by Amir Hafizi

Pix Credit:

I don’t feed anyone with the meals I cook, for fear of being charged with manslaughter. However, on my own, they are great money and time-savers.

Furthermore, it makes me feel rugged and independent - to be able to cook for myself - as opposed to those namby-pamby men who can’t survive on their own. I take out all the unnecessary stuff and only take the recipes at their empirical state, meaning these are in no way fancy dishes, but barbaric to the core.

Here’s a brief list of some of them.

1. Ayam Masak Merah  - Chicken in Red Sauce, local style!


Section A
- shallots
- garlic
- ginger - take about half an inch and crush it or blend
- onion

Section B
- chilli paste - four tablespoons or fresh chilli - blended, enough to get a 100gm paste
- soy sauce
- oyster sauce

Section C
- Chicken - 400gm
- lemongrass - two stalks
- curry leaves


- Throw in everything from Section A (chopped up) into the wok with some hot oil. Stir till aromatic.
- Throw everything from section B into the wok. Stir diligently until they mix well.
- Throw in everything from Section C. Stir.
- Pour in 250ml water. Stir. Wait for water to boil. Leave for a few minutes to rest your arms. You can leave the thing to cook for now, but not too long, otherwise the spices sink to the bottom of the wok as a dark, burnt layer.
- You can add a tomato or substitute the chilli with tomato, but tomato are for wimps. Real men take chilli.
- Stir until ready.
- Serve. To show off, put a sprig of parsley as decoration as the green contrasts nicely with the red. Oh, wait. You’re only impressing yourself. Who cares?

Pix Credit: idamilda.blogspot.comThis is not how it usually turns out.

2. Universal Meat with Tumeric and Salt

Pix Credit:
You’ll be lucky if it looks this good

This is one of the best all-purpose recipes for almost any kind of meat - beef, mutton, chicken, shrimp or fish.


- a type of fresh meat (beef, chicken, mutton, whatever).

- tumeric powder

- salt or as a substitute, soy sauce. Soy sauce can screw this dish up as it makes the meat turn dark quickly, so better stick with salt.

- onions, garlic and shallots


- Slather tumeric and salt all over the meat. No need for marinating. It’s good to go.
- heat up the oil in a wok, enough to cover the meat when you throw it in.
- throw in the onions, garlic and shallots, then the meat.
- cook till ready. Serve.

3. Chicken Curry - Urban Nyonya Style

Pix Credit:
Tastes as good as it looks

- 400mg chicken
- 750ml fresh milk or Full Cream Milk
- curry powder
- shallots
- garlic
- a tablespoon of chilli paste
- lemongrass stalk
- curry leaves

- throw in chopped garlic, shallots, curry powder and chilli paste in the wok with a bit of oil. Stir till aromatic.
- pour 750ml milk. Throw the chicken, lemongrass stalk and curry leaves in.
- stir till the meat is cooked. It’s very important to ensure you continue stirring as leaving it as it is will result in a lumpy curry.

4. Fried Noodles Multitype

This is a recipe to fry just about any carbs, except bread. Works on noodles and rice of all sorts.


- shallots
- garlic
- chilli paste
- oyster sauce
- soy sauce
- dried shrimp
- two eggs
- vermicelli/beehon/yellow noodles/tang hoon or glass noodles/wantan mee/pan mee/whatever mee/even rice. A few cups or 400ml.

- throw everything except the noodles (or rice) into a wok with a little bit of hot oil in. Stir till aromatic.
- throw noodles in.
- stir till cooked.

Pix Credit:
You can also add eggs, shrimp, beef, or whatever that you can find in the fridge.

5. The Ultimate Dish: Greatest Under Heaven

When deciding to up your veggie intake, this is the ultimate time-saver as it cooks three things in one dish - meat, veggies and eggs.


- beef or chicken
- any kailan/sawi type of veggies
- shallots
- garlic
- salt and pepper
- soy sauce/oyster sauce
- eggs.


- throw chopped shallots and garlic into a wok with heated oil. Stir till aromatic.
- throw in beef or chicken, seasoned lightly with salt and pepper in.
- put some sauce into it. Either soy or oyster, but not both. Stir fry.
- add eggs.
- throw the veggies in. Add a bit of water.
- stir till cooked. Greatest Under Heaven!

Pix Credit:
The image for The Ultimate Dish: Greatest Under Heaven cannot be found. Here's a baby monkey instead.

These recipes can help in getting you started with cooking, or remove the false impression that cooking is hard or complicated. My mother makes such emphasis on how difficult cooking is until I decided to go into the kitchen and do it myself.

She still cooks the best dishes, though.

Disclaimer: Cooking time may vary, depending on your organising skills.

Look! Here's a collectible sticker (Right click to save). Collect them all!