Rarely does a book make me salivate so quickly, so that’s always a good sign. Inspired by his mother Norman Musa has put together a collection of recipes from his Malaysian homeland evoking personal memories as well as anecdotes from his childhood. It seems everyone and their uncle has a cook book out these days, so separating the wheat from the chaff is harder to do than ever before, but Musa’s recipes ensure his book is definitely more ‘wheat’ than ‘chaff’.
It features well-known classic Malay dishes like beef Rendang, as well as the lesser known street-food favourites like ‘Cucur udang’ – delicious prawn and chive fritters with peanut sauce - as well as the infamous Roti Canai breads that are sold everywhere in Malaysia. There are also lots of lovely fish dishes and lighter meals using more subtle flavours to suit all palates, along with plenty of tempting dessert recipes to boot. Along with page after page of vibrant photography, there is an incredibly useful key ingredient guide that shows some of the most commonly used ingredients in Malaysian cookery, most of which are readily available in our supermarkets.
The book has a little of something for everyone and the recipes read very easily and are incredibly simple to follow, so even the less competent cook can broaden their culinary horizons and create something really delicious and authentic, without too much stress or effort. The book has a real warmth about it, fusing memories and nostalgia of Musa’s childhood with recipes and plenty of images to keep you hooked page after page. I think we Brits were in need of a good Malaysian cook book, with hearty recipes and in some cases, the lesser known and more authentic than your average Satay – and this wonderfully unpretentious book does the job beautifully and makes a welcome kitchen companion for any household.
Ning restaurant is located in Manchester and if the book’s recipes are anything to go by, then lucky old Manchester.
The Burton Building, 92-94 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter
Manchester M4 1LJ