Asian Online Recipes (Nyonya Recipes)
Nyonya Delicacies

Nyonya Recipes and Cuisines

About Nyonya Recipe


Nyonya cooking from different parts differ in taste. Those in Malacca and Singapore are geographically closer to Indonesia and thus prefer a sweeter taste with the strong flavor of coconut, coriander and dill.


On the other hand, those of the northern Peninsular Malaysia, particularly the Penang Nyonya, dishes tend to be relatively more sour and more spicy due to the influence of the Thai cooking.


Penang Nyonya dishes are often found to be seasoned with dried shrimp paste (belacan) apart from other spices.


It is never easy to prepare a great and savory Nyonya meal as it involves a lot of grinding of the herbs and spices. Turmeric, galangal and pandan leaves are used frequently.


As for Nyonya dessert, they are often colorful cakes made with ingredients like coconut sugar, coconut syrup, glutinous rice and sweet potatoes.


Nyonya Recipes

  1. Chicken Curry

  2. Fried Chicken Wings

  3. Pong Teh Chicken

  4. Stuffed Fish

  5. Coconut Milk Shrimps

  6. Stir Fried Chicken

  7. Salted Fish Pineapple Curry

  8. Siyow Chicken

  9. Mixed Vegetables

  10. Spicy Tamarind Shrimps

  11. Fried Crispy Chicken

  12. Tamarind Fish

  13. Ayam Buah Keluak

  14. Brinjal Sardines Curry

  15. Nyonya Shrimp Curry

  16. Grill Sambal Fish

  17. Clams and Sea Cucumber Soup

  18. Salted Fish Acar

  19. Nyonya Fried Rice

  20. Nasi Kunyit

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Asian Online Recipes - Nyonya Delicacies

The History of Baba and Nyonya

(The descendants from Sino-Malay Intermarriage)


The origin of the Baba and Nyonya could be traced all the way back to the Chinese Ming Dynasty which is about more than 4 centuries ago.


It was the Princess Han Bao-li that left China to get married with the Sultan (King) of Malacca. The marriage established a kinship and diplomatic relationship between the two nations. At the same time, the famous Admiral Zheng He also stopped by Malacca and Singapore to make his diplomatic visits during his seven epic voyages to the South. These trips attained mutual communication and successfully paved the way for international trade thereafter.


Since then, many Chinese people started trading with or working in Malacca, Penang and Singapore. Some of them even settled down in these coastal cities and as most of these migrants were male, they started marrying the local Malay women which produced a unique culture. Their sons were then called "Baba" and their daughters were called "Nyonya".


Brought up in the cultural background and living habits of the both races, the Malay speaking Babas and Nyonyas in their "sarong" outfits not only keep their Chinese names, but also got accustomed to worshipping their ancestors and eating pork like every Chinese do. In addition, they also inherited the Chinese conventional idea of "men leaving the house to work and women staying at home". Thus, Nyonyas were all culinary experts before marriage and this was exactly the origin of Nyonya cuisine.


Nyonya food is also known as the Straits Chinese food which is an interesting amalgamation of Chinese and Malay dishes thought to have originated from the Peranakan (Straits Chinese) of Malacca. Besides Malacca, Nyonya food is also native to Penang and Singapore. However, over the years, distinct differences have evolved in the Nyonya recipes found in Penang than that in Malacca and Singapore due to the proximity of Malacca and Singapore to Indonesia and Penang to Thailand.


Influences aside, Nyonya recipes are complicated affairs, often requiring many hours of preparation and is about the blending of spices, using pungent roots like galangal, turmeric and ginger; aromatic leaves like pandan leaf and fragrant lime leaf together with other ingredients like candlenuts, shallots, shrimps paste and chilies. Lemon, tamarind, carambola and green mangoes are used to add a tangy taste to many dishes. For dessert, fruits are seldom served but instead colorful cakes are served. Nyonya cakes are rich and varied, often made from ingredients like sweet potato, glutinous rice, palm sugar and coconut milk.

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