I am continuing to put the skills I learned at the Le Cordon Bleu Dusit to good use by trying different dishes and diving into Malaysian cuisine. This time my husband and I made Malaysian Fish Sambal and Malaysian Eggplant and Tofu with a Sweet Spicy Bean Paste.

Malaysian Fish Sambal

For this recipe, we used The Food & Cooking of Malaysia & Singapore, Indonesia & The Philippines” by Ghillie Basan, Terry Tan and Vilma Laus. In this dish, we changed it up and used salmon fillets instead of a whole fish. We removed the bones before cooking and tied the fillets together to hold them in place on the grill.


For the Fish

  • Whole large sea fish (or what’s available)
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cooked rice and fresh coriander

For the Sambal

  • 2 oz. tamarind paste
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 4-6 fresh red chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 oz. fresh galangal, finely chopped
  • 2 crumbled lime leaves
  • 2 Tsp terasi (Indonesian shrimp paste)
  • 2 Tsp palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil


  1. Slash the fish at about 1 inch intervals with a sharp knife. Place in a shallow dish.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the coconut oil, soy sauce, garlic and lime juice. Spoon the marinade over the fish and rub it into the skin and slashes. Leave it for about 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the sambal. Put the tamarind paste in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Strain into a separate bowl, pressing the paste through a strainer. Discard the solids and put the tamarind juice aside.
  4. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the shallots, garlic, chilies, galangal and lime leaves to a coarse paste. Add the terasi and sugar and beat to combine.
  5. Heat the oil in a small wok, stir in the paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tamarind juice and boil until it reduces to a thick paste. Turn into a serving bowl.
  6. Prepare the barbecue. Place the fish on the rack and cook for 5 minutes on each side, depending on the size of fish, basting it with any leftover marinade. Transfer the fish to a serving plate, garnished with coriander, and serve with the sambal and cooked rice.
Grilled Fish Sambal with Salmon Filets.

Grilled Fish Sambal with Salmon Filets.

Eggplant and Tofu with Sweet Spicy Bean Paste

Eggplant and tofu are interesting and versatile ingredients. We grabbed this recipe from “Malaysian Cooking: A Master Chef Reveals Her Best Recipes” by Carol Selva Rajah. Brown bean paste is similar to Japanese red miso and when combined with oyster and plum sauce, it creates an aromatic dish.


  • ¾ cup oil
  • 14 oz. slender Asian eggplants, thickly sliced diagonally
  • 2 cakes pressed firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 red finger-length chilies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tsp bottled plum sauce
  • 3 green onions, leaves sliced diagonally, to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a wok until hot and fry the eggplant slices in batches over medium heat until golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, drain on paper towels and keep warm until ready to use.
  2. Drain off all but ¼ cup of the oil from the wok. Reheat the oil and shallow-fry the tofu cubes over medium heat until golden and crisp on all sides in the same manner. Remove from the heat and drain on paper towels.
  3. Clean the wok, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in it and stir-fry the garlic, chili and bean paste over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the fried eggplant pieces, the oyster and plum sauce. Add the fried tofu and toss quickly to combine, then remove from heat.
  4. Transfer to a serving platter, garnish with the green onion and serve hot with steamed rice.

These were two tasty Malaysian dishes we thoroughly enjoyed. Check back next week for another amazing meal including dishes from Malaysia, Singapore and Japan!

Mary Hathaway, owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to Dinner-Diva.com for more info.