Baked fish with prawn otak-otak mousseline served with ulam pesto and paku salad

A fillet of red snapper is covered with otak-otak made with fresh tiger prawns and baked. The ulam pesto is made with basil, selom leaves, garlic and other herbs. The dish is garnished with cashew nuts and parmesan cheese.

Palm oil tip: “I ground sundried chili with red palm oil into a chili paste. The palm oil gives it a nice orange colour. The fish was cooked with palm oil as well, as palm oil is a very neutral oil, so it doesn’t take away or interfere with the other flavours in the dish,” said Nurilkarim.

His dish was a succulent baked cod with prawn otak-otak and ulam pesto.

Nurilkarim’s dish: a succulent baked red snapper with prawn otak-otak and ulam pesto. ─ Photos by: RICKY LAI/The Star


Baked fish
Whole red snapper
Fresh tiger prawns – 350g
One egg
Coconut cream – 150ml
Palm oil – 200ml
Palm oil (red) – 50ml
Lime juice – 50ml
Pucuk paku (wild fiddle fern) – 1kg
Ginger torch (bunga kantan) – 1nos
Red chili – 50g
Shallots – 300g
Garlic – 80g
Galangal – 50g
Lemongrass – 3 stalks
Dried chili – 50g
Shrimp paste – 1 tbsp
Fish sauce – 5ml
Kaduk leaf – 40g
Banana leaf – 500g
Tomato paste – 5 tblsp

Ulam Pesto
Local basil – 40g
Lemon basil – 40g
Selom leaves – 40g
Garlic – 1 clove
Coriander – 1 stalk
Cashew nuts – 50g
Palm oil
Parmesan cheese


1. Clean and fillet fish. Portion it to around 120g per piece and set aside.
2. Grind the shallots, garlic, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, chili paste and shrimp paste in a food processor till fine.
3. Sauté the paste in palm oil till fragrant. When cool, combine chili paste with shelled prawns, egg white, oil, tomato paste, coconut cream and puree in the food processor till fine. Set aside.
4. Spread prawn mousse onto fish evenly then wrap in banana leaf ready to bake or steam for 5-6 minutes at 165⁰c.
5. For ulam pesto, prepare a pot of water for blanching. Once herbs are cleaned, blanch only for 8 seconds.
6. Squeeze off remaining liquid and place in spice/coffee grinder along with the cashew nuts, cheese, garlic, and oil till a smooth paste is achieved. Work the mixture through a sieve to remove impurities. Set aside.
7. Blanch the already cleaned paku ferns and cool in ice water. Dress the ferns with fish sauce, lime juice and some oil and toss in shallot rings and julienned red chili, lemongrass and finely chopped pickled ginger flower (kantan).
8. Chiffonade the kaduk leaves and deep fry till crisp. Use for garnish.

AHONG YEANG (First runner-up)
Roasted chicken with coconut gravy, served with a side of ulam rice and long beans and offals

Chicken wings and chops are pan-fried until crispy, and served with chicken breast that is poached in red palm oil and butter. The dish is topped with a piece of chicken breast skin that has been roasted for 40 minutes. It’s accompanied with a side of ulam rice containing dried shrimps and herbs.

Palm oil tip: “Palm oil is value for money, and I like using it for deep-frying due to its high smoking point and its ability to remain “clean” – which means that it is stable and does not affect the taste of the end product. As long as I am able to control the temperature, palm oil allows me to cook things more accurately. For ingredients like chicken breast that dries up fast, I poach it in oil,” said Yeang.

Yeang is a big fan of using palm oil to deep-fry chicken.

Yeang is a fan of using palm oil to deep-fry chicken as it has a high smoking point and stays “clean”, meaning that the taste of the end product is not affected.


Roast chicken
Two whole organic chickens
Chicken breast skin – 12 pcs
Gizzard – 7 pcs
Liver – 7 pcs
Heart – 7 pcs
Baking powder – 1 tbps
One yellow onion
One bulb garlic
One 2-inch ginger
One carrot
Local shallots – 3
Red palm oil – 1 litre
Refined palm oil – 3 litres
Red Chili – 50g
Shallots – 100g
French butter – 450g

Baby Carrots – 240g
Long Green Beans – 400g
Ikan bilis kopek grade AA soaked in water – ¾ cup
Oyster sauce – 9 tbsp
Sweet soy sauce – 4 tbsp
Local shallots – 200g
Garlic – 25g
Red chili – 75g
Black pepper – 5g
Ice water

Santan – 375g
Tomato puree – 40g
Indian shallots – 165g
Old ginger – 30g
Galangal – 30g
Lemon grass – 50g
Red chili – 70g
Garlic – 55g
Asam keping – 10g
Red Palm oil – 300g
Water – 200g
Salt – 5g
Sugar – 30g
Gula melaka – 50g
Peeled peanuts – 60g
French butter – 50g

Thai Fragrant rice – 400g
Ikan bilis kopek grade AA (soaked in water) – 100g
Udang kering grade AA (soaked in water) – 100g
Red palm oil – 2 tbsp
Red chili – 60g
Daun kaduk – 4 pieces
Ulam raja – 1 bundle
Pucuk gajus – 1 bundle
Daun kesum – 1 bundle

Italian parsley – 1 packet
Two local shallots
Two Indian Shallots
Two limes
Peeled petai – 100g
White vinegar – ½ cup
Sugar – ½ cup


Roast chicken
1. Break down chicken to breast, wings, and chicken chops.
2. Rub salt and baking powder on chicken chops and wings and dry in chiller for 2 hours.
3. Put chicken skins between roasting pan and parchment paper. Roast for 40 mins at 190°C.
4. Pan fry chops and wings skin side down for 18 minutes until skin crispy.
5. Poach breast in red palm oil and butter for 20 mins at 70°C.

1. Gizzards, hearts, heads and legs go into pressure cooker with onion, shallots, carrot and ginger. Add boiling water. Cook for 30 minutes under high pressure.
2. Remove and peel gizzard. Thinly slice with a mandolin.
3. Season liver with salt and black pepper.
4. Pan fry liver in butter until medium rare. Roll chicken in fine black pepper, salt, chopped parsley and lime juice.

1. Cook long beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes and blanch in ice water.
2. Repeat the process for the carrots.
3. Finely slice the rest of the ingredients.
4. Stir fry beans with the condiments, adding chopped offals at the end.

1. Blend all herbs with red palm oil.
2. Sauté tomato puree and add the blend.
3. Cook until oil starts to split.
4. Add santan, sugar salt and peanut to taste.
5. Simmer asam keeping to taste.

1. Rice cooked and tossed with red palm oil.
2. Sauté ikan bilis and udang kering until crunchy
3. Chop herbs into fine pieces.

LI-ANNE KUEK (Second runner-up)
Pumpkin & walnut loaf with white chocolate & pumpkin ganache, honeycomb, yogurt sorbet & milk crumb

The Japanese pumpkin, also known as kent pumpkin, is the main ingredient in the loaf. The pumpkin in puree form is added into the cake mix together with nutmeg, chopped walnuts and cinnamon. The loaf is served warm with a sorbet made with plain yoghurt, lemon juice and vanilla bean.

Palm oil tip: “I replaced butter with palm oil in my recipe, and it’s a good replacement because it is lower in saturated fat than butter. Its colour works well with my cake because it gives an orange base. Palm oil is so versatile and it’s a shame that not many people are aware of its benefits,” said Kuek.

Kuek's pumpkin loaf with pumpkin ganache and sorbet is a pretty sight for the eyes.

Kuek’s pumpkin loaf with pumpkin ganache and sorbet is a pretty sight for the eyes.


Plain flour – 200g
Brown sugar – 200g
Bicarbonate of soda – 1 tsp
Large eggs – 3
Baking powder – 4 tsp
Red palm oil – 160g
Cinnamon – 1½ tsp
Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
Nutmeg, freshly grated – ¼ tsp
Pumpkin puree – 250g
Salt – ¼ tsp
Walnuts, chopped – 50g
Edible flowers – 1 punnet

Pumpkin puree
Kent pumpkin 1 (approximately 1kg)

Yogurt sorbet
Caster sugar – 80g
Plain yogurt, full cream – 375g
Water – 80ml
Lemon juice – 60ml
Liquid glucose – 15g
Vanilla bean – ½

Milk crumb
Milk powder – 60g
Salt – 1 tsp
Plain flour – 40g
Butter, melted – 55g
Cornstarch – 12g
White chocolate, melted – 90g
Sugar – 25g

White chocolate and pumpkin ganache
White chocolate – 200g
Pumpkin puree – 100g
Butter, unsalted – 30g
Salt – ¼ tsp
Liquid glucose – 2 tbsp
Cinnamon – ¼ tsp
Heavy cream – 60g

Caster sugar – 100g
Liquid glucose – 1 tbsp
Bicarbonate of soda – 1½ tsp
Water – 25ml


Pumpkin puree
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Peel and cut the pumpkin.
3. Wrap in foil with a splash of water and bake for 25 minutes.
4. Pass through drum sieve.

Pumpkin and walnut loaf
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 9×5 inch loaf tin.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the brown sugar, eggs, red palm oil on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until very smooth and lighter in colour.
4. Beat in the vanilla and then the pumpkin until smooth.
5. Fold in dry mixture into the wet ingredients.
6. Gently fold in chopped walnuts.
7. Scrape mixture into a loaf tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Yogurt sorbet
1. Boil water and sugar in a pan until the liquid has the consistency of a syrup.
2. Dissolve glucose in the syrup and leave to cool.
3. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, vanilla bean and syrup and whisk well.
4. Churn in an ice cream maker and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

Milk crumb
1. Preheat oven to 120°C.
2. Combine 40g of milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and toss to mix. Add in melted butter and toss using a fork until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
3. Spread the clusters on lined baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.
4. Allow clusters to cool completely and transfer into a medium bowl. Add the remaining milk powder and toss until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
5. Melt white chocolate.
6. Pour melted white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until the clusters are enrobed. Continue tossing every five minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky.

White chocolate and pumpkin ganache
1. Melt butter and chocolate and mix until smooth.
2. Warm liquid glucose in a saucepan and immediately add to the chocolate mixture, then blend with blender.
3. Stream in heavy cream and blend till shiny and smooth.
4. Blend in the pumpkin puree, salt, and cinnamon. Store in fridge till required.

1. Place sugar, glucose and water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until you get a light golden colour.
3. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda.
4. Transfer immediately onto a silicone baking mat and leave to set.

Garlic prawn tart with pineapple and tomato chutney

Olive pâté is smeared on top of a tart base, followed by a few tablespoons of tomato chutney. The dish is topped with prawns and drizzled with coriander mayo, then garnished with coriander, mayo and olive pâté.

Palm oil tip: “With its high smoking point, I was able to sauté the prawns in high heat. I also used palm oil to cook tomato chutney and coriander mayo. Palm oil is really versatile and can be used in many different ways! I can even use it in a dressing like mayo because it has a neutral taste,” said Siew.

KY Speaks praised Siew daring usage of many ingredients to produce her dish of garlic prawn tart.

KY Speaks praised Siew’s daring usage of many ingredients to produce her dish of garlic prawn tart.


Tart crust
Almond Crust – 80g
Whole Almonds – 150g
Plain flour – 2 tbsp
Icing sugar – 1 tsp
Salt – 120g
Cold unsalted Kerry Gold butter, cut into cubes
One egg yolk
Ice water – 1 tbsp

Pineapple and Tomato Chutney
One onion, finely chopped
Thumb size ginger, peeled and finely chopped
One pineapple, cored and cut into small pieces
Three tomatoes, diced
Two bird eye’s chili
Ground cumin – 1tsp
Coriander powder – 1tsp
Garam masala – 1tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 100g
Vinegar Salt – 100ml
Palm oil

Olive pâté
Pitted Kalamata black olives – 150g
Fresh thyme leaves – 10g
Black pepper

Two egg yolks
One cup palm oil
Dijon mustard – 1tps
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Hot water – 1 tbsp

Pan-fried tiger prawns
Seventeen tiger prawns marinated with 3 cloves of garlic, salt and lemon juice
Flour – 50g
Two egg yolks
Palm oil


Tart crust
1. Roast almonds in 180°c for 8-10 minutes until aromatic. Pulse them in a food processor or blender until medium-fine, with some coarse bits remaining.
2. Whisk flour, icing sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add almonds and combine well. Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Add egg yolk a little at a time, combining with fingers until mixture has come together.
4. Flatten dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Chill in fridge for one hour or until firm.
5. Roll dough out thinly and cut out rounds, working quickly so the dough doesn’t soften too much. Transfer the rounds to a baking tray and freeze for 30 minutes.
6. Before baking, prick the dough all over with a fork and bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cool to room temperature.

Pineapple and tomato chutney
1. Heat oil in pan. When it’s ready, sauté onion and ginger with all the spices until fragrant.
2. Add tomatoes first followed by pineapple and stir for a minute or two to release their juices.
3. Add sugar, vinegar and salt and continue to cook until mixture thickens (around 20 minutes), adjusting for taste as needed.

Olive pâté
Pour everything in the blender and blend to smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Tuna and watermelon tartare served with basil ice cream

Seedless red watermelon and tuna are diced into equal sizes and topped with fried wonton skin and a salad of micro basil and arugula. It is served with a quenelle of basil ice cream.

Palm oil tip: “I used palm oil to make the chili sauce and also the tuna and watermelon tartare. For the tartare, I whisked everything up and only added the palm oil in at the end. In the past, I used to use olive oil in my recipes but now I’m using more palm oil because it is high in antioxidants and is better for my family members, some of whom have high cholesterol,” said Pan.

Pan experienced some trouble plating her dish of tuna and watermelon tartare with basil ice cream but managed to pull through at the end.

Pan experienced some trouble plating her dish of tuna and watermelon tartare with basil ice cream but managed to pull through at the end.


Tuna and watermelon tartare
Tuna – 800g
One whole seedless red watermelon
Shallots – 100g
Capers – 40g
Lemon juice – 100g
Lemon zest – 10g
Two whole lemons
Light soy sauce – 40g
Palm oil – 50g
Finely diced red chilli – 15g
White vinegar – 50g
Finely diced bunga kantan – 50g
Salt & pepper – 1 tsp
Hot chilli powder – 2 tbsp

Basil Ice Cream
Four egg yolks
Sugar – 70g
Salt – 1 tsp
Basil – 50g
Cream – 375ml
Milk – 275ml
Cream – 50ml

Wonton skin
Sifted flour – 355ml
Cornstarch – 118ml
Salt – 1 tsp
One egg
Cold water – 118ml
For rolling – cornstarch 150ml and flour for rolling 150ml
Palm oil – 1 jug

Balsamic reduction
Balsamic vinegar – 2 cups
One cinnamon stick
One bay leaf
Part of an orange rind
Caster sugar – 8 tbsp

Chilli sauce
Four whole red chilies
Eight whole dried chilies
Fine caster sugar – 5 tbsp
Salt & pepper – 1 tsp
Palm oil – 100g

Fried Capers
Capers – 50 pieces

Micro basil – 2 boxes
Micro Arugula – 3 packets

A box of edible flowers


Tuna and watermelon tartare
1. Mix shallots, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, soy sauce, chilli, bunga kantan, hot chilli powder, salt and pepper. Whisk them together.
2. Dice tuna and watermelon to equal size.
3. Only mix the oil in the mixture when ready to mix the tuna and watermelon.

Basil ice cream
1. Blend basil and sugar in a food processor.
2. Warm cream and milk together.
3. Whisk basil and sugar mix with the egg yolks until they are pale and thick.
4. Pour milk mixture over the egg mixture while whisking. Rinse the saucepan out and tip the egg mixture back in.
5. Heat gently until it forms a thicker custard that will coat the back of a spoon. Add the remaining cream. Allow this to cool but if you can’t wait, put the saucepan in the sink with a little water and whisk till it’s cool.
6. Transfer the mixture into the ice cream machine. Set it for 15 minutes.
7. Take it out and put it in the freezer.

Wonton skin
1. Mix flour, cornstarch and salt into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
2. Add the egg and pour in the water.
3. Mix the wet and dry mixture together with chopsticks.
4. Use your hands to work the dough into a smooth ball, leaving the bowl as free of the mix as possible.
5. Knead the dough on a clean surface until it’s smooth
6. Cut the dough in half and wrap both portions in plastic wrap
7. Set aside for 30 minutes
8. Roll out one portion until thin and even. Cut into squares or circle.

Balsamic reduction
1. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and then turn down heat to keep at a low simmer.
2. It will take about 10-15 minutes to thicken and reduce. Keep a careful eye near the end as you don’t want to burn it. When it coats a spoon, it will be thick enough.

Chilli sauce
1. Remove all the seeds from the chillies.
2. Blend the mixture together.

Why you should use palm oil

There aren’t many ingredients more truly Malaysian than palm oil, and we’re proud to say it has plenty of health benefits.
1. Palm oil has a high smoking point. When cooking oils reach their respective smoking points, they burn and release cancer-causing free radicals. That only happens to palm oil at 232°C, which is really high compared to those of most cooking oils.
2. Palm oil has 15 times more beta-carotene, an antioxidant, than carrots.
3. It is also rich in Vitamin E, which protects our cells from free radicals.
4. Palm oil has zero cholesterol. Yup, you heard us. ZERO. In fact, tocotrienols in palm oil have been shown to reduce the production of cholesterol in the body.
5. Oil palm is the world’s most productive oil crop, 10 times more productive than soybean and eight times more productive than sunflower.
6. Oil palm produces two types of oil – palm oil from the flesh of the fruit, and palm kernel oil from the seed. While palm oil is used for edible purposes, palm kernel oil can be used for a variety of non-edible purposes such as making soaps, cosmetics and detergents.

Did you know?
1. Palm oil was used over 5,000 years ago by the Egyptians.
2. Oil palm was brought to Malaysia from the African continent in the 1800s. In Africa, palm oil was used as a remedy for many illnesses and is an essential part of the diet of pregnant women.


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