Exotic Malay Cuisine is an amalgamation of different Asian food cultures, including a prominent Indian influence. Putting all the right crackling and crunch together, Glasshouse at Hyatt Regency Mumbai, has come up with the Malaysian Food Festival. The festival called Rasa Malaysia is on till tomorrow, the 12th of February 2017. Chef Taripin bin Osip from Hyatt Regency Kinabalu is here in Mumbai and he presents his signature Malaysian menu, taking care of the authenticity in each dish.
On the first day of the festival, we were warmly greeted by Chef Taripin, Mr. Eldeen Husaini Mohd Hashim, Consul General Malaysia and Mr. Hafiz Hashim, Director Tourism Malaysia. The menu sounded great and I could smell fennel, coriander and cumin from a distance! As we settled down, chatting over Malay food culture, we were offered a mocktail called Madarin (a homemade specialty for this festival, made by Hyatt Regency Mumbai bartender Vishal Hariharan). It was light and sweet, made with tropical fruits such as pineapple, orange and lemongrass.
There were two kinds of soups in the buffet menu. The Sayur Kampur Soup (Mixed Vegetable and Tofu Soup) was liked by the vegetarians due to its mellow and comforting flavour. We tasted the Kambing Berempah (Spicy Mutton Soup), which was redolent of fennel, cumin and turmeric, and exuded a soulful meaty aroma. The mutton soup was the perfect start to a hearty Malaysian meal that followed soon!
The salads were light and interesting. While the sweet-n-sour Acar Mentah (Mixed Vegetable Pickle Salad) impress us with its freshness and tang, the Kerabu Ayam (Chicken with Grated Coconut) was on the drier side, but truly a standout in terms of flavour and texture.
Among the appetisers, we tasted the Sajur Goreng Kampur (Mixed Vegetable Fritters with Chilli Sauce), where julienned vegetables were dipped in a thick batter of wheat and light spices and deep-fried. Chef Taripin told us that the same fritters can be made with seafood by adding small shrimps to it. The next dish called Ulam-Ulam Sambal Belacon (Fresh Vegetables with Shrimp Paste) was rather simple. Steamed veggies like French beans, carrots and cabbage were served with freshly made Sambal Belacon sauce. The sauce was right down my alley and was very flavourful and very authentic. But those who don’t like the typical smell of fermented shrimp paste (Belacan) must try another sauce called Asam that is tamarind-based and very tasty. Another condiment that had a fish sauce base was very tasty, too, but some might find it a bit overpowering.
In the main course, I loved the Ikan Sambal (Fish Chilly) for its colour and sweet-n-sour flavour. The fish was perfectly moist and finger-licking good.
I wasn’t quite fond of Kavi Ayam (Chicken Curry), though it was cooked perfectly well. What I absolutely loved was the Kambing Korma (Mutton Korma). It had a smooth finish with tender mutton pieces that rested in a velvety gravy wonderfully balanced in spices.
The Labu Masak Lamak (Pumpkin with Coconut Milk) was interesting, too, and I loved the simple flavours in it. It was not as intense and spicy as a Thai Green Curry, but at the same time, added freshness to the palate with a good portion of vegetables simmered in coconut milk. The pumpkin in it could have been a bit firmer, though.
The Nasi Koning (Yellow Rice Cooked with Coconut) was wonderfully aromatic and beautifully made. The grains of rice were cooked perfectly and the flavour was just perfect to team up with a spicy Malaysian meat dish. On the other hand, the Mee Mamak (Malaysian Fried Noodles) didn’t impress me. It lacked that punch of flavour which I was expecting in the dish.
We tried the Satay Kambing and Satay Ayam (Lamb Satay and Chicken Satay) from the live counter, which came with the peanut sauce. Both the satays were well-cooked and tasted satisfactory.
When it comes to feeding Asian desserts to an Indian, that’s where the real test lies. Chef Taripin made a wonderful attempt to showcase Malaysian desserts and these were truly very authentic in flavour. The Kuih Dadar Gulung (Pancakes Stuffed with Grated Coconut and Palm Sugar) was a hit among the diners, and I had to specially order a few more as it was all wiped out from the buffet table.
The Kuih Jimput (Malaysian Deep Fried Banana Fritters) tasted yum with the caramel and chocolate sauces. However, the Wajit (Glutinous Rice Cooked in Coconut Milk and Palm Sugar) was very lightly sweet to the Indian palate, though I am sure, the foreigners would prefer this mildly sweet dessert over the others. Although I was not fond of Wajit, I did like the Bubur Kacang Hijau (Green Bean Coconut Pudding) because of the combination of soft green beans and coconut. I must thank Chef Taripin for introducing me to Bubur Kacang Hijau, as it was one of those very few Asian desserts that I would love to try again!
So if you are game for exotic Malaysian delicacies, you don’t have to fly down to Malaysia. The Malaysian Festival at Glasshouse, Hyatt Regency Mumbai, will make sure that you taste some truly authentic Malaysian flavours right here in Mumbai. The festival is on only till tomorrow, the 12th of February.
In addition to these dishes, do try the Sotong Masak Kicap (Squids with soya sauce), Nasi Goreng Kampung (Malaysian fried rice) and of course, the Mee Goreng (Malay-style fried noodles) for sure. For reservations, call 9930961709 or 022-66961624 or visit the Hyatt Regency Mumbai website. The festival is on till tomorrow.