If you’ve followed along on past blog post, you are very familiar with the fact that I am learning to cook and I enjoy cooking in the evenings with Mr. B. When my best friend Rebecca came to stay with us here in South Korea we took a Korean cooking class that left me with a burning desire to take more. Before heading to Malaysia I did some research online and found Ana Abdullah’s LaZat Malaysian Cooking Classes later to find out that it was located only a stone throw away from our friend Luis’s home. Even better!
I talked Mr. B into trying out a class to see what he thought. I will be frank, Mr. B wasn’t over the moon about the idea, but decided he would at least try it out and decide from there. I hoped this wasn’t going to be his first and last experience. I printed out the list of various course offered on certain days, we picked and reserved conveniently online.
By the next morning I had a confirmation e-mail with all of the details confirming our reservations to the cooking class. I was really excited to not only taste Malaysian cuisine, but to learn to cook it too! The website described Malaysian cuisine as a unique fusion of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Baba-Nonya flavors. My mouth was already drooling!
Day four came early after our fantastic night out on the town. At 8:30am we were to meet a women named Sue from LaZat at a nearby market. Once we arrived we then met up with the rest of the group that also reserved a spot for the class that day. In total there were 8 of us, not too big and not too small, just perfect size for our class. Our group was a wonderful mix of personalities. Two Aussies, two French women, two Sri Lankan men, and we Bees.
We toured around the Marketplace that we met at and were taken to various local marketplace stands that the cooking school uses to purchase all of their meat and produce from for the school. I wondered if we’d be bored by this tour because of all of the open marketplaces that we go to in S.Korea, however we were both pleasantly surprised and really intrigued with Sue’s explanation of ingredients. The most intriguing items were black eggs, black chickens that not only have black feathers but their skin, meat and bones are black too, a fresh coconut milk stand that processed in front of us, curries, various parts for sale from a goat, beautiful looking fresh fish, bread as thin as a crepes being made in front of us, and all the organic Malaysian produce that we cannot get in S.Korea or the states.
After the market tour we headed to LaZat. Mr. B rode in the school van and I rode with Sue alone in her car. Sue shared all sorts of interesting things with me about Malaysia, the cooking school, the marketplace and the Muslim culture.
When I arrived at the school I immediately felt at such peace with the property where the school sits on. It literally reminded me of a hillside that they carved out of the jungle and plopped their school on. Well.. to get all technical, that is what they did. Anyways it was so lush and green and the neighboring homes were built very open as well. While we were there we witnessed a monkey just climbing on into one of the homes. Could you imagine? I guess if you lived there that would pretty much be the norm and not as much of a giggle as we had.
Okay, okay…onto the cooking. The cooking space was open and exposed to the outside so it made it very bright and airy. It was Tuesday and on Tuesday’s they offer the Malay classic scheduled from 8:30am-2:00pm. On the menu was Kueh Cara Berlauk savory Meat Filled Cups, Sambal Tumis udang prawn in Sambal Sauce, Nasi Lemak rice in coconut milk, and Sago Gula Melaka sago Pudding With palm sugar. We really didn’t know what we were getting into when we booked this specific class. We saw the words meat cups, savory, and sweets and basically were sold.
HA-HA. Below is a more detailed description from the LaZat website because I am sure you are curious.
“Nasi Lemak – rice cooked in coconut milk (santan) served with sliced boiled egg, peanuts, cucumber and sambal sauce. Regarded as the national dish by all Malaysians.
Sambal – chilli paste mixed with shallots, garlic and added to prawns and other ingredients eg anchovies (ikan bilis).”
We cooked all of the meal in Wok or Kuali, a steel or brass pot. It was different because there wasn’t the standard pot handle that I am used to holding when I am string around my ingredients. We had to use another tool that reminded me of a clamp to keep the brass pot over the flame and sturdy while we’d mix what we needed to. We were advised right away not to touch these brass pots with our hands or fingers or we’d be in for a rude awaking. It’s such a habit to hold onto a handle, but thankfully we did it without any war stories to report back.
The class was led by a mix of Sue and Saadiah. Saadiah was a real pistol too! (She’s the one that requested the silly photos below). Saadiah would demonstrate what we’d be cooking first with the group, we get to taste it and see what it should resemble, then we’d all go back to our stations and prepare it of course with her assistance if needed. The entire class set up and timing was perfect!
What do you think of our results? Not to toot our own horn, but beep beep… HA-HA! Luis gave us his stamp of approval when he picked us up from the class and we greeted him with our packaged up malay goodies. All joking aside, we highly recommend taking a class or two if you find yourself in Kuala Lumpur.