Kitchen Tips

Indian Ingredients In Malaysian Indian Cuisine

Malaysian Indian cuisine is a blend of Indian recipes and local Malaysian ingredients. Traditional Indian dishes use many ingredients, and spices are a quintessential element of it. They do not necessarily add ‘hotness’ to the dish but they mainly add a lot of flavor and aroma. The cuisine uses a lovely blend of dry and fresh spices. Some popular Indian ingredients in Malaysian Indian Cuisine are:

1.  Dry spices such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, cumin, pepper, turmeric, coriander seeds bay leaves and mace. The other fresh spices used are ginger, garlic and onions.

Spices and aromatics - Indian Malaysian food

Image Courtesy: Kevin O’Mara used under the Creative Commons Licence

2.  Fresh leaves of coriander, mint and curry leaves are the other ingredients which are used extensively in Malaysian Indian dishes. Just like the many sauces that are used prepare Malaysian dishes, Indian cuisine uses a blend of powders to add flavor.

3.  Garam masala: Literally meaning hot blend of spice the Garam Masala is used in many South Asian gravies, especially while cooking beef and chicken. The masala is a blend of peppercorns, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Since the garam masala includes a lot is spices, it is usually made before hand and stored in airtight containers

Garam Masala-Indian ingredients in Indian Malaysian Cuisine

Image Courtesy: erik forsberg used under the Creative Commons Licence

4. Sambar powder – Sambar is a curry made of lentils, vegetables and tamarind pulp. The main ingredient which adds the flavour to the dish is a blend of dry red chillies, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, and a variety lentils which is otherwise known as sambar powder. This blend again can be made in advance and stored. Sambar is also one of the most important curries in the traditional banana leaf meal.

5. Tamarind – Although less used in North Indian dishes, South Indian dishes such as rasam, sambar, chutney and various other curries use tamarind pulp to add a punch of tang to the dish. Tamarind chilly beef and tamarind prawn are some of popular Asian dishes.

Tamarind-Indian ingredients in Indian Malaysian Cuisine

Image Courtesy: Malcolm Smith used under the Creative Commons Licence

6. Coconut – Be it coconut oil, coconut milk or the flesh of coconut – every element of this fruit is used for cooking purposes is Malaysian Indian cuisine.  Along with flavor they also add a distinct texture to the dish. They are also used to prepare some of Malaysia’s favorite coconut desserts.

If you have these six cooking ingredients in your Asian kitchen, then you have everything you need to cook a great Malaysian Indian meal.

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