A Little History:
Around 10,000 years ago, the original Malay people – the Orang Asli - began to move down from South Western China. The Malay people were ethnically similar to the people of Sumatra, Java, and even the Philippines, and from time to time various South East Asian empires exerted control over all parts of the Malay Peninsula.
The Europeans (Dutch) arrived on the Malay Peninsula in the 17th century, establishing trading posts along the coasts. In the early 19th century, British colonized the area and gained control over the region for over 150 years. During World War II, the Japanese invaded, and occupied the area for 3 years until the end of the war. In 1948, the British-ruled territories on the Malay Peninsula (southern parts of Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and the Peninsular Malaysia) formed the Federation of Malaya, In 1957, after a decade of intense negotiations, it gained independence from Britain.
Malaysia itself was formed in 1963 when Singapore and the states of Sabah and Sarawak joined the Peninsular Malaysia Federation; Singapore left in 1965 to become a separate nation.
- Malaysia has the tallest twin towers in the world! KLCC, Petronas Twin Towers! With 450 metres tall and 88 floors.
- The oldest rainforest in the world, The Taman Negara National Park, is located in Malasia
- The oldest remains of modern man in Southeast Asia were found in a cave in Borneo.
- The Sarawak Chamber in Malaysia is the world’s largest underground cave. It is so big that it could easily hold 40 Boeing 747s.
- The king cobra, the world’s longest venomous snake is found in Malaysia in larger numbers than anywhere else in the world.
- Malaysians seldom call themselves Malaysians when they are in their own country. Inside Malaysia, they describe themselves as Chinese, Indians, Malays, or “Dan Lain Lain (others).”
The Recipe: (Serves 4)
Malaysian food has a history of incredible flavour combinations mixed with plenty of spices and marinades. This makes for a delicious meal, but as you can see below it is a complicated one to produce. Today we are going to be making a Malaysian chicken satay with peanut sauce accompanied with coconut rice. You will need a few special ingredients to make this happen. First you will need to find a malaysian grocer (any Asian grocer will probably do). While there, you will need to find Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce), lemongrass, tamarind paste and pandan leaves. You will also need to make use of a food processor for this recipe.Finally, you should prepare the chicken a day before hand to marinade, so make sure you plan acccordingly.
4 chicken legs and thighs (preferred) or 4 chicken breasts (boneless and skinless)
1 teaspoon coriander powder
2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
6 shallots (peeled)
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
4 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder (kunyit)
4 teaspoons of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
Bamboo skewers (soaked in water for 2 hours to avoid burning)
1 cucumber (skin peeled and cut into small pieces)
1 small onion (quartered)
Malaysian Satay Peanut Sauce Recipe
- 1 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar (palm sugar preferred)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon tamarind paste
- 6-8 dried red chilies (seeded and soaked in warm water)
3 cloves garlic
2 lemon grass (white parts only)
1 inch ginger (galangal preferred)
1 tablespoon coriander powder (optional)
- 2cups premium jasmine rice
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 2 Pandan leaves
Cut the chicken meat into small cubes. Grind the Spice Paste in a food processor. Add in a little water if needed. Marinate the chicken pieces with the spice paste for 10-12 hours
When this is just about done marinating….you can start working on the rice and the peanut sauce.
For the rice…wash the rice in the sink and then add all of the ingredients to your rice cooker. Stir through everything except the pandan and the cinnamon stick. Tie the pandan leaves in a knot and then put that and the cinnamon stick on the top. Cover and start cooking!.
To make the peanut sauce….Crush the peanuts coursely with mortar and pestle or mini food processor and set aside.
Chop the spice paste ingredients and blend in a food processor until fine.
Heat the oil for the peanut sauce and fry the spice paste until aromatic and smell spicy.
Add the peanuts, tamarind juice, water, sugar, sweet soy sauce and stir thoroughly. Simmer in low heat while continue stirring for about 3 minutes until the peanut sauce turns smooth.
At this time your chicken should be done and timed perfectly with the peanut sauce. Thread the meat onto the bamboo skewers and grill (oven or outdoor grill works). Doing this after making the sauce will give your sauce time to cool).
Grill them until they are cooked all the way through. (about 3-5 minutes per side depending on grill temperature).
Your rice should be done by now. Remove the cinnamon stick & the pandan leaves. To make it look really pretty, you can use a coffee mug or tea cup to shape the rice into a structure. (see picture below)
Chop the cucumber and onions and put on the side with the rice. Serve with the hot chicken skewers and the peanut sauce.
For tons of great info about Malaysian food and lots of recipies (including the one above) check out RasaMalasia.com