Hands down, Malaysian food is one of the most mouth-watering cuisines in the world, with its explosion of savoury, sweet, sour, spicy and creamy flavours. However, it might not necessarily be too kind on your waistline! Fret not, nasi lemak and mee goreng lovers; these tweaked local recipes are both yummy and healthy.
THE GOOD FATS IN COCONUT OIL help with the absorption of calcium and magnesium, crucial for bone health.
500g organic or free-range chicken fillet
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1 tsp coconut oil for pan-frying
FOR THE MARINADE1 tsp coriander powder
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped and blended
6 shallots, chopped and blended
2 garlic cloves; chopped and blended
1 tsp fresh chili paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp kicap manis
1 Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl; mix well.
2 Cut chicken fillet lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick pieces, and marinate overnight in the fridge.
3 Thread skewers through chicken pieces.
4 Pan-fry until slightly charred.5 Serve hot with sliced cucumbers.
*Nutrition score per serving 240 calories, 11g fat, 30g carbs, 20.9g protein.
A CUP OF RED BELL PEPPERS contains 190mg of vitamin C, more than a mediumsized orange!
MEE GORENG MAMAK
90g of udon noodles
1 cup tofu, diced and pan-fried
1/2 cup green and red peppers, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp seasoning paste (see below)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 lime, cut into wedges
Spring onion, finely sliced
Red chillies, finely sliced
FOR THE SEASONING PASTE
1 tbsp chilli paste
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 Heat wok, and pour in coconut oil.
2 Toss in garlic and tofu. Stir-fry until fragrant.
3 Add udon noodles and paste. Stir, and then set noodles to the side of wok.
4 Add some coconut oil and crack the eggs in. Scramble them, and mix in with noodles.
5 Add in the peppers. Stir for 1 minute.6 Scoop noodles onto a plate. Top with sliced spring onions and red chillies. Serve with lime wedge.
*Nutrition score per serving 277 calories, 27.65g fat, 36g carbs, 13.5g protein
A CUP OF QUINOA HAS 21 PER CENT OF YOUR RECOMMENDED DAILY FIBRE INTAKE, while brown rice has 14 per cent.
MIXED-GRAIN ‘NASI’ LEMAK
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
2 long beans, blanched and cut into thirds
10 pine nuts
2 eggs, boiled
1/2 cucumber, sliced
FOR THE SAMBAL
4 fresh chilies
4 dried chilies, soaked in hot water
4 garlic cloves
1/2 galangal, sliced
2 lemongrass stalks, sliced
2 tbsp of coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 pandan leaf
1 tsp of muscovado or brown sugar
1 cup fresh or canned tomato chunks
1/2 cup diced tofu, pan-fried
1/2 cup diced tempeh, pan-fried
1 Blend fresh and dried chillies, garlic, galangal and lemongrass until you have a paste; add a bit of water if needed.
2 Heat coconut oil in pan; saut. Pandan leaf and paste until fragrant.
3 Add tomato chunks, then pour in coconut milk; leave to simmer. Add a bit of water if sambal is too thick.
4 Add muscovado or brown sugar, and then toss in the tofu and tempeh. Simmer on low flame.5 Scoop brown rice and quinoa, as well as sambal and condiments onto plate. Serve.
*Nutrition score per serving 433 calories, 20.1g fat, 46.3g carbs, 22.3g protein
GREEN TEA UPS YOUR METABOLIC RATE, so you burn fat easier and faster.
THUNDER TEA RICE AKA LEI CHA
FOR THE TEA PASTE
1/2 cup chopped coriander
2 cups fresh Thai basil
2 cups fresh mint
1 tsp chopped garlic1 tbsp dried green tea
2/3 cups roasted peanuts
3 tbsp sesame seeds
FOR THE CONDIMENTS
1/2 cup tofu, diced
1/2 cup long beans, finely sliced
1/2 cabbage, chopped
1 Blend tea paste ingredients using food processor; add cold water in to smoothen paste. If you have the time, pound using granite mortar and pestle for a more authentic method!
2 Prepare the condiments separately. You may blanch, and season according to your liking.
3 Scoop quinoa and other condiments into a bowl. Add boiling water to tea paste. Serve.
*Nutrition score per serving 205 calories, 5.36g fat, 13.75g carbs, 5.75g protein.
1/2 carrot, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts2 spring onions, chopped1 cup cooked quinoa/ brown rice.
A LOW-FODMAP (FERMENTABLE OLIGO-DIMONOSACCHARIDES AND POLYOLS) DIET improves functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
LOW-FODMAP CURRY LAKSA
180g soba noodles
1 cup low-FODMAP laksa paste (see below)
400g fresh coconut milk
1 Roma tomato, quartered
1/8 cup fish sauce, if possible low in added sugar and salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar
Juice of a lime
FOR THE LAKSA PASTE
Roots from one coriander bunch, chopped (reserve leaves for serving)
1 bunch spring onion, ends removed and chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
2 lemongrass stalks, chopped
2 cili padi
1/3 cup cashew nuts
1/2 tsp belacan
1/2 tsp each ground turmeric, ground coriander and ground cumin
1/2 tsp each ground cardamom and sweet paprika
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
FOR THE CONDIMENTS
8 prawns, boiled until pinkish
500g skinless chicken breast, boiled and then shredded
10 snap beans, ends chopped and blanched
1 cup bean sprouts, blanched
1/2 capsicum, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
1/2 carrot, julienned
1 bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped
1 bunch fresh mint leaves, chopped
TO PREPARE THE LAKSA PASTE
1 Add ingredients to a highpowered food processor. Blend until you have a paste; add some olive oil if needed.
2 Transfer to a jar, and top with olive oil to seal in flavour. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for a few months. TO PREPARE THE LAKSA
1 Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté laksa paste until fragrant.
2 Add coconut sugar and fish sauce. Stir for a couple of minutes, until oil separates from the paste.
3 Add coconut milk and water. Bring to the boil; add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with lime juice.
4 Boil water, and add in soba noodles. Cook for 2-5 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water.
5 Scoop noodles, condiments and soup into bowls. Top with coriander/ mint leaves. Serve.*Nutrition score per serving 387.5 calories, 12.8g fat, 44.6g carbs, 27.8g protein
ALMOND MEAL, aka almond flour, is rich in iron, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamin E.
GLUTEN-FREE PISANG GORENG
4-6 small bananas; whole or sliced into two
2 tbsp coconut oil for pan-frying Fresh berries (optional)
Yogurt / low-fat ice cream (optional)
FOR THE BATTER
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup gluten-free flour or rice flour
1 tbsp flaxseed
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1 Mix almond meal, flour, flaxseed and vanilla extract into a bowl, and then add egg and milk; whisk well. It should have the consistency and texture of a pancake batter.
2 Toss peeled bananas into batter; mix well.
3 Pan-fry battered bananas using coconut oil.4 Serve hot with fresh berries and yogurt/ ice cream, if desired.
*Nutrition score per serving: 194 calories, 7.33g fat, 31.57g carbs, 7.56g protein