Cooking with Nazlina – George Town – Markets morning

Lots of photos – of stuff at the markets mainly.  Might make you hungry.

I booked a cookery class with Nazlina Pickles & Spice having read good reviews (and if she’s good enough for John Torode, then she’s good enough for me – he has just done a 10part cookery programme about Malaysia, and visited Nazlina – apparently). It was a 730am start, and luckily a 2min walk for me, and we were directly overlooking Campbell Street Market, and the Roti Chennai man who’d be supplying breakfast.

Over cups of tea and coffee the 10 of us learning about Malaysian got to wake up a bit, and hear about the day ahead and then got stuck into our Roti Chennai – oh yum.  Then we were off to the market across the road.

The market had more going on outside than in, with only a 5th of it still in use with traders so we got to see the fresh tofu lady, the beansprout man, and the fruit and veg man (and all their wares).  Fresh curry paste man wasn’t there but he left his big buckets of various pastes out for us to peruse.

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Tofu, tofu – as far as the eye can see.

Outside we met the guys who produce fresh coconut milk every day – up at 2am to crack their nuts for 12hrs – that takes dedication.

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Coconuts – obvs.

I’ll skip over the chicken slaughter next to the coconut man and the resulting smell.

We headed off down to Pasar Chowasta, which was heaving en route in comparison to Campbell Street Market.  Stalls selling Nian Gao, glutenous rice that is pounded into a paste, veggies, fruit, fresh fish, dried meats, fresh jellyfish(!), and day to day market wares.

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Nian Gao – a popular gift item during the New Year period

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Edible jellyfish
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Daikon radish and tapioca

Inside the market itself it was cooler and here we tried candied nutmeg whilst Peter filled us in on the history of nutmeg, which the East India Company brought to the island having wrested control of the Indonesian islands that it came from from the Dutch East India Company back in the late 1600s. Tasting it, and later the nutmeg juice that is sold over Penang it became readily apparent that it tasted like flat cola, and must be an ingredient in it!

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Fresh nutmegs. The red round thing middle, far left is the mace that surrounds the nutmeg seed. Seed is next to it – looks like a black grape.

We collected the beef we needed for the rendang being made later, and headed back out where we saw the fish bladders and the stall of the  man who hand makes popiah skins aka spring roll wraps (he was taking the day off for Chinese New Year but I saw them being made a couple of days later) and back into the heat for a small breakfast snack of Ban Chang Kueh – pancakes stuffed with sugar and peanuts.  Watching the guy monitoring his 6 heated plates, lifting lids, adding ingredients, removing the final product was like watching a maestro at work – brilliant, and the results were fantastic too. There’s a vi-dayo on instagram here.

Pancake inhaled and the warmth of day starting to make everyone ‘glow’, we headed back to Nazlina’s with our haul of beef and various veggies for the cooking to begin – hurray!!!

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