Malaysian food and a party for my Nan!

Welcome dear friends! I don't know about you but I can't quite believe that it is already Friday! I also can't believe that the school holidays are nearly over and my kids will be back at school next week. Their three week holiday has just flown by. We have had a really relaxing break. We went to the beach, met up with family and friends and we did lots of baking.

Muffin recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow...I'm blogging about it next week!

You might have have also read that we celebrated a very special birthday this week...my Grandmother turned 80!

I'm pretty sure Nan had a wonderful time being surrounded by her family, including her 6 Great-grandchildren!

My mum's family lived in Malaysia and Singapore for much of their life (my nan is Eurasian-her mother was Sri Lankan and her Father was Welsh) so when we all get together to have family parties the focus is always on food, or as the Malays call it, Makan. The Malays and Singaporeans place great importance on eating and sharing food.

My mum made a variety of Malaysian dishes for the party including Chicken with Soy Sauce, Pork Curry and prawn Sambal.

Sambal Udang or prawn sambal is a very popular Malaysian dish and there are many different recipes available.

 Our family tends to end Nyonya Cuisine which has been perfectly explained by Jen who blogs at Jenius.com

Nyonya cuisine refers to cuisine of the Peranakan or Straits Chinese community. Peranakans are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Melaka, Indonesia and Singapore, inter-marrying with Malays. Nyonya is the term for the ladies and Baba for the gentlemen. The cuisine blends a taste of Chinese with a dash of Malay herbs and Indian spices.

Penang Nyonya cuisine differs to Melaka Nyonya cuisine. Although both use coconut milk and chillies, Penang Nyonyas prefer a sweet-sour or tangy taste with nuances of Thai and the Nyonyas in Melaka enhance their dishes with the aroma of fragrant leaves, flowers and herbs. 

Nyonya's love their prawns either cooked in tamarind called Assam Prawns or spicy creamy udang. My mum made a very spicy sambal and the recipe in the video below shows exactly how she made it.

This really is a hot and spicy dish but it is so delicious. Even Mr Attorney who doesn't normally like spicy food had three helpings...with lots of water!

Here is Mum's recipe for Malaysian Prawn Sambal.

About 600 grams or a bit over a pound of Peeled Prawns
1 Medium (200 g) Red Onion, halved, sliced
1 Tbsp Sugar or to taste
1 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
25 (20 g) Dried Chilies, cut into smaller pieces
4 (80 g) Shallots, peeled, chopped
2 (45 g) Fresh Red Chilies, seeded and chopped
5 (15 g) Candlenuts (Buah Keras) or Macadamia nuts
1 1/2 tsp Roasted Shrimp Paste (Belacan)...A word of caution: this stuff stinks when you cook it but it THE essential ingredient!
30 g Tamarind Paste mix with 200 ml Water
5 Tbsp Peanut Oil
1 tomato, cut into wedges
Coriander leaves, for garnishing

Peel and devein the prawns. Rinse and set aside.

To make the sambal, soak the dried chili pieces with boiling water until they are soften. Drain the chilies and make sure to get rid of the seeds. Then combine it with red chilies, shallots, candlenuts, shrimp paste and blend until they become a paste adding a little oil if necessary to keep the mixture turning.

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat and stir fry the seasoning paste until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the prawns and stir-fry until they change colour, about 2 minutes. Add the tamarind juice, onion, tomato, salt and sugar, and gently stir-fry until the prawns are cooked, about 2 minutes.
Add the prawns into the sambal mixture and cook until the prawns are cooked. 
Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice.

The chicken dish she made is called Ayam Masak Kecap in Malay and it is our favourite way of eating chicken.

It is essentially chicken with Soya Sauce and it is made with lots of aromatic spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, garlic and ginger. If you would like to try this dish, my friends over at the Blog 3 Hungry Tummies have a great recipe for it. Just click here to go and visit them and please say hi from me! They feature yummy Malaysian recipes every Monday at their blog so it well worth visiting.

Back to the party...

After a delicious lunch we had cake, made by my sister Stacey. She is the baker in the family and she made lots of yummy treats for Nan's party!

We all had a fabulous time and it was so nice to be together as a family.

Happy Birthday, Nan!

Thanks for dropping by and helping me celebrate my Grandmother's 80th birthday. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family and to have such fabulous bloggy friends!

Thanks also to the following lovely people who I have linked up to today. I am so appreciative of the time and effort you put into hosting your linky parties each week:

Best wishes always,
Natasha In Oz 

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. Desmond Tutu


  1. Isn't family wonderful!! Happy Birthday to your Nan! I know its traditional to say "omg, she doesn't look her age" but... its true... I looked at the pics and thought.. my gosh... Nan could be 40! She is beautiful and makes the term 80 is the new 60 seem really valid... go Nan!!!!!

  2. wow what a great post and she looks amazing for her age fun into on Malaysian food she is a great cook

  3. What an interesting and lovely post, Natasha. Your Nan barely looks 80!! How wonderful to have such a great family get together! I can tell by all of the smiles that it was loads of fun!! Thanks for sharing your pictures and the recipes!!


  4. What a nice post! Loved the picture's of you and your family. What a great looking bunch!! The food looked wonderful...and your nan looks much younger than her age! Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Looks like Nan had a fun-filled birthday with lots of good food! Would love to try some of those spicy dishes!
    xo Cathy

  6. Looks like quite a celebration--as every 80th birthday should be! Such delicious food must have made it even more festive.

  7. Hi Natasha

    How wonderful for you to still have your beautiful Nan...I hope I look this good when I am 80 !

    oxo Cate

  8. Wonderful post, so lovely to see the happy family..my belated wishes to your Nan..I must thank Rebecca for sharing your link..:)

  9. Love the second photo - gorgeous light!!

    Your daughter looks like she is getting to be very grown up.

    Congratulations to your Nan.

  10. What a lovely family celebration thanks for letting us share with you. Congratulations to the Birthday Girl 6 Great Grandchildren is impressive!

  11. Happy Birthday, Nan! And a great looking family you have there. I love family, food and fun! Yay!

  12. Oh my goodness, the Malay Shrimp Sambal looks and sounds delicious, Natasha...thank you for posting the recipe.
    Happy birthday to your, Nan!

  13. Such a wonderful celebration of life - fun, family, good food and love abounding.

    Now, dear Natasha, you've made me hungry, and I forgot to bring my lunch to work today.

  14. Hi Natasha. Thank you so much for letting us all share in with your Nan's 80th birthday party! Gosh, we said it before, but she really does look fantastic for her age! I agree that your daughter looks so much like you, but I can see the likenesses right from your nan down through the family. Wonderful photos, but I particularly loved the first one of the beach, and the one of your Nan with all the family and the one of your Nan with her 6 GREAT Grandchildren! Looks like everyone had a lovely time. Warmest wishes to you.

  15. Such a special time for you and your family. Happy Birthday to Nan. Everything looks yummy and so much fun.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Pam x

  16. Happy Birthday to your grandmother! She doesn't look like she should be anywhere near 80. Good for her!

  17. oooh that prawn sambal sounds lovely!!

  18. Oh so glad you came over to join in at Lark's Country Heart!

    You look as if you all had a great Time together...with amazing food too!

    Glad to have "found" you! :)

  19. What a sweet and delicious birthday for your Dear Nan!

    Happy for all of you!


  20. Happy Birthday to your dearest Nan...one lovely woman!I love your post.My family lives in Singapore and my husband's sister lives in Malaysia.You have a wonderful family and as I read your post..the warmth and love is really overwhelming.Your blog is so peaceful and homely.Have a great weekend and looking forward to hear from you again.

  21. Natasha! How lovely to meet you! Isn't it funny, that we get to meet via a recipe linky party in the USA? I love Roz's blog. And by the looks of it, I'm going to love yours. I love Malaysian food. I'll be definitely trying that Prawn Sambal recipe. I know exactly where your 'beach photo' was taken. I'm over in the Redlands. So nice of you to stop by. Hope we can stay in touch.

    By the way, this is the easiest Melting Moment/Custard Cream recipe I've ever used. They don't have to be that complicated. Just 4 ingredients and you're done.

    Anne @ Domesblissity x

  22. What a lovely family and sweet birthday celebration. Happy Birthday to your grandmother!

    I will say your food looks delicious. I will come back and study all you said. Love learning about different cuisines.

  23. Natasha you have a lovely and delicious blog and your Nan is adorable!! look the bisrthdayu was fun and yummy! I want soon these muffins you made are amazing!!! have a nice day, gloria

  24. Hey Natasha, Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving that beautiful comment :) Glad to find your blog too. Your Nan is so cute .. i miss my Nan . she passed away few months back.
    Have a happy weekend.


  25. Nan looks like a very young and energetic 80! I'm glad you had such a fun celebration in honor of her birthday. Blessings to you, Beth

  26. Hi Natasha! Happy Birthday to your Nan! 80 years old? she doesn't look it at all! The food looks wonderful and how nice to spend this special day with family!
    Hope you're doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

  27. What fun you all have been having...I can't wait for you to share the dessert recipe. Your MIL is so beautiful at that age, I hope I can be that pretty then too! :D

  28. A lovely party with many memories made. Love the recipe. Many blessings, marlis

  29. What a lovely family you have, great photos. Congratulations to your Nan, a very lovely lady. All your food looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your memories.

    The French Hutch

  30. Wow! All that food has me hungry!! And your Nan looks gerat!! =)

  31. Happy, happy birthday to your Nan! What a wonderful party and beautiful memories. My mouth is watering! The food looks so good!

  32. Looks like a first rate celebration. Your Nan looks amazing. Thanks for sharing your celebartion with Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  33. Your Nan is a looker...Happy Birthday to her!! Great things here..I LOVE the look of your blog, so soft, delicate and sweet..very nice. ~ Trish from Sweetology Happy to be a new follower

  34. Natasha, What a beautiful grandmother you have... and at 80! Happy Birthday, Nan!
    I loved reading all about your Nan and your family and your cooking traditions.
    I would love to try this prawn recipe, I just have to find some of the ingredients.
    Thank you so much for sharing your family celebration and for the wonderful recipe. You bring a new and exciting culinary experience to ON THE MENU MONDAY!

  35. Natasha, your grandmother is so beautiful and looks so young -- congrats to her! Thank you for your sweet comment about my painted dry sink project... and i'm looking forward to reading about those delicious muffins!



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