Each month, we explore a new restaurant trend – key ingredients, dishes and drinks to go with them. This month, Adam Abdullah, owner of Malaysian-chinese restaurant Zheng in London’s Chelsea, explains what you need to know (zhengchelsea.co.uk).
Nasi Lemak is Malaysia’s national dish, which combines many ingredients essential to Malaysian cuisine. Rice is steamed in coconut milk then served with sambal belacan (a popular relish, made of shrimp paste blended with chillies, shalots and lime juice), egg, cucumber, ikan bilis (dried anchovies – we get them directly from Malaysia but you can buy them here in Asian supermarkets) and peanuts. Nasi Lemak is popular at any time of the day, even for breakfast. At Zheng we serve it with rendang Chicken (slowcooked chicken with a coconut-based spicy sauce). Satay skewers Satay is probably the best-known Malaysian dish, at Zheng we pound the peanuts by hand to make the sweet sauce and serve it with chargrilled marinated skewers of chicken, beef or tofu. Chai pu tofu is a perfect example of the eclectic influences in Malaysian cuisine, we serve freshly made tofu with dried radish, chilli and spring onions. Crispy cereal king prawns, fried prawns in a crispy oat cereal coating topped with curry leaves, is another very popular dish. Curry leaves were originally brought over by Indian immigrants, and are now often used in Malaysian cuisine for their fragrance.
Bubur hitem A traditional Malaysian dessert made of black rice porridge cooked in coconut milk. Sagu Melaka Another classic dessert of tapioca pearls served with palm sugar syrup and evaporated milk. Unrefined palm sugar (gula melaka) is the most popular sweetener in Malaysia, with a rich caramel flavour and hint of coconut.
Malaysianchinese food at Zheng restaurant