Every year, when the Hari Raya Puasa festive season rolls around, I would "shamelessly" solicit an invite to a Malay friend's home for lunch. Of course, it helps that I've got Malay bffs, so there's little need to be overtly shameless in soliciting a lunch invite.
I do this because any local foodie worth their weight in salt knows that nothing quite beats homecooked fare when it comes to Malay cuisine. While I may get my cravings satisfied at the restaurants at other times of the year, it's really at someone's nenek's place that you get the truly authentic Malay fare. The true-blue heritage recipes key to unparalleled Malay cuisine are all kept under lock and key and only shared within the family, so if you're lucky enough to score an invite to a Malay friend's home, you'd understand what I mean. The food is a significant notch above what you get at the best Malay restaurants outside.
This year, the Hubs and I were invited to a galfriend's home for lunch over the looooong weekend (oh isn't this the best weekend EVER??), and we had a ball of a time stuffing our faces with amazing food. We may have had to drive to the end of the island but it was totally worth it. I think I actually went back for fourths. Or fifths. Or maybe sixths...I lost count.
Our favourite dish was the Sambal Udang, fresh prawns (deshelled for convenience) fried in a mild oniony sambal. I must have wiped out half of this by myself.
The Ayam Masak Merah was another amazing dish. Tender, juicy chicken tossed in a deceptively bright red but mild sambal.
The best thing about the Beef Rendang was the rempah, thick and complex and an explosion of flavours. The brown paste was wonderful smeared over rice. Let me see if I can wrangle the recipe from my girlfriend's mom!
The Sambal Goreng, a typically vegetarian dish of beancurd and tempeh fried with sambal was livened with prawns.
The Ayam Tandoori, a North Indian-influenced chicken dish, was pretty good as well. Flavoursome, well-marinated chicken grilled to perfection.
A special mention must be given to the Rice here. Its fragrance hits you as soon as you lift the lid off the serving tray. Cardamon and star anise waft through the fluffy aromatic rice. I would have been happy with this and the rendang rempah. Best rice ever. No contest.
What's a Malay meal without Malay kuehs and cakes? Here, an assortment of layered cakes, all homemade and delicious, rounded off the awesome meal.
Hari Raya Puasa 2013
Courtesy of the Shazzy family