Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Food | A Taste of Malaysia

The food was probably one of the major highlights of my 2 week stint in Kuala Lumpur during my electives as a student last year. So when we received an invite to the Malaysian Kitchen Supper Club at the end of last year, I couldn't wait to relive some of the amazing tastes and smells that made my time in Malaysia so unforgettable.

The supper club was hosted at Ning Restaurant in Manchester by Malaysian Kitchen - a body created by the Malaysian External Trade Corporation to promote its cuisine here in the UK. Ning is co-owned by celebrity head chef Norman Musa, whose talent and skills have led to numerous accolades and TV appearances.

Thanks to likes of Musa and latest MasterChef winner Ping Coombes, Malaysian cuisine is quickly coming out of the shadows of it's neighbours. Based on the delicious food we tried at the supper club, it stands a chance at becoming a household favourite!

The night started with a bit of creativity. A ‘Do It Yourself’ Mango salad was first on the menu. Depending on your taste buds, you could add as much crushed peanuts, crispy fried anchovies, fried shallots, fish sauce, coriander leaves and chilli to a bowl of salad leaves and chopped mangoes. Although we were a bit heavy handed with the fish sauce the sweat and salty flavour was a refreshing start to the meal. 

Next up was a platter of crispy battered soft shelled crabs (my fav) seasoned with Malaysian herbs and  white pepper, served with a chilli samba dish. Two of my favourite things from my trip to SE Asia, soft shell crab and sambal, combined in one dish. I adore the fiery sweet taste of sambal!

The last of the three starters was the chicken satay, a dish featured on BBC2’s Best ever Dishes hosted by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge. The succulent chicken marinated in turmeric, cumin and lemon grass as  was delicious on its own as it was with the divine peanut accompaniment.

In between the first two courses was a bit more 'Do It Yourself'. This time, after a masterclass from Norman, we tried our hands at preparing some 'Roti Jala'. 
A pancake-like-street-food that is a popular snack in Malaysia. 

Norman Musa

The next course comprised of 4 main dishes to share, served with jasmine rice.  Our favourite was the Masak Lemak Labu & Keledek - roasted pumpkin and sweet potato cooked in thick coconut and turmeric gravy infused with aromatic herbs and spices. 

Left: Sambal Petai & Udang - Bitter beans (petai) wok fried with juicy prawns in chilli sambal.

Middle: Masak Lemak Labu & Kedelek 

Right: Ayam Percik - Grilled chicken brast marinated with turmeric and lemon grass topped with thick gravy made of chilli, coconut milk and lemon grass. 

Siakap Kukus - Whole wild sea bass steamed with lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, chillies, garlic and ginger topped with fresh coriander, spring onions and fried shallots.

Asians are not renowned for their desserts but the Onde Onde Buah Melaka - Glutinous rice balls with melted palm sugar filling coated in desiccated coconut was delicious.
This was served with a selection of Malaysian tropical fruit and assorted flavours of ice cream - some were brave enough to try the durian ‘king of fruits’  ice cream. 

After a hearty meal, we were all stuffed! Sometimes people worry that the food you have here is never quite the same as that abroad but in this case it was spot on. Norman brought to us the perfect taste of Malaysia.  We can't wait to use these products and our new cookbooks (we had to get two) - all available online, at Ning and retailer Ocado - to try to recreate some of the delicious flavours we had that night!

This new year i hope you all take the chance and head down to Ning or a Malaysian restaurant near you. Malaysian cuisine is a great combination of the flavours of Asia with influences from the China, India and Thailand combined with some unique and original flavours of Malaysia. 

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1 comment

  1. Wonderful post! the food looks amazing (I'm actually hungry just reading your post) haha :) x



Thanks for all your lovely comments! - Fikki and Lola xx

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