I have a soft spot for anything Malaysian or Nyonya and that is due to my background. Even though I am born and raised in Singapore, I still have family back in Malaysia and grandparents were originally from Penang. And I have been a keen student of the Malaysian cuisine and owning many local Singapore and Malaysian cooking books.
It seems that in the recent years, many more Malaysian type restaurants have surfaced and the older ones are undergoing a makeover to compete in the market. And why? Has Masterchef contestants Poh and Adam made an impact on the cuisine or because of our close proximity to Asia? Whatever the reason is, I love Malaysian food and often crave for it. It is a must have meal at least once a week for both Mister and I. If I am unable to cook something at home, it is usually a trip down to Chillipadi mamak, Chef Lagenda or Laksa King for a quick fix.
I was pleasantly surprised when an invite came to attend the Malaysian Kitchen event in Sydney. This event was held end of April while I was travelling US/Canada. And so I politely asked my friend June if she wanted to head up to Sydney on my behalf. I think she was definitely pressured to say YES!This isn’t an easy task. She will have to fly up, attend the event, take and edit photos and then write. I really hope she had fun but it seems from the many photos, she has and is now the roti jala expert!
Thanks June! xoxo
This blog post and photos are contributed by June. Enjoy!
I must admit when my dear friend Jeroxie first rang me a asked if I would like to head to Sydney to attend and then write about a Malaysian cooking class presented by the celebrity chef Wanitha, my first thought was ‘yikes’. So why ‘yikes’ you wonder, well first of I’m not much of a writer and secondly I’ve always found cooking Asian food quite intimidating. But I am so thankful that Ms Jeroxie did give me this opportunity and convinced me to go. I had a great time and picked up loads of tips that I am actually putting into practise.
The event started bright and early at Victor Foods. When I got there, we were all told to put on our chefs hat and apron. Chef Wanitha started the event by sharing her stories and passion for food, people and Malaysia. She was born in Penang and moved to Australia in 1982. She comes from a famliy of chefs and her dad used to cook for Kedah Royal Family in Malaysia! How cool is that?
These are just some of the beautiful ingredients that we will be using to cook the dishes today. There is a lot to get through but I suspect that there will be a hugh feast after as well.
Plenty of red hot chillies, galangal, ginger, lup cheong, star anise, belachan and the list goes on. This is just the tip of the ice berg of ingredients that is used widely in Malaysian cooking.
Before we got started with the chopping, slicing, stir fry and just plain cooking, we were shown knife skills and tricks by Victor from Victor Foods. Victor explained that one of the secret to successful cooking is good knife skills and all kitchen only need three type of knife – paring, chef and chop. He also demonstrated the clawing technique when chopping, if we can get comfortable doing this on the chopping board it would minimize the likelihood of sliced fingers.
Let us begin with the food. This is the list of dishes that we made that day:
- Kari Ayam (Chicken Curry)
- Satay Daging (Beef Satay)
- Kwah Satay (Peanut Sauce)
- Char Kway Teow (Fried Rice Noodles)
- Roti Jala (Lace Pancake)
- Buah Rojak (Spicy Fruit Salad)
Allow me to first share my favourite dish of the day – Buah Rojak or spicy fruit salad. I will insist that Jeroxie share this recipe with you on another post! It is so good. Sweet, sour, spicy and a whole lot of different texture. YUM!
Kari Ayam or Chicken Curry. This is a very popular Malaysian dish. It seems that many households have their own version. I reckon this is perfect for the cold winter right now. The key to a good curry must be the spice mix. The level of spiciness can be controlled by you.
Satay Daging or Beef Satay. We had to get our hands dirty but in a good way A very important tip is tos oak the skewers for a couple of hours prevents them from burning during cooking. We also made the peanut sauce from scratch.
Char kway teow or CKT is another personal favourite. The use of cockles is optional but what is CKT without cockles? The key to a good CKT is actually the wok hei or a very hot wok. The rice noodles should be caramelised and charred to give the dish it’s smokiness.
Roti jala or laced pancake. This is technically challenging but I enjoyed making a mess and then eating it after.
After 3 hours of chopping, pounding and stirring we lay all our dishes on the dining table…time to enjoy the fruit of our labor. What a spread and everything was just so delicious. All that sweat in the kitchen was well worth the effort and thumbs up to everyone in the kitchen.
So like all good things the class came to an end, we were inspired, filled and felt “hugged from the inside out”. It has been a great experience and thanks again for the trip! I think Jeroxie wants me to put this in practise by cooking her a Malaysian meal…. oh dear!
What a awesome looking feast! I will like to thank Malaysian Kitchen Australia for giving me and June the opportunity to learn more about Malaysian cuisine and hopefully we have imparted some of the skills and different type of popular Malaysian food to our friends.
Official Malaysian Kitchen website – http://www.malaysiakitchen.com.au/
Official Malaysian Kitchen Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/MKInsiders