Besides language, culture and clothings, food is also a significant piece in the collective traditions of a community. In the communities of Northern Malaysia: Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Perak, the people are known to utilise a range of spices in crafting their unique cuisines. Many among the cooks of these communities choose to combine spices from various origins – India, the Middle East, with slight touches of colourful Thailand. Because of this, the use of lemongrass, kaffir lime, dessicated coconut, spice seeds and the like are regarded as necessity rather than choice. The North is also widely known and discussed as a food paradise in Malaysia, in large part due to the significance and specialty of its cuisine. Penangites in particular employ the use of ghee and Indian spices in their curries. In Kedah, Perlis and Perak, however, the paradigm shifts in favour of desiccated coconut. Albeit little and rather unremarkable, these little nuances of flavour, when combined in blends become nothing short of culinary magic, turning each and every Northern dish into a unique dining experience in a class of its own.
AIDILFITRI GROUNDNUT GRAVY
250 g beef, cut into small cubes
1 asam gelugor piece
salt to taste
sugar to taste
TO BE BLENDED FINELY TOGETHER
500 g groundnuts, skinned, dry-fried
15 pcs dried chilies
3 sticks lemongrass
2 tomatoes, skinned
1 bulb garlic
1. Heat up some oil in a pan. Sauté blended ingredients and cook with beef until tender, then add in asam and season to taste with salt and sugar.
2. Serve with lontong, ketupat, or rice.