SEAFOOD: Widely heralded since days long past as an epicurious delicacy in the foods of various cultures, it is a symbol of prosperity in Chinese cuisine, much loved by those who enjoy the crisp, clean and fragrant aroma that is reminiscent of the fresh, open sea. Much like its people, Chinese cuisine is multi-faceted, often employing a myriad of cooking styles and tastes that range from deep-frying, stir-frying, boiling, roasting, poaching and steaming. The gastronomic wonders of Chinese cuisine bear fruit from where their roots originate, their points of creation. Most well-known Chinese dishes hail from some province or another in the mainland—and even then, much of it has been adapted to Western cultures, where the cuisine is well-loved even amongst those who are more accustomed to steak and potatoes. The very essence of Chinese cuisine, however, is simple, despite the complex range of tastes and flavours so eminent in the food culture: treating your food with respect and care whilst maintaining its colour, nutrients, and natural freshness.
Dim sum is a wonderful thing – little crystal-skinned dumplings filled with flavourful meats and seafoods, steamed or fried, sweet or savoury; all are delicious. The art of dim sum is not an easy cuisine to master; indeed, for the average home cook, making one’s own dim sum seems almost too fastidious a task. Yet there is something about these recipes, lovingly crafted by one’s own hands, that speak of the true spirit of the Lunar New Year – sharing good things with family and loved ones. These dumplings showcase an array of traditional Cantonese methods for cooking – pan frying, deep frying, and steaming. From the crisp pastry of deep fried sui gao to the plump and springy crystal skinned dumplings, to the crisp blossoming of flaky pastry, these are a wonderful set of flavours and textures, each a delight to look at, and even moreso a delight to eat.
This recipe pays homage the simplicity of our nation’s staple meal: rice. Long-grain basmati is infused with orange juice and zest, providing a citrus tang that helps with the heavy perception rice is generally associated with. Delicious on its own, or with curry of your choice.
The word "mandi" comes from the Arabic word nada, meaning "dew", and reflects the moist 'dewy' texture of the meat. Mandi (Arabic: المندي) is a traditional dish from Yemen of meat, rice, and spices. It is also eaten in some gulf nations. It is now very popular in other areas of the Arabian Peninsula, and it is also common in Egypt and turkey.
“Murtabak” or “Martabak”, is a stuffed pancake or pan-fried bread that is commonly found in Saudi Arabia (especially the Tihamah and the Hejaz regions), Yemen, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand. The main ingredients of the “Murtabak” (Meat & Egg Turnover) are flour, salt, eggs and savoury meat or alternatively, a vegetarian filling. It is prepared by wrapping the filling in dough, folding it and frying, then repeating this process until you get a multi layered pan-bread of at least 4 centimetres thick. Malaysian Chicken Curry or Beef Curry Murtabak is a delicious snack made from roti bread filled with a ground curried beef or chicken filling and egg. In Malaysia, there is no specific time where “Murtabak” can be served. Malaysians eat “Murtabak” anytime of the day and all year round. This is my own “Murtabak” recipe, which was handed down to me through many generations. Try it and Good Luck!
An egg-based fish cake rich in spices and flavour, otak-otak is significant to Malaysian cuisine and hawker fare. The flavour base is of utmost importance here, because fish and egg both take on spice with ease. The end result of this recipe is one that most certainly does the otak-otak culture in Malaysia proud.
The cinnamon spice has long been used in traditional Malay cooking. lt is part of the essential four; the rempah empat beradik (the four siblings). The rempah empat beradik is a name commonly used among village folk to identify four major spices in Malaysian cuisine – star anise, cardamom, cloves, and of course, cinnamon. ln this recipe, the chef draws inspiration from this warm, earthy spice, which, alongside tender chunks of beef, is nothing less than culinary magic.
Malaysia is a nation well-known for its variety of different seasonal fruits and sweet desserts, many of which are enjoyed after meals over friendly chatter. This simple recipe incorporates several fine fruits that are sure to envelop you in a truly traditional Malaysian experience.