Adding A Malaysian Touch To Your BBQ


July, 2018

Adding a Malaysian Touch To Your BBQ

The art of cooking food over a charcoal fire is an age-old tradition in Southeast Asia, and is particularly prominent in Malaysian cooking. While working in a Malay restaurant many years ago, New York-based chef Zakary Pelaccio learnt that “Fire management is central to Malaysian grilling”, accurately pointing out the secret behind piquant traditional favourites such as Ikan Bakar (grilled fish). In conjunction with B.I.G.’s BBQ Fair (5th – 15th July), we’ve gathered some truly mouth-watering local delicacies for your sizzling and grilling pleasure.

Ikan Bakar (Spicy Grilled Fish Wrapped In Banana Leaves)

Recipe from

The quintessential classic Malay dish, you’ll be hard put to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy a serving of Ikan Bakar. The use of banana leaves amplifies the smoky taste of chargrilled fish, further complemented by multiple layers of spicy sambal. Enough said, you have to try this the next time you fire up the barbeque.

1 lb fish fillet or whole fish of your choice (eg: red snapper)

For Grilled Fish Sambal:
6 oz. fresh red chilies, deseeded and cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon toasted belacan (Malaysian shrimp paste)
4 oz shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons fish sauce to taste
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 lime or 1 calamansi lime (limau kasturi), extract the juice
2 lemongrass, cut into thin slices
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 tablespoons oil

For Sambal Belacan and Sliced Shallots Condiment:
3 fresh red chilies, deseeded
2 bird’s eye chilies, deseeded
1 teaspoon of toasted belacan
2 shallots, thinly sliced
Sugar to taste
Salt to taste
8 tablespoons of water + tamarind pulp (size of a small ping pong ball)


Grilled Fish Sambal:
1. Prepare the sambal by grinding chilies, shallots, belacan and lemongrass in a food processor. Make sure the sambal paste is well blended and smooth.
2. Heat up a wok and “tumis” (stir-fry) the sambal paste until aromatic or when the oil separates from the sambal paste. Add the seasonings: salt, sugar, and fish sauce and do a quick stir, dish out and set aside.

Sambal Belacan and Sliced Shallots Condiment:
1. Soak the tamarind pulp with water for 15 minutes and extract the juice. In a mortar and pestle or food processor, pound/blend the red chilies, bird’s eye chilies, and toasted belacan.
2. Add tamarind juice, sugar, salt, and sliced shallots to the sambal. Stir well and set aside.

Grilling the Fish:

1. Lay a few sheets of banana leaves and grease the surface of the banana leaves with some oil. Lay the fish fillet on top of the banana leaves and add about 2 – 3 tablespoons of sambal on top of the fish. Spread the sambal evenly.
2. Place the fish on top of the grill (upper rack with indirect heat) and cover the grill.
3. Wait for 8 minutes or so (depending on the heat) and flip the fish over to the other side. Add 2 – 3 more tablespoons of sambal on the other side of the fish. Cook for another 8 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
4. Transfer the fish and the banana leaves to the lower rack and grill for a couple of minutes with direct heat, or when you smell the sweet aroma of burnt banana leaves.
5. Transfer out and serve immediately with sambal belacan and sliced shallots condiment.

Grilled Vegetable and Rice Salad with Fish-Sauce Vinaigrette

Recipe from

This charming rice salad recipe will make you fall in love with vegetables all over again, as they taste so much better with rice when chargrilled to perfection. Perfect eaten both as a side dish or main course.

For the Salad
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Vegetable oil
12 okra pods
3 ears of corn, shucked
2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise, centers scooped out
2 long red chiles (such as Holland or Anaheim), stemmed
1 small eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1′ slices
1 tablespoon sea salt

Dressing and Assembly

1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon palm sugar or (packed) light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nuoc nam or nam pla)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups (loosely packed) mixed fresh tender herbs (such as basil, cilantro, fennel fronds, marjoram, mint, and tarragon)
4 cups steamed jasmine rice


1. Preheat oven to 250 °. Spread out coconut (if using) on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool on pan.
2. Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill grates with oil. Meanwhile, combine okra, corn, zucchini, chiles, eggplant, and salt in a large bowl; drizzle with oil and toss to coat.
3. Grill vegetables (use a grill basket if you have one), turning frequently, until crisp-tender and lightly charred, about 8 minutes. Place chiles in a medium bowl; cover tightly with plastic to let steam for easy peeling. Set chiles aside for dressing.
4. Cut corn kernels from cobs; place in a large bowl. Cut zucchini and eggplant into irregular 1″ pieces; place in bowl with corn. Trim any tough tops from okra and cut okra in half lengthwise; add to bowl. Set aside.

Dressing and Assembly

1. Peel or scrape off charred skin from chiles and discard. Purée chiles (with seeds) and garlic in a food processor or mash with a mortar and pestle until a coarse paste forms. Add sugar and process or pound until dissolved. Stir in fish sauce and lime juice.
2. Drizzle dressing over warm vegetables; add herbs and toasted coconut (if using); toss well.
3. Scoop steamed rice onto a platter and top with salad.

Homemade Lemang (Pandan Infused Coconut Rice Cooked Over Charcoal)

Recipe from

Make use of your leftover ingredients from Raya and fire up some lemang on the grill! Lemang is a glutinous rice cake cooked painstakingly for many hours over hot charcoal. Even though the process is long and often requires a ‘change of shift’ between cooks, the end result is truly a labour of love.

500 grams of glutinous rice  
4 cups of coconut milk
1 pandan leaf
1 large stick of bamboo
2-3 banana leaves
Pinch of salt

1. Line the inside of the bamboo stick with banana leaves. You only need one, but for first timers the process can be difficult, as the leaves tear easily.
2. Wash and drain the glutinous rice.
3. Fill the bamboo stick with the glutinous rice.
4. Add a pinch of salt and the pandan leaf to the coconut milk and heat until you can smell the fragrance of the pandan. Pour the mixture into the bamboo.
5. Roast the whole bamboo next to an open fire or on a grill, turning it every 15 minutes, for 3 hours. Alternatively you can put the bamboo in a large pot with water and let it steam uncovered for 2 hours

Honey Glazed Grilled Pineapple

Recipe from

An ideal dessert for a Malaysian barbeque, savour the enhanced sweetness and flavour of chargrilled nanas (pineapple), topped with ice cream for a feel-good treat. Bon pine-appletit!   

1/4 cup honey
Juice of 2 limes (depending on how juicy the limes are)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pineapple, cut into 3/4-inch thick rings, core removed
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream

1. In a baking dish, mix together the honey, lime juice, and cinnamon. Place the pineapple slices in the glaze and let marinate 2 hours, turning occasionally.
2. Preheat a grill pan over medium heat.
3. Place the pineapple slices on the preheated grill. Grill on both sides until the glaze caramelizes and grill marks form, about 2 minutes per side.
4. To serve: Place the pineapple slices on individual plates and top with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle the remaining honey syrup over the top.

Grilled Durian

Recipe courtesy of

Yes, you read that right! The idea sprouted when a video showing durians being grilled over charcoal went viral on social media last year. The craze seems to have died down since, so why not revive this unique method since it’s barbeque season? It combines 2 quintessential aspects of Malaysia  – durians and cooking over charcoal fire. Durian purists may frown upon this method of eating, but some find it tastes better than eating it raw! As we say, belum cuba belum tahu (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it).


1. Put durian(s) on charcoal heat and start grilling.
2. Turn the durian over from time to time to make sure it is well-cooked.
3. Once the durian shell starts to crack, continue grilling the durian for another 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Take note of the colour of the durian. The durian is well-cooked when the shell turns black.
5. Eat while the filling is hot, but be careful not to burn your tongue!

We hope we’ve got you excited to bring that strong kick of Malaysian flavour to your barbeque party! Find everything you need to prepare these delicacies at our grocer, paying particular attention to the spices and condiments from Malaya Kitchen – they pack a hefty portion of the unique flavour these dishes have to offer. See you at B.I.G., and happy grilling! .

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Essentials For Hosting A Barbeque Party


July, 2018

Essentials for Hosting a Barbeque Party

The best barbeque parties seem relaxed and enjoyable when you’re a guest, but that is largely attributed to extensive planning by the hosts beforehand in order to hit the ground running during crunch time. We’ve covered the bases for what you’ll need below so you can enjoy your own party with the least amount of worry.   

As You Like Kit

There are no set rules as to which is the best barbeque kit, as they cater to different tastes and preferences. Gas-based units are known to be easier to use and cleaner than charcoal sets, with less prep time. However, most BBQ afficianadoes prefer using charcoal units to grill meats and veggies as the food is infused with a unique smoky flavour and cooks more evenly.

If opting for a charcoal unit, use natural charcoal along with wood chips for the best flavour, and don’t forget to have lighter fluid at the ready. Prepping charcoal grills will also require a longer setup time as compared to gas units, so do manage your day accordingly.

Veggie Nice to Meat You 

Food is the main attraction of the party, therefore be mindful when planning the, menu, factoring in preparation time, volume, and diet preferences of your guests. Cook vegetables before the meats to avoid a clashing of flavours. Enjoy releasing the succulent flavours of grilled vegetables which may comprise of eggplants, onions, corn, zucchini, bell peppers, and Portobello mushrooms, just to name a few.

As for meats, a good way to simplify the process of meat-picking is to have an idea of how fatty you want your cuts to be, or how lean. Fattier steaks such as ribeye, T Bone, and porterhouse produce more flavour than lean steaks such as a top round steak. For ideas on choosing healthy meat cuts, here are some tips from There are plenty of fresh and pre-marinated meat pieces to choose from at Barn Butchery, so head on over to B.I.G. with your grocery list and feel free to ask our butchers for help.

Lord of the Flames

Good cooks require the right cooking utensils to complement their craft. Use barbeque gloves, a long handled spatula and grilling fork, sturdy tongs that can grip food easily (never lift food off the grill by poking it!). Keep a sharpened all-purpose knife handy, along with a chopping board and an apron.If possible, invest in a meat thermometer which will give you an accurate indication of when your meat is ready.  

The Meaty Gritty

It won’t do to scramble around for these important items at the last minute, so make sure you stock up on tin foil, paper towels, napkins, disposable plates and cups, and wet wipes. Have a basic set of cleaning supplies at the ready such as a grill brush and microfibre cleaning cloths that can mop up any mess in a jiffy. Don’t forget garbage bags – recyclable items can be disposed in different coloured bags for convenience.

Water We Having?

Your guests will definitely be feeling the heat of our Malaysian climate during your party, so make sure there are adequate beverages to go around. Stock up on sodas and bottled water and keep them cool in thermal units. Keep one large cooler unit filled with ice specially for adding to drinks, and another with ice only for cooling unopened drinks.

You may also want to provide a drink dispenser filled with a crowd-pleasing custom drink.. Get that party vibe going with this Virgin Sangria recipe from

Don’t Be A Buzz-Kill

You’ll want to keep bug repellents handy as they can be quite a menace. Mosquito sprays and coils are of particular importance. There are also organic roll-on bug repellents that your guests will greatly appreciate, so add that to your B.I.G. shopping list. You could also opt for tiki torches, which not only provide beautiful outdoor lighting but will lend your party an ‘islandish’ theme. They can also naturally repel mosquitoes if filled with citronella candles.

Music To My Sears

Lastly, having a good barbeque playlist will set the overall mood for the evening, keeping the atmosphere light and breezy. Break out that new set of portable speakers and connect a device with your favourite party songs. Keep the music volume low so that neighbours are not disturbed and guests can converse easily. If you don’t have barbeque party-themed playlist, here are some great song ideas from

These guidelines will help you have an enjoyable party experience every time. Join us at Ben’s Independent Grocer for our BBQ Fair (5th – 15th July) and pick up all the essential ingredients, condiments, and sauces you’ll need. Don’t forget to collect your BITES points! Download the app here .  

Specially for our DC Mall customers, enjoy the benefits of B.I.G.’s Porter & Delivery services! You can now leave your groceries with us and pick them up at a later time, or you could opt for delivery right to your doorstep. Delivery areas are DC Residency, Hong Leong Tower, Twins Damansara Heights, Sofitel Hotel, and Wisma Guocoland. It’s all happening DC-ni 🙂

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Snacks And Food-Ball For The World Cup


June, 2018

Snacks and Food-Ball For The World Cup

The 2018 World Cup is kicking off shortly in Russia and we can’t wait to watch the games together! Of course there needs to be lots and lots of food to munch on, so we’re putin a global spin on game snacks by featuring recipes inspired by participating countries.


Beginning with the host country, try your hand at these delectable meat-filled Russian dumplings, from They are known as ‘pelmeni’ in their home country, probably because those who eat them always want pel-meni more. Serve hot (dowan cold wor).



1 egg

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup warm water

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


18 ounces ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons ice-cold water

1 tablespoon coarse salt

freshly ground pepper to taste



1. Combine egg, vegetable oil, and salt in a measuring cup; add enough water to fill to 1 cup. Pour into a bowl, add 3 cups flour, and knead into a smooth, elastic dough. Cover with a kitchen towel and rest for 30 minutes.

2. Dust a baking sheet lightly with 1 tablespoon flour.

3. Combine ground beef, onion, water, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mix filling thoroughly by hand or using a fork.

4. Roll out a portion of the dough very thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out 2 1/2-inch rounds with a cookie cutter or a wine glass. Keep the rest of the dough covered with a towel to avoid drying out. Place 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of filling on one side of the dough circle. Fold dough over and seal the edges using fingers, forming a crescent. Join the ends and pinch them together. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Freeze pelmeni for 30 minutes to prevent them from sticking together.

5. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a simmer and drop small batches of frozen pelmeni into simmering water. Cook and stir until the meat is cooked and pelmeni float to the top, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Transfer to serving plates using a slotted spoon.


Say Ola bola to this lovely Patatas Bravas recipe from It’s simple to prepare so you tak-paella work so hard. This dish literally means ‘spicy potatoes’, referring to cubes of potatoes served in a spiced tomato sauce – need we say more?   


Olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3/4 cup prepared mayonnaise
1 large plum tomato, halved, seeded and roasted until soft
Few dashes hot pepper sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
Splash aged sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large Russet potatoes, parboiled, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Flat-leaf parsley leaves


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a baking sheet in the oven.

2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Let cool slightly.

3. Combine the onion mixture, mayonnaise, tomato, hot pepper sauce, and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Scrape the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

4. Heat 2-inches pure olive oil or canola oil in a large high-sided, heavy-bottomed skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove the potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate for a moment to drain the excess oil.

5. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, put the potatoes on the pan in an even layer and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan and season the potatoes with a bit more salt. Transfer to a platter and drizzle with some of the aioli and garnish with parsley leaves. Serve caliente (hot).


A classic appetizer normally eaten at an asado (Argentinian barbeque), indulge in this super simple yet muy sabroso recipe from Bring your napkins – it may get Messi.

Ingredients (serves 2):

400 g provolone cheese cut 1 inch thick
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
½ tsp chilli flakes
Sourdough bread toasted


1. Lay your slab of provolone onto the kitchen bench and press some fresh oregano leaves onto the top. Scatter some chilli flakes over as well, pressing down gently so they stick.

2. Heat a 12-14 cm cast iron skillet over medium-high flame. Lay the cheese in the skillet, unseasoned side down. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until it gets nice and golden on the bottom.

3. Flip the cheese over with a spatula and cook the other side as well, until it all melts and fills the skillet.

4. To serve, garnish with more oregano leaves and chilli flakes. Simply dunk into it with the toasted bread.


From the land that brings us delights such as schnitzel, bratwurst, pretzel, and Ozil, meet the mighty Kartoffelpuffer; more commonly known as a German potato pancake. Depending on where you are in Germany, they could be named Reibekuchen, Reibeplätzchen, Reiberdatschi and Grumbeerpannekuche (aiyo). They’re quite a mouthful, but delicious mouthfuls at that. Try this version courtesy of


2 1/2 pounds starchy potatoes, peeled and very finely grated
1 small yellow onion, very finely grated
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or more if needed)
1 teaspoon sea salt
neutral-tasting oil for frying


1. Thoroughly wring out the liquid in the grated potatoes by placing them in a colander and squeezing them with your hands or by placing them in a clean dish towel and wringing out the liquid.

2. Place the drained grated potatoes in a medium-sized bowl with the grated onion, eggs, flour and salt and use your hands to work it into a tacky mixture.  Add a little more flour if needed. Do no let the mixture sit for long before using it, use it immediately.

3. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the mixture (depending on size preference) in the hot pan and flatten into pancakes with the back of a spoon.  Fry on both sides for 3-5 minutes until the Kartoffelpuffer are golden. Place them briefly on paper towels.

4. Serve immediately while hot with applesauce, fruit compote or powdered sugar.  For a savory version serve with herbed yogurt, quark or creme fraiche or with meat and gravy as part of a meal.


The one thing that’s probably easier to find than a Kim in Korea is Korean Spicy Chicken Wings! They are ubiquitous for a reason – one bite makes you go om-nom-nom-yangnyeom. In light of recent happy events, let’s not be particular if this recipe represents South or North, just enjoy the burn of this nuclear-spicy recipe from

2 garlic cloves
1 small onion
12 large chicken wings
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp ground ginger
150 g (1 cup) potato flour, plus extra, to dust
vegetable oil, to deep-fry
chopped unsalted peanuts, to serve

Sweet and spicy sauce:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
95 g (⅓ cup) gochujang (Korean chilli paste)
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp corn syrup or honey

(Marinating time 2 hours)

1. Process garlic and onion in a food processor to a paste. Place in a bowl with chicken, mirin, ginger, 2 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper, and combine. Refrigerate for 2 hours to marinate.

2. Meanwhile, to make sauce, heat oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. Add remaining ingredients and 60 ml water, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.

3. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towel. Whisk flour with 100 ml water until smooth. Fill a deep-fryer or large pan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 170°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 15 seconds).

4. Working in 3 batches, dust wings in extra flour, dip into batter, allow excess to drain off, then drop into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until cooked and golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Season. Serve with the sauce and peanuts.


We couldn’t miss featuring a recipe from the gastronomical superpower that is Japan! Everyone loves munching on popcorn at the movies, but we bet you haven’t tried making this umami-sweet Japanese popcorn that is made with Nori, sesame seeds, and brown sugar. Just between us, we call this dish J-Popcorn.

1 tbsp of nori seaweed flakes
1 tbsp of black sesame seeds
1 tbsp of light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp of coconut oil
75g of popcorn kernels
2 tbsp of butter, optional


1. In a pestle and mortar, grind the nori sprinkle, 2/3 of the sesame seeds, sugar and salt to a fine powder.

2. Melt the coconut oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 3 popcorn kernels, cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat until they pop

3. Immediately add the rest of the corn after the corn has popped, replace the lid and cook, shaking the pan occasionally until all the kernels have popped

4. Transfer the popped corn to a large bowl and pour over the melted butter, if using. Sprinkle over your sweet and salty nori mixture and use your hands to mix well until every piece is coated

So much food and so little time, so hurry and whip up these unique dishes before the referee blows the whistle! As always, you can find a collection of our recipes at We’ve sourced the finest ingredients from all over the globe for your cooking convenience, so drop by Ben’s Independent Grocer to pick up what you need. Have a wonderful World Cup!

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