Keep It Fresh This Raya With These Local Ingredients

May 21, 2018 | Recipes

This month, expect to see some of the freshest local ingredients in Village Grocer. With these ingredients grown right at home, we’ll show you how to make nutritious and authentically Malaysian meals to break fast during Ramadhan.

Banana Blossom (Jantung Pisang)
The banana blossom or jantung pisang as it is commonly known here is high in antioxidants and can be enjoyed as a salad or with rice as a curry. But what is a banana blossom exactly? It is the banana plant’s flower that hangs at the end of a cluster of bananas. Interesting how it became a savoury delicacy!

Locally there are a number of ways to eat a banana blossom but it is more commonly prepared as a salad that we know as Kerabu Jantung Pisang. This dish is prepared with prawns, coconut, and of course banana blossom. Other dishes include sambal jantung pisang which is eaten with rice and banana blossom fritters.

When cooking with banana blossom, do take note that they oxidise very fast so it is best to cook it the same day you chop it. Using oxidised banana blossom can sometimes result in a bitter tasting dish.

A way around this is to dip your banana blossom in lime juice or boil them before chopping them up.

Pandan Leaves
The beloved and versatile pandan leaf is one of the most widely used ingredients in Malaysian households. This herb emits a fragrance that is a cross between vanilla and rose and because of that you can even find people using it as a car freshener!

In the kitchen, the pandan leaf has found its place in beverages, rice, fried chicken, and even cakes for the added aroma and flavour. You quite literally could have a whole meal centered around this ingredient.

There are several ways for you to try out pandan leaves in your cooking. When cooking rice or even nasi lemak, tie small pieces of the leaf and put it into the rice before cooking. This will give you amazingly aromatic rice. To go along with the rice, wrap some marinated chicken in pandan leaves and deep fry. Serve it as a starter with sweet chilli sauce or together with your main dish.

 

Turmeric Roots (Akar Kunyit)
Unlike the pandan leaf, the turmeric roots is all about the simple flavour that it lends to a dish. A local favourite featuring turmeric roots is ayam masak lemak cili api. It’s an aromatic mix of onions, chillies, coconut milk, chicken, and turmeric roots. The flavour is subtle but its presence is clear after it colours the coconut milk a bright yellow.

Give it a go at home by marinating fish or chicken with turmeric roots and powder and salt. Put it aside for an hour allowing the turmeric flavour to seep into the meat. After that, go ahead and stir fry or deep fry the meat to perfection.

 

Torch Ginger Flower (Bunga Kantan)
Known as one of the most beautiful and edible flowers, the torch ginger flower can be found growing in Malaysian rainforests. Many people use it in their laksas and seafood dishes which gives the dish a pungent but very pleasant flavour.

It is important to note that not the whole flower is edible. Peel off the hard outer petals and use the tender red petals to zest up your meals!

Try it out at home by frying some noodles and adding some chopped torch ginger flower into the ingredients. You’ll also be pleased to know that the torch ginger flower is high in antioxidants and antibacterial properties.

 

Lemongrass (Serai)
Lemongrass is another ingredient that is extremely popular in Malaysian cooking. When cooked, the lemongrass emits a lemony fragrance and gives the dish a refreshing twist. Apart from that, lemongrass is great for digestion and has the ability to boost your metabolism when consumed regularly in moderation.

A lot of Malay dishes like rendang, sambal, and curry are prepared with lemongrass together with other herbs and spices for intense flavours. It is also not uncommon to have tea or water infused with lemongrass. Imagine having a cup of that on a hot day!

Try out some lemongrass at home by crushing a few and adding them into soups or thinly chop them up as an addition to marinate steamed fish dishes.

Want to give some of these dishes a shot at home? Head over to your nearest Village Grocer as we’ll have them ready and freshly packed for you all this month for Ramadhan!

Keep it fresh,
Your friendly neighbourhood grocer.

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