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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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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)

 

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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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  • 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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Stop Mindless Snacking With These 2 Essential Steps

Don't think of snacks as extras, instead consciously work healthy bites into your diet, and make some smart snacks a part of your food plan for the day.

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Snacks
Eat Peanuts, Chickpeas, to Lower Cholesterol and Improve Blood Pressure. Pixabay

Snacking is not a mindless pursuit. And unlike universally thought, snacks are not devoid of benefits. In fact, if done right, it can be a perfect way of incorporating important, often missed out nutrients to our daily diet. But for that to happen you need to become a smart snacker. Its a skill easily learned, as long as you master and follow the two essential smart snacking rules.

Kavita Devgan, a renowned nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi, lays down the rules of healthy snacking:

*Ensure that you choose to eat only those snacks that are made from right ingredients. This in fact is an accurate way of ensuring that the nutrients we need are added to our diet. A few of my favourite ingredients include Kaala Channa, nuts like almond, cashews and seeds, olive oil and whole grains.

* Kala Channa, a nutrition powerhouse, delivers a lot of fibre that helps regulate our blood sugar and is also loaded with nutrients that help save us from seasonal disorders by boosting our immunity.

Snacks
The best snacking to boost and maintain heart health is one low in refined carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods. Pixabay

The easiest way to get a stockpile of multiple vitamins and minerals, even difficult to find trace minerals, is to eat snacks that have nuts and seeds added liberally to them. Besides they also deliver high levels of essential fatty acids (EFA’s), wholesome fibre, and much needed good quality protein (with all essential amino acids). My personal favourites are almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and sesame seeds.

* It is always better to opt for truly baked, healthy and wholesome snacks as they are actually good for you. In fact, one of the best ways to lower fat consumption is to switch from deep fried snacks to baked snacks as they will help you keep both the calories and fat consumption down easily.

* Pick up snacks made in olive oil, as this is the smartest way to ensure omega 3 and to correct the good vs bad fat imbalance in our diet. It is the best way to keep our digestion humming along, keep constipation away and to keep cravings away. A snack made with whole grains (ragi, wheat, oats, jowar, amaranth, bajra etc.) is the best way to add nutrition to our diet and stay full for longer too.

* Make snacking a conscious activity. Snack mindfully, not mindlessly. It is essential that we not only snack smart but we also pick and select our snack smartly. So, wizen up to the misleading marketing messages and avoid snack packs that don’t deliver what is promised on the face of their pack.

Snacks
Eat good food. Pixabay

* Look out for promises and phrases like Fat-Free, Low in Calories and Lite snacks. Don’t take them on face value. All it takes is flipping the pack to the back and reading all ingredients, their proportions, style of making etc. to understand the health and calorie quotient of the snack you are picking up.

* Don’t think of snacks as extras, instead consciously work healthy bites into your diet, and make some smart snacks a part of your food plan for the day. This way they will work for you constructively. Finally, always focus on eating snacks that deliver something extra (yes more than just satisfaction and calories). That way you add value to your daily diet via the snacks that you eat and score some health too along the way.

Shikha Sharma, a dietician based out of Delhi, expresses her opinion on snacking carefully:

Also Read: A Diet Rich in Nutrients Helps in Living Longer: Study

* Focus on Clean Label. Consumers and regulators continue to put new pressures on food manufacturers, asking for even more information on the label. Consumers want to know the origin of their food. Food transparency strategies are now critical elements of the industry – no longer optional.

* Many varieties of snacks and breads sold in supermarkets have taken a huge hit in recent years as consumers are shifting to more health and wellness foods. More gluten-free and clean-label baked formulations are cropping up in stores, thanks to consumer demand for more transparent options that are convenient and more nutritious. (IANS)