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Malaysian cuisine is closest cousin to South Indian food

The interconnection between Malaysian and South Indian cuisine

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

Malaysian cuisine can be termed the closest cousin of South Indian cuisine. Nevertheless, Malaysian dishes taste different, said a top chef at The Raintree, St.Mary’s Road, a star hotel here.

That may sound like the advertisement line for a ketchup brand. “It’s different”, but what executive chef Hushmoin K. Patell says is true.

“The ingredients used are similar to South Indian ingredients. But Malaysians use a lot of shrimp and shrimp paste as a flavouring agent or for garnishing purposes,” Patell tol d IANS.

Malaysian cuisine is known for its use of spices, shrimp paste, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cardamom, star anise, fenugreek , galangal and coconut milk – the last adds a delicious creamy touch.

The dishes do not give out the strong flavour of galangal or lemongrass, as in the case of Thai curries.

The South Indian influence in Malaysian cuisine is bound to be with the historical invasion of Srivijaya by Rajendra Chola I, who had also forayed into Indonesia.

Subsequently, during the British rule of India many South Indians migrated to Malaysia.

Anchored by Malaysian chef Mohamad Asri, the hotel’s restaurant Colony is hosting a Malaysian food festival from April 22 to May 8, 2016, for buffet dinner.

Forty-eight-year-old Asri is anchoring for the second time a Malaysian food festival in India. The first time was in 1996 at a star hotel in Delhi.

Related article: 5 Indian dishes doing rounds in Malaysia with a twist!

The menu offers five non-vegetarian and six vegetarian dishes, four starters – two each in vegetarian and non-vegetarian, two kinds of rice and five desserts, including is kacang – Malaysian shaved ice.

“The Malaysian chicken satay is different from Thailand’s chicken satay. Malaysians use palm oil. We have not used palm oil here, but still maintain the authenticity of taste,” Asri said.

According to Patell, the Malaysians use a lot of shrimp as the flavouring agent even in their vegetarian dishes.

They consider meat to be non-vegetarian, while use of shrimp paste as a flavouring agent or shrimp for garnishing is considered vegetarian,” he said.

“We have done some adaptations in the vegetarian dishes keeping out the non-vegetarian items,” Patell said.

While Chinese noodles are available on Indian streets though modified to Indian tastes, Patell said perhaps Malaysian curries too can be made and sold on the streets here.

Asked about South Indian dishes, Asri said he likes the dosa made here.

“The dosas here are much more crispier than what is made in Malaysia,” he said, offering the ayam soup or the chicken soup.

The soup, with finely cut chicken pieces, was flavourful and could not be associated with south Indian dishes.

The chicken satay with roasted peanut sauce was also good but the surprise item was the sweet potato fritter or sweet potato bhaji.

It was time for the main course and Asri suggested coconut rice with okra curry and pajeri aenas-pineapple curry.

The Malaysian dish (unlike the South Indian counterpart) was sticky and made with grated coconut, coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass and some seasoning.

The coconut rice with both the curries tasted good. The pineapple curry was sweet at first, but then the spicy flavour took over – surely a must try item.

On the non-vegetarian side, the steamed rice with ayam kalio (chicken cooked in red coconut gravy with aubergine) was tasty.

Similarly, the ikan masak mera (fish cooked with chilli and tomato) was also good and would also go well with steam rice and okra curry.

For the sweet tooth there is a wide choice: pengat pisang (sago pudding with banana and coconut milk), onde onde (steamed rice dumplings stuffed with palm sugar), kuih ketayab (pancakes stuffed with a sweet coconut filling), sago gula melaka (sago pearls cooked in coconut milk and cream topped with caramel sauce) and kuih lapis (layered cassava cake).

Where: The Colony restaurant at The Raintree, St. Mary’s Road, Alwarpet

Available as a part of dinner buffet 7-11 pm

Price: Rs.1,450 excluding tax per head

Dates: April 22 to May 8

(IANS)

 

  • Pritam Go Green

    Well i don’t think people are much fond of south Indian food . Had it been more kind of north Indian food .. i would have loved it .

  • Akanksha Sharma

    I love South Indian food because they are mostly spicy

  • Shubhi Mangla

    A good population of South Indians in Malaysia have also contributed in adding south Indian flavour to Malaysian cuisine

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  • Pritam Go Green

    Well i don’t think people are much fond of south Indian food . Had it been more kind of north Indian food .. i would have loved it .

  • Akanksha Sharma

    I love South Indian food because they are mostly spicy

  • Shubhi Mangla

    A good population of South Indians in Malaysia have also contributed in adding south Indian flavour to Malaysian cuisine

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Food Packed For Children in Lunch Boxes Lack Nutritional Quality: Study

Although the amount of sugary food in lunchboxes declined over ten years it is still higher than recommended

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Some researchers found that the percentage of packed lunches meeting all eight food standards was very small, increasing slightly from 1.1 per cent in 2006 to 1.6 per cent over ten years. Pixabay

Fewer than two in every 100 packed lunches eaten by children in primary schools meet nutritional standards of Food, according to a new study.

According to the researchers from University of Leeds, who conducted a major survey in UK, the lack of fresh food is to blame.

“This study underlines the role that parents, carers, the government and the food industry have in ensuring children eat more healthily,” said study researcher Charlotte Evans from University of Leeds.

“The research has found that on some fronts, packed lunches have improved but they are still dominated by sweet and savoury snack food and sugary drinks. The vast majority provide poor nutritional quality. Addressing that issue over the next 10 years will require a concerted effort,” Evans added.

For the findings, published in the journal BMJ Open, the research compared the nutritional quality of packed lunches brought into a sample of primary schools in 2006 and then in 2016.

The results reveal how the nutritional quality of lunchboxes has changed over 10 years. It is estimated that more than half of primary schoolchildren take a packed lunch to school.

Over the 10-year period, the researchers found that many children did not have any dairy foods in their lunch, and meals did not meet the recommended standard for calcium. There was a reduction in the number of packed lunches meeting the standards for vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc.

According to the study, there was no reduction in saturated fats. There was no reduction in the portion size of crisps. The researchers said the food industry has not focused on reducing the size of savoury snacks in the same way it has on sweet snacks.

Although the amount of sugary food in lunchboxes declined over ten years it is still higher than recommended. The researchers investigated whether packed lunches met the food standards that apply to cooked meals in England’s schools.

Lunch Box, Lunch, Camping, Lunch Box
Fewer than two in every 100 packed lunches eaten by children in primary schools meet nutritional standards of Food, according to a new study. Pixabay

Since 2006, eight standards have been introduced for cooked school lunches. Confectionery, savoury snacks and sweetened drinks are restricted while vegetables, protein and dairy have to be included in each meal.

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Packed lunches, however, are not subject to any control. The researchers found that the percentage of packed lunches meeting all eight food standards was very small, increasing slightly from 1.1 per cent in 2006 to 1.6 per cent over ten years. “Improving what children eat at school will help reduce the risk of childhood obesity,” Evans said. (IANS)