Besides language, culture and clothings, food is also a significant piece in the collective traditions of a community. In the communities of Northern Malaysia: Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Perak, the people are known to utilise a range of spices in crafting their unique cuisines. Many among the cooks of these communities choose to combine spices from various origins – India, the Middle East, with slight touches of colourful Thailand. Because of this, the use of lemongrass, kaffir lime, dessicated coconut, spice seeds and the like are regarded as necessity rather than choice. The North is also widely known and discussed as a food paradise in Malaysia, in large part due to the significance and specialty of its cuisine. Penangites in particular employ the use of ghee and Indian spices in their curries. In Kedah, Perlis and Perak, however, the paradigm shifts in favour of desiccated coconut. Albeit little and rather unremarkable, these little nuances of flavour, when combined in blends become nothing short of culinary magic, turning each and every Northern dish into a unique dining experience in a class of its own.
Ask for a bowl of Tom Yam Soup at any seafood restaurant and you cannot help but notice a stalk or two of lemongrass among the other ingredients in the bowl. Any credible chef will tell you that lemongrass is the principal flavouring ingredient in a Tom Yam Soup. In Malaysia, lemongrass or “serai” is widely used in Malay and Nyonya cooking. It is also one of the main flavouring ingredients in our local favourites of rendang, satay, curry laksa, asam laksa and nasi kerabu.
It’s heady at first, the aroma of which is cloying, piquant and pungent. An additional sweetness teases the palate, both warm and fragrantly enticing. Make no mistake, however; in lavish quantities, this intoxicating spice can harm.
Soy sauce. Dark, light, sweet and salty – it is all of those things, and yet more. Flavour in every splash, aroma in cooking and colour to contrast occasionally dull-toned foods, it is an ingredient long-used in the cuisines of the East. The food culture of Penang is merely one in the many that have, since ages past, benefitted from the use of what can only be called the Ingredient of the Greats.
Croissants are synonymous with the French. There is nothing better than strolling along a colourful Parisian street, croissant in-hand and a box of fresh, large strawberries in the other. Delectable as they are, and as easy as it is to scarf down bite after delicious bite of this fluffy-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside pastry, we must concede that baking the perfect, flaky croissant can be a nightmarish ordeal for the untrained baker. Folding layer after layer of butter in between the dough causes it to rise and puff in all the best ways. If you're feeling up to the challenge, here's a great croissant recipe for you to try!
Among the many heirlooms of British colonial rule that can still be observed in Malaysian society, none persevered stronger than teatime. Born in the early 19th century when aristocratic Englishwomen needed a late-day refreshment to tide themselves over till dinner, the tradition of sipping a hot cuppa with a snack on the side has been enduringly sewn into the local fabric.
Kuala Lumpur: MICA’s ‘Black Box’ Culinary Challenge held recently in conjunction with the MICA YOUNG CHEF TALENT SEARCH 2018 was a hit with budding young chefs of different races from all over the country. More than 50 young hopefuls turned up for a chance to win Gold, Silver and Bronze placings as well as to impress the judges made up of Celebrity Chefs, Executive Chefs, Presidents of Chefs Association in Malaysia and Culinary Experts in the industry. MICA is the abbreviation for Malaysian Indian Chefs Association led by President, Chef Ricky Narayanan and Advisor, Chef Shanmugam Rajoo both who brings with them more than 20 years of experience in the culinary industry.
Imagine, if you will, a sandwich. What’s in it, you ask? Ham, cheese and eggs, paired with all kinds off crisp, fresh-picked produce. It’s your imaginary sandwich, after all. Pile on the sauces of your choice, and you’re ready to go. But wait – we’re forgetting something.
Think of the French. They are masters in living the life and enjoying every moment of it. Whimsical Parisian poets sing songs of whimsical Parisian days on whimsical Parisian streets. Their culture and heritage predates centuries. It is more than just a city they have built – it is a timeless cornucopia of life and all the good things life can bring.
Tertiary level education in today’s world has become more than merely graduating with a degree. Increasingly, parents are sending their children to university and college with the hopes – and even demands – that they exit having learnt something more than theories on how to survive the game of Life and Industry. It’s not as easy as signing a child up for a programme with a pat on the back. It’s dedication, hard work and commitment. Most of all, it’s the foresight to choose the right program, and subsequently the right school.
After years of research, the quest of finding the national cake of Malaysia and our neighbour, Singapore is finally over. Lug by inbound tourists and just as well loved by the locals, the modest pandan chiffon cake has made headlines recently, named as one of the world’s 17 best cakes by the United States based broadcaster CNN. While the sheer pleasure of tearing into this fluffy, soft-as-clouds green hue goodness is ubiquitous across the two nations, what exactly lead to their glory?
Sugar-related health and wellbeing concerns are high on consumers’ radar, especially amongst millennials and health-conscious adults. They all have one thing in common: the search for good food with a better nutritional profile that doesn’t force them to compromise on taste. Nowadays, 49% of global consumers are trying to limit their sugar intake. Healthy alternatives for snacks and meals are a worldwide growing trend that Barry Callebaut is addressing through its continuous investments in R&D. It developed a complete range of five wholesome sugar solutions for chocolate and also has a toolbox of sugar substituting technologies ready for customer-specific developments.
Imagine, for a second, that plants bore offspring as a result of inter-species marriages. Take an onion and give it dill-weed to take as a wife. Then, marry the result of this union with one formed of celery and anise. As bizarre as this combination sounds, it isn’t, really – because what has just formed is the bulb of the fennel plant.
Trends come and go, and this is especially true in a food industry that changes at the breakneck pace of Instagram. When you’ve only just caught on salted egg yolk when the world has moved on to cauliflower rice, you’re in trouble.
Spice up your Chinese New Year with an unconventional twist – with Cordon Bleu’s chef Franck Bruwier’s recipe for reconstructed “yu shang”, you will find the melding of French with other cultures a perfect amalgamation of all things culinary. As the French say: bon appetit!
Another interesting local fish to savour is the river-caught catfish also known as “Pak Suk Kong”. This fish is steamed together with “katuk” leaves or sauropus in English. The fish’s silky smooth meat truly marries well with the natural sweetness of the “katuk” leaves.