Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wau in Malaysia

Wau in Malaysia

Wau Kuching ( Cat kite )

It is called a cat kite , another popular shape in Malaysia and decorated in the same way as the wau bulan. It has a hummer attached at the top of the kite. This hummer is used to lul the kite flier to sleep, to frighten away evil spirits, and to forcast the following days weather.

Wau Merak ( Peacock kite )

Wau Merak has completly different leaf and flower designe from other wau kites. It is more Indonesian than Malaysian, and reflects the supposed origin of the design. It also has head an tail. The tail is usually heavy colored yarn , and the head is wire or bam wrapped with the same.

Wau Bulan ( Moon kite )

Wau Bulan is the most famous in Malaysia. It is called Wau Bulan because of the crescent -shaped tailpiece. Wau bulan usually have 2.5 metres wing span and height measuring up to 3.5 metres. It is richly decorated with colourful pattern of flower and leaves. In a windy day, wau bulan can reach a height of more than 450 metres. Malaysian Airline System has chosen it as its logo, to symbolize control
led flight.

Wau Jalabudi ( Women kite )

The shape of Wau Jala Budi or woman kite is the same as the other wau. The difference lies at its tail. It is called the woman kite because the shape of the kite looks like a woman.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Malaysian Food

Malaysian Food

Malaysian food can be separated in three different cuisines. About 70% of the Malaysian population is Malay, about 25% is Chinese and the rest is mainly Indian. These 3 cultural groups have each their own styled cuisine. We will explore these cuisines here.

  • Malay food
  • Indian food
  • Chinese foood

Malay Food

Nasi Lemak : Coconut-flavored Rice Meal - is rice cooked in coconut milk made aromatic with pandan leaves [screwpine leaves]. It is typically served with Sambal Ikan Bilis - fried dried anchovies cooked in a dry sambal sauce, and garnished with cucumber slices, hard boiled egg and roasted peanuts. Traditionally packaged in a banana leaf, it is usually eaten as hearty breakfast fare.

Satay : BBQ Sticks - This famous meat-on-a-stick appears on menus from New York to Amsterdam. The secret of tender, succulent satay is, of course, in the rich, spicy-sweet marinade. The marinated meat; chicken or beef, are skewered onto bamboo sticks and grilled over hot charcoals. Some satay stalls also serve venison and rabbit satay. A fresh salad of cucumbers & onions are served together with a spicy-sweet peanut sauce for dipping. Ketupat, a Malay rice cake similar to Lontong, is also an accompaniment to satay, great for dipping in satay sauce. Dee'lish!!

Beef Rendang: Malay Spiced Coconut Beef - This hot, dry spiced dish of tenderly simmered meat offers the typical Malaysian taste of coconut, balanced with robust, tangy spices. Rendang is a must-have on special occasions such as weddings, ideally served with nasi kunyit [turmeric rice]. During Ramadan & Eid, the Malay New Year, Rendang is sure to take center stage on bountiful tables of feast in homes everywhere. During this festive season, a special rice cake called Lemang is made to eat with Rendang. Lemang is made from glutinous rice and santan coconut milk, carefully packed into bamboo poles lined with banana leaves and cooked in the traditionally way over low open fires.

Sambal Udang : Spicy Prawns - whole prawns or shrimp are cooked in a classic Malay sauce; a spicy robust sauce made with chilies, shallots, garlic, stewed tomatoes, tamarind paste and belacan also spelt belachan or belacan, a dried shrimp paste paste. Sambal Udang is the perfect accompaniment to the country's un-official national dish - Nasi Lemak.

Ayam Masak Merah: Red-Cooked Chicken - is similar to the Italian famous dish Chicken Cacciatore except for it spicy hotness. Pieces of chicken are first pan-fried to a golden brown then slowly simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. This popular Malay dish is especially scrumptious with nasi tomato [tomato rice].

Laksa: Noodles in Tangy Fish Soup - Thick rice noodles are served in a tangy fish soup/gravy. Not at all fishy, the soupy gravy is made with mackerel and lots of aromatic herbs. Fresh garnishing of shredded cucumber, lettuce, pineapple, onion and fragrant mint leaves finishes the dish. In general the term Laksa refers to Malay style laksa, sometimes called Malay Laksa. There are slight variations in different parts of the country. The key ingredient is tamarind, used as a souring agent, giving it a tart tangy taste. This version of laksa from the 'hawker food capital' - Penang, is especially famous and well known as Penang Laksa or Penang Assam Laksa.

Ikan Bakar: BBQ Fish - or Ikan Panggang is a general term meaning grilled or barbecued fish. A popular local fish for grilling is Ikan Kembong [chubb mackerel, also called Indian mackerel]. The fish, kept whole is marinated in spices, coconut milk, and sometimes stuffed with sambal, then wrapped in fresh banana leaves and grilled over hot charcoals.

Otak Otak : Malay Fish Mousse - fresh fish fillets are blended with light spices, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and other aromatic herbs, into a sort of fish mousse. The fish mousse is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed or grilled. It makes an exotic appetizer or cocktail party bite!

Roti Canai : Indian Pastry Pancake - Indian in origin, this rich and flaky pastry pancake has now come to be known as a favorite Malaysian 'appetizer' in Malaysian eateries all over the globe. Roti Canai [also called Roti Prata] is served with a side of curry for dipping, usually a Malaysian Chicken curry.

Indian Food

Nasi Biryani: Indian style Rice Dish - Basmati rice is first saute'ed in ghee [clarified butter] and cooked with the world's most expensive spice, saffron. The dish is assembled by layering the flavorful rice with tender pieces of spiced-cooked lamb, mutton or chicken, with a garnishing of slivered almonds and raisins. This 'delicacy' dish is served as a main course on special occasions, such as weddings and celebrations. In Nasi Kandar restaurants [local Indian-Muslim restaurants], nasi biryani refers to the rice only cooked without the meat, and is a choice of rice [instead of plain steamed rice], to eat with your selection of curries and side dishes. Nasi Biryani is also sometimes spelt Nasi Beriani.

Mutton Korma : Korma, usually spelt Kurma in Malaysia, is a comparatively mild [not hot] curry. Usually mutton [goat] or lamb is slow cooked in a medley of spices and coconut milk. Kurma is popular as an alternative to hot or fiery curries, especially at special occasions such as weddings - to please the palates of all guests especially those who are not accustomed to hot foods. This flavorful curry can be served with plain steamed rice, biryani rice, nasi minyak [ghee rice] or roti [bread]. It is also delicious with the famous Malay 'lacy' crepes called Roti Jala.

Tandoori Chicken: Indian Clay-oven Chicken - an all-time favorite, tandoori chicken is served 24 hr at 24 hr Mamak eateries [local Indian restaurants]. Great for those late-night munchies! Mildly-spiced spring chicken quarters are baked to tender succulence in a tandoor - a traditional Indian clay oven. A spicy mint sauce is usually served on the side with plain or garlic Naan bread.

Fish Head Curry : a fish head, usually from large sized groupers, cods, salmons or red snappers, is cooked in fish curry powder, spices, chilies, tamarind and coconut milk. This weird and wonderful dish has gained popularity especially with fish aficionados, who know that the sweetest meat of the fish is from the head and cheeks!

Chinese Food

Hainan Chicken Rice: originating from Hainan in China, this dish is ubiquitous, one of the most popular everyday meal. Chicken is slow poached whole, allowed to cool to room temperature and cut up into bite-sized pieces. Rice is then cooked with the flavorful chicken broth. Cucumbers, scallions and cilantro garnishes the chicken. A small side of the chicken broth is usually served as well. And always - a must-have dipping sauce made of red chilies, garlic, ginger and lime juice completes the meal.

Bak Kut Teh : Pork Rib Tea - A very popular Hokkien herbal soup [also spelt Bakuteh] which in English is translated as 'Pork Rib [Pork Bone] Tea', traditionally served for breakfast as an invigorating tonic to start the day with Ewe Char Koay [Chinese crullers]. Pork ribs are long simmered in a 'tea' of Chinese medicinal herbs and whole bulbs of garlic, often with dried shitake mushrooms added for earthiness. A chicken version Chi Kut Teh [also spelt Chikuteh] is also popular.

Fish & Chicken Clay pot: Fish, usually Garoupa is simmered with chicken in a clay pot - a hearty & delicious dish to eat with plain steamed rice and a side of hot sauce or fresh sliced chilies in soy sauce.

Yong Tau Foo: Tofu stuffed with Fish Mousse - Tau Foo means tofu or soy bean cakes in Chinese dialect. Deep fried tofu cakes and vegetables - bitter gourd, whole red chilies, zucchini - are stuffed with a fish mousse or pate, then steamed or boiled and served with a dipping sauce.