Malaysian cooking regularly uses many herbs and spices that you may not be familiar with. Here are some of the unique ingredients that we use.
- Screw Pine Leaves or Pandan Leaves – These leaves look like long, thick blades of grass and are used in many dishes in Malay and Thai cuisine. They impart a wonderful herbal flavor and aroma to rice.
- Galangal – This root looks like ginger but is smaller, harder and yellow inside. It adds a spicy, pine-like flavor to dishes.
- Tamarind – Tamarind are beans that grow in a long brown pod. Tamarind has a sour flavour to give a dish tartness instead of lemon or vinegar.
- Turmuric – In the West, turmuric is used more as a yellow colouring for mustard than as a spice. In Malaysian cuisine turmeric is used as a spice, especially for coating fried fish.
- Sambal – Sambal is a staple condiment found on every Malaysian table in the home or restaurant. It is a combination of Asian red chilies and shrimp paste. Used as a condiment, add as little or as much as you like to spice up your dish.