Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Telur Dal Cincaluk (Cincaluk Omelette, A Nyonya Dish)

Cincaluk is a special fermented shrimp delicacy of the "Nyonyas of Melaka". This is really an acquired taste, if you are a true Nyonya, the mention of Cincaluk will make your saliva glands working overtime! Haha! I'm exaggerating? Mention Cincaluk to the Babas and Nyonyas, and see how their face lit up with a smile, like mine!! Being a Nyonya myself, I grew up eating this delicacy and we never get tired of it. My beloved late mom used to make our own Cincaluk at home, with a little brandy mixed in. The store-bought ones do not contain liquor and usually way too salty, nothing beats homemade!

Babas and Nyonya are the descendants of the 15th and 16th-century of the Chinese immigrants to Malaya during the Colonial era. They are also known as Peranakan or Straits-Born Chinese as most have lived for generations along the Straits of Malacca. If you are interested to know more about Baba (the gentlemen) and Nyonya (the ladies), you may get some information from here, here or just google for more info.

Cincaluk Omelette

Most Malaysians would be familiar with this delicacy, especially if you have visited Malacca before, you would see bottles of Cincaluk, in the supermarkets, road-side stalls and practically in every shops that sells food stuffs. They can even be found in all parts of Malaysia in any supermarkets. Cincaluk can be eaten as it is with the addition of sliced chili, shallots and a squeeze of lime, or used in cooking. Here, I have used it in the most simplest way, Telur Dal Cincaluk (Cincaluk Omelette).

Cincaluk is made up of raw geragau (small tiny shrimps), cold cooked rice and salt. These are mixed and left to ferment for a few days before they are ready to be eaten. Cincaluk may not look very appetizing, it really is an acquired taste. Either you love it, or you would want to keep away from it! Cincaluk  are usually very salty, so for making my omelette with 4 large eggs, I only use 1 tablespoon of Cincaluk, without any addition of salt to the eggs. Drain the Cincaluk and use the back of the spoon to press out the brine. Discard the brine, it is very salty. If more Cincaluk is preferred, then it is advisable to rinse the Cincaluk with some warm water to discard most of the saltiness.

Beat eggs with a dash of white pepper powder. Stir in the cincaluk, mix well. Meanwhile, heat up a non-stick saucepan with 2 tablespoons cooking oil. Saute the sliced onions and chilli about 2 minutes until onions are softened slightly. Pour in the egg and Cincaluk mixture, cook over low heat until golden brown, turn omelette over and cook other side until golden brown.

Turn out to a serving plate and serve with hot plain white rice. This is also great with plain white rice porridge.

A plate of Telur Dal Cincaluk, A Nyonya Dish.
In some Nyonya cookbooks, Omelette is known as Telur Dadar, which is actually the Malay term for Omelette, but in my Nyonya household, Omelette is known as Telur Goreng Dal, or simply, Telur Dal. Are you a Nyonya, what do you call Omelette in your house?
To translate  : Telur (eggs), Goreng (Fried), Dal (Omelette).

Another dish that uses Cincaluk
Stir-Fried Cincaluk with Pork

My favourite way of eating Cincaluk, as a condiment to fried fish, fried eggs, eaten with plain white rice.
Cincaluk with Shallots, Birds' Eyes Chilli and Lime Juice.

I'm submitting this post to Malaysian Food Fest, organized by Wendy of Table For 2.....Or More and for the month of August, the state is Malacca, hosted by Yummylittlecooks

Cincaluk Omelette
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon Cincaluk
1 medium onion, sliced
1 red chili, deseeded and sliced thinly
dash of white pepper powder
2 tablespoons oil
  1. Drain cincaluk and use the back of the spoon, press out excess brine from the Cincaluk. Discard brine.
  2. Beat eggs in medium bowl with a dash of white pepper powder. Add Cincaluk and mix with a fork to evenly combine. There is no need to add any salt to the eggs, as the Cincaluk is salty enough.
  3. Heat oil in a non-stick saucepan. Saute the onions and chillis for about 2 minutes until the onions turn limp or softened slightly. Add in the egg and Cincaluk mixture.
  4. Cook over low heat until the bottom of omelette is golden brown, turn over and cook until the other side is golden brown.
  5. Dish out to a serving plate and serve with hot plain white rice. Enjoy


  1. First time heard this ...
    Omelette looks fluffy and healthy too :-)


    Today's Recipe
    Paneer Fingers (with egg)

  2. I have definitely seen this shrimp paste in Malaysia just that I did not know what to do with it! Now I know, I shall grab some when I am there next to make this omelette. Looks so delicious. Makes me feel like having omelette for tonight's dinner.

  3. I never eaten cincaluk, only heard of it.

    Will try to find it in local store here and try it out :D

  4. Joyce,you are my 1st nyonya friend,suddenly I feel that I 'm so lucky to meet you becoz baba & nyonya have such a rich culture in M'sia! It's a shame that I haven't had cincaluk b4 but it sounds like a very interesting ingredient & you can use it to cook many different dishes

  5. Hi Joyce, I also made cincalok ommelette, yum.....

    And thank you for joining MFF Melaka Month :)

  6. aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, i love omlette :D all the time


  7. We have this cincaluk version back home ! Can't remember the name though :P This omelette looks delicious so as that two dish !

  8. Joyce, in my life i never try cincaluk
    this simple dish is a great recipe to try out!

  9. i have to find cincaluk, it looks amazing!

  10. Te ha quedado estupenda y saludable,abrazos hugs,hugs.

  11. I love cincaluk. Bought 2 bottles when I was back in SG last year and rationing it! Sadly only 1 bottle left! We call it telur dadar!

    Your cincaluk dadar looks yummy!

  12. Delicious and tempting cincaluk. Wonderfully presented as well.

  13. I never heard of cincaluk, but from your description I can imagine the taste of it...I would love to give this omelet a try...sounds very flavorful Joyce.
    Thanks for introducing me to a new ingredients and hope you are having a fun week :)

  14. What a beautiful omelet! Cincaluk is new to me, but I have a feeling I'd like it :)

  15. hello my nyonya friend, you must have a lot of secret nyonya recipes, next time i come to your house, you must teach me nyonya cooking! err, do i need to wear a kebaya and come?

  16. Hi Joyce... my late mum was a nyonya from Penang... home made cincaluk sounds like a great idea, especially if it is spruced up with a tinge of alcohol... bet the omelet dish is delicious... and the condiment dish, hmmm, excellent with rice...

  17. Its been ages since we ate cincalok. When we first returned to Melaka for a year's stay; we bought bottles and bottles for own use and giveaway! Love it most as a condiment!

  18. I'm so ashamed that I can cook any Singaporean and Malaysian food so well. I have seen cincalok in our local Asian mart but never think about cooking with it :P Your omelette looks good and I would love to try cooking this :D

  19. This event has really opened up my eyes to a lot of nyonya dishes and this is one of them.
    First time hearing cincaluk omelette :)