307- Bring Malaysia home

By Lauren Gosnell

Malaysian food enjoys the best of many great influences. It borrows rice and noodles from China, curries from India, and lemongrass from Thailand.

If you’re keen to capture the same delicate balance of flavours at home, you may want to stop by Tin Yin Wholesale in Scarborough to pick up the same favourite ingredients that local Malaysian home cooks as well as restaurateurs use themselves.

Top of your list should be belachan – the secret behind so many great dishes like Restoran Malaysia’s Penang Rojak fruit salad.

Belachan is concentrated dried shrimp paste, usually sold in dense brick or cake shapes. Despite its pungency, this powerful flavour-intensifier brings out the sweetness in seafood, meats and vegetables - when used in small quantities.

It is the essential ingredient behind Malaysia’s favourite chilli condiment, sambal belachan.

One of the traditional ways to thicken up Malaysian curries and stews is to use ground roasted candlenuts. Candlenuts have a neutral flavour and hence they are ideal thickening agents for any dish. Note that candlenuts are not edible raw.

They have such high oil content that you can set them on fire to burn like candles.

matahari sagoTo make Malaysia’s delicious Sago Gula Melaka, you will need a packet of sago pearls. Made from the starch of the sago palm tree, sago is similar to tapioca in taste and texture.

Soak the pearls in water for a few hours before simmering them until they are transparent. The pearls are chewy and tasteless, a perfect complement to a palm sugar syrup bath and rich coconut cream topping.

One of the more subtle and versatile ingredients that is well worth considering is a batch of pandan leaves.

They add a bright green colour to desserts like the Matahari Grill’s pandan crêpes. They are also used extensively in rice and puddings to add a gentle leafy fragrance and mildly sweet taste similar to jasmine. Buy them frozen or in bottled essence form.

Tin Yin Spice Wholesale
63 Silver Star Blvd. #E9
Scarborough Ontario