Last updated 06 Apr 2020

Curry Vegetables and Penang Curry Mee Recipe

Curry is enjoyed by Malaysians every day. Chili, spices, herbs, coconut are the main ingredients used in cooking curry. These are categorized as Yin Food in macrobiotics. As the Malaysian weather is hot and humid at an average temperature of about 35 degrees Celsius, the foods people tend to enjoy here have more Yin and soft energies in order to live harmoniously with nature. However, balance is of the essence.

Most of us are unbalanced. We work too hard, don't get enough rest, have too much stress in our lives, and don't take adequate time to really care for ourselves. When we're young, our bodies manage to correct imbalances with incredible ease. But if we continue to push the limits, ignoring our body's signals for rest and care, we lose our ability to self regulate.

The food we eat translates into energy, and has a profound impact on our internal healing mechanisms. Macrobiotic theory defines very clear energy patterns in food, and promotes understanding of how those patterns interact with one another.

In simplistic terms, Yin is expansive, cool, moistening, light and upward growing. Yang is contractive, warm, drying, compact and downward, macrobiotic food incorporates an ever-moving relationship between the opposite but complementary energies of yin and yang. The idea is to balance energies: hard with soft, opening with contracting, expansive with inward. Some of the ways we see this in food are explored below.

Vegetable or Animal

Except for seaweed, all fruits and vegetables are yin foods.

Fish, meat, eggs, and nearly all other animal foods are yang.

Sweet or Salty

The sweeter the food is, the more yin energy it holds. Coconut, bananas and mango are good examples of very yin foods.

Saltiness is a yang characteristic. Any form of salt, caviar, and aged salty cheeses are very yang foods. Sea salt, shoyu, tamari and miso are also Yang foods.

Cool or Hot

Fruits and vegetables are cooling to the body, and turn down the internal thermostat. Animal foods, with their concentrated protein, are heating and are very yang.

Here is a vegetable curry recipe that I have adjusted to be more neutral in energy. No cane sugar is being used in this recipe.

Tropical Macrobiotic Curry Vegetables

4 servings, organic ingredients.


  • 1 medium-size sweet potato, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
  • 1 carrot, small, rolled cut
  • 1 brinjal, halved and cut into 2 cm half-moon shape
  • 100g cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 200g green cabbage, cut into 3 cm squares
  • 4 ladies finger, small size
  • 2 long beans, cut into 3 cm lengths
  • 8 slices of deep-fried momen tofu

Spices and herbs:

  • 3 tablespoons Woods’ Nyonya curry powder
  • 1 sprig garden curry leaves, stem removed
  • 2 lemongrass, white part only, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons Woods’ sambal paste
  • 3-4 garden cekur leaves


  • 1/4 teaspoon kombu powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons shoyu (use tamari if you want it to be gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon shiro miso
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice oil
  • 1 young coconut in shell     
  • 1 cup kombu dashi stock #1
  • Mint leaves for garnishing


  1. Combine nyonya curry powder with sambal, add some kombu dashi stock to make a paste.
  2. Saute with brown rice oil, curry leaves and lemongrass in a pan.
  3. Add dashi stock, cekur leaves, potato, cabbage, carrot and brinjal. Bring to a boil. Reduce flame, cover, and simmer until vegetables are slightly soft. Add ladies finger, cauliflower and long bean.
  4. Scoop out the flesh of the coconut, blend in the blender with the coconut juice
  5. Add to (3)
  6. Add seasoning. Add tofu.
  7. Adjust taste.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl. Enjoy.

Note: This curry is great with brown rice, whole wheat or buckwheat noodles, bread or toasts.

To prepare curry noodles:

You will need 90g whole wheat somen noodles per portion, cooked in boiling water for about 10-12 minutes. Remove and transfer to a pot of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and then transfer noodles to a serving bowl and pour curry over.

To thicken curry for a sandwich filling:

Take a cup of the curry vegetables, simmer and add 1 tablespoon unrefined kudzu diluted with 3 tablespoons of water. Stir into the curry, simmer and stir for a further 1 minute until thickened.

By June Ka Lim
Macrobiotic vegan chef

Copyrights reserved June Ka Lim 01/2008