May-laysia cooking class with Youges Subramaniam and Peta Mathias

I was very lucky to wrangle a seat at the May-laysia Cooking class at Nosh Mt Eden which was organized as part of the Malaysia Kitchen Programme by MATRADE. And what a fun evening it was, with a fantastic cooking demonstration by the totally charming Mrs Youges Subramaniam of Santhiya’s South Indian and Malaysian Restaurant, Mt Roskill (see my review here) and commentary by the totally effervescent Peta Mathias.

Nosh was dressed up in vibrant oranges and pinks to evoke the Asian theme, with lots of Malaysian ingredients as decorations. We were also given goodie bags filled with tasty samples and a Malaysian Kitchen apron.

Youges took us through 4 recipes, – Beef Rendang, Chicken Curry, Mee Goreng and Roti Canai. Seeing the recipes demonstrated definitely de-mystified Malaysian cooking, and made it accessible for mere mortals like myself to contemplate making some of these dishes. We also got to sample all the dishes, and ask umpteen questions of both Youges and Peta.

My favourite dish of the evening was the beef rendang. It was meltingly tender, with the burst of flavours from the chilli paste, fragrant herbs and spices and coconut cream.

500g beef rump, diced400g coconut cream
½ cup desiccated coconut, roasted over low heat in a pan until golden brown
2 bruised stalks of lemongrass
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp rice bran oil
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp salt
zest and juice of ½ lemon

Ingredients for chilli paste:
1 candlenut
4-5 dried chillies
1 ½ inches ginger
1 inch galangal
1 ½ inches of fresh (or frozen) tumeric
1 onion, diced
1 small garlic clove, peeled

Grind all the paste ingredients together in a blender. Heat wok , add oil and stir-fry the paste until fragrant.

Add the meat and coat well with the paste, stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Add coconut cream, cooking slowly for approximately 30 minutes with the lid on. Slow cooking allows the meat to absorb all the spices and become tender. Continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves, toasted coconut, salt, sugar, juice and zest of ½ lemon and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and serve with rice or roti.

The ease in which Youges twirled her roti canai was mesmerizing, but we quickly realized that the ease came from many, many years of making dozens of rotis each day.  Add that to the amount of time to knead and rest the dough, – I think I’ll take the easy way out, and just visit Santhiya’s for my fix.

Nosh also sells a tantalising array of Malaysian foods, – ready-to-use bases and sauces and rotis.

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