Mixing Food & Culture; A Malaysian Christmas Feast

A Malaysian Christmas Feast - Sprout Adelaide

One month prior to the big day (Nov 25th) Jess and I (Camellia) were graciously invited to a delightful Christmas lunch themed day at Sprout Cooking School care of MATRADE, the Malaysian Trade Corporation. The lunch in question was cooked by Callum Hann, face of Sprout, with the help of his lovely kitchen staff.

When we arrived to the venue we were able to mingle, wine in hand, as the party flowed in. Chatting in the sunned window and greeting other familiar but far between faces, I was given a real sense of a typical family function.

The Feast!
As we sat down we were able to hear a little bit about the reason and intentions behind the event. I won't lie, when I received the invite I had a laugh to myself about why Callum Hann would be cooking me a Malaysian lunch. I was pleased to hear that he had similar thoughts when he was approached with the suggestion. Perhaps though, he was exactly the right person, as the aim of MATRADE is to help invite the average Australian to sample a slice of their culture through food, and what better way to show that than through a Christmas lunch - a time that signifies love, plenty and family.

Living in Australia, we are all so lucky to have such amazing cultural influences from neighbouring countries apparent in our cuisine. Malaysian flavours tend to end up flying under the radar a tad, with the focus usually being on Thai and Vietnamese (both of which are amazing), but Malaysian food just doesn't get the recognition it deserves. Food is an integral part of every culture around the world, an expression of love, live-giving nutrition and dishes are often born out of hard times, necessity or historical events. Being invited to fuse and share such a wonderful thing is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas in our big melting pot of a country.

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Satay Potato & Roast Pork Salads
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Laksa Poached Prawns

Callum prepared us an array of dishes including a fish sauce and palm sugar glazed ham, laksa poached prawns, satay potatoes (um, yes please!), roast pork and pickled cucumber salad and an incredible coconut mango trifle. An unassuming underdog was also the snake bean and tomato salad. Visually it was just an ordinary tomato and bean salad, perhaps with a little olive oil and vinegar to dress, but after the first bite it was a pleasant surprise of Thai basil, rice vinegar and sesame oil. It was such a pleasant surprise that I felt a pang of stupidity for nearly ignoring the dish altogether because of its potential bore.

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Palm Sugar & Fish Sauce Glazed Ham
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A Real Christmas Feel

After the Christmas crackers were broken we were able to chat amongst ourselves and adorn some delightful paper hats. We finished with a look at the cooking school and a group photo to top off the real festive family feel. All in all it was a delightful  day and a humbling experience to be able to share a cross-section of cultures with Malaysian Embassy and MATRADE members.


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Mango Coconut Trifle

If you'd like to try something fun at home, ditch the kraft mayonnaise in this year's potato salad and swap it out for a good jar of (or some homemade) satay sauce! Toss through warm boiled potato and garnish with chopped shallots. Simple, delicious, you won't regret it.

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