Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 14 August 2009 Contents WHAT’S COOKING
Page 8 | 14 August, 2009
The cooking of Malaysia is a tempting potpourri
of Malay, Indonesian, Indian, Chinese and Sri
Lankan cuisine. The style of cooking is similar to
Indonesian – where spices are ground to a paste
with a pestle and mortar and stir-fried to bring out
In addition, Portuguese explorers brought their
own ingredients and cooking techniques to
Malaysia in the sixteenth century, adding further
appeal to a range of exotic dishes.
Traditionally, a Malaysian everyday dinner consists
of rice, one meat dish or seafood dish and a
vegetable dish. There is no set number of dishes
served but it can vary from three to six. Malaysian
meals are not served as separate courses – all
dishes are served together and eaten with rice.
Chilli-based sambals add extra zing.
Unlike many Asian countries where desserts are
often not served, Malays love rich sweet desserts
often based on glutinous rice, sago, mung beans
and bean flour. Coconut milk provides the richness,
palm sugar adds sweetness and the pandanus leaf
adds flavour. The latter is used in a similar way we
use vanilla beans. Sweet spices such as cinnamon,
cardamom and cloves flavour many desserts.
The following recipes have been adapted to suit
Kiwi cooking styles and tastes.
Grilled fish, Malaysian style
Place the onion, ginger, garlic, lemon rind and
chilli paste into a blender and
grind with a
of this mixture over both sides of the fish.
Heat the oil and fry the remaining chilli mixture for 3
minutes. Add the other ingredients (except the fish)
and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Cook the fish over a barbecue or under a grill, basting
once with the sauce. Serve on a platter with a little of
the sauce poured over. Serves 4.
Grilled fish, Malaysian style
1kg skinned and boned chicken
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin,
1⁄2-1 teaspoon ground chilli
3 tablespoons each: peanut or
canola oil, soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
Cut the chicken into 2.5cm cubes.
Thread the chicken onto skewers.
Place in a shallow dish.
Combine the remaining
ingredients and pour over the
chicken, ensuring it is well coated.
Marinate the chicken for 1-3
Preheat a grill to high. Cook the
chicken for about 10 minutes,
turning often. Serves 6.
The rice is traditionally steamed in
banana leaves in which it swells
and compresses. This method
of preparation suits our cooking
methods. Best prepared a day
1 1⁄2 cups short grain rice
3 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
Place all the ingredients in a
saucepan. Cover tightly and bring
to the boil. Reduce the heat and
simmer for about 30 minutes until
the stock has been absorbed by
the rice and the rice is tender.
Line a 20cm square pan with foil
or waxed paper and spoon the
rice in. Press down with a weight.
Stand for several hours.
To serve: with a wet knife cut the
rice into 5cm squares.
Cover and reheat in the
microwave or a conventional oven.
Malaysian style compressed rice
A platter of sliced fresh fruits
could accompany this dessert.
Palm syrup can be produced
by melting palm sugar in a little
water. Stir until dissolved.
1 cup sago
21⁄2 cups water
1 small cinnamon stick
4 cardamom seeds
150g palm sugar, chopped
1 cup thick coconut milk
Extras: thick coconut cream
palm sugar syrup or maple syrup
Wash the sago under cold water.
Place in a saucepan with 2 cups of
the water, the cinnamon stick and
Dissolve the palm sugar in the
remaining water over medium
Simmer the sago, stirring, until
clear and thick. Add the palm
sugar mixture, the coconut milk
and salt. Cook, stirring, until very
thick. Discard the cinnamon stick.
Pour into a mould and chill, until
firm. Serve equal portions topped
with extra coconut cream and
palm sugar syrup or maple syrup.
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon each: finely
chopped root ginger,
1 teaspoon each: grated
lemon rind, chilli paste
600g skinned and
boned white fish fillets
2 tablespoons oil
3⁄4 cup coconut cream
juice 1 lime
1 teaspoon each:
salt, sugar, ground
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