When it comes to regional dishes in Malaysia, I’m afraid my knowledge doesn’t go beyond Sarawak (of course), Sabah, KL/Selangor, Penang, Malacca, and thanks to the MFF, quite a little bit of Terrangganu. Malaysian Food Fest is such a great ‘online’ event for a lot of us to get to know what the people in our neighbouring states like to cook. Some dishes are entirely unique, and some dishes are merely tweaked ever so slightly to suit the local taste. Nevertheless they are all close to the locals’ hearts, I’m sure.
Of all the states, Kedah (the rice state) and Perlis (the smallest state in Malaysia) are probably the two that I know the least. My geography was never any good anyway. However, Wendy gave us a very concise geography lesson on both states and you can read more about them here.
Naturally, I would go for the non-seafood dishes on the list as you know that I’m not a huge fan of seafood. When I saw the post on Nasi Daging Kedah (Kedah Beef Rice), I immediately bookmarked the page. I admit I was more attracted to the Tomato side dish though, as it contains something I’ve never cooked before: Torch Ginger Bud. Curious to find out how it tastes like raw, off I went searching for the ingredients for this dish.
It’s not a difficult dish to make and requires very little attention. The beef and rice were both left aside for their respective cooking times and all I needed to do was to chop up the ingredients for the side dish.
While the beef was boiling away, I settled in my desk and continue browsing the blogs and came across the pineapple acar made by Suituapui. I had a lot of pineapple leftover from practising for the Nutriplus Baking Competition, so I made this too! Oh yeah…. I still have to blog about the final. Hold your horses as I still have to wait for the pictures.
500gm beef (any braising cut will do)
1 inch ginger, smashed
1 tsp white peppercorns
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cumin
2 inch cinnamon
2 star anise
Bring water to boil and add all the spices and beef. Simmer for over 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender. Take the beef out and let cool. Strain the beef broth. You’ll need it for the rice.
Once the beef is cool enough to handle, cut into slices.
Extra soup can be seasoned and serve as soup. Keep the rest for future use.
1 cup brown rice
1 tablespoon butter
½ onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon curry spices mix (I used a combination of cumin, turmeric, coriander seeds and garam marsala)
1 cup Beef Broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Wash rice and drip dry in colander.
Heat saucepan on medium heat. Add butter and when it has melted add garlic , onion, cinnamon stick and cardamom. Saute til very fragrant. Add curry spice and stir. Add rice, salt and tomato paste and mix well.
Pour in beef broth and let the rice cook until bubbling subsides.
Pour cream evenly over the rice, lightly stir it and let it cook until done.
Let the rice sit for at least half an hour (best is 1 hour) after turning off the heat before serving.
Air Asam Tomato (Tomato “Salsa”):
1 red onion, sliced
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
Juice of 2 calamansi limes
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp finely minced torch ginger bud
3 tomatoes, diced
Chinese parsley for garnish
Mix everything together and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to half an hour. Adjust taste if needed.
Note: If you don’t live in Malaysia, you can try looking for torch ginger bud in the florists!
Half a pineapple
1 Japanese cucumber
4 Bird’s eye chili (I like it hot)
1 Small Red onion
1 teaspoon sugar (Add more if the pineapple you use is on the sour side)
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white vinegar
Cut pineapple, cucumber into small pieces and slice chilis lengthways. Thinly slice the onion. Mix everything together, and let it sit in the fridge for at least half an hour.
Finally…. you are ready to serve!
My rice takes on a more yellowish hue because I was a little too generous with the turmeric. But the verdict? I love the combination of flavours! The rice is aromatic with complex flavours, the beef was so tender it falls apart with a gentle probe.
I love the Air Asam Tomato! The torch ginger bud gives off an exquisite scent and the perfect tang, a lovely match with the beef and rice. The addition of pineapple acar was a wise one as it added that sweet note to my meal, with plenty of kicks too. A very fun dish to eat!