Chef Wan is one of Malaysia’s most beloved chefs, known for his bubbly and overexcited personality, he really inspires me when a bottle of bubbly doesn’t work for me sometimes.
I am always in awe by his amazing culinary knowledge of Malaysia’s culture of food and cooking. Because Malaysia’s food is particularly complex and diverse, his ability to articulate meticulously on the art of cooking and our history makes him even more admirable.
One chilling confession – me hosting Malaysia’s late-night eats with Chef Wan TV series was what I dreamt of the other night, this must be Chef Wan’s spiciest nightmare.
Here is a glimpse of Chef Wan’s gulai lemak ketam bersama nanas (crab and pineapple curry) I’ve made, a Malay recipe taken from his The Best of Chef Wan Taste of Malaysia cookbook. Expect a well-balanced and aromatic crab curry dish from the creaminess of the coconut milk, the earthy paste of turmeric with chilies and the slight tanginess of both the pineapple and dried sour fruit.
Bird’s eye chilies (cili padi) 30, seeded
Fresh turmeric, 3 cm knob, peeled
Coconut milk, 4 cups
Pineapple ½, peeled and sliced
Dried sour fruit/tamaring peel (asam gelugor), 3 pieces
Sugar, 1 teaspoon
Turmeric leaves 2, shredded
Crabs 3/1 kg, cleaned and halved
Pound the bird eye’s chilies and turmeric to a paste or blend. Put paste in a pot together with coconut milk and pineapple. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add dried sour fruit, sugar, salt and turmeric leaves. When gravy comes to the boil, add in the crabs and cook for a further 5 minutes or until crabs are cooked. Serve warm with rice.