Guest blogger Stanley Harper went along to a recent showcase of Malaysian food in Manchester and found that simplicity is the key to the cuisine. Here’s his report……
It took a lot of persuading to get out of the house on one of Manchester’s particularly freezing mornings but on Saturday 26th January I managed to pay a visit to Oldham Road’s ‘Wing Yip’ Oriental Supermarket, the Chinese cash and carry on the outskirts of the Northern Quarter. Malaysia Kitchen, a campaign raising awareness of Malaysian cuisine and culture in the UK, had arrived in Manchester to showcase the simplicity and great taste of Malaysian cooking, and I wanted to be there!
For those unfamiliar to Malaysian cuisine, in a nutshell, it takes the best flavours from Indian, Chinese and traditional Malay food and merges them into something unique. The result is an amazingly vibrant, delicious and varied cuisine.
The demos were presented by none other than MasterChef 2010 Winner Dhruv Baker. Dhruv was showcasing four traditional Malaysian dishes throughout the day; Chicken Rendang, Curry Laksa, Nasi Goreng and Kway Teow Goreng. To highlight the simplicity of the food and to clear the mystery surrounding Malaysian food, Dhruv used pre made cooking pastes from Malaysia.You wouldn’t expect a top chef like Dhruv to champion pre-made cooking pastes, however you could tell that these pastes were a cut above the rest as he admitted he was amazed by the authenticity and quality of them.
The first dish showcased was a Chicken Rendang.
This chicken curry consists of lots of coconut flesh and milk, slow cooked with chilli and cinnamon, creating a dry but extremely fragrant curry.
The Curry Laksa is a curried noodle soup with tofu, prawn and chicken pieces, very similar to a Japanese Ramen but with a thicker soup. The Laksa had more of a kick than the Rendang but still the lovely light taste which runs through all of the Malaysian dishes we tried.
The other two dishes were very similar. The Nasi Goreng was a chicken and prawn dish with fried pre-cooked rice, the Kway Teow Goreng had fried noodles that were also pre-cooked. These dishes were spicy and flavoursome and are a great way to utilise any leftover ingredients that you may have in the fridge.
Seeing the simplicity of the pastes used by Dhruv, there was no way we couldn’t return home without trying the food for ourselves at home! We left with full bellies and shopping bags, purchasing all of the pastes used by Dhruv and a few extras. Dhruv used a special type of soy sauce called ‘Kicap Manis’, which is much sweeter and thicker than normal soy sauce. The Malaysia Kitchen Ambassadors and Wing Yip staff were both really helpful with their recommendations on Malaysian products, backing up Dhruv’s expert knowledge.
If you want to try them for yourself you can either pop along to Wing Yip for the ingredients (incredibly reasonably priced), or go on to www.malaysiakitchen.co.uk to find your closest Malaysian restaurant along with loads of fantastic recipes from Tim Anderson, Atul Kochhar and many more!
* Stanley Harper is a guest blogger from whynot!If you fancy writing for this blog, here’s how to get in touch.