Udang Galah Masak Lemak: A Taste of Tradition

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Imagine biting into succulent, tender prawns bathed in a creamy, spicy coconut gravy. That’s Udang Galah Masak Lemak, a beloved Malaysian dish that brings together the sweetness of giant river prawns and the rich, aromatic flavors of traditional Malay cooking. This dish is a celebration of local ingredients and culinary heritage, making it a must-try for anyone interested in Malaysian cuisine.

The Heart of the Dish: Udang Galah

Udang Galah, also known as giant freshwater prawns, are the star of this dish. These prawns are prized for their large size and juicy meat. Found in rivers and lakes, they are a favorite among seafood lovers. The key to a great Udang Galah Masak Lemak is fresh prawns. Their natural sweetness pairs perfectly with the spicy, creamy coconut sauce.

The Richness of Masak Lemak

“Masak Lemak” refers to the cooking method used in this dish, where “lemak” means fat, usually from coconut milk. This method creates a rich, creamy sauce that’s both comforting and indulgent. The base of the sauce is a blend of coconut milk and spices, creating a harmonious balance of flavors. The coconut milk gives the dish its creamy texture, while the spices add depth and heat.


To make Udang Galah Masak Lemak, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Udang Galah (giant freshwater prawns): The fresher, the better.
  • Coconut milk: The cornerstone of the sauce.
  • Turmeric: For a vibrant yellow color and earthy flavor.
  • Lemongrass: Adds a citrusy aroma.
  • Galangal: Similar to ginger, it adds a spicy, pungent flavor.
  • Bird’s eye chilies: For that fiery kick.
  • Tamarind paste: Adds a touch of tanginess.
  • Shallots and garlic: For a savory base.
  • Salt and sugar: To season.

Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare the Prawns: Clean and devein the prawns, leaving the shells on for extra flavor.
  2. Blend the Aromatics: In a blender, combine shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and chilies. Blend into a fine paste.
  3. Cook the Paste: In a large pot, heat some oil and sauté the paste until fragrant.
  4. Add Coconut Milk: Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add turmeric and tamarind paste, and stir well.
  5. Simmer the Prawns: Add the prawns to the pot. Cook until they turn pink and are cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Season and Serve: Season with salt and sugar to taste. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Enjoying the Dish

Udang Galah Masak Lemak is best enjoyed with a bowl of steamed white rice, which helps balance the rich, spicy flavors of the dish. The prawns soak up the creamy coconut gravy, making each bite a delightful mix of sweet, spicy, and savory.

This dish is not just a meal; it’s an experience. Each ingredient plays a role in creating a symphony of flavors that is both comforting and exotic. Whether you’re making it for a special occasion or a weeknight dinner, Udang Galah Masak Lemak is sure to impress.

So, the next time you’re in the mood for something special, try making Udang Galah Masak Lemak. It’s a delicious way to bring a taste of Malaysia into your kitchen. Happy cooking!