A Malaysian Christmas

Jackie M
15 December, 2015

Jackie's Malaysian-inspired Christmas menu will add a whack of spice and exoticism to your festivities.

Aromatic Prawns

Aussie prawns are marinated in Malaysian aromatics and then barbequed to smoky perfection.

Serves 4 as part of a banquet

• 500g green Aussie prawns
• 1 tbs minced lemongrass, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• 1 tsp coriander seed, toasted and lightly crushed
• 2 tbs chopped fresh coriander stems
• Zest of 1 lime
• 2 tbs lime juice
• 2 tbs oil
• ¼ cup coconut cream
• ¼ tsp salt
• A pinch of sugar


Combine all ingredients and marinate for 30 minutes.

Drain prawns, reserving marinade, and barbeque for approximately 2 minutes per side until just charred and cooked through.

Simmer reserved marinade for 1 minute until just thickened. Drizzle sauce over prawns.

Serve with lime wedges and picked coriander leaves.

Nasi Lemak Roast Lamb

Comprised of a number of side dishes including coconut rice, dried anchovies, vegetable pickle and curry, Nasi Lemak comes wrapped in banana leaves from street-side stalls. This recipe turns the dish inside out, using its key ingredients for a festive stuffing.

Serves 4


• ¼ cup dried anchovies
• 2 tbs oil
• 1 small brown onion, grated
• 1 cup white rice
• 1¼ cup stock or water
• ½ cup coconut cream, plus ¼ cup extra
• ½ cup roasted crushed *peanuts, divided

• 4 washed potatoes, cubed
• 1 tbs oil
• 2 tbs *Malaysian meat curry powder, divided
• 800g-1kg lamb, deboned and butterflied
• 1 tbs chopped lemongrass
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped

Vegetable Pickle

• ¼ head green cabbage, thinly sliced
• 2 carrots, coarsely grated
• 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar
• ½ cup water
• 1 tbs sugar
• ¼ tsp chilli flakes
• ¼ tsp salt

Rinse anchovies in cold water, pat dry and roughly chop.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté anchovies for one minute. Remove half, drain on paper, and set aside as a garnish.

Add onion to the remaining anchovies and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes, until just starting to brown. Add rice, stir to coat, and then add water or stock. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes until the liquid is just absorbed.

Remove from heat, spread ½ cup of coconut cream over the surface of the hot rice, and re-cover until needed.

Preheat your oven or BBQ to 180ºC.

Place potatoes in a roasting dish and toss with 1 tbs of oil and half the meat curry powder.

Rub both sides of the lamb with the remaining curry powder. Place roast fat-side down on a board and massage with chopped lemongrass and garlic.

Stir half the peanuts through the rice. Spread 1½ cups of the rice filling over the lamb, reserving the rest to serve as a side dish. Roll lamb around filling and tie with un-waxed kitchen string.

Place the lamb roast in the centre of a pan, drizzle meat and potatoes with the remaining coconut cream, and roast for approximately 1 hour until lamb is cooked through and the potatoes are tender and golden. Cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes before carving.

While the lamb is roasting make your vegetable pickle. Bring vinegar and water to boil, and then reduce to simmer. Stir through your vegetables, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes before draining and discarding the liquid. Stir through sugar, chilli, salt and reserved crushed peanuts.

Serve the lamb roast with curried potatoes, vegetable pickle, rice and reserved anchovies.

*Meat curry powder is a common Malaysian spice blend found in Asian grocers. It includes coriander, cumin, fennel, turmeric, star anise, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon.

*If you have allergy concerns, substitute peanuts with almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds.

Malaysian Summer Salad (Rojak)

In this fresh summer salad, crisp fruit and vegetables are tossed in a tangy-sweet dressing. For a special twist cut the fruit and veg a bit larger, thread onto skewers and drizzle with dressing.

• 3 thin-skinned cucumbers
• ½ fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
• 1 *nashi pear
• 2 tbs *petis udang (Malaysian wet shrimp paste)
• 2 tbs lemon juice, divided
• 2 tbs caster sugar
• 1 tsp chilli flakes
• ¼ tsp salt
• ¼ cup water

• ¼ cup chopped peanuts, plus extra to garnish
• 1 tbs sesame seeds, toasted

Cut the fruit and vegetables into bite-sized pieces, toss with 1 tbs of the lemon juice.

Combine dressing ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar is dissolved.

Toss 2 to 3 tbs of the cooled dressing through the vegetable mixture, and then stir through the peanuts. The remaining dressing can be stored in the refrigerator.

Garnish with the extra peanuts and sesame seeds.

*Traditionally jicama (yam bean) is used instead of nashi pear, however the pears are a great substitute if jicama is not available.

*Malaysian wet shrimp paste is a thick, treacly product that comes in a plastic jar; not to be confused with the hard, dark brown blocks or granules called belacan.

Kaya Bread Pudding

Kaya jam is a sweet, coconutty caramel similar to dulce de leche. It is often served at breakfast, spread on grilled toast with a pat of butter. This recipe uses kaya to give traditional bread pudding a Malaysian twist.

Serves 6 – 8

• 40g (¼ cup) sultanas
• 80ml (⅓ cup) hot water
• 50g softened butter, divided
• 400ml (1 can) coconut cream
• 4 large eggs
• Pinch sea salt
• 10 thick slices soft fruit bread
• 250ml (1 cup) kaya jam, divided, plus extra to serve
• 1½ tbs raw sugar

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Soak sultanas in hot water until plump, about 5 minutes. Rub half the butter across the base and sides of a *22x33cm baking dish.

Whisk coconut cream, eggs and salt until well combined. Drain sultanas and whisk soaking liquid into the coconut mixture.

Coat bread slices in coconut mixture and layer in your buttered dish, adding a spoonful of kaya jam and some sultanas between each slice.

Pour any remaining coconut mixture and kaya jam over the top of your bread layers, and then dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a bit of extra kaya drizzled on top.

*Recipe can be halved and prepared in a square 20cm cake tin.

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