Ala-Thai restaurants are a common sight in Malaysia. Some people prefer calling them TomYam shops. These restaurants serve dishes that is popular in southern Thailand and with some local fusion as well. The best ones were said to employ Thai cooks instead of locals. I can hardly get a good Ala-Thai restaurant in KK, but I had happy times in Johor Bahru. It seemed that every Ala-Thai restaurant that I go to, it’s delicious.

But no matter where I am in Malaysia, my favourite Ala-thai dishes never changes and it’s with these dishes, I make that yardstick whether I like the restaurant or not. They have to cook my favourite dishes well. People around me love to go for Padprik or Pattaya fried rice, or even masak merah. But I seem to love those that they don’t think of ordering. And oh yeah.. I love those small plates of ulam with sambal belacan that is on the house. Not because they are free, but I love the crunch of the raw vege dipped into the pungent spicy sambal. Goes very well with the dishes I love.

For this week, I’m sharing the top 3 favourite Ala-Thai dishes. I hope that you will love them as much as I do too!

I’ve adjusted the cooking methods for the home stove as our stoves does not allow us to cook the same way as restaurants, if we want the same flavour. Smash the garlic, it’s important. I’ve cooked this dish many times, and each time, I don’t have any problems in getting the right taste. The cooking process is quick and just remember use high heat all the time, as hot as possible and cook it quickly. Squids taste horrible if overcooked.

Squids with Soy Sauce ~ Sotong Masak Kicap
by WendyinKK

300gm squid (clean weight), cut into rings
1/2 cup cauliflower florets
2 baby corn, cut into matchsticks
thumb length of carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 medium red onion, cut into wedges, separated
1 red chilli, thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bird’s eye chilli, smashed

2-3 Tbsp kecap manis

1. Bring a small pot of water to boil. Keep the heat on high. Put in the carrots, baby corn and cauliflower. Let it cook for 5 seconds and put in the squid. Turn off the heat and give it a swirl and drain everything in a colander.
2. Heat a wok until hot. Put in onion wedges and and dry fry it until you can smell it. Add in the sliced chilli. Then add in 1 tsp of oil, toss the onions around and it will smoke up but smell really good. Give it a few more tosses then dish up, set aside. (Some parts may look dark brown or even charred)
3. With the same wok (don’t wash it), put in 2 Tbsp of oil, heat it until very hot. Put in smashed garlic and smashed birds’ eye chilli. Cook until the garlic turns slightly golden, then pour in everything that is in the colander. Give it a few quick tosses. Return the onion wedges and sliced chilli to wok. Add in kecap manis. (You will start to see some gravy). Give it a few tosses and when the gravy boils, dish up. Don’t overcook.

no water added.