In an attempt to learn more about Malay food (and mostly because we wanted to spend a whole day eating), we signed up for the LaZat cooking course in Kuala Lumpur.
The day started with a tour of a local market in TTDI, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. Our lovely guide Su explained some of the ingredients that we would be using and took us to see butchers, vegetables shops and coconut milk stalls. It was the day before the start of Ramadan and so the market was packed with people stocking up on food for the big meals that follow fasting days.
After exploring the market, we were driven to the cooking school, which has a big open-sided kitchen overlooking a forest.
We got to work on the first dish – cucur udang (prawn fritters). We watched all the dishes being made before trying to recreate them ourselves at our individual cooking stations (under the watchful eyes of the teachers).
Next up is the main event, beef rendang. In Malaysia, beef rendang is a dish for special occasions, weddings and Eid celebrations. The key to a good rendang is cooking it for long enough, so be patient!
To go with this we made a spicy, sweet cooked cucumber salad with sesame seeds (acar timun), which was my favourite dish of the day.
And then it was on to dessert, kueh koci. Yep, I hadn't heard of it either! Kueh koci is a glutinous rice dumpling filled with sweet grated coconut and covered in a coconut sauce. The dumplings are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. An unusual dessert for Western tastes, but delicious.
Once the dumplings were steamed and the rendang was dry enough we all tucked into our traditional Malay feast and spent the afternoon chatting with Ana, the owner of the cooking school.
Even though we cooked it ourselves, this was our favourite meal in KL!
For more info on Malay culture, check out my post on the traditional village in the middle of Kuala Lumpur.