Monday Meal Review: Malaysia

THE SCENE Ava presses the back of the spoon on the rice, smashing it down into the banana leaf. She looks up at me and smiles. "Mmmm" "Looks good!" I say, watching her sneak a bite of the par-cooked rice before adding another spoonful to the cone. Later, when we eat dinner, Ava wolfs down three sticky rice towers - taking care to balance each one on end first. There are so many fun foods for kids in this great, big world. There's no reason to get stuck in a processed junk … [Read more...]

Recipe: Glorious Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang is an art. And I could eat it every single day of my life. While there are many ways to make this flavorful curry, there are two things for certain - the dish must be slow-cooked until the flavor absorbs completely into the meat, and - secondly - the curry must explode with flavor. In a good way. The flavor part is the easiest. In fact, there are so many amazing ingredients - galangal, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves to name a few - that you can't help but make an … [Read more...]

Recipe: Toasted Coconut Paste for Curries (Kerisik) (w/ poll)

If you want to feel totally epic, trying making kerisik, a toasted, ground coconut paste that looks a great deal like natural peanut butter. Kerisik is used in Malaysia to thicken and flavor curries, like Beef Rendang. There's something incredibly rewarding about making your own, whether you do it the traditional way (in a mortar and pestle) or the modern way (in a food processor). In just ten minutes your entire home fills with the warm smell of toasted coconut. For my kerisik, I used 14 … [Read more...]

Recipe: Coconut Sticky Rice in banana leaves (lemang)

Today we're going to make a tower... a tower of glorious height. And this tall, sturdy tower is going to be made out of rice. Our inspiration? The Petronas towers of Malaysia. Aren't they stunning? I adore the fact that the skyscrapers are connected by a tiny walkway that seems to be a million, zillion miles up in the sky. But that's a story for another day. The fact is, I am simply thrilled to make rice towers from Malaysia. You see, I'm falling more and more in love with glutinous … [Read more...]

Menu: Malaysia

First of all, I hope you had a fantastic Valentine's Day. I wish there were a way to capture the sweetness of yesterday. Ava thinks, despite my best efforts to explain otherwise, that Valentine's Day is a destination, not an event. So, of course, she had to ask me if I was going "to" Valentine's Day with her and papa. I, of course, said yes. While I'm thinking of it, here's a Valentine that Ava got from a friend at little school. It's a crayon! What a great global Valentine's Day … [Read more...]

About the food of Malaysia

Merdeka Day Parade (Independence day), photo by Amrufm

I'll be honest with you. I did my research for Malaysia backwards. Well, backwards from what I usually do. What I usually do is crack open the books, absorb as much information as I can, before writing all about the country. This week, I simply popped in on my old college friend MC from Malaysia, via Facebook, and grilled him with 20 questions. What should I make? I asked him. And, then, on cooking day, I popped in with even more questions. He was very gracious and answered my questions … [Read more...]

Monday Meal Review: Malawi

peace garden

THE SCENE I look at the cooled, heart-shaped biscuits from Malawi. The electric, sunny color stuns me. But there is no time to dilly dally. I am late. Quickly, I tuck two of the hearts into a ziplock baggie and pour Ava into her oversized winter coat. The fur lining makes her look like a little lion. I roar at her as we jog to the car. She giggles. When I walk into the Global Garden classroom at Rosa Parks Elementary school twenty minutes later, a dozen 3rd and 4th graders look over. They … [Read more...]

Recipe: Malawi Peanut Balls (Mtedza)

I adore when this around the world culinary journey takes me by surprise. Here we are, the week of Valentine's day, and I'm in Malawi - practically the heart of Africa. I had it in my head that I probably wouldn't find anything particularly appropriate for Valentine's Day. Turns out I was wrong. While I didn't dig up any chocolate kisses or champagne mixers, I did find the lovely Sunrise Biscuits and today's addictive groundnut cookie (that's what Africans call peanuts). Thank goodness, … [Read more...]