Whenever I travel, I like to learn to make local cuisine from chefs or home cooks. Traveling, to me, is about immersing myself into a new culture, and the best way to experience it is through food.
But lately, I’ve been very fortunate to learn cooking from seasoned cook right in Malaysia. There’s so many dishes to be learned from all the different cultures in Malaysia. Today, I spend many hours with Atta, a 85 years old grandmother who still cook for her family. Here are some photos!
#1: Atta cooking
Atta is what the Indian calls their grandmother. She smiles all day! I’ve never seen a happier cook! Maybe that’s the secret to her good health – spiced food and a sunny disposition.
#2: Taking notes
Translating Atta’s ‘agak-agak’ (more or less) recipes into something measurable.
#3: Sardine cutlet
Sardine cutlet with heaps of spices: coriander leaves, ginger, cumin (jintan putih), anise (jintan manis) and turmeric paste.#4: Batu giling
How Atta makes her turmeric paste? With this granite grinding tool passed down from her mother. It’s 80 years old! I wish I have one…
We made acar too and keep in recycled jam and coffee bottles. So yum!
#6: Coconut machine
Atta has the coolest kitchen machines! This handmade machine from wood and metal is used to grind coconut flakes. I need one of this too. Too cute!
#7: Ate kalu
Atta teaching me how to use ate kalu, meaning grinding stone. You roll it around and push the flour back into the hole. It’s used to grind rice flour to make tosei and idli.
What I realise today? When I’m old, I want to still be fit enough to cook for family and friends, just like Atta. Atta’s family is so blessed to have her.