Malaysian cuisine has a special place in my heart, I spent my early years growing up in a tiny little village in eastern Sabah and foods like satay and nasi lemak were commonplace. A few months ago, I was so delighted to find Wild Serai – a Malaysian power couple dedicated to taking their cuisine further and bringing all my early memories flooding back.
Whenever nasi lemak is mentioned in my house, it brings back memories of my sister who at the age of 5 spent 50 cents every day on Nasi lemak for lunch at her school; it bought her nothing more than a bit of rice, some anchovies, peanuts and a bit of curry, but she was happy. So in celebration of Malaysia’s Merdeka day (Independence day), we went over to the Wild Serai residence to celebrate Malaysia’s all time favourite national dish – Nasi Lemak.
We started off with their now legendary cocktails – this time a rose infused concoction which had us all chatting merrily and comparing tales of our best ever Malaysian food and I found myself sharing tales of the best meal I’d ever had – the Chilli crab feast extravaganza!
Nibbles came first, Keropok (Prawn crackers) to dunk in gooey sticky sweet chilli sauce and Tofu Bakar, stuffed tofu served with a spicy peanut sauce, not dissimilar to satay sauce. Truthfully, I didn’t love the Tofu, I thought it needed to be hotter and with more punch than the sauce delivered on its own. Perhaps I knew what was to come and refrained from getting too carried away.
For a really nice authentic touch, they brought out banana leaves so we can eat our Nasi lemak against a background of bright green. Fluffy coconut rice served with Rendang, King brawn sambal, nyonya fried chicken and belachan, garnished with slices of hard boiled egg, crispy dried anchovies (Ikan bilis) and peanuts.
I admit to having a secret fondness for KFC (shameful really), but one I would never normally indulge so when the nyonya fried chicken arrives, it’s a bit of heaven on earth. Chicken marinated in a galangal, garlic, shrimp & chilli paste and then double fried for extra crispiness. We won’t talk about the calorie count on this one I think, but judging by the total stunned silence that descends on the group, nobody is in the mood to chat with chicken like this around.
There’s Sambal Prawns and Kang Kong Belachan, which I’ve mentioned before and these are just as gorgeous as I remember. These prawns are positively enormous and drowning in spicy sambal, it goes perfectly with the equally zingy but complementary Kang Kong (Water Spinach) cooked in Belachan, a strong smelling shrimp paste.
The rendang packs a punch, these guys know what they’re doing. Even when Yolanda confesses to having used the wrong quantity of peppercorns in the recipe, making it much spicier than anticipated, it’s still WOW. It’s slow cooking, but taking it to a whole new level.
Ridiculously ridiculously full, but there is more to come. Perfectly moist and rich little squares of Nyonya kuih to pop in the mouth and wash down with Chendol, coconut milk poured over shaved ice, palm sugar syrup and get this, Yolanda has actually made at home the chendol jelly – the little green worms you see lurking under the ice.
Teh tarik – Malaysian pulled tea rounds the meal off nicely, pulled to give it a lovely sort of light frothy air.
Do you want to know how you can be a part of this action? Check out Edible Experiences where you can find out all that Wild Serai have on offer, get in there before they get big!