Category Archives: Malaysian Indians

5 Indian dishes that got a Malaysian twist!

Roti canai, nasi kandar, maggi goring, pasembur and putu mayam are some of the many items that you’ll find at a ‘Mamak’ restaurant in Malaysia – cuisines that have their ‘base’ in India

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The contribution of the Indian community to Malaysian cuisine is enormous. Indian cuisine has had a strong influence on traditional Malay cuisine resulting in the popularity of curries in Malaysia. Indian restaurants are well received by Malaysians from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. They have become an important fixture in everyday Malaysian life and are the venue of choice for watching live televised football matches.

Mamak restaurants and stalls refer to eateries owned and staffed by Indian Muslims. The word ‘Mamak’ is sometimes erroneously used to describe any Indian restaurant.

Unlike Indian cuisine in the United Kingdom and other Western countries which tend to focus on North Indian cuisine, Indian cuisine in Malaysia is largely based on South Indian cuisine as the Malaysian Indian diaspora is overwhelmingly Tamil, although some northern dishes such as tandoori chicken and naan bread are common. Southern breakfast delicacies such as idli, vadai and dosa (spelled in Malaysia as ‘thosai‘) are common.

Here are a few Indian dishes unique to Malaysia…

Roti canai


Traditionally, roti canai is served with dhal (lentil curry) or any type of curry, such as mutton or chicken curry. However, the versatility of roti canai as the staple lends itself to many variations, either savoury or sweet, with a variety of toppings and fillings, which includes eggs, banana, sardines and onion. In Thailand, it is usually served sweet – typical fillings include condensed milk, peanut butter, jam and nutella, without the curry.


Nasi kandar


It is a meal of steamed rice which can be plain or mildly flavoured, and served with a variety of curries and side dishes. The word nasi kandar, came about from a time when nasi hawkers or vendors would balance a kandar pole on their shoulder with two huge containers of rice meals. The name has remained and today the word nasi kandar is seen on most Tamil Muslim or ‘Malaysian Mamak’ restaurants and Indian-Muslim stall meals. Nasi kandar is sold exclusively in Indian Muslim restaurants and the recipes are closely guarded secrets.


Maggi goreng


Maggi Goreng is a style of cooking instant noodles, in particular the Maggi product range, which is common in Malaysia. It is commonly served at Mamak food stalls in Malaysia. The traditional way of cooking Maggi noodles is to boil them in hot water and then to add a sachet of flavouring included with the noodles to the water to create stock. However, Maggi goreng is cooked by stir-frying them with vegetables and eggs. Sometimes, other ingredients such as tofu, sambal (spicy chilli relish), dark soy, and sometimes meat are added. A slice of lime is usually placed at the side of the plate as a garnish. Users also can add an additional flavour such as curry powder or any readily made paste to enhance the flavour.


Pasembur (Mamak rojak)


Pasembur is a Malaysian salad consisting of cucumber (shredded), potatoes, beancurd, turnip, bean sprouts, prawn fritters, spicy fried crab, fried octopus or other seafoods and served with a sweet and spicy nut sauce. The term pasembur is peculiar to Northern Peninsular Malaysia. It is especially associated with Penang where pasembur can be had along Gurney Drive. In other parts of Malaysia, the term Mamak rojak is commonly used.


Putu Mayam


The appam is a favourite breakfast dish in Tamil homes. Idiyappam is known as putu mayam in Malay and usually sold by mobile motorcycle vendors. The process for making putu mayam (also known as string hoppers in English) consists of mixing rice flour or idiyappam flour with water and/or coconut milk, and pressing the dough through a sieve to make vermicelli-like noodles. These are steamed, usually with the addition of juice from the aromatic pandan leaf (screwpine) as flavouring. The noodles are served with grated coconut and jaggery, or, preferably, gur (date palm sugar). In some areas, gula melaka (coconut palm sugar) is the favourite sweetener.


Kuala Lumpur has just appointed its new police commissioner – and he’s an Indian-origin Sikh

amar singh

58-year-old Amar Singh is the first Sikh to achieve the top police post in the Muslim-majority country

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An Indian-origin Sikh has become the police commissioner of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, the first Sikh to achieve the top police post in the Muslim-majority country. Amar Singh, 58, succeeded Tajuddin Mohamed as the Kuala Lumpur police commissioner on Monday.

In his speech during the ceremony at the city police headquarters, Amar said that his appointment was an honour to the minority races in Malaysia, especially Sikhs who make up only 0.16 per cent of the police force’s manpower, New Straits Times reported.

“This also proves that the force’s leadership are colour-blind in promoting its officers as well as in executing our duties,” he said.

“This shows that our leadership does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of their race or background,” Amar, who was former Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief for several years, said at the handing over of duties ceremony.

He commended his predecessor Tajuddin for bringing the crime index down by 17.6 per cent during his tenure as the city police chief.

Singh’s appointment was announced last month.

A third-generation policeman from his family, he achieved the highest ever rank by a Malaysian Sikh. His father and maternal grandfather were both policemen.

Singh’s father Ishar Singh joined the Federated Malay States Police in 1939, a year after coming to Malaya from Punjab and was a pioneer member of the police jungle squad established during the Emergency.

His maternal grandfather Bachan Singh was a constable who joined the force in the early 1900s.

Singh graduated in BSc from the University of Malaya here and did his LLB from the University of Buckingham, the UK. He has a diploma in Sharia Law.

Pic courtesy:

Meet the Hindu couple of Indian descent who launched Malaysia’s first Islamic airline


Ravi Alagendrran and Karthiyani Govindan’s Rayani Air serves halal food but no alcohol, pork on board

India At Large staff

An ethnic Indian Hindu couple has launched Malaysia’s first Islamic airline offering Shariah compliant services including prayers before take-off, no on-flight serving of alcohol or meals with pork and a strict dress code for female flight attendants.

Rayani Air founders Ravi Alagendrran and his wife Karthiyani Govindan, who used parts of their first names for the airline’s name (‘Ra’ from ‘Ravi’ and ‘yani’ from ‘Karthiyani’), assured that passengers of all faiths would be welcome on the flights although they are primarily eyeing the Muslim market.

“This is not a matter of segregation. We have a target market and anyone wishing to travel in a modest and alcohol-free environment will feel right at home,” Alagendran told Malay Mail, adding, the Shariah-compliant industry had a huge potential for growth.

Another possible inspiration for the airline is the belief among some conservative Malaysian Muslims that the recent Malaysia Airlines disasters – the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 – were linked to Allah’s wrath, reported AP.

Rayani is a domestic airline based on the resort island of Langkawi, and currently flies to the capital Kuala Lumpur and the northern city of Kota Bahru.

It only has two Boeing 737-400 planes in its fleet, each able to carry about 180 passengers, and just eight pilots and 50 crew. But it has set its sights on rapid expansion, with plans to fly to more Malaysian cities – and eventually flights to Mecca, for umrah and hajj pilgrimages, reports The New Straits Times.

Rayani Air had its maiden flight on December 20 last year, becoming the fourth carrier to follow Islamic tenets after Saudi Arabian Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines and Iran Air.

The ethnic Indian couple, Alagendrran and Govindan, also control Terus Maju Metal, which has an iron ore mine and holds government contracts to salvage marine vessels. Rayani has paid-up capital of 5 million ringgit ($1.1 million) and wants to fly to Europe and take Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia within 10 years, reports Bloomberg.


Pics courtesy: Ravi Alagendrran’s Facebook page