Malaysian Cooking 101

Cooking class in Malaysia

Cooking class in Malaysia

Didn’t you just take a cooking class?” Yes, I did, and for that reason, I almost cancelled this class which would have been a huge mistake. Scheduling it for my first full day in KL, however, wasn’t the best idea as I woke up that morning not ready to tackle the day and yearning for 2 more hours of sleep.

No time to waste though as the driver picked me up 10 minutes ahead of schedule. How dare he be prompt on a morning where I wanted to take it slow. Inching through morning rush hour, we arrived at LaZat Cooking School, tucked away in a shopping center, just minutes before the class was scheduled to start. Nothing like showing up late and looking like I had just crawled out of bed (which I did). Escorted upstairs, I walked into an open room with cooking stations and nobody around except for my exceptionally lovely hostess, Saadiah. She welcomed me like a mother greeting her own children home from school, handed me a cup of tea, and identified that we were simply waiting for one more person. One more? That’s it? Brilliant! Oh how ecstatic I was to know I wouldn’t have to feel like I was competing for top prize in a group of 10 like last time.

Fun fact: LaZat means ‘delicious’ in Malay.

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As I gave myself a tour of the space we would be working in, Kerry Ann, my fellow cooking mate, came through a door with a cheery hello. Australian. Perfect. A class of two students who would reap the benefits of personal attention, careful instruction, and what turned out to be life stories from Saadiah. Food, cooking, good company, and storytelling. I’m in heaven when travel is focused more on the people and their stories than the tourist attractions.

Before we started slicing and dicing, we took 5 minutes to introduce ourselves, mention what brought us to Malaysia, and how long we were staying. Afterwards, with trays of ingredients set in front of us, Saadiah first demonstrated how to prepare each dish before we went to town on our own. As she chopped her veggies, we would try to imitate her effortless stride only partially succeeding.

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When it came time to take the reigns on our first dish, Saadiah let us be and prepared the dessert. Over a hot stove, oil was splattering as we decorated our Kueh Cara Berlauk with Christmas colored peppers, shallots, and minced meat. The tiny meat muffins are typically served over tea, and they filled me up quicker than I was anticipating. Mighty delicious though.

Next on deck, we essentially mixed everything in the pot without any real order in hopes of creating edible Sambal Tumis Udang. The aroma of the onions, chili paste, and prawns filled the room like we were cooking Sunday dinner. Another fun fact is that I don’t eat red meat or seafood, but there have been moments where I have to say “screw morals and principles” especially in the interest of not offending my lovely hostess.

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Throughout the morning, we took a lot of photos, and even the staff took a couple photos of us that they printed off for us to keep. It kind of felt like we were being photographed for a television show, a book, or something. Speaking of books, we even got a recipe book of all the dishes we made as well as leftovers to take home. Great takeaways from a great day.

The Menu

  • Kueh Cara Berlauk (Savoury meat filled cups)
  • Nasi Lemak (Rice soaked in coconut milk)
  • Sambal Tumis Udang (Prawn in Sambal sauce)
  • Sago Gula Melaka (Sago Pudding with palm sugar)

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Cost & Time

The class that I took ran from 10am to 2pm on a Tuesday, and it cost 220 MYR ($70 USD). If you want to be picked up/dropped off at your hotel, it’s an extra 60 MYR. For more information on their different classes, visit their website.

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