Sayur Manis Masak Lemak: A Malaysian Delight

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Sayur Manis Masak Lemak is a beloved dish from Malaysia, known for its rich, creamy, and aromatic flavors. This traditional dish showcases the use of local ingredients and cooking techniques that reflect Malaysia’s vibrant culinary heritage.

What is Sayur Manis?

Sayur Manis, also known as star gooseberry or sweet leaf, is a leafy green vegetable commonly found in Southeast Asia. It has a slightly sweet taste and a tender texture, making it a perfect ingredient for various dishes, especially in Malaysian cuisine.

The Essence of Masak Lemak

“Masak Lemak” refers to a style of cooking that involves simmering ingredients in a rich coconut milk gravy. This method is a staple in Malaysian kitchens and is used to prepare a variety of dishes. The creamy coconut milk is often flavored with aromatic ingredients such as lemongrass, turmeric, and chili, creating a dish that is both comforting and flavorful.


To prepare Sayur Manis Masak Lemak, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Sayur Manis (sweet leaf)
  • Coconut milk
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Fresh turmeric
  • Lemongrass
  • Red chili
  • Anchovies (optional)
  • Salt and sugar

Cooking Method

  1. Preparation: Begin by washing the Sayur Manis thoroughly and setting it aside. Slice the shallots, garlic, and red chili thinly. Crush the lemongrass and fresh turmeric to release their flavors.
  2. Sautéing Aromatics: In a pot, heat some oil and sauté the shallots, garlic, and lemongrass until fragrant. If you’re using anchovies, add them at this stage and fry until they’re crispy.
  3. Simmering: Pour in the coconut milk and add the fresh turmeric. Stir well and bring it to a gentle simmer. Add salt and sugar to taste.
  4. Cooking the Vegetables: Once the coconut milk mixture is simmering, add the Sayur Manis. Cook until the leaves are tender and fully infused with the coconut gravy. This should take about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serving: Serve the Sayur Manis Masak Lemak hot, with steamed rice. It makes for a delightful meal that’s both nutritious and bursting with traditional Malaysian flavors.

A Cultural Staple

Sayur Manis Masak Lemak is more than just a dish; it’s a reflection of Malaysia’s rich culinary traditions and the use of fresh, local ingredients. Whether enjoyed as a part of a family meal or during festive occasions, this dish embodies the warmth and hospitality of Malaysian culture.

Simple yet delicious, Sayur Manis Masak Lemak is a must-try for anyone looking to experience authentic Malaysian cuisine. Its blend of creamy coconut milk and tender sweet leaves creates a harmonious balance that is sure to delight the palate.

Article by Muhammad Ghani Rahman