While different countries have their own unique food culture, there's one thing we can all agree on, and that's cooking techniques and terms! Every country has a word for culinary terms like chop, cut, boil, you name the verb, but it's all about knowing how to say those verbs in different languages.
That said, today, you'll be learning Malay and, more specifically, Malay cooking verbs! Of course, if we're talking about cooking, you can be assured that we'll also be talking about the most notable characteristics of Malay cuisine and some popular Malaysian dishes. We hope you're not hungry!
While Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, and Malaysia all serve Malay food, in this blog post, we'll only be referring to Malaysian cuisine. Let's get to know more about that below!
Did you know that Malay food can taste different depending on where you are in the country? That's right, and we'll explain the differences in these Malaysian dishes and how each region utilizes certain ingredients. As you'll see, every region has its own unique cooking styles!
In the northern parts of Malaysia, you'll find food quite similar in taste to Thai. This is due to the large number of Thai migrants that have crossed the border into Malaysia and their subsequent intermarriage with the locals. In this region, you can expect to find a lot of spicy curries and other foods using lots of coconut milk, similar to Indian food. An excellent example of this is kari ayam (chicken curry).
Outside of the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, you can find lots of meat-centered dishes served alongside fresh vegetables. Keep in mind that these dishes typically include a lot of cili padi (chili). A good example of a central Malay meal is bak kut teh.
In the Southern Malaysian regions, you'll find food filled with different herbs and spices, such as star anise, curry leaves, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cardamom, and other dried spices. This part of the country also loves cooking with okra, eggplants, and coconut milk. An example of this dish would be white rice or glutinous rice served with marinated meats, like fried chicken or grilled chicken, all wrapped up in banana leaves.
Seeing as Malaysia is surrounded by water, Malays tend to cook with a lot of seafood, such as fish, squid, prawns, and crabs. However, you can also expect to see a lot of chicken, beef, and mutton in their dishes. Typically, meats and seafood are marinated with strong herbs and spices before being cooked.
In Malaysia, vegetables are usually stir-fried with the main dish. But, you can find some vegetables meant to be eaten raw or dipped in sambal (chili paste) or belacan (shrimp paste). Most of the herbs and vegetables found in Malaysia are grown fresh and handpicked, like lemongrass, shallots, ginger, chilies, garlic, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and pandan leaves.
Before you cook any meal, you have to do a little prep, right? Here are some of the most important food preparation verbs in Malay to know!
Now that you've finished prepping all your ingredients, it's time to start cooking! Here are some essential cooking verbs in Malay to know for the next time you're in a Malay kitchen!
That's all there is to it! Even if you're not an expert in your cooking skills, at least you're an expert in the Malay language and cooking vocabulary! What could be better than that?!
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