Citizens, Nyonya (aka Peranakan) cuisine from Malaysia is a unique hybrid that combines several different influences, and this recipe is an excellent example of the flavorsome results! This recipe captures the essence of Chinese, Indian and Malay cooking resulting in a to-die-for concoction!
Peranakan Chinese or Straits-born Chinese are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay archipelago including British Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, where they are also referred to as Baba-Nyonya) between the 15th and 17th centuries.
Peranakan culture has started to disappear in Malaysia and Singapore. Without colonial British support for their perceived racial neutrality, government policies in both countries following independence from the British have resulted in the assimilation of Peranakans back into mainstream Chinese culture.
Members of this community in Malaysia address themselves as “Baba Nyonya”. Nyonya is the term for the women and Baba for the men.From the Malay influence a unique “Nyonya” cuisine has developed using typical Malay spices.
A small number of restaurants serving Nyonya food can be found in Singapore; Penang and Malacca in Malaysia; and Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya in Indonesia. This prawn recipe is a classic of Nyonya cooking – head-on prawns are best for this recipe to fully display the rich flavors and colors of the dish.
The fresh curry leaves lend an irreplaceable fragrance to this dish that you will never forget. Prawns quickly fried in oil, then sautéed in butter, garlic, coconut, hot chili peppers and super-fragrant curry leaves – now I ask you, what’s not to love?!
My innovation to this dish is an old Chinese restaurant secret to adding great flavor – a bit of chicken bouillon powder! ☺
This is a quick, simple and supremely delicious recipe that will transport you to the tropical delight of Malaysia, Citizens!
Battle on – The Generalissimo