Sambal Kelapa ~ Fish with grated coconut

Sambal KelapaFish with grated coconut is not a direct translation of Sambal Kelapa. Sambal in Malay is usually a spice based condiment and Kelapa means coconut. This dish is mainly made of fish flakes, grated coconut and chillies. Fish and coconuts were abundant in these regions which were dotted with fishing villages back then.

Sambal Kelapa gives a special flavor to your rice just like salt and spices do to your dish. It can be made wet or dry. If made wet, it will only last for about two days but when made dry it can last for almost a week in an air-tight container. The wet version of this dish simply means the grated coconut is usually steamed instead of toasted.

The following is a dry version of Sambal Kelapa. You can add more chillies if you like, I always do. Adjust the seasoning to your preference.


  • 1 whole fish, gutted, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 shallots, minced finely
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups or 200 grams of grated coconut, toasted or fried dry until brown
  • 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly
  • 1 fresh bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and sliced thinly (optional, only if you like it spicy)


  1. Grill or bake the fish in the oven for 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
  2. Flake the flesh of the fish with a fork and set aside. Remove and discard all bones.
  3. Using the mortar and pestle, pound the shallots and chillies together first, add the fish flesh last and pound. You can also use the food processor but use the pulse mode.
  4. Add  pepper, salt and sugar and mix or pound until well combined.
  5. Transfer the pounded ingredients to a mixing bowl and add the toasted grated coconut. Mix well until all combined.
  6. You can store in an airtight container.

Simply sprinkle this condiment over your warm rice or porridge.


Easy Chicken Curry

I have not been updating my blog for a week now. I’ve been busy with Hari Raya celebrations, followed by my younger sister’s engagement ceremony. We hold the ceremony in my home thus we have a lot to prepare before the actual day. The two parties requested for a small affair. It was a simple Hantar Tanda ceremony or Pertunangan.

In a traditional setting, the groom sends his representatives to the bride’s home to negotiate and discuss with the bride’s father until they come to an agreement between the two parties. His representatives are normally elderly relatives. The spokesperson of the representatives is usually a respected elderly male relative. However, in our ceremony, the groom also turned up with the representative he sent! Hmmm…

The bride’s family is the host receiving the groom’s representatives as guests, and are usually the bride’s parents, senior family members and relatives.

Hantar Tanda ceremony

Parties from the bride and groom discussing the details.

In the ceremony, a ring is presented to the bride to seal the engagement between the bride and the groom. She is now spoken for. During the ceremony the two parties also discussed the dowry, financial commitment for the wedding and approximate date to hold the wedding and state the conditions if a marriage do not materialize after the engagement. There are other matters that may be discussed such as the wedding venue or whether to hold the wedding together as one event, which is quite common nowadays. Continue reading

Nasi Arab (Makloubeh Rice)

We are into our second week of Hari Raya Idul Fitri and I am less busy now. Most of my close relatives have visited my home last weekend. Me and hubby hosted big crowds for three consecutive days. It may seem nothing for a veteran but for a young family, we are still learning the ropes of hosting.

Makloubeh Rice up close

Makloubeh Rice up-close. Turned upside down when serving. The chicken meat are on top folllowed by the potatoes, eggplant and rice.

I cooked quite a bit since last weekend. But I am happy to receive a lot of guests at my home because it gives me an excuse to cook a variety of dishes. So instead of serving the common dishes of Hari Raya and also partly because we ran out of food after a big crowd on the second day. I decided to whip up Nasi Arab or Makloubeh Rice which I had tried before.

So Makloubeh rice it was, with accompanying fried cubed potatoes, Sambal Goreng and Vegetable Curry I forgot to serve the Papadoms..tsk..tsk..tsk. The Makloubeh rice is already moist with gravy and actually do not require the extra curry but I made just in case. Continue reading

Sambal Goreng Pengantin

As I am typing this at three in the afternoon, I know most Malay households are busy cooking and cleaning the house to get ready for the Hari Raya celebration tomorrow. I am thankful for my ‘kiasu’ traits that I have completed almost everything except a few trivial matters that I need not concern myself too much.

Sambal Goreng Pengantin

Sambal Goreng Pengantin

Cooking for Hari Raya is no easy feat. There are typically several dishes that you have to serve with the ketupat or pressed rice that you are serving. Rendang, Sambal Goreng, Ayam Masak Merah, Sayur Lodeh, Serunding, these are the few common dishes that most Malay families serve their guests. Normally the older families will cook these dishes and the younger families would go back to their family’s home to visit and get to taste all these dishes either cooked by their own mother or mother-in-law.

I will share with you the recipe for Sambal Goreng Pengantin. This is a traditional Malay/ Indonesian spicy stir-fry dish. However I have added some extra ingredients to my preference and cook in a large quantity. If you are cooking for less than 10 persons than halved it. Continue reading

Karipap, Epok-epok, Curry Puffs..

Curry Puffs

Savory Curry Puffs

Idah, bangun nak“, mum gently shook me awake. It was 1985 and I was eleven. It was almost six in the morning. Most of the kids my age would still be in their beds an hour or two longer. Slowly, I made my way to the bathroom to take a shower. The icy water completely washed away any stubborn sleepiness and harshly jolted me back to life. Back then we were living in a one room rental flat, never mind hot water, we are thankful we got a roof over our heads.

After a cold shower, I got dressed, ate a few pieces of cream biscuits with a mug of warm black coffee. It was all we could afford for breakfast but I was thankful, it could have been nothing at all. Continue reading