Which is easier to prepare? Western or Malaysian meals?

Malaysians in general have meals consist of rice which is the staple food here and a few dishes. Usually, most homes with decent income will have at least three dishes to accompany the rice.

So, I have often wondered if the person who prepares the meals in a Western family or the Malaysian families whom have an easier time?

For example, if I want to make a stir fry dish like the below white brocolli, I would have to do several things like chopping up garlic, cut the vegetable, heat the wok over gas stove, stir fry and find the right combination of flavourings.

Then, I have to prepare another two dishes, usually, something with protein like meat or eggs or tofu and a soup or some seafood.

Therefore, it can be tedious, right?

As for Westerners, I am not sure how they really eat except what I see on TV and through other food blogs.  Their methods seem easier because they just popped whatever they are cooking into the oven and they make a salad to be eaten with breads.

For example, lunch today consists of a few chicken drumsticks which had been seasoned since last night.  I just pile on a head of sliced fennel vegetable, top it up with the chicken which I have seasoned, topped them with some chopped garlic and a few basil leaves , dribble some olive oil and popped the dish into the oven for 30 minutes.  It is already a complete dish which can be eaten with either some pasta or bread.

However, there are two things which still make Western foods not such a fond choice of mine.  One is the use of electricity.  I am so used to fire up gas stove and they seem to cook faster.  Secondly, the Malaysian stomachs in us  still need something filling like rice eventhough the roasted chicken seems extravagant on its own.  End of the day, my hubby ate the chicken and fennel with his rice for dinner.  It is accompanied by some kacang botol stir fried with sambal.

So, what do you prefer?  Western foods or Malaysian meals?

Post Author: Lilian

Food, travel, recipes. Chinese Malaysian, blogger, photographer and writer.

19 thoughts on “Which is easier to prepare? Western or Malaysian meals?

    swee

    (September 27, 2006 - 9:45 pm)

    I think i prefer eating chinese /malaysian food.. and cook western food. haha. Cause personally, cooking chinese / m’sian food (like those 3 dishes + rice) for a person (me) is quite hard, too many things to prepare.

    ShaolinTiger

    (September 27, 2006 - 10:16 pm)

    Knowing how to cook both Western is easier, if you understand the timing of roasting/baking/blanching/steaming.

    If you are a fast person stir-frying might be easier, like my Mom can cook Western food really great, no effort, but she can’t stir fry stuff at all.

    Takes longer too, Chinese food I can start and finish quite a extensive meal in 30 minutes, western food will take an hour..but less actual effort.

    Some like pasta and spaghetti bolognese are very fast though, or even simple things like pesto pasta or potatoe salad.

    As for the food I eat both regularly 🙂

    paupau

    (September 27, 2006 - 11:09 pm)

    I prefer to cook Western. Like you said, gather everything and pop into the oven.
    No need to fire up the wok, less cleaning up to do

    so….please, please share more recipe on Western cooking 🙂

    gertrude

    (September 27, 2006 - 11:18 pm)

    For me I still prefer my Malaysian food but because of hubby I have to cook Western for dinner. For Chinese cooking it takes longer for the prep work like cutting and chopping but faster to cook and for Western not much preparating of ingredients but took longer to cook … stew, roast or bake.

    Sarah

    (September 28, 2006 - 2:53 am)

    I cook both alternatively. Sometimes I do chinese meals (only 2 dishes mostly because there are only two of us) and sometimes I make stew or roast. But I think both take quite as long to prepare, chopping and preparation wise. Cooking time, I’d say western is longer. I’m with you on the electricity. Sometimes feel its quite wasting when I switch it on just to brown my side dish of cheesy cauliflower! But then, with chinese meals I normally cook just nice for one meal while my roasts and bakes and last 2 days.

    That said, I’d say it depends on the cook also. My mom cooks chinese in a snap but give her any western recipes (other than her famous chicken chop) and she’s lost. But like ST said, his mom is otherwise. Heh.

    krisz

    (September 28, 2006 - 2:58 am)

    Cooking with oven is much easier and less hassle. Since we’re using central gas supply with fixed monthly fees, it doesnt make any diff. HOWEVER,
    as for food, I still prefer 3 dishes,1 soup, rice!

    jMs

    (September 28, 2006 - 5:30 am)

    Wow the variety of food makes my stomach growl.

    I am still the asian type…. so i would go for chinese cruisine… which gives me a more ohmmmm compared to brown sauce/black pepper only….

    Wow… i just can;t type anything here but i think i gotta go tar pau my chinese char siew rice… oh yummy ! 🙂

    QuaVadis

    (September 28, 2006 - 10:38 am)

    I actually find it easier to prepare western dishes..am not that good with Chinese Dishes

    molly

    (September 28, 2006 - 12:15 pm)

    Chinese cooking is quite tedious if u are not a full time homemaker. My children prefer western food but my hubby cannot go without rice. So sometimes I cook stew or grill chicken that can go with rice or bread. I think western food is easier to prepare than asian food but some of the ingredients are more expensive and difficult to get here. With all the ready prepared packet food in the supermarket nowadays cooking is made easier.

    Erina Law

    (September 28, 2006 - 12:28 pm)

    Chinese food always look very colourful and delicious. I come from the cantonese family. 3 dishes and a soup with rice is what we normally practise. It can be easy if we make it easy but to me chinese food really need more effort and time consuming. Like you say, western is easy in the sense they only take salad with bread and some meat. I see usually my friends will just take a few slice of bread with salad and fruits. For meat is so easy. Marinate and bake them in the oven. Beside easy, I find it is cleaner too. Don’t have to do so much washing and cleaning up. I hate cleaning up!!!

    f1re80

    (September 28, 2006 - 12:33 pm)

    I cannot eat rice everyday. Neither can I eat Chicken chop everyday so faham-faham lah yer.

    When I was very small nearly 110kg ago… (this was in the 70’s when my late grand parents were still alive) cooking Kari ikan from scratch for lunch everyday is no big deal (Chicken/ Meat/Duck special occasions only). For Penang Malays, Fish Curry and or Sambal Tumis is a daily staple. It makes the difference between a good wife and otherwise. These days not so lar!

    When I say from scratch means; buy spices, dry in the sun before keeping, before using dry frying, then GILING and mixing before use. (For those who don’t know Giling is the act of crushing spices to a powder manually between to smooth rocks (which is for the uninitiated is back-breaking work).

    On the other hand making Meehoon Goreng (fried rice vermicelli) was a big deal. My late grand father would announce it to the household that that day Meehoon goreng was on the menu and he would be going to the wet market to find the ingredient. Sawi (Choy Sum) must be the one with flowers, Shrimp, Meat and what nonsense…

    The same Excitment and such Production was reserved for making Chicken Curry (he had to catch the chicken first, and my late grandmother word be slaving over the batu giling, but then again no big deal right?), Mee goreng/ rebus/ laksa.

    These days… Ma!, I too lazy to cook rice I cook Mee Hoon okay… For some I know that cooking Curry is such a mental blocker. Got no Air Tangan (Hand water) maa!. (I will tell you about AIR TANGAN some other time).

    babe_kl

    (September 28, 2006 - 2:52 pm)

    lilian, i guess whether its western ka or msian, watever you’ve cooked, it’s bursting with love 😉 ngam moe? :p

    sQuiD

    (September 28, 2006 - 3:15 pm)

    in malaysia, i believe the nyonyas are the champions! traditionally (even now), they have like 6 -8 different dishes plus soup for dinner. And we all know how much work goes into a nyonya’s dish.

    As a working person, i’d say it’s not where the recipe is from, it’s the recipe we choose. There are even “3-step” recipe books available. I have a old recipe book on one-wok-meals. It’s basically stri frying your vege and meat at one go and have it with your rice. Balance diet but minus the variety. We’re so spoilt, eh?

    Bradley M

    (September 29, 2006 - 4:27 am)

    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a while and I’m happy to get a question where as a Westerner I can provide some insight.

    The traditional Western dinner has an “entree” (main dish), a starch, and a vegetable. The entree is the basis of the meal, and is usually a meat (barbecued chicken, meat loaf, steak, etc.) but can also be primarily a bread or pasta, or even a vegetable like portobello mushrooms or eggplant (which you may know as aubergine or something else). Every side dish (starch and vegetable) is chosen to go along with the main dish, instead of each dish melding with rice well. This also means that starch dishes are not necessarily eaten with flavors from other dishes — baked whole potatoes are usually eaten with butter and sour cream, while mashed potatoes are eaten with gravy made from the meat drippings. Now because of stewing, casseroles, and other one-pot or one-dish meals (pizza being the most common example) those components are not always separate dishes. The american taco is a classic example as well. Seasoned meat and beans with vegetable and dairy toppings in a hard shell of fried corn grits.

    Some examples of Western dishes which are very easy to prepare:
    -Tuna casserole
    -Pot roast
    -anything which is made in a crock pot (ceramic slow cooker)
    -baked potatoes
    -premade pasta
    -almost any type of salad — tabbouleh is one exception because of the long prep time. Cole slaw goes very well with seafood, barbecue, and the warmer weather dishes, but avoid having to shred your own cabbage or else it becomes a chore.
    -steamed vegetables, especially when using a microwave steamer. (Steamed vegetable medleys which include cabbage are great with ranch dressing)
    -egg omelet, though there is an art to making the perfect omelet which took me a few years to perfect
    -ham barbecue, which is really just shaved deli ham in either barbecue sauce or Heinz sweet chili sauce, served on sandwich rolls.

    And not so easy:
    -quiche
    -paella
    -real barbecue (smoked meat which is cooked at low temperatures (95-125C) long enough to break connective tissues)
    -lasagna is very time consuming to make, and has a lot of ingredients to prepare, but it’s not necessarily difficult
    -apple pie
    -fried squid

    I would also like to add that Westerners don’t like electric stoves, either. They heat unevenly, heat too much, and have unpredictable hot and cold spots. Since some homes don’t have gas lines, though, some people are stuck with them — I was left with no choice but to cook on electric for three years. However, with that said, electric ovens are great. They broil very well and heat quickly and evenly.

    ——————–
    As a side note, do you think you could get rid of the 30-minute automatic refresh on your site? I lost the first draft of this comment because of it.

    tonixe

    (September 29, 2006 - 9:05 am)

    Actually I happily take both depending on convenience and availability !

    pablopabla

    (September 29, 2006 - 10:40 am)

    Actually, both Chinese and Western cuisine has “easy” and “complicated” recipes. For the chicken drumstick that you cooked, you could actually roast it over a layer of potatoes (carbohydrates) and carrots to make it a more complete meal.

    Missy

    (September 29, 2006 - 8:22 pm)

    As for me,I enjoy chinese food very much and to cook them for me not so hard,because i tahu masak nasi ayam cina.thats all..hehehe..the others ,i beli. And Western food,can be sedap at times,tapi I still prefer malaysian food…..waaaaaaaa(drooollllll)

    JuLz

    (October 2, 2006 - 7:01 pm)

    Hey. anybody know any good chinese restaurant for a decent looking wedding dinner.. there’s only CRC in my mind…Mun Shang doesn’t really has the atmosphere. Hotel food are usually not nice so not in my list. help help a bit

    Jian

    (November 22, 2006 - 11:09 pm)

    Heh, Jade Palace is good : ) hope its not too late….CRC sedap ka? Try out at Jade Palace then u will know….decent price with good food…tho good…plz choose the nice dishes…JP is like all other restaurants…they have the good ones and the not so good ones….but mainly are good : )

    As for east vs west…..i absolutely luv western food…. I luv salads (coleslaw or just simple plain salad with no dressing also will do) , i luv RED MEAT, I luv roast chicken (too bad never roasted one, never tot of doing it anyway) and I just dun really understand why having western food in Msia cost quite a bomb pluz I absolutely adore OMELETTES…no doubt about that too…been really sien with mom’s cooking…but her soup is good tho…

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