Centuries of migration, spice trade and colonial history have made Malaysian food a kaleidoscopic melting pot of flavours. Nonya (or Peranakan) cuisine emerged as Chinese culinary techniques and Indian spices met local Malay ingredients and people, cultures and cuisines intermarried in Penang, Malacca and Singapore. Join Montreal’s renowned Nonya Chef Nantha Kumar for a culinary trip through the region with an exquisite menu of uniquely Malaysian dishes.
Laksa is a wide category of justly famous Nonya soups; Asam (sour) Laksa is a variation based on fish broth, with shrimp sambal, tamarind juice and coconut milk.
Is another Nonya dish rarely seen outside of Malaysia; white fish marinated in lemongrass, sambal and spices, then rolled in pieces of banana leaf and grilled.
Considered by many to be Malaysia’s national dish, Nasi Lemak (fat rice) is very popular at breakfast as well as at big family gatherings. It consists of rice cooked in coconut milk, topped with hard boiled eggs, peanuts, cucumber and various garnishes.
Rendang is a style of curry-like stew popular in Sumatra and Malaysia, characterized by a long slow cooking in coconut milk such that the sugars caramelize and the liquid largely evaporates, making the sauce relatively dry. The spices, lemongrass, garlic, shallot, ginger and galangal used have antimicrobial properties and serve as natural preservative; if cooked properly, rendang can last for as long as four weeks at room temperature. A popular but labour-intensive dish, it’s often served on special occasions. In a 2011 online poll by CNN International, rendang was chosen as the number one dish of the ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods’.
Pandan is a fragrant leaf with notes of herbaceous vanilla and is popular flavouring in Malaysian desserts. These delicate lace pancakes features a sweet coconut filling and Canadian touch with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Nantha Kumar is a Montreal-based travelling chef. Former proprietor of Plateau restaurants Nantha’s Kitchen and Cash & Curry, he now travels the world doing restaurant and bar popups, cooking in people’s homes, serving up street food and giving classes on Malaysian and South Indian cuisine. @nanthas_kitchen
Every weekend The Depanneur invites a guest chef to host a fun, family-style dinner party.
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