Food bridges the distance with Malaysia

New Delhi: Curry, Laksa, Chicken rice and Satay – delicious diverse Malaysian cuisine is up on offer at a food festival here. A hybrid of south Indian curry dishes to Han Chinese style of cooking, the 10 day long Malaysian food festival "Rasa Ria Malaysia" offers a taste of food from the South East Asian country.

"Malaysian cuisine is a blend of Indian, Chinese and Malay cuisines, over the time there have western influences from the French, Portuguese and English settlers, who have also influenced the platter", says Datuk Tan Seng Sung, Malaysian High Commissioner to India who inaugurated the festival.

Cooked with ingredients brought specially from Malaysia, the fare at the festival include Satay, skewered chicken served with peanut sauce and Ketupat, a Malaysian spice prepared like a kabab and the Kuih Chara, a soft sweet made out of flour dipped in sugar syrup and spices.

Throughout centuries, Malaysia has been influenced by cultures from India, and other Asian nations like China, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan with which it shared trade relations.

It was colonised by the British during which the British rulers encouraged Indians and Chinese settlers to inhabit the island country. Apart from sea foods, like shrimps and preparations of fishes, rice is a staple diet along with coconut which grows abundantly on the Malay Islands.

"Malaysian food tastes much like what most people in Southern India have, we use the same spices and most of our platters have coconut as a primary ingredient, I am sure you will be able to relate to our cuisines" says Chef Nazaruddin Yusoh, one of the Chefs who prepared the platter for the festival.

Yusoh adds "we use the normal cardamon, cinnamon, cumin and coriander to cook our food, while coconut milk and coconut water also play an integral part of our cooking".

"The food is much like Indian food, I thought it would only be sea food, but later I found out to be different, I loved having the blend of Indian and Chinese flavours" says Shweta, a visitor at the festival.

"It is the Satay, that has brought a number of food lovers to Malaysia, "it is a preparation of and is one of the finest Malaysian delicacies served during Eid," Lisa, from coming from Kuala Lumpur.

The other dishes that the chefs are offering include Kembang Nambing, a preparation of lamb with soya sauce,Pengat Pisan, a sweet made out of banana pulp and Kuih Chara, made out of flour and sugar syrup with chocolate sauce.

Chefs Nazaruddin and Mohd Alif Azlan Muda say they are excited to see how their India counterparts were eager to learn recipes "We were told that Indians love spicy food, so brought in our best, and brought in the spices from Kuala Lumpur, to maintain the authenticity of the food" says Muda.