Baby Kailan Ikan Masin: A Malaysian Delight

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Baby Kailan Ikan Masin is a popular vegetable dish in Malaysia that incorporates salted fish. A staple in many Thai restaurants across the country, this dish is typically paired with hot steaming rice, making it a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

Source: hasikin

Ingredients and Preparation

Kailan, also known as kale, is a green leafy vegetable with thick leaves and stems. It is rich in folate, making it especially beneficial for expectant mothers and those who are breastfeeding. The dish is stir-fried with oyster sauce, cili padi (bird’s eye chillies), and salted fish, specifically king mackerel fish steak preserved in salt and stored in soy oil.

Cleaning kailan can be a bit tricky due to a water-resistant film on the leaves. However, soaking the leaves in a vegetable cleaning solution can help. Given the thickness of the stems, they should be thinly sliced diagonally to ensure even cooking. The leaves, slightly bitter in taste, are perfect for stir-frying but not recommended for soups.

Source: kitpramenulis


  1. Heat 2 tbs of cooking oil in a wok.
  2. Sauté 5 cloves of bruised garlic until brownish.
  3. Add 5 small bruised cili padi and shredded pickled fish.
  4. Stir in chopped kailan, oyster sauce, 1 tbs fish sauce, and 1 tsp sugar.
  5. Once the kailan softens, add a mixture of 1/2 tsp corn starch and 2 tbs water.
  6. Serve hot with rice, garnished with fried shallots and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Note: Fried shallots enhance the dish’s flavour significantly. Traditional Malay cooking often uses analogies like “a thumb of this” or “a handful of that” instead of precise measurements.

Source: pipsterian

Varieties of Preserved Fish in Malaysia

Malaysia boasts a variety of preserved fish, including dried fish (like ikan bilis), salted fish (like ikan kurau), pickled fish (like jeruk ikan tenggiri), Pekasam (fermented river fish from Kelantan), Cencaluk (fermented shrimps from Melaka), and smoked fish.


Baby Kailan Ikan Masin is a testament to Malaysia’s rich culinary heritage, blending fresh vegetables with the savoury taste of preserved fish. As more people migrate within the country for education or work, dishes like these continue to gain popularity, representing a fusion of tastes from different regions.


“Kailan Ikan Masin.” Pickles And Spices. Link

Article curated by Suwaytha Gopal