Apa khabar?The MalaysianFood.net Glossary


























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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Asam Jawa or Assam Jawa [Malay], Ma Kam Piek [Thailand]

A fruit of the tamarind tree. The pulp inside the tamarind pod, is used as a souring ingredient in cooking. The extracted pulp is boiled or soaked in hot water, strained to discard any seeds and fibers, to obtain a juice, commonly called Tamarind Water. It is sour in taste, but with subtle hints of sweetness like dates or dried apricots. Asam Jawa is used mostly for fish and seafood, adding a citric piquancy to fish curries, shrimp and seafood stews and soups e.g. Asam Laksa [Noodles in Tangy Fish Soup]



Tau Cheong [Chinese], Uppu Thuvasai Paruppu [Tamil]

Salted Soybeans or Preserved Soybeans. It is made of soybeans [spelling, soya beans] that have been salted and aged or preserved, usually available in bottles. It is salty, and used in cooking to add flavor and taste to a dish.



Nga Choy [Chinese], Paitha Mulai [Tamil]

Bean Sprouts. It is the fresh sprouts of Mung Beans, often misleadingly called 'Green Beans'. Savored for it crunchiness and texture, it is used in many hawker [street vendor] noodle dishes, usually briefly blanched or added at the very end of cooking.



Tau Foo, Taufu or Tauhu [Chinese], Tahu [Tamil], Soya Bean Curd, Soya Bean Cake, Soybean Curd or Soybean Cake

A general term for all types of Tofu. The bean curd or cake is made from soybeans and can vary in texture, mainly Firm Tofu, Soft Tofu and very soft tofu called Silken Tofu. Tau Foo Fah, Taufoo Fah or Taufu Fah [Chinese]


Tauhu Kering

Tau Foo Pei, Fu Jook Pei [Chinese], Dried Bean Stick, Bean Stick, Dried Bean Curd Stick, Bean Curd Stick, Chinese Yuba

Dried Bean Curd Skin or Dried Bean Curd Sheet. It is the 'skin' that forms on top of heated soy bean milk. It is usually available in it dried form and has to be soaked in water to reconstitute, unless it is used in soups. Rich in protein, it is ideal for use in a vegetarian diet. It is often used to wrap ingredients, such as chopped meat or vegetables, into rolls and deep fried until crispy e.g. Lor Bak [Deep Fried Pork Rolls].

Bean Curd Skins or Bean Curd Sheets is also sold fresh.
Yuba or Nama Yuba [Japan]

Tau Kwa

Tahu Kuning [Malay], Manjal Tahu [Tamil]

Chinese name for an Extra Firm Tofu. The bean curd or cake is made from soybeans formed into small 4-inch square cakes about half inch thick, +often tinted yellow with a food colorant. It is firm and makes it ideal for frying. The fried Tau Kwa can be sliced and used in a stir fry with other ingredients, or used as a garnish. It is often cut diagonally in half, slit like a pocket and stuffed e.g. Tahu Sumbat [Tofu stuffed with bean sprouts and julienne cucumber, served with a spicy peanut sauce].

Frying tofu makes it a chewier and tastier.  Both the Japanese and Chinese have their own ready-made versions of deep-fried tofu, and you can find them in cellophane bags and cans in Asian markets.  You can also make deep-fried tofu yourself by frying thin slabs of firm tofu in hot oil.


Tau Pok

Deep-Fat Fried Tofu, Fried Bean Curd

Chinese for a Deep-Fried Tofu. This fried tofu, usually in the form of 2 inch cubes, is often sold readymade packaged in plastic bags. It is chewier in texture, 'puff' like, and floats when first put in soups or noodle soup dishes e.g. Penang Curry Mee [Penang Curry Noodles].



Tan [Chinese], Muttai [Tamil]

Egg. In Southeast Asia, eggs are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is used as a main ingredient, or as a garnishing in many dishes.

Telur Burung Puyah : Quail's Egg. Um Chun Tan [Chinese].
Telur Itik : Duck Egg.



Ai Kwa [Chinese], Katheri Kai [Tamil]

Eggplant, commonly called Brinjal.



Wong Kwa [Chinese], Velarik Kai [Tamil]



Timun Bulu

Mor Kwa [Chinese], Velarik Kai [Tamil]

Marrow, Vegetable Marrow or Marrow Squash.



Hoh [Chinese], Chippi [Tamil]


Sos Tiram : Oyster Sauce. Hoh Yeow [Chinese].



also spelt Tomato in [Malay], Fan Cair [Chinese], Thakkali Palam [Tamil]


Sos Tomato : Tomato Sauce, Ketchup.



Traditional Rice Wine, Toddy

A fermented local brew produced from rice or sweet-sapped palms such as coconut. Coconut buds are cut and sprinkled with Ragi [Yeast]. The juice is then allowed to drip into pots tied to the buds. It makes a potent drink when fully fermented. In Sarawak, East Malaysia Tuak is the traditional rice wine served to celebrate the rice harvesting festival called Gawai Padi.



To Fry or To Sauté.

Sayur Tumis : Sautéed Vegetable.


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