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The MalaysianFood.net GlossaryThis glossary is mainly in Malay i.e. Bahasa Malaysia. However, many food ingredients or terms are better known in local Chinese or Indian dialects. This is because of Malaysia's multi-ethnic population, and its culturally diverse cuisine and cooking styles. Certain ingredients are used exclusively, or more frequently in different ethnic kitchens, while some foods may be forbidden due to religious beliefs. Wherever possible, spelling variations, similar names in English, or in other countries nearby and afar, shall also be included in the glossary.


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Ibu Roti

Fatt Fun [Chinese], Pulichanthi [Tamil]

Yeast for bread making.




The appetite or food craving of a pregnant woman.

Mengidamkan : To crave.




A general term for Fish. Some popular fish are :-

Ikan Bawal Putih : White Pomfret. Chong Yee [Chinese], Vowal Meenu [Tamil].
Ikan Bawal Hitam : Black Pomfret, also called Pompano. Hak Chong Yee [Chinese], Karuppu Vowal [Tamil].
Ikan Bawal Selatan : Silver Pomfret. Pak Chong Yee [Chinese].
Ikan Bayan / Ikan Ketarap : Parrotfish, also called Tuskfish or Wrasse.
Ikan Duri : Catfish. Tong Sat [Chinese], Mulluvalai [Tamil].
Ikan Haruan : Snakehead fish.
Ikan Jenahak : Golden Snapper.
Ikan Kakap : Sea Bream, also called Porgy or Porgies.
Ikan Kakap Merah : Red Sea Bream.
Ikan Kayu : Tuna. Kam Cheong Yee [Chinese].
Ikan Tongkol : Albacore Tuna. Kam Cheong Yee [Chinese].
Ikan Kelah : Malaysian Mahseer, also called Greater Brook Carp.
Ikan Kembong : Mackerel, also called Chubb Mackerel or Indian Mackerel.
Ikan Kerapu : Grouper. Sek Pan [Chinese].
Ikan Kerapu Pisang : Yellowfin Grouper.
Ikan Kunyit : Yellowtail Snapper.
Ikan Kurau
: Treadfin. Tai Mah Yau Yee [Chinese], Koduva Meen [Tamil].
Ikan Merah : Red Snapper. Hoong Yee [Chinese], Sikappu Meen [Tamil].
Ikan Parang : Wolf Herring. Sai Toh Yee [Chinese].
Ikan Pari : Stingray, Skate, Skate Wings. Po Yee [Chinese].
Ikan Pari Hantu : Manta Ray.
Ikan Patin : Silver Catfish.
Ikan Selar : Scad.
Ikan Selayang / Ikan Tamban : Sardine. Sa Ting Yee [Chinese], Siru Meen [Tamil].
Ikan Siakap : Barramundi, also called Asian Seabass or Giant Perch.
Ikan Susu : Milkfish.
Ikan Tenggiri : Spanish Mackerel. Kau Yee [Chinese].
Ikan Terubok : Shad, also called River Herring.
Ikan Yu : Shark. Sar Yee [Chinese].


Ikan Bilis

Kong Yee Chye [Chinese], Nethilipudi [Tamil]

Anchovies. Tiny white fish [often called sprats] of the anchovy family, are dried in the sun or commercially dehydrated.

Ikan Bilis can may be used in many ways. It is used as a main ingredient in dishes - it can be fried to a golden brown, and cooked with other ingredients such as sambal [chili paste]. Sambal Ikan Bilis [Spicy Dried Anchovies] is one of the accompaniments to Nasi Lemak [Coconut Rice Meal]. Ikan Bilis can also be boiled in water for a clear sweet fish stock, or ground in a mortar & pestle to flavor dishes. Ikan Bilis fried golden brown & crispy makes a delicious snack - dusted with chilli powder, makes a great cocktail or beer snack!

Usually sold in plastic packages [Wt. 3 to 4oz]. Dried anchovies are also sold loose by the lb or kg.


Ikan Kering

Hum Yee [Chinese], Karavadu [Tamil]

Dried fish. As a means of preservation, fish is heavily salted and dried in the sun.




Inch. Ingredients such as fresh ginger and turmeric root are often  quoted in 'inches' in cooking recipes.



Inti Kacang

Tau Sah [Chinese] Soya Bean Paste [spelling]

Soy Bean Paste.



Itek [spelling], Aap [Chinese], Vatthu [Tamil]

Duck. A popular poultry in Chinese cuisine.

Telur Itik : Duck Egg.


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