We always wanted to do a cooking show that took inspiration from the tasty flavours of Malaysia’s street-side food sellers and local eateries. Since this is a companion to Street Chows, during the shoot we gathered as much info and tips we could get from these generous chefs and cooks. Many were happy to share while occasionally, we did snuck a peek at what they were throwing in pots and pans.
Testing out these recipes was fun. We discovered quite a few things like the usage of pandan (screwpine leaves). As an ingredient predominantly used in desserts we were intrigued to see it tossed in savoury soups and curries, a fantastic all-purpose aromatic. And we also looked for ingredient substitutions. However, except for fresh santan and fresh bunga kantan, you can get pretty much anything from your local Chinatown or ethnic grocers.
As with most of our cooking shows, we shot all the episodes back to back over a period of 10 days. Those days were intense but the beauty of making cooking shows is how wonderful the set smells and there’s always something going on in the test kitchen that perks everyone up. We hope you enjoy trying out these recipes as we did serving them up to you because these recipes are some of the best we’ve ever developed.
Malaysian Street Food as Inspiration:
With more and more entertaining moving into dining rooms and home kitchens, homecooks are constantly looking for new ideas. Street Kitchen is not only about exciting recipes but there’s also an element of performance involved in a lot of the preparation. Take for example a mee mamak that involves spinning a wok or steaming your chicken in
bamboo. There’s plenty to take from Street Kitchen and incorporate it into your own brand of entertaining.
With the acceptance of Indian and Chinese food into most going out food cultures and success of Southeast Asian cuisines like Thai and Vietnamese, the world is now ready for the heady flavours and bold dishes of Malaysia.
Malaysian street food is undoubtedly one of the best food cultures in the world. The sheer variety and cooking skills as well as recipes and methods passed down from one generation to the next makes it an incredible gastronomic destination.
By bringing these ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques into your kitchen, you can be sure to be the toast of the dinner party circuit!
A Brief on Malaysia’s Cuisine Background
Malaysia, an entrepot in the 15th century and a center of the spice trade meant that much of its cuisine is not only spicy but redolent with herbs and pungency of Southeast Asian ingredients. The pouring in of Chinese and Indian Diasporas and those of the Malay Archipelago ensured that cooking traditions from all these cultures took root and evolved into exciting new cuisines from inter-marriages and ingredient exchanges.
Thus, Malaysia does not only have a well developed Malay, Chinese and Indian cuisine but also unique hybrid food cultures of Nyonya (intermarriage of Malay and Chinese traditions) and Eurasian which stemmed from our colonial period that spanned some 400 years.