Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Malaysia Day: Dinner and Dessert

With Malay Day just around the corner (September 16), I've suddenly just felt the urge to brew a South-East Asian storm in the kitchen. My friends wanted to have a get together, before summer drew to a close and figured that it would be really cool to have a theme to the food. I don't know if I'm biased, but I immediately threw out the option for South-East Asian cuisine. Everyone else seemed cool with the idea, although some of them were unsure of what to make. I said that it was okay if they just cooked whatever they felt like and I would bring most of the South-East Asian goodies... and hey, it worked out :)

For the main course, I didn't want to scare my friends away with very exotic dishes (i.e. Assam Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Sambal Sotong) and thought that roti and spring rolls would be too simple and just not exciting enough. So, I stuck with a very Malaysian dish that I think anyone would love to eat... Chicken Satay! I followed a recipe from malaysianfood.net and it turned out very tasty. The aroma throughout my kitchen as I grilled these spicy skewers was heavenly.

I served the Satay on a large platter, covered in banana leaves and accompanied the chicken with cubed cucumbers, red onions, spicy peanut satay sauce and compressed rice cubes (I tried to make Ketupat, but it didn't work out... just left me with a jumbled mess of coconut leaves).

When I unveiled my contribution to the dinner, everyone was very impressed. Some people even commented by saying "I didn't know you could cook!" <--- WHAT! who are these people and why do I even hang out with them?! I'm just kidding, the thing is that they only know me for my baking skills... but when I revealed the satay on the decorative platter, I must have finally shown them my savoury-culinary side.

So, after everyone had filled them tummies with the goodness of grilled chicken, spicy peanut sauce and rice, it was on to what I'm really known for... my yummy sweet treats :)

Again, I didn't want to spook them with some really exotic flavors and textures, but I did want them to experience REAL South-East Asian desserts. And what could be more South-East Asian than KUEH!!??! I followed this recipe from Kuali.com and made a Red Bean Kuih Talam for dessert. I was a bit unsure if my Caucasian friends would take to this very ethnic sweet, but to my surprise they gobbled down the cute trapezoids and hardly left any for me!

I should have given my friends more credit and trusted them to be adventurous in the food-tasting realm. But alas, I'm such a skeptic, which is why I whipped up another Nyonya dessert for them (in case no one wanted to eat the Kuih Talam). I used this recipe to make ang ku kueh (which actually shouldn't be called that seeing as their not "ang"/red)... and it also gave me a chance to whip out my mooncake/kueh molds :)

Actually, it was a good thing that I made both the Kuih Talam and the Ang Ku Kuih because both of them disappeared fairly rapidly. I'm so glad that my friends liked the food I made them... the fact that they ate every morsel of the meal meant more to me than any thank-you ever could! I really hope to do this again, it was so much fun. (But maybe we'll try a different theme next time)


Cynthia's Blog said...

Yea for Merdeka! I am going to make your menu for the 16. Thank you for posting this!

silverrock said...

Go for it! Sounds like a plan... now the only thing is that I've got to come up with a different menu for the 16th :P (actually, this could be fun!)