I recently chance upon an article about how food based travel has become all the rage. I also read that a growing trend in culinary travel is that foodies are no longer content to just dine and taste the food of great chefs. They are now more than ever also interested at what happens behind and see how a particular dish is made. Some star chefs from different parts of the world have embraced this phenomenon by opening up their kitchens and homes to foodies in search of such knowledge. For a foodie like myself, culinary travel offers a great way to experience a new country and its cultures.
And in Malaysia, we are truly blessed with many different cultures which can be very exciting for culinary fans. The interaction between the country’s diverse ethnic groups over time blended with the influences of several colonial powers in the past, has resulted in a limitless array of local dishes. It has been said that one can have a different style of food every day for a year and still not eat the same meal twice. While they can be wonderfully delicious, these can also be a little bewildering for visitors or inexperience local cooks alike.
Enters the great Rohani Jelani, a woman of many titles: food writer/recipe consultant/food stylist/celebrity chef/food historian/cooking teacher/innkeeper and super mum, to help make sense of it all. Those lucky enough to find themselves at her cooking classes get to experience first hand the joy of creating authentic Malaysian specialties in a bright, spacious, relaxed and enjoyable environment. This Cordon Bleu trained chef who has never lost her roots in Malaysian cooking has been helping many visitors, for well over a decade, to unravel the mystery of local cuisine in her very own kitchen. She teaches how to use simple ingredients from her garden to recreate a few rustic dishes which are increasingly rare to find outside a traditional Malay kitchen.
Together with a few other food bloggers, Babe_KL, Lyrical Lemongrass, Audrey Cooks, PureGlutton, Jom Makan! and my man-date, Fatboybakes, we were invited to learn the secrets to making an authentic Malay provincial-styled meal in Rohani’s Kampung Cuisine class. I was happy to learn that my favourite dishes like Ayam Percik (Grilled Spiced Chicken) and Masak Lemak Udang dengan Nenas (Prawn and Pineapple Curry) can be made so easily and the recipes are so adaptable. With our talents combined, we made a full-on lunch comprising of well-loved recipes:
Nasi Kerabu (Mixed Herbal Rice Salad)
Ayam Percik (Grilled Spiced Chicken)
Masak Lemak Udang Dengan Nenas (Prawn and Pineapple Curry)
Kerabu Jantung Pisang (Banana Flower Salad)
Masak Air Cekur Manis dengan Labu (Green Vegetable and Pumpkin Soup)
Onde-Onde (Glutinous Rice Balls filled with Palm Sugar)
I would truly recommend a stay at the charming Bayan Indah and to attend one of Rohani’s half-day cooking classes to anyone who’s visiting Kuala Lumpur. Who would have thought that this lil piece of heaven is only located some 20 minutes away from the city centre. I’m sure you’d agree too after seeing the pictures below.
Thank you to Li-Hsian organising this wonderful outing and to warm and bubbly Rohani, thanks for graciously hosting and teaching us so much.
No. 3342, Kampung Palimbayan Indah,
Tel: +603-7729 0122
Visit www.bayanindah.com for more information and rates
Cooking class information and schedule can be obtained from www.rohanijelani.com
Or follow Rohani’s thoughts and writing on her blog http://bayanindah.posterous.com/