I am from Malaysia and am living in Australia now.
I learned some cooking with my mother, and for Malay food I learned with Malay friends. I am a Hindu, but our community in Malaysia cook Malay food – we all cook for each other. Sometimes my family and my friends call to say that they all miss my food.
I have a lot of memories of cooking in Malaysia. I started when I was young, when I was 13. I was cooking curries, noodles, and making a lot of food for everyone.
I always use more spice than other people. I use lots of lemongrass, galangal, chili and fresh turmeric; always fresh, never dried.
I left Malaysia after significant struggles, including with my ex-husband. As a refugee, I’ve already been here for 4 years. I’m still waiting for my letter for permanent residence.
The ASRC helped me when I first arrived, including helping me find a job at ASRCCatering. I started off as a kitchen hand. Now, after a promotion, I’m a cook team leader. Maybe in the future, I’m going to be a chef. I’m ready to study for my Certificate 3 in Commercial Cookery. I’m proud to work here, and hope to continue here when I’m a chef.
Of course I miss eating my favourite foods in Malaysia. I miss Roti Jala with Chicken Curry, and Apam Balik pancake, these are my favourite foods. There are a lot of delicious dishes. Another one of my favourites is Chicken Rendang, it’s my signature dish. Here at ASRC Catering we have Chicken Rendang and a Vegetarian Rendang option using soy meat and tofu, both are my recipes - I’m so proud of that.
As well as preparing dishes from my country, I have learned about cuisines from all over the world from others in the ASRC community – Eritrean food, Vietnamese food, Afghan food... I have learned from many of my colleagues. Food is a great way to share together and learn about the homes and cultures we have all come from before finding our new homes in Australia.
When I cook, I always cook with love. Cooking is also my way of showing people love. I hope you enjoy cooking my Malaysian menu for the people you love.
Stuffed Tofu with Sweet Chilli
Complexity ⭐⭐ (Complex)
Ghee Rice with Chicken in Spicy Tomato Sauce with Cucumber Pickle
Complexity ⭐⭐⭐ (Complex)
- 1 inch fresh galangal (can be found in Asian grocery stores and selected supermarkets)
- 1 inch fresh turmeric
½ inch fresh ginger
- 8 chicken drumsticks (skin on) or 750 gm cubed tofu
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Register to discover the full list
Mung Bean and Coconut dessert
Complexity ⭐⭐⭐ (Complex)
Rose Syrup Drink
About Harchana’s Recipes
For my menu I have cooked with traditional Malaysian flavours.
To start, I have prepared Tauhu Sumbat with fried tofu, carrot, bean shoots, cucumber and sweet chilli. This dish is very popular and is served at parties as an appetiser or as a snack. For mains, there is Ghee Rice and a Malaysian traditional dish, Ayam Masak Merah – this is like a chicken sambal.
I’ve also made a carrot cucumber pickle, with onion and garlic. When Malay people cook traditional food, they all always add galangal and turmeric - always fresh, never dried. We also use pandan leaf, and of course ginger, garlic, onion and dried chilli.
To drink we have rose syrup milk, Ais Bandung. It is very refreshing and Malay people like to enjoy this very cold, because the weather is hot.
And then for dessert, there is Bubur Kacang Hijau, mung bean pudding with coconut cream. This is a popular dessert and has coconut and pandan flavour, you need to tie a knot in the pandan leaves to get more flavour.