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Cooking Malaysian dishes with Mom

<click on images for the recipe>
asam prawn recipe how to make pandan chicken how to make malaysian nasi lemak

One of the main goals I had when I returned home to Penang was to build a stronger relationship with my mom. And I realized that could only happen in the kitchen, because when she's not zipping around the morning market with her trolley every day, she's in the kitchen.  All day.

best penang asam laksa recipe how to cook chili crab recipe? how to make zongzi bak chang?

Mom is a master chef. If you ask her, she will deny it. But coming from a hawker’s family, cooking is her life. My grandparents ran a famous nasi lemak stall for a few decades in mainland Penang. After they retired, a few of my aunts ventured out with their own food business, but Mom prefers to keep her talent discreet, sharing it with only family and close friends. Her extensive menu ranges from Chinese herbal chicken soup, traditional pork dumpling (bak chang 粽子), Kapitan chicken curry, yam roll, asam laksa, her family's special  nasi lemak recipe, and so much more.

The creations start very early in the morning when Mom shops at the Air Itam Market for fresh vegetables, meats, and other ingredients, and continues in her kitchen until she carries out amazing dishes to the dining room table. A routine she has followed religiously for over 30 years. Indeed a long kitchen journey. Preparing food is her way of expressing her love to our family. It is her language.

asam prawn recipe how to make sambal belacan 

Surprisingly, she never allowed us to step into her kitchen, thinking that the chore was for someone of lower education. She stubbornly refused to accept that cooking is a talent. Only recently have I convinced her to pass the skills down to me and my sisters.

I will share Mom’s recipes here (and at Season with Spice), as well as a few of my own concoctions.

masala coffee espresso coffee ice cream satay curry chicken mint fennel ice cream
Find more of Mom's recipes on Capturing Penang:

9 comments:

debi said...

Reese,
I can't wait to see more!
All my cooking, fermenting and brewing is one of my ways of showering those close to me with love; I understand exactly how your mom feels in that respect.
My mom taught me basic cooking skills when I was young, but the hours and years of experimenting, creating and perfecting new dishes is what makes it an art and the creator an artist - I hope your mom will accept that about herself.
Creative cooking is no less of an art than painting or playing a musical instrument.
debi

Reese said...

Thanks for sharing your cooking journey, Debi.

I will continue to convince my mom that she is a creative cook. Some day she will accept it:) Oh, she has agreed to teach me one dish next week! Can't wait!

MayaKirana said...

Reese: Keep these dishes alive. I am trying to learn as many Toi Shan dishes from my aunts because that is our legacy, to be passed on. A food legacy is always a fabulous way to recount the memories. Am I glad I am not the sentimental one. Oh i enjoyed your twist to the 4th of July - SMURF yeah! Not many know what the Smurfs are haha.

Ping said...

Please share some of your mum's recipes! I would LOVE to try them. I also would love to spend some time in Penang and learn how to cook from our aunts. It is such a precious talent that might be lost because our generation has different priorities. I love food too much to pass that up!

Reese said...

Yes, we all play a part to keep our kitchen legacy alive. Imagine a new generation who only eats out all the time?!

Ping - I'll await your return for the cooking lessons with aunts. They will be excited!

Anonymous said...

oy! how about recipes for the fish dishes?

love your blog, btw.

Reese said...

Hi there,

Great question - stay tuned, I will share the fish recipes soon on our new food site "Season with Spice".

Thanks for saying hi.

Reese

Reese said...

Yes, we all play a part to keep our kitchen legacy alive. Imagine a new generation who only eats out all the time?!

Ping - I'll await your return for the cooking lessons with aunts. They will be excited!

debi said...

Reese,
I can't wait to see more!
All my cooking, fermenting and brewing is one of my ways of showering those close to me with love; I understand exactly how your mom feels in that respect.
My mom taught me basic cooking skills when I was young, but the hours and years of experimenting, creating and perfecting new dishes is what makes it an art and the creator an artist - I hope your mom will accept that about herself.
Creative cooking is no less of an art than painting or playing a musical instrument.
debi