Monday, April 23, 2018

Memorable Malaysian Meals

If you ask me to define food in Malaysia as I remember it, the first dish that comes to mind is the full white fish posing elegantly in a thin dark sauce, with some vegetables around it - Assam Pedas

Assam means sour and pedas is spicy. But the dish is neither in any remarkable way. Instead the sauce is delicate and aromatic. The fish is fresh and the vegetables - usually okra or aubergine - retain crunch.

Here is a video of an easy method - I've no idea if it will produce what I had, though!

It was frequently served when we went out with local friends. However, on the Net, there is no photo of Assam Pedas as I recall it.  All the photos have the fish in pieces, for one thing. For another, the sauce always appears chili-red rather than the dark brown that I remember. 

In any case, there seems to be no definite idea about the dish. Which, in no way, robs it of its excellence. 

Another outstanding preparation was the Buddha's Basket. It's such a pity I didn't have a good phone camera then - there is no photo that I can find of this exquisite creation. It is intricate and in tiers and heaven knows how it holds together. Each layer is filled with vegetables and nuts.

The closest I can find to share with you is this video:

I also enjoyed the famous Bak kut teh

"Bak kut teh zz" by I, Chensiyuan. via Commons 

The recipe may be complicated but it's worth the try!

It looks as if I've recalled more Malaysian Chinese dishes but that is simply because we lived in a Chinese neighbourhood and had a very good Malaysian Chinese friend who introduced us to various delicious dishes.

As for the Malaysian Indian cuisine, I will not tackle that here as it's more or less a variation on Tamil cuisine in India. 

Two of the Malay dishes that were and still are popular:

Emran Kassim

I've really enjoyed Satay best with Malay friends - when broaching another region's cuisine it is best to be with a local friend. 

 Michael J. Lowe, CC 

I didn't quite develop a yen for this dish, alas. But it's a great one - soupy, spicy and nourishing.

And now for the sweets:

Andrew Bogott, Wikimedia Commons

Ais Kacang is an experience! 

Yun Huang Yong from Harbord, Australia, Wikimedia Commons

These delicate creations are popular and varied.

I conclude with the classic Ramly Burger:

We would pick up a couple on lazy nights and enjoy a messy feast - this burger is royal in proportions and utterly adorable.

There are so many dishes of which Malaysia can boast but I leave it up to you to visit the country and to try as many as you can find: glass noodles, chicken rice, an amazing liquorice pudding and more...

Chicken Rice, Mw12310, Wikimedia Commons

Do visit the crab island and have a blast gorging on sea food! Penang is supposed to rock for food - so that is a must-visit too.

Do look out for ready mixes to carry home as gifts and a variety of Beryls Chocolates.

Cheon Fong Liew  - Beryl's Almond coated with dark chocolate

While the food is somewhat similar in Singapore and Indonesia, Malaysia is somehow unique in its own way. 

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