Christmas A La Malaysia

Malaysian Trade Commission (MATRADE) celebrated Hawker Melbourne yesterday, a Malaysian hawker style market incorporating Christmas and celebrating Malaysian food, flavours, spices and culture. 

Hosted by Malaysian chef Jackie M, the event showcased the full, bold and authentic flavours of Malaysia and saw classic Australian Christmas dishes transformed with a Malaysian twist. During two demonstrations, Jackie M showed guests how to incorporate Malaysian flavours and spices into Christmas dishes and every day meals. 
With delicious Malaysian food available, guests were taken on a journey through Malaysia, tasting bold, authentic flavours and learning  how the flavours and spices of Malaysia tie in Western dishes. 
Malaysian cuisine offers a rich melting pot of flavours, ranking amongst the most delicious and tastiest in Asia. With a palate underpinned by a wide diversity of influences including Chinese, Indian and Portuguese, not to mention the many spices characteristic of South East Asian food, Malaysian cuisine is rightly emerging as a favourite of food-lovers everywhere. 

Here are our top five flavours of Malaysia that work perfectly to up the ante on your traditional Christmas feast… 

Bring life to your seafood. 

We all know that seafood is a staple addition at most Australian homes during the festive season. This year, wow your guests with a decadent prawn Laksa. Laksa is one of Malaysia’s best known and most popular dishes, with its rich coconut curry base. The veritable minestrone of South Asia, Laksas can feature anything from tofu puffs, fish shrimps through to chicken pieces and of course, noodles and lots of delicious Asian vegetables. It’s typically served with a generous spoonful of chilli paste or sambal, and garnished with coriander, or kaffir lime leaf. Laksa is the perfect way to start your Christmas meal with a bang and is the ultimate go-to dish that provides fresh, spicy flavours. 

‘Ham’ up your glazed ham. 

Tired of the same old glazing on your Christmas ham? Why not incorporate delicious Malaysian flavours and give your guests something to talk about. For a unique taste that is sure to impress, add palm sugar and tamarind peel or a Malaysian curry paste for a chilli taste that will be sure to fire up your Christmas lunch. Serve slices of the ham with sweet pineapple pieces and roti to tone down and balance out the chilli factor. 

Tantalise with your Turkey. 

Roast turkey is the veritable star of any Christmas banquet. This year, the proof is in the stuffing, and we encourage you to utilise the vast flavours of Malaysian cuisine when stuffing and basting your bird. Spice up your stuffing with a wide range of spices like cardamom, cloves, turmeric and chilli, or coat your bird in some nyonya curry paste or chilli sambal that are sure to make your turkey flavoursome and exciting this festive season. 

Turn it up a couple of notches in the trifle stakes. 

You can’t go past a classic Aussie dessert at Christmas. A summer trifle is a light sweet treat that is guaranteed to end your festive banquet on a high. Take your guests on a culinary journey, and give it an exotic makeover this year by adding in some traditional Malaysian flavours including some mango, coconut cream and pandan for a truly refreshing indulgence. 

To help you discover the delicious Malaysian products available and to find a store near you, visit www.matrade.gov.my


Recipe: Chee Cheong Fun

Malaysia Kitchen has recently launched its cooking series on Seven Two on Saturdays at 3pm (Read more here). To whet your appetities, here is a recipe for the Chee Cheong Fun from Episode 2...
By: Jackie M 

Ingredients: 
125 g rice flour 
2 ½ Tbsp tapioca flour 
500ml water 
1 Tbsp oil 
2 Tbsp oil, extra for mould 

Toppings 
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted 
1 cup oil 
1 brown onion, peeled and sliced thinly Chilli sauce (Sriracha), optional 

Topping Sauce Option 1 
⅓ cup prawn paste aka Petis Udang 
½ cup water 
*Kicap manis (sweet soya sauce) 

Topping Sauce Option 2 
1 cup hoisin sauce 
1 cup water 
⅓ cup sugar 

Method: 

Combine all the rice flour roll ingredients and mix well, batter will be very thin. 

Brush a square metal cake pan with oil, pour a very thin layer (2 mm) of batter and steam on high heat for 1 - 3 minutes OR use an oiled non-metallic baking dish and microwave on high for about a minute and a half (75 to 90 seconds depending on strength of your microwave). 

Allow to cool slightly then use a spatula or scraper to lift up the edge of the rice flour sheet. Roll up then put aside and repeat process until all the batter is used up. Toast sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat, cool. 

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the onion until light brown. Remove onion from oil and transfer onto paper towel to crisp up. Store the onion crisps for future use, reserve oil for topping the rolls. 

For topping sauce 1, combine prawn paste and water in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat, stirring constantly, until well mixed. 

For topping sauce 2, combine hoisin sauce, water and sugar in a saucepan. Simmer on low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. 

To assemble, cut the rice flour rolls into 3 cm widths. Drizzle with either sauce option. Drizzle with onion oil and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, serve with chilli sauce if you like it spicy.

Recipe: Chicken and Prawn Wontons with dry-style noodles

Malaysia Kitchen has recently launched its cooking series on Seven Two on Saturdays at 3pm (Read more here). To whet your appetities, here is a recipe for the Chicken and Prawn Wontons with dry-style noodles from Episode 1...

By: Jackie M
Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
500g fresh, thin wonton noodles
2 bunches Chinese broccoli

Chicken and Prawn Wontons
200g chicken, minced
200g banana prawns, peeled and minced
8 water chestnuts, minced
1 stalk spring onion, sliced
2 Tbsp packaged fried shallots
½ *chicken stock granules, crumbled
1 ½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp. pepper
1 pack of 50 wonton skins
1 Tbsp. sesame oil, extra

Wonton Mee Sauce
2 Tbsp minced garlic 2
50ml vegetable oil
50ml soya sauce
50ml sesame oil
50ml thick soya sauce (kicap pekat)
200ml oyster sauce
200ml abalone sauce (or fish sauce)
1 ½ tsp white pepper
50ml water

Method:

For the wontons, combine all filling ingredients, in a bowl and mix well. Place 1 heaped tsp filling in the middle of a wonton skin, gather the edges and scrunch up to make money bags or fold into triangles. Pinch well to seal filling inside.

Place on a tray lined with greaseproof paper, keeping wontons separate or they will stick together. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Poach wontons in batches until they float to the top, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drizzle with sesame oil and serve with Wonton Mee noodles.

Tip: Wonton skins are square, not round, and available in the refrigerated section of Asian grocery stores.

For the noodles, fry garlic in oil until just brown. Strain and discard garlic, reserving oil. In a heavy-based saucepan combine garlic oil with remaining sauce ingredients and simmer until chicken stock granules are dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Blanch Chinese broccoli for about 10 seconds and set aside. In
batches, blanch noodles for about a minute, remove with strainer and run under cold water for 3 seconds.

Quickly dip noodles back into the boiling water for 3 seconds then drain.

Toss noodles with a couple of tablespoons of sauce and place on a plate. Repeat with remaining noodles. Serve with the blanched Choy Sum, Chicken & Prawn Wontons and Chicken Char Siew.

Blue Chillies

16 years on Blue Chillies continues to be one of Melbourne’s favourite modern Malaysian restaurants.

Located in the iconic Brunswick Street Fitzroy dining district, Blue Chillies have been serving locals and visitors alike over the past 15 years with an ever progressive menu of signature takes on classic Malaysian flavours with a Melbourne flair.
By combining fresh local ingredients with imported spices and traditional Malaysian cooking techniques, the Blue Chillies kitchen has been able to expand on their extensive experience of hawker-style cooking on the streets of Kuala Lumpur and Penang. 
Black pepper soft-shell crab

We loved Blue Chillies’ enticing soft shell crab. The deep fried crustacean pieces were coated in a semi-thick crisp batter that encapsulated firm, sweet flesh. Served with ground peppercorn sauce and aromatic curry leaves, this dish was simply superb.
Rockling fillets with curry leaves, chilli, spices and buttered egg floss

The rockling was encased in light and crispy tempura batter. This dish was pure comfort food and laced with feather light egg floss, just the right hint of chilli and aromatic curry leaves. The egg floss was one of the most delicate we have seen, a testament to the chef’s wok skills. 
Pork ribs with chilli jam

The pork ribs were expertly prepared - juicy and succulent from having been wok roasted. The outstanding ribs were slathered with a flavoursome and sticky chilli jam sauce.
Assam Prawns with okra, stringless beans and tomatoes

The Spicy Assam Prawns were yet another highlight. The perfectly seasoned assam curry broth possessed the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian curries. We loved the beautiful tartness from the assam base which goes particularly well with seafood.
Belachan asparagus

The wonderfully fresh and organic asparagus were smothered with a beautiful belachan sambal paste. It had the perfect level of heat and was cooked very well.
Black sticky rice pudding 

A modern take on the traditional Malaysian dessert of black sticky rice pudding with coconut milk, this bowl of goodness arrived as pretty as a picture, boasting a lovely deep purple colour. Blue Chillies’ version was absolutely moreish - luscious and striking without being too sweet. We loved the crisp exterior of each morsel of rice and the addition of toasted coconut which provided a great textural element to the dish. 
Pandan crepes

The kueh dada (pandan crepes) were lovely. This sweet coconut stuffed pancake roll was beautifully made and matched perfectly with the creamy, cold ice cream. It was an especially gratifying dessert that concluded our evening on a sweet high.
Serving up dishes that have a focus on balance in texture, flavour and presentation, Blue Chillies pleases with innovative yet familiar Malaysian dishes. 


Location: 182 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Phone: 03 9417 0071
Cuisine: Malaysian, Asian


Blue Chillies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Blue Chillies.

Chow Down

Chow Down in the heart of the CBD draws on owner and passionate chef, Vincent Chow’s Malaysian background to serve up authentic Malaysian hawker food. The cuisine reflects the diversity of its South East Asian roots, drawing influences from Malay, Chinese, Peranakan and Indian cuisine.
The service was friendly and prompt with staff that are clearly proud of the food being served up.
Teh Tarik

The menu is incredibly well-priced and there is a huge range of Malaysian delicacies to choose from including some great drink options for either dine-in within the communal areas or to take-away. For drinks, we recommend the teh tarik – a frothy and sweet pulled tea. 
Char kuey teow

The fried kuey teow was superbly authentic. Long and thick ribbons of flat rice noodles were cooked with an assortment of ingredients - shrimps, fish cake and egg – all of which possessed a wonderful wok caramelisation. The dish had the perfect amount of heat and boasted a great depth of flavour.
Nasi Lemak 
Variety pack - Nasi lemak (coconut rice), chicken skewer, selected kuih plus a choice of one dish from the window

The variety pack was a decadent lunch option. The full-bodied, pungent rendang gravy paired beautifully with melt-in-your-mouth chicken skewers and perfectly crisp fried chicken. We enjoyed the richness of the gravy and the generous use of spices in each element of the dish which showcased the customary punchy flavours exhibited by Malaysian food generally.  Together with fluffy coconut rice, crispy anchovies and delicious sambal, it was an addictive and comforting dish.
Roast Chicken Rice 

A Malaysian favourite, the plump and juicy slices of roasted chicken breasts were the highlight of this dish. Coupled with the aromatic and fluffy chicken rice, it was a moreish dish.
Nasi Goreng Kampung 

The nasi goreng kampung was a winner.  A fragrant traditional Malay style fried rice dish cooked in shrimp paste and normally served in a banana-leaf wrapping with bountiful anchovies, chicken bits and veggies, the crowning element was a perfectly cooked sunny side up egg.
Kuih seri muka

For dessert, the Kuih seri muka is not to be missed. A dainty and absolutely lovely sweet cake made of a gooey glutinous rice base topped with pandan flavoured coconut milk jelly. 
Chow Down punches above its weight with a delectable array of hawker foods you will love. We can't wait to return for another delicious bowl of their authentic Malaysian delights.


Location: 16/246 Bourke St, Melbourne 
Phone: 0412 334 681
Cuisine: Malaysian


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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.