wash and cut all the Ulam vegetables into thin shreds.

To serve, mix the cooked rice with the garnishing and cut ulam vegetables. The amount of ingredients mixed can be according to taste.


Nyonya Rice Dumplings   

Recipe by Amy Beh (at Kuali)


700g glutinous rice, soaked overnight

Some screwpine leaves or pandan, cut into 4 cm lengths

Dried bamboo leaves, washed and soaked for several hours

Hemp strings for tying

2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp sugar


5 shallots, minced

2 tbsp chopped garlic

˝ cup oil

3 tsp preserved soya bean paste (tau cheong)

7 tbsp coriander powder (ground ketumbar), mixed with 170ml water into a paste

450g belly pork, skin removed and cut into very small cubes

12-14 dried mushrooms, soaked and diced

100g candied winter melon, diced


Chinese Nyonya Dumplings


Seasoning (combined)

3 tsp pepper

5˝-6 tbsp sugar or to taste

1 tbsp thick soy sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

2˝-3 tsp salt or to taste

˝ tsp ground black pepper


To prepare the filling
Heat oil in a non-stick pan, fry shallots and garlic until aromatic. Add soya bean paste and coriander paste. Fry until fragrant.
Add pork, winter melon and mushrooms, and mix in combined seasoning. Fry until pork is heated through. Dish out and set aside.

To assemble the dumplings
Overlap 2 bamboo leaves lengthways then fold into a cone. Fill the cone with glutinous rice. Spoon a heaped tablespoon of filling over. Top up with more glutinous rice and cover with a piece of screwpine leaf. Press down to compress the dumpling. Wrap into a pyramid shape. Tie tightly with hemp string to secure. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and sugar then put in the dumplings and immerse them completely. Cook in rapidly boiling water for 2-2˝ hours. Remove the dumplings and hang them to drain off excess water.


Nyonya Dishes and Curries

Acar Awak - Pickled vegetables of carrots, long beans, cucumber, etc, cooked with ginger, turmeric, garlic and vinegar

bubur cha cha - sweet Malaysian dessert

bubur cha cha


Asam Pedas - spicy sour fish curry; Malaysian curry

asam pedas


Acar Awak - spicy vegetables; Nyonya dish

Acar Awak / Achar Awak


Acar Ikan - Pickled Fish; small fried fish soaked in sauce of oil, tamarind, garlic

Asam Pedas - Spicy Sour fish curry cooked with pineapple

Bubur Cha Cha - A sweet dessert of yam, sweet potatoes, sago and bananas cooked in coconut milk

Chicken Curry - Curry cooked with Chicken and potatoes

Inchee Kay Bin - Chicken spiced with curry paste and deep fried

Jiu Hoo Char - Fried vegetables of shredded carrots and turnip with shredded cuttlefish

Kerabu Kobis - cabbage tossed with chillies, shallot and herbs

Lor Bak / Loh Bak - pok rolls; spiced pok wrapped in beancurd skin, deep-fried

Otak-Otak - steam fish with spices and herbs wrapped in banana leaves

Sambal Kangkong - Fried kangkong in chillies and shrimp

Sambal belacan - Pounded chillies with prawn paste/cake

Other popular sambal is sambal udang which is of grounded dried shrimps cooked with sambal and spices.

Perut Ikan - Spicy and sour herb and vegetable curry cook with some fish intestines

Jiu Hu Char

( Mixed vegetables with cuttlefish)


One medium sized yambean/ bangkuang

One carrot

2 cabbage leaves

50g dried cuttlefish, shredded

5 shallot finely sliced

2 cloves garlic, diced

2-3 pieces dried mushroom, soaked and cut into strips

5 to 6 lettuce leaves

30g pounded dried prawns or chicken meat cut thinly into strips

Oil, oyster sauce,  salt, pepper to taste


Jui Hu Char - Nonya fried vegetables



Cut the bangkuang, carrot and cabbage into fine, thin strips or shred the vegetables and mushroom. Heat oil in kuali/pan. Fry shallot and garlic until lightly brown and add in the cuttlefish and dried prawn or chicken. Add shredded vegetables and stir fry. Add water, oyster sauce, pepper and salt to taste. Stir for at least 5 minutes. Dish and serve on a place of lettuce leaves. The dish can be eaten wrapped in lettuce leaves and with rice.


Sambal Belacan

(Chilies with shrimp paste)

sambal belacanIngredients

6 red chilies

5mm slice of square shrimp cake/paste or belachan

2 small lime

sugar, salt to taste



Remove seeds from chilies. Chop shrimp cake into small pieces and fry (no oil) till dry or toast. Pound or grind chilies with toasted shrimp paste. Add juice of the lime and sugar and salt to taste.

Serve with rice and other dishes.


Chilli Crab

(crabs fried in spicy chilli sauce)

Chilli crabIngredients

1kg crabs

2 tablespoon tomato sauce

1 tablespoon chilli sauce (optional)

Two medium tomatoes - sliced

1 egg - beaten

2 tablespoon tamarind pulp

2 tablespoon oil

1 1/2 cups of water

1 stalk of coriander or spring onion (chopped for garnishing)

2 tablespoon sugar, salt to taste

Pound/grind ingredients below:

- 3 fresh red chillies, 3 dried chillies

- 5mm slice of square shrimp cake/paste (belachan)

- 2 cm piece of lengkuas/galangal

- 1cm piece of ginger, 1cm piece of turmeric

- 2 stalks lemon grass

- One stalk bunga kantan (flower of ginger plant)

- 2 big onions, 3 shallots

- 6 cloves garlic


Clean crab and remove top shell and cut into 2 pieces.

Heat the oil. Stir fry pounded ingredients until slightly drier and fragrant. Add in the crabs, tamarind pulp, tomato & chilli sauce and stir fry well.  Add water, tomatoes and sugar and salt to taste. When crab is cooked, add egg, stir well and dish out.  Serve with rice and other dishes


Sambal Kangkong

(fried vegetables with chillies and prawns)


6-10 stalks of Kangkong

(Those not familiar with this vegetable can substitute with alternative vegetables: young leaves and shoot of sweet potatoes or spinach or bean sprouts)

some small shrimp

oil for frying

Pounded/grounded ingredients

- 2 to 3 long red chillies

- 5 medium shallot

- belacan or shrimp cake/paste

- one tablespoon dried prawns


Ingredients for sambal kangkong

note: Kangkong is a vegetable known also as water spinach and swamp cabbage. This green leafy vegetable is widely sold in markets in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. There are two types of culture - wet and dry grown.

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Nyonya kueh, cakes

Nyonya kueh are Malaysian cakes

bee koh - sweet glutinous rice cake

bee koh

kueh bahalu

ang koo

Nyonya steam cake made from glutinous rice flour with a filling of sweet beans.

bee koh

sweetened steam glutinous rice cake cooked with coconut milk

kueh koci

 steamed, made of rice flour and served with fresh grated coconut


steamed, made from rice flour with sweet fillings of coconut

kueh lapis

layered, colourful steam cake of rice flour cooked with coconut milk

kueh Kaya

steam glutinous rice cake topped with egg jam

Curry puff/ kari pup

typical Malaysian curry puff is deep-fried pastry with a filling of spicy hot potatoes with meat or chicken.


sweet sticky cake made from coconut

jemput pisang

steamed rice flour with banana, wrapped in banana leaves

kueh bengkang

steamed mixed of tapioca flour cooked with coconut milk and sugar.


spring rolls with fillings of vegetables, usually served with a chilli sauce

pulut udang / pulut panggang

rice wrapped in banana leaf with filling made from grounded dried prawns and grated coconut

Kueh Kaya / kuih kaya

kuih kaya

ang koo kueh

ang koo

huat kueh

steam cake made from rice flour, green pea flour and coconut milk

kueh bulu / kuih bahlu

sponge cake usually made into small bite size shapes. Popular Hari Raya and Chinese New Year kuih.

new year recipes here


Onde Onde



200g glutinous rice flour

10 pandan (screw pine) leaves

1/2 fresh grated coconut

salt to taste



80g gula Melaka or palm sugar mixed with two tablespoon of brown sugar


Cut the pandan leaves into smaller lengths and blend (grind) it with some water to form a pulp. Strain using a sieve to obtain about three tablespoons of pandan juice and set aside.
     Sift the glutinous rice flour and add a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Slowly pour in hot water and pandan juice. Fold well to form a  smooth dough. Divide the dough into lime sized balls. To make the ball, depress the dough of the small balls and put about half teaspoon of the filling, then rolled it up. Drop the onde onde balls into boiling water - the balls float when cooked. Remove the onde onde with a perforated ladle. Toss in the grated coconut and serve.
This kueh is a nice light breakfast taken with other kueh or served as a dessert.

Kueh, Cakes and cookies

My Kueh Recipes

Festive Cakes and Cookies Recipes



Nyonya KebayaNyonya (or Nonya) refers to the women who are descendents of the early Chinese settlers in Malaysia (18th and 19th century). Many Chinese men married the locals or adopted the some Malay cultural practices resulting in a unique culture which is a mix of Malay and Chinese. Though their cultural practices and spoken dialect differ from that of Chinese, they are administratively not classified as a cultural group and are classified as Chinese. (Nyonya is spelt Nonya in Singapore) These people are also referred to as the Peranakans (see below) or Baba and Nyonya. Baba refers to the male descendents. Nyonya Food originates from the Peranakans or Baba and Nonyas.

Peranakan (or Baba and Nonya)- They are decedents of Chinese who emigrated, mainly from the Hokkien Province, in China during the 18th and 19th century settling in the region called the Straits Settlements (Penang, Melaka and Singapore). Through the years of assimilating with the local population (some marrying with Malays), they developed a unique culture (language, food, custom and dressing) that is a unique blend of Malay and Chinese.   These people were known in the region as Peranakans (meaning ‘local born’ in Malay), or Babas (men) and Nonyas (women), or Straits Chinese.


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