7 Southeast Asian Dishes You Can Easily Prepare at Home

7 Southeast Asian Dishes You Can Easily Prepare at Home

Bonus: All ingredients are easy to find.

Most of us love to travel as much as we love to eat! However, with COVID-19 restrictions still in place for some countries, our travel options remain limited. So, why not relive your travel experiences by recreating these Southeast Asian dishes? As a foodie myself, I guarantee that the ingredients are easy to source and the recipes easy to follow. Happy cooking!

Also read: Home Cook Heroes – 5 Professional & Healthy Recipes to Elevate Your Culinary Skills

1. Pad thai (Thai style fried noodles)

Pad thai is one of the Southeast Asian dishes to cook at home

Image credit: LAWJR

Your Thailand experience will not be complete without trying these flavourful stir-fried rice noodles! I can still remember the first time I had pad thai on trip to Bangkok. My whole family couldn’t get enough of its savoury sauce, so we ended up ordering this dish in almost all of our meals during our stay.

 Now, you don’t have to fly all the way to Thailand — or even line up at a popular Thai restaurant in your area — just to satisfy your cravings! Here’s how you can make this Southeast Asian dish at home. 

Note: This pad thai recipe is good for one serving.



  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 and ½  tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar and rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped peanuts


  • 2 eggs
  • 150 grams chicken breast or thigh (chunk or thinly sliced) 
  • 150 grams shrimp (Optional) 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup tofu (cubes)
  • ½ cup diced onions 
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ¼  cup garlic chives (chopped)


  • 125 grams any ready-made thick rice noodles (¼ inch in width)

Cooking instructions:

  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients until the consistency becomes thick.
  2. Add meat, egg, tofu, vegetable, and shrimp to the frying pan.
  3. Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the package.
  4. Stir fry it all together, including the sauce.
  5. Enjoy!

2. Nasi goreng (Indonesian fried rice)

Nasi goreng - Indonesian fried rice

Image credit: Max Pixel

Asians are known for their love for rice, and I certainly agree that most of our dishes are best paired with rice! 

Originating from Indonesia, nasi goreng is a bowl of fried rice topped with meat and vegetables, as well as sweet soy sauce and other seasonings. Even though it is usually served at Indonesian restaurants, it is totally doable at home!

Note: This Nasi goreng recipe is good for one to two servings.


  • 4 cups of cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 150 grams chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • ½ cup onion 
  • 1 teaspoon chilli
  • 2 tablespoons sweet soy
  • 2 tablespoons shrimp paste (optional)
  • 1 pinch of pepper

Side dishes (optional, but highly recommended)

  • 2 to 4 eggs
  • 1 tomato (chopped)
  • ½ cucumber (chopped) 
  • 1 potato (chunks)
  • 1 green onion (diced)

Cooking instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large frypan.
  2. Sauté all the spices: chilli, garlic, onion, pepper.
  3. Add the chicken and fry until it turns golden brown.
  4. Add the rice and sweet soy sauce, then mix them all together.
  5. Serve in a bowl with side dishes.

3. Balinese grilled chicken

 Balinese grilled chicken

Image credit: Conny Querales

Now, let’s talk about chicken. I personally love every dish that includes chicken — especially this grilled chicken with plenty of garlic, ginger, and sweet, tangy tamarind! Can you imagine how flavourful it is? What’s more, it is one of the easiest Southeast Asian dishes you can cook at home. The ingredients are not that overwhelming and you can find most of these in your own kitchen cabinet!

This food is perfect for every occasion. Whether you are planning to host a dinner with friends or simply a casual lunch at home, Balinese grilled chicken is the way to go! You will fall in love not just with its delicious taste but also with the way it looks, especially when fresh turmeric does its magic.

Note: The whole chicken is good for 6 to 8 people.

Also read Bali Travel Tips: 20 Do’s and Don’ts That Every Tourist Should Know

  • 1 whole chicken 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 5 garlic cloves (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon shallots or onion (chopped) 
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 3 to 5 pieces of bay leaves

Cooking instructions:

  1. Combine garlic, onion, turmeric, garlic, and ginger into the food processor. Process until finely chopped. 
  2. Add coconut oil until the mixture becomes paste-like.
  3. Transfer it into the frying pan and cook over moderate heat for 2 to 5 minutes.
  4. Let it cool for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Rub the paste all over the chicken and marinate it for at least 4 hours. 
  6. Grill the chicken. Make sure every side is fully cooked
  7. Serve with limes and bay leaves.

4. Cereal butter prawn

Southeast asian cereal butter prawn

Image credit: ThamKC via Canva Pro

Cereal butter prawn is on the list of the most popular Southeast Asian dishes, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia. It’s a combination of deep-fried prawns and cereal. The cereal mixture is made of butter, curry leaves, and chilli. The name may sound like something from an expensive restaurant, but this dish can be easily cooked at home — perfect for last-minute gatherings. Goodbye, long preparation time and complex recipes; the cereal butter prawn takes only 30 minutes to make! 

Note: This cereal butter prawn recipe is good for two to three people.


  • 300 grams large prawns
  • 1-litre cooking oil
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 3 pieces of red chilli (chopped)
  • 5 to 10 pieces curry leaves 

Cereal mixture

  • 100 grams Nestum cereal (original flavour)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 and ½ tablespoon milk powder

Cooking instructions:


  1. Wash the prawns gently and trim off the antennae, but keep the rest of the shells and heads.
  2. Wait for it to fully dry.
  3. Whisk egg and add salt, dip the shrimp, and toss to combine.
  4. Spread in the flour and mix to coat the shrimp.
  5. Prepare the oil for deep-frying in a deep pot. 
  6. Start frying, wait for about 2-3 minutes until it becomes golden and crunchy. Let it dry and prepare the mixture.

Cereal mixture:

  1. Mix the Nestum cereal, milk powder and sugar. Stir up everything and set it aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Stir in the chilli and curry leaves until fragrant. Wait for the curry leaves to be crisp.
  3. In low, medium heat, add the Nestum cereal mixture and stir-fry for about one minute.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the fried prawn. 
  5. Transfer to a good plate and serve! 

5. Thai vegetable stir-fry

southeast asian vegetable stir-fry

Image credit: ALLEKO via Canva Pro

To anyone fond of veggies, this one’s for you! Believe it or not, this Thai vegetable stir-fry only takes 15 minutes to cook. Best served with rice or noodles, this classic vegetable dish with soy sauce is full of flavours that most of us will surely enjoy! You can even make it vegan by substituting fish sauce with soy sauce.

Note: This Thai vegetable stir-fry is good for one to two small servings.



  • 1 carrot (thinly sliced)
  • 5 pieces of mushrooms (thinly sliced)
  • ¼ cabbage
  • ¼ cup baby corn
  • 1 small cauliflower (cut into small pieces) 
  • 1 small broccoli (cut into small pieces)
  • ¼ cloves garlic (finely chopped) 
  • ¼ cup of chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch sugar

Sauce mix: 

  • 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil 
  • 1 pinch salt

Cooking instructions:

  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients and set them aside.
  2. In a frying pan, add oil and mushroom. Stir until it produces water.
  3. Add carrots, broccoli and a pinch of sugar.
  4. Combine all the remaining vegetables one by one. Stir fry for a few minutes.
  5. Transfer into a bowl and add the sauce.
  6. Serve and enjoy! 

6. Tortang talong (Filipino eggplant omelette)

Filipino tortang talong

Image credit: ALLEKO via Canva Pro

Tortang talong is one of my all-time favourite Filipino breakfasts, as it reminds me of weekends when I visit my grandparents. Pair it with hot fried rice and a cup of coffee, and it will surely brighten up your day. 

Note: This tortang talong recipe is good for two to three people.


  • 4 to 5 small eggplants
  • 1 pound ground pork 
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (mashed)
  • 5 eggs
  • ¼  salt
  • 1 pinch pepper

Cooking instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Bake the eggplant until they are soft to touch, best to use a fork or knife to poke holes around the eggplant.
  3. Once the eggplant is soft enough, peel its skin and flatten the eggplants using a fork.
  4. Add salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. Simmer until the onions and garlic are soft and fragrant for about 3 to 5 minutes. 
  6. Add the ground pork, and the oyster sauce, then cook for about 10 minutes, then set aside.
  7. Whisk the eggs in two separate bowls, combine the first bowl of egg and the pork mixture. For the remaining bowl, dip one eggplant into the single beaten egg, to coat both sides.
  8. Prepare the frypan and add oil. Place the egg-soaked eggplant on top, then spoon ¼ of the pork/egg mixture on top. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  9. Cook both sides, and do the same to the remaining eggplants.

7. Bulalo (Filipino soup)

Southeast asian soup Bulalo

Image credit: Michael Edward via Canva Pro

Let’s end the list of Southeast Asian dishes with some delicious comfort food! Bulalo is a Filipino soup that is usually served during the rainy season. It contains beef, vegetables, and a special ingredient: sweet corn. It adds a little sweetness to the overall taste of the soup. But more than anything, it’s the smooth and distinctive taste of beef melting in your mouth that makes this dish special. 

Note: This bulalo recipe is good for three to four people.


  • 2 pounds beef shank
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cabbage (sliced)
  • ½ cup onion (sliced)
  • 2 pieces of sweet corn (cut into 3 each)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup green onions (cut into small pieces)
  • ½ tablespoon fish sauce (optional—feel free to adjust)

Cooking instructions:

  1. Pour in water in a big pot and let it boil.
  2. Combine the beef shank, onion and whole peppercorn. Stew for 30 minutes to an hour and a half, until the meat is tender.
  3. Add the sweet corn, the wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the broth to fully absorb the flavour.
  4. Add the vegetable and fish sauce.
  5. Serve while hot.

Also read: Lazy but Tasty: 12 Asian Recipes You Can Cook Using One Pot

It’s easy to see why most people around the world love Southeast Asian dishes! Aside from the incredible taste, these dishes are not that complicated to make, and their ingredients are easy to find. 

Of course, I get that thinking about what meals to prepare is not always as easy as it seems. But I hope this list of easy Southeast Asian dishes will satisfy your cravings, especially on days when you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home!

Featured image credit: Huahom| Pixabay

About Author

Crystel Lapuz
Crystel Lapuz

Crystel is born and raised in the city but always dreams about the beautiful and quaint countryside of the lovely island that she calls home. Nothing brings her joy more than her coffee, the sea, the mountains, and the sunshine. She’s a proud morena and wishes for a world where all the girls like her would embrace their skin and their beauty.