Masak lemak cili api (yellow curry)

Hanz provided the idea to cook gulai lemak cili api which is a native dish from Negeri Sembilan, a southern state in Malaysia. Since then, I had been cooking it very often because it tastes so yummy and easy to prepare (but a bit messy).


Photos of some of the raw ingredients can be found here.


50 grams cili padi (bird’s eye chillies), remove stems
150 grams fresh tumeric, peel off the skin

Blend or pound them.

Two tumeric leaves/daun kunyit, slice thinly
A small ball of tamarind pulp mixed with a little water
3 pieces dried tamarind
About 300 mls water

Put all the above paste, leaves, tamarind pulp and boil them. Add in ingredients** and boil until cooked.

Add 250 mls of coconut milk. I used the pre-packed santan from the carton box.) Or alternatively use the coconut milk from half coconut. Stir constantly after adding the coconut milk.

Season with sugar, salt and some pepper till you get the right taste.

**Ingredients can be anything such as:
1. Fish head (pre-boiled in separate pot in hot water before adding in, to remove fishy smell)
2. Young jackfruit (nangka muda)
3. Squids (pre-boiled in separate pot in hot water before adding in, to remove excess water)
4. Fresh mushroom like those oysters mushrooms
5. Cow’s stomach (pre-boiled till very soft)
6. Eggs (just knock the eggs into the boiling masak lemak, without breaking the yolk)

An estimated weight of about 500 grams of meat/fish/squid.

Hanz also gave some tips from her mom:

Mom is innovative. Try prawn with pineapple, meat/chicken with potato, fish with asam gelugur/brinjal/’terung pipit’/.

**Tips to get rid of the yellow, sticky sap from the tumeric.
Usually, using fresh tumeric will leave a stubborn stain on the knives, chopping board and other utensils. To remove them, use undiluted dish washing liquid. Spread a thick layer on them and leave for a while. If still cannot be removed, I had resorted to liquid laundry detergent. However, make sure you rinse well.

Posted by lilian on May 24th, 2005 under Recipe

No Responses to “Masak lemak cili api (yellow curry)”

  1. percolator Says:

    Personally, I do not find salmon a good fish for ‘wet’ dishes like curry which sits on the stove for quite a bit. It cooks far too easily, flesh falling off the bones in no time, and loses its special texture and taste when overcooked.

    Like in those clay pot dishes or fish head mee-hoon, you’d need to coat them in a sticky batter and fry lightly first to seal in the flavour and ensure it does not ‘melt’ into the gravy/soup. Chances are, it’d already be cooked when you fry them, overcooked before you drop them in the curry or whatever.. just my 2 sens

  2. babe_kl Says:

    wah very the leceh la hehehe i dun like to cook fish :p lucky me hubby dunch like to eat fish

  3. anasalwa Says:

    The masak lemak cili padi looks delicious.

  4. mudskipper Says:

    The tumeric stains on knives can also be removed with a pc of cloth soaked with cooking oil but it will require a few swipes. The oil acts as a good solvent.

  5. lilian Says:

    Mudskipper – Thanks for the tips! Will try it next time.

    Ansalwa – It tastes good.

    babe – Sedap leh. Especially with nangka muda and squids.

    Percolator – The head’s flesh doesn’t ‘drop’ much. I love the sticky parts, fish lips, fish eyes….Yummmmm

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