Masak Lemak Cili Api: The Fiery Minangkabau Dish from Negeri Sembilan
Masak Lemak Cili Api (also called Gulai Lemak Cili Api) is a vibrantly yellow, fiery, and creamy curry dish originating from the state of Negeri Sembilan. This delectable creation is often attributed to the Minangkabau people, also known as the Minangs, who migrated to the region from West Sumatra, Indonesia, in the 15th century.
At the heart of Masak Lemak Cili Api lies the iconic gulai sauce, a prominent feature in Minangkabau cuisine. Known for its rich and aromatic qualities, this thick sauce forms the base of the dish. The Minangs, renowned for their love of heat, elevate the spice level by incorporating generous amounts of cili api (or cili padi/bird’s eye chilli). The sauce is crafted using an abundance of turmeric, coconut milk, and a medley of aromatic herbs and spices. Various proteins such as chicken, fish, beef, seafood, or egg can be cooked in this luscious sauce, infusing it with their distinct flavors. To add complexity and depth, fruits and vegetables are often included, enhancing the overall taste experience. Masak Lemak Cili Api is traditionally served with sambal, rice, and a side of raw vegetables known as ulam.
This tantalizing dish can be savoured throughout Malaysia, and its flavours are nothing short of amazing. Locals often describe it as “memang sodap!”—a testament to its irresistible taste and appeal. As you embark on your culinary journey in Malaysia, be sure to seek out the delightful Masak Lemak Cili Api. Allow its fiery essence to ignite your taste buds and transport you to the rich culinary heritage of the Minangkabau people.