This entire week we’ve been sharing some Asian-inspired dishes. I say Asian inspired because, well, you know me.
I’m a minimalist by nature and prefer to keep my kitchen and cooking simple. I don’t tend to use a lot of seasonings because I don’t have the cabinet space to house bottles that I won’t use often; plus I feel like we can create an array of delicious dishes using mostly things that can be grown locally: garlic, onions, fresh herbs. So oftentimes my meals are inspired by another culture but still very deeply dependent on Virginia.
But then, we finally met another family of foodies and they introduced us to a type of cooking that was completely the opposite of ours: tons of different spices and seasonings, lots of juxtapositions of techniques and flavors. I’m certainly not ready to throw in the towel of my old ways, but we did decide to venture out a little bit today.
Today’s dish was inspired by Malaysia. It’s tricky, because when I started researching Malaysian Cuisine I found out this:
Malay cuisine bears many similarities to Indonesian cuisine, in particular some of the regional traditions from Sumatra. It has also been influenced by Chinese, Indian, Thai and many other cultures throughout history, producing a distinct cuisine of their own. Some regional Malay dishes, such as arisaand kacang pool, are examples of influence from Arab cuisine due to longstanding historical and religious ties. [Source]
Okay, well, I actually found a great reference over at Malaysia Kitchen for the World. My husband and I scoured over the recipes and picked the ones that seemed simple and minimal. We were kind of blown away with the end result and collectively decided that we’d be using these elements much more in our cooking.
To start with was Coconut Rice.
We really kept this one simple, with Jasmine rice, some raw sugar, coconut milk and a bit of salt. It was sweet and flavorful, but the rice flavor still shone through. It was still very adaptable to sauces– which is a good thing, since we topped it with Curry Shrimp. The coconut flavor and the curry together created this complex flavor that we both adored.