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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

Next Story

When You Engage in ‘Hedonic Consumption’? Read Here To Find Out

"Emotional consumption is usually food because it's easily accessible and available to most people,"

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Some research suggests "hedonic consumption" doesn't help because it could lead to a vicious cycle of eating unhealthily and its associated guilt factors. Pixabay

If you start binging on fast food, savour dark chocolates or can’t resist that ice cream, this may be because of an emotional event like a recent break-up as there is science behind this behaviour, says a study.

Reacting to emotional events like break-ups, tends to involve reaching for the nearest unhealthy snack which is called “hedonic consumption”, said Nitika Garg, Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of New South Wales’ (UNSW) at Sydney Business School.

“When you engage in ‘hedonic consumption’, you always have some kind of emotion attached to it,” she added.

When you’re sad, you tend to go for overconsumption – hedonic consumption – as therapy.

food
“We tend to focus on sadness and what it does to consumption but there’s also this unexpected good effect of happiness,” Garg suggested. Pixabay

“Be it ice cream or a luxury handbag, there are always emotions attached,” Garg said.

Research shows when people are made aware of emotion effects, they go away.

“One of the mechanisms to curbing hedonic consumption is making people aware of the behaviour by providing nutritional information,” Garg noted.

On the flip side, experiencing happiness actually curbs the consumption of unhealthy food products.

“Happiness is shown to increase the consumption of products people believe to be healthy,” said the professor.

In her research, the UNSW academic offered both M&M chocolates and sweet dried fruit sultanas to happy and sad people.

She found that happy people don’t eat M&Ms but they do eat sultanas a lot more.

“We tend to focus on sadness and what it does to consumption but there’s also this unexpected good effect of happiness,” Garg suggested.

sadness
When you’re sad, you tend to go for overconsumption – hedonic consumption – as therapy. Pixabay

Some research suggests “hedonic consumption” doesn’t help because it could lead to a vicious cycle of eating unhealthily and its associated guilt factors.

Also Read: “Worn-of-Women”: US Based Firm To Manufacture Female Condoms

“Emotional consumption is usually food because it’s easily accessible and available to most people,” said Garg who received a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad.

“People go for what seems easiest to them in terms of familiarity and in terms of accessibility for ‘hedonic consumption’,” the professor added. (IANS)