Malaysians live on spicy food and diners are constantly looking for dishes that satisfy their palette and cravings for the heat. Most of diners can’t bear the thought of living without some kick on the tongue and believe it or not some spicy dishes are able to help with the release of hormones responsible for the feeling of pleasure.
Malaysian dishes are heavily influenced by the major ethnics in the country, Malay, Indian and Chinese. Malay cooking particularly tends to be aromatic, stronger in flavors and spicy which are commonly derived from the use of chili, lemongrass, galangal, ginger, and shallots. The Indian cuisine however is more skewed towards finding the balance and harmony in the flavors of curry, turmeric, coriander, cumin and more.
In a country that is already familiar with fusion dishes, spicy flavors is also no longer a stranger in the Western cuisine scene. Here are 3 ingredients that can be used in western kitchen to produce western dishes with a spicy kick that will keep your local guests coming back for more.
Chili flakes is a type of crushed dried chilies that people have long used on their food to add a little bit of spicy flavors. These flakes are very easy to obtain and use and very common to top pizza, pasta, roasted vegetables, and stew. The spicy flavors from the flakes can get more intense should liquid absorption happen. Albeit this ingredient being a staple in the restaurant kitchens, it is also not widely known that roasting chili flakes before using it can tone down the sharp flavor of the chili while keeping the heat heavenly to taste.
Peppercorn is one of the most prevalent ingredients in any cuisine and although Vietnam, India and Indonesia are the leading producers of the spice, this ingredient is an undeniably essential type of seasoning in the western kitchen representing about 50% of a typical restaurant’s spice usage. For spicy western dishes, peppercorn shines when they are being used in the preparation of protein and the accompanying sauce or gravy. The flavour of the dish changes with the size and type of the pepper which is why it is always a good idea to Invest in a good pepper mill and whole black peppercorns. You are able to taste the difference between fresh cracked peppers and pre-ground ones.
The Jalapeño is one the most commonly known chili pepper around the globe particularly for its spicy and crunchy nature. This type of chili pepper is known to be a good source of Iron, Magnesium, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Potassium, and more. Compared to western countries, Jalapeño is not a household essential in Malaysia but is a trending ingredient for western kitchen to use in the dishes due to the flavour that is moreish, more so when paired with cheese or cream-based sauces.