Cooking hacks and tips to simplify recipes

Malaysia food
From using mi sedaap to make keropok lekor to air-frying lemang, Malaysians got creative with cooking hacks for their recipes during the MCO.
Image adapted from: tasteatlas and The Vocket

The implementation of the MCO has seen a surge in home cooks coming out with killer recipes and innovating ways to make our favourite dishes. Luckily for us, Malaysians are generous in sharing their ideas as social media has been abuzz with new cooking recipes and tips being posted every day. 

If you’ve been wanting to make a dish that you’ve been craving but don’t have the suitable kitchen appliances or ingredients at home, these 8 cooking hacks – recipes included – will change the way you cook even after MCO. 

1. Steam a cake instead of baking it 

Image credit: @valeriia.nutrition

You’ll be surprised to discover that yes, you can make a cake without having to bake it in the oven. And we’re not talking about those traditional steamed sponge cakes. The best part about this is that there’s no need for a long list of ingredients and complicated kitchenware – all you need are  2 ingredients to make a simple no-bake Oreo cake, as shared by Twitter user @IzwanHs

oreo milk
Image credit: @IzwanHs

No-bake Oreo Cake


  • 3 packs of Oreo cookies 
  • 200g of fresh milk or chocolate full cream milk

chocolate dough
Image credit: @IzwanHs


  1. Separate the Oreo cookies from their cream filling.
  2. Crush the biscuit parts into crumb-like pieces. 
  3. Add in the milk and cream filling and mix them together until you get a gooey batter. 
  4. Pour the batter into a container and let it steam for 20 to 30 minutes until the texture is moist and firm. 

Once the timer is up, set it aside to cool and you’re done!

2. Make ice-cream without a machine

chocolate ice cream honemade
Image credit: @loredanaarion

Sure, it’s easier to run down to the store for an ice-cream fix. But there’s just something about homemade ice-cream that allows you to completely tailor its softness, taste and sweetness according to your preference. And the best part is, you only need 3 ingredients. While the process will require more than 7 hours starting from prep to freezing the ice-cream completely, it’s nothing a beginner can’t handle. 

Homemade chocolate ice-cream


  • 500g all-purpose cream
  • 390g condensed milk
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

Note: Make sure you chill the all-purpose cream, condensed milk and the bowl you’ll be using in the fridge overnight for optimum results. 


  1. Pour the cream into the bowl and whip it for 15 minutes until it doubles in size.
  2. Add in the condensed milk and continue mixing.
  3. Add the cocoa powder using a sieve and keep mixing until the texture of the mixture thickens.
  4. Transfer it into a container and freeze it for at least 7 hours.

3. Air-fry lemang

Image credit: The Vocket

With Raya around the corner, many Malaysians will be craving their yearly Raya delicacies. Sadly, the ban on bazaars during the MCO is preventing us from physically shopping for our festive favourites. 

But when it comes to food, we all know that Malaysians will find a way to obtain it regardless. This is why a tutorial on how to make lemang using an air-fryer has been spreading like wildfire from a Facebook group

Air-fryer lemang


  • 1KG of glutinous rice
  • 200ML of coconut milk 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • Aluminium cans
  • Banana leaf

Image credit: Mang Tuppy Fan Kuching


  1. Rinse the glutinous rice and soak it in water for an hour.
  2. Rinse again and soak with the coconut milk and salt, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Line the cans with banana leaves and scoop the rice in.
  4. Add water into each can and make sure that the water level is equal to the amount of rice.
  5. Preheat the air-fryer at 180°C for 5 minutes.
  6. Cook the lemang for 30 minutes.
  7. Let the cooked lemang sit in the switched-off air-fryer for another 30 minutes before serving.

4. Use agar-agar powder to make soya pudding

Image credit: @homemadekitchen.medan

For those with a sweet tooth, this is an incredibly easy recipe for soya pudding that can satisfy your sweet cravings after a meal. 

Soya pudding


  • 1L of packaged soya milk
  • ½ teaspoon of agar-agar powder


  1. Stir the agar-agar powder into a cup of soya milk until the powder completely dissolves. 
  2. In a separate pot, pour the remaining soya milk from the carton and boil at low heat for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Once the soya milk in the pot is evenly heated up, add the agar-agar mixture in.
  4. Gently stir it until you start to see small bubbles, then continue stirring for another minute. 
  5. Using a strainer, pour the mixture into small containers. 
  6. Make sure the surfaces are free from  all bubbles for tofu-smooth pudding. 
  7. Let it cool at room temperature before chilling the pudding for 3 to 4 hours in the fridge.

5. Use peanut butter or Nutella to make Doraemon-style dorayaki

Image credit: @la_giuggiola_glutenfree

With Doraemon being our childhood icon and seeing his delicious-looking dorayaki appearing all the time in comics and TV shows, it’ll be fun to reminisce the good old days by attempting to create this famous snack at home.

This recipe shared by netizen Eija Man is more suited for advanced home cooks because of the effort and skills needed, but it has garnered around 28,000 shares and 6,600 likes on Facebook, so it’s definitely worth a try! 

Doraemon-style dorayaki 


  • 3 eggs 
  • ¼ cup of sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons of condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • ½ cup of water 
  • 2 cups of wheat flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • Vanilla essence 
  • Peanut butter or Nutella for the fillings 

Image credit: Eija Man


  1. Crack the eggs into a big bowl, add sugar and whisk it until it becomes a fluffy batter.
  2. Add in the milk and oil and continue whisking.
  3. Add the vanilla essence and mix it all together with flour and water until you achieve yogurt-like consistency.
  4. Cook the batter on a preheated non-stick pan. Wait for each side to turn golden brown before flipping and removing it. 
  5. Let the dorayaki pieces cool, then spread a generous amount of your desired fillings like peanut butter, Nutella or jam in between 2 pieces for an oozy centre.

6. Make your own kway teow noodles with just 3 ingredients

Image credit: whats4eats

Making noodles from scratch sounds like something amateur cooks will stay far away from, but you’d be pleasantly surprised to find out just how easy it is thanks to this viral recipe from Fiza Mh.

Kway teow noodles


  • 1 cup of rice flour
  • ½ cup of tapioca flour
  • 1½ cup of water

dough pan
Image adapted from: Fiza Mh


  1. Have a wok and flat pan ready.
  2. Prepare the batter by mixing all the ingredients – rice flour, tapioca flour, and water – together using a whisk. Make sure there are no lumps in the batter.
  3. Grease the pan with vegetable oil.
  4. Scoop some batter onto it until it covers the entire surface of the pan, similar to how you’d make crepes.
  5. Spread it out evenly while making sure the batter has no holes.
  6. Place the pan over a wok filled with water and let it steam for around 7-10 minutes.
  7. Let it cool for a moment, and lightly grease your kway teow noodles with vegetable oil before removing it from the pan.
  8. Continue step 1-7 until your batter has finished.

You can even prepare more noodles in one go and store them in a container for your next kway teow recipe. 

Pro-tip: Grease your knife with vegetable oil before cutting the noodles to ensure that you get straight and slick kway teow slices.

7. Use a mug to make egg fried rice

mug food
Image credit: Healthy nibbles

One-mug recipes are go-tos for easy, quick, and complete meals. It also helps that these save so much time on washing. If you have leftover rice lying around, this recipe from Lisa Lin can turn it into a one-mug egg fried rice.

Egg fried rice


  • 1 cup of cooked rice 
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • An egg 
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Any chopped vegetables of your choice

Image adapted from:
Lisa Lin


  1. Place the rice into a mug, followed by the vegetables on top of it. 
  2. Poke some holes on a microwave-safe plastic wrap and cover the mug with the plastic wrap. 
  3. Put the mug in the microwave for 1 minute.
  4. While waiting, beat the egg with soya sauce, salt and pepper. 
  5. Remove the mug from the microwave and pour the egg into the rice mug and stir everything evenly.
  6. Cover the mug with the plastic wrap again and let it microwave for another 1 minute and 15 seconds.
  7. Let it cool for another minute after it’s done cooking, then serve.

8. Turn Mi Sedaap into keropok lekor

Image credit:

We’re usually under the impression that keropok lekor requires a ton of preparation, but it turns out that you don’t actually need the usual fish and sago flour to make it. In fact, this ingenious recipe proved that you can make an alternative version at home with just 3 simple ingredients.

Keropok lekor


  • A packet of Mi Sedaap
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour

motar and pestle
Image credit: @wakgemblong


  1. Boil the noodles for 3-5 minutes.
  2. After it’s boiled, pound the noodles using a pestle and mortar, making sure it’s all mushed up.
  3. Fry it together with the packaged seasoning and egg.
  4. Add 2 spoons of tapioca flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.
  5. Roll the dough into cylinders slightly shorter than the length of your palm.
  6. Place the rolled dough into boiling water and boil until it’s soft.
  7. When you’re done boiling the dough, cut them into half their length, then fry all until they’re golden brown.

Cooking hacks and recipes to try during the MCO

Since the MCO has been extend by another month, we can probably expect a lot of creative cooking hacks and recipes popping up in the days to come.

Whether you’re an amateur cook or a long-time professional, these hacks can be a fun way to experiment in the kitchen and up your skills as you go along.

For other MCO-related content, check out: 

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