Southeast Asia is home to some of the best cuisines in the world, and the food is relatively simple to cook up at home. In this editorial series, we bring you video tutorials and recipes on how to cook some Southeast Asian food at home.
Ramadan is almost over, and Hari Raya Aidilfitri is just around the corner. Whether you’re planning a family Raya dinner or if you just want to get into the spirit of things and celebrate this festive season with the whole country, here are some Raya staples that you might like to try whipping up in your own kitchen.
1. Nasi impit (compressed rice)
When you see Hari Raya decorations, do you notice the woven boxes hanging in bunches? That’s styled on ketupat, a traditional dish of rice cooked in a square case woven out of palm leaves. Decorative ketupats are made with ribbons, of course.
The shortcut to making ketupat, especially if you can’t get the hang of weaving the casings, is by making nasi impit instead. It tastes slightly different, but serves the same purpose.
Nyonya Cooking on Youtube has an easy tutorial you can follow:
2. Rendang daging (beef rendang)
Rendang daging is a staple at any Hari Raya open house in Malaysia. Usually made with beef, this dish requires lots of care and patience; you need to coax the flavours out of the many spices and cook it over a low heat to ensure that the beef turns out tender. The marriage of spices, lemongrass, lime leaves, and beef makes for a scrumptious accompaniment to nasi impit.
Most families have their own tried and tested recipe, all of them delicious. Here’s a recipe and tutorial from the Roti n Rice Youtube Channel, which you can follow at home to impress your friends and family this Raya:
3. Soto ayam (spicy chicken soup)
This spicy chicken soup dish originates from Indonesia and has, over time, become a popular dish served during Hari Raya in Malaysia. You can enjoy soto with either vermicelli or nasi impit, or if you’re trying to cut down on carbs, just as a soup on its own.
Preparation takes time and may seem daunting for just a bowl of soup, but trust me, it’s worth it. Check out the recipe and tutorial by Youtube’s Flavours of Asia here:
4. Pulut inti (glutinous rice with coconut)
Let’s start moving on from main dishes to snacks and small bites. Pulut inti is a small packet of glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk and topped with sweetened grated coconut.
Pulut inti makes a great a tea time snack, so this is perfect for those times when you have visitors throughout the day and it’s too early for dinner but too late for lunch.
Flavours of Asia has a quick and easy video for this recipe:
5. Tepung pelita (water chestnut snack)
Also known as kuih tako, this is a traditional kuih, or snack, that is a winning combination of sweet and savoury. Tepung pelita is very popular during this season and can be found in many Ramadan bazaars. Suitably, they sell like hot cakes. If you serve these up during Raya, they are guaranteed to be a hit.
6. Bubur pulut hitam (black rice pudding)
In case you haven’t already noticed, pulut means glutinous rice. So this pudding is made out of unpolished grains of glutinous rice which are actually a very dark purple. The rice is cooked in coconut milk and flavoured with pandan and palm sugar, staple Malaysian ingredients.
This dessert is an interesting conversation starter and you can make your own by following this tutorial by UK Masterchef, Ping Coombes on the MalaysianKitchenUK Youtube channel:
7. Teh Tarik (pulled tea)
Obviously, teh tarik is a must-try in Malaysia all year long. This isn’t specifically a traditional Hari Raya dish but tea is quite commonly served to guests in many Malaysian households.
So why not take it up a notch for Raya and serve up some teh tarik?! Be careful though, hot tea splatters quite a bit when being ‘pulled’ or moved from one container to another.
Here’s a short tutorial by Nyonya Cooking on how to make this typical Malaysian drink:
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