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October Learn how and when to remove this template message Sambal belacan, made with mixed toasted belachanground chili, kaffir leaves, sugar and water Chilli peppers are indispensable to Malaysian kitchens, and both fresh and dried chilies are used.
Chillies come in several sizes, shapes and even colours. As a general rule, two type of chilli cultivars are the most commonly available: Green chillies are more peppery in taste, while red chillies, green chillies which have been left to ripen, have a slightly sweeter heat.
If a milder flavour is preferred, the seeds and membranes are removed from the chili pods before they are cut, or the chillies are left whole and removed prior to serving. Some common uses include but are not limited to: Belacan is essential to Malaysian cooking. It is a type of shrimp paste which is pressed into a block and sun-dried.
In its raw form it has a very pungent smell. Once cooked, the shrimp paste's aroma and flavour mellows and contributes a depth of flavour to the dish. To prepare belacan for use, one typically wraps a small amount in foil, which is then roasted over a flame or placed into a preheated oven.
Belacan is most commonly pounded or blended with local chilli peppers, shallots and lime juice to make the most popular and ubiquitous relish in Malaysia, sambal belacan.
Belacan is also crumbled into a ground spice paste called rempah, which usually includes garlic, ginger, onions or shallots, and fresh or dried chilli peppers. A rempah paste is similar in form and function to an Indian wet masala paste or Thai curry pasteand is often browned and caramelised Malay: The white fleshy part of the coconut endosperm may be grated, shredded and used as is; dried to make desiccated coconut; or toasted until dark brown and ground to make kerisik.
Grated coconut flesh is also squeezed to make coconut milkwhich is used extensively in savoury dishes and desserts throughout the country. Coconut oil is used for cooking and cosmetic purposes, and may be either obtained by processing copra dried coconut flesh or extracted from fresh coconuts as virgin coconut oil.
Coconut waterthe clear liquid found inside the cavity of each coconut, is a popular cooler in Malaysia's hot and humid climate. Gula melaka is unrefined palm sugar produced from the sap of the coconut flower. It is the most traditional sweetener in Malaysian cooking and imbues a rich caramel-like flavour with a hint of coconut.
Coconut fronds are traditionally used to wrap food, hollowed out coconut husks and shells may be used as a source of charcoal fuel for barbecued meats and traditional pastry making, and even the apical bud or growing tip of the coconut palm is a popular delicacy served in rural communities and specialist restaurants.
Soy sauce of different varieties is another important ingredient. Light soy sauce contributes its pleasantly salty flavour to a variety of stir-fries, marinades and steamed dishes.
In some hawker establishments, freshly sliced or pickled chillies arrive immersed in light soy sauce to be used for dipping. Dark soy sauce is thicker, more intense in flavour and less salty. It is often used when a heartier flavour is desired, particularly with masak kicap a style of braising with a blend of soy sauce varieties dishes, and also to darken the color of a dish.
Kicap manissweetened soy sauce sometimes flavoured with star anise or garlic, is also a popular seasoning for cooking. The sweet and savoury taste of kicap manis also functions as a substitute to approximate the combination of dark soy sauce and thick caramel sauce, which is primarily used to colour and season stewed dishes.
Common herbs include lemongrass Malay: Young, fresh stems are more desirable as older stems tend to acquire a woody texture: It is also used whole in boiled and simmered dishes.
The pandan screwpine leaf is the Asian equivalent of vanilla in Western cuisine. The subtle aroma is released when the leaves are bruised by tying one or two long leaves into a knot, and used for cooking curries, rice and desserts. The leaves can also be used to wrap items like rice, chicken or fish for cooking.
Pandan leaf is also available in liquid essence or powdered form to flavour and colour cakes. The leaves and flowers of the turmeric plant are also used in cooking or eaten raw. Tofu products, specifically fried tofu, are widely used as cooking ingredients and as side accompaniments.
While fried tofu can be bland in flavour on their own, its main contribution is texture and especially with tofu puffs, the ability to soak up the flavour of whatever they are cooked in.
Fried tofu products are found as a versatile component ingredient for dishes like stir fried noodles, rojak fruit and vegetable saladnoodle soups, and stews. A popular way of serving fried tofu on its own is a salad with bean sprouts, shredded cucumber and spring onions, covered in a thick sweet and spicy dressing and dusted with roasted ground peanuts.
Fried tofu may also be stuffed with a mixture of ground meat or shredded vegetables. Dried seafood products contribute a savoury depth of flavour to some Malaysian dishes.The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies is a research institute located in Singapore. Established in , it includes several study centres, a library and a publishing house.
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