Flavours of Malaysia

Feb 07, 2012, 06:59 IST | Anurupa Dongare

Malaysian chef Supi Mansor is in town for the ongoing Malaysian food festival. The Guide chatted up with him while savouring authentic Malay cuisine

Malaysian chef Supi Mansor is in town for the ongoing Malaysian food festival. The Guide chatted up with him while savouring authentic Malay cuisine

Malaysian chefs are known to be rooted in the cuisine from their country and over the next few days, Executive Sous Chef Supi Mansor will be guiding foodies at the Malaysian food festival. The chef admits that he is a passionate foodie and his knowledge of Malaysian cuisine has been passed down in his family from generation to generation. 

Chef Supi Mansor

Traditional Malay food
Chef Supi says that the origin of Malay cuisine has always been a topic of dispute between Indonesia and Malaysia. "The origin are a mystery and have been a source of conflict among the two countries. We have taken a lot of elements from Indonesian cuisine. The ingredients are more or less the same but we cook and present it differently. For example -- the Satay that has been popularised all over the world is actually a Malay dish."


Just like Indian cuisine, Malaysian cuisine uses a base of spice paste called sambal. Chef Supi says, "There is a lot of Indian influence in Malaysian cuisine as well. A lot of South Indian people came to Malaysia; they married Malaysian women and settled down there. This influence is very evident. In fact, the Mamak Mee (Malay Fried Noodles) that I have served at the festival is an example of this influence --Mamak refers to an Indian who has married a Malay."

Family comes first
Chef Supi is influenced by his family and this familial bond is something that is reflected in his food. He will be sharing a family recipe at the festival. "The Beef / Chicken Rendang is something my mother used to make and still does. My mother is my inspiration and I actually started cooking because of my family. They play a very important role in the kind of food I make today." He adds that the Rendang is something that Malaysians cook on Eid. "Even when I am away from my family I cook something and I am instantly reminded of them," he adds.

Wine pairing
While wine pairing with traditional cuisine has piqued the interest of a lot of gourmet chefs in Asian countries, Chef Supi believes it depends on the dish. "If the dish is too sour, wine pairing is a strict no-no. Asian dishes and Malay dishes per se consist of very strong flavours. Wine doesn't go well with overpowering flavours.  It is important to have a good palette and a know-how of wine pairing before you start actually pairing food and wine. Haphazard pairing can be extremely disastrous."

Mamak Mee

Does the chef plan to open an eatery in the city, we quiz him. He says, "I am not too keen on opening up a restaurant in Pune. I am happy with the way things are going. I just hope to teach the team I am working with here the tastes and flavours of Malay cuisine, so that they can cook authentic Malaysian cuisine as well. It is important to pass on your knowledge, to educate new chefs. Asian cuisine could do with a little bit more publicity."

Finally we ask him what is the one Indian dish that is on his must-have list and pat comes the reply -- "Roghan Josh, Butter Naan and authentic Biryani." So, if you are up for a delicious gourmet journey through the lanes of Malaysia, are a fanatic foodie and have been keen on sampling the cuisine of the country, head to Hyatt, we guarantee you won't be disappointed.

Till February 12
At Hyatt Regency, Weikfield IT Park,
Nagar Road.
Cost Lunch for Rs 700 plus taxes, dinner for Rs 950 plus taxes

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