It’s no secret that we are foodies. We love to cook food almost as much as we love to eat it. Tasting dishes around the world is one of the things we prioritise when we travel. From learning how to cook croquetas in Spain, to finding new dishes I’m inspired to learn to cook in our own kitchen, our passion for food and travel is synonymous and something that connects us to the destinations we’ve visited, not only abroad, but back home too. With that in mind, I couldn’t go to Malaysia, a country that has an amazing cuisine, without learning how to cook some of the delicious dishes there. This is where LaZat comes in.

    LaZat is a cooking school based just outside the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur and run by the enthusiastic and gregarious Ana. From the initial greeting, Ana treats everyone like a long-lost friend. It’s not hard to believe she has friends all around the world, as she is charming and incredibly warm. Throughout the day, she was making jokes and openly talking about her life and experiences. By the end of the day I felt like I had known Ana for years and almost said upon departing, “see you next time”, as it truly felt that this would not be a one-off meeting.

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    But enough about our lovely host, and more about the FOOD. We were picked up bright and early to start our day at the local market, being shown around the different food stalls and learning about typical ingredients used in Malaysian cooking. If I could take one thing away from the trip, spices are key. Oh, and there is actually such a thing as a black chicken which is used for medicinal purposes only (the skin is black underneath the feathers), but we’ll get to him later…

    Some of the common ingredients found at a Malaysian food market

    Some of the common ingredients found at a Malaysian food market, including Black Chicken

    LaZat’s headquarters are located in a beautiful tropical jungle setting at Penchala Hill. The house/school itself is quite beautiful and rustic, with thatched roofs and lovely open areas to really soak up the surroundings whilst learning to cook delicious dishes. Between the relaxing sights and sounds of the jungle to the smell of mouth-watering food sizzling away, my senses were delighted.

    Our picturesque 'classroom'

    Our picturesque ‘classroom’

    LaZat is located on the tropical Penchala Hill

    LaZat is located on the tropical Penchala Hill

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    Tropical jungle right at the doorstep

    Throughout the course of the day, we got to eat, laugh and cook our own food! We made five scrumptious dishes, covering entré to dessert, including the popular Malaysian dish, Kari Ayam (Chicken Curry). And to make the day even more special, Ana was kind enough to let me share the recipe with all of you!

    Kari Ayam (Chicken Curry)

    Ingredients
    • 3 tbs oil
    • 1 stalk curry leaves
    • 2cm piece cinnamon stick
    • 1 star anise
    • 2 cloves
    • 2 cardamoms
    • 2 shallots, 2 garlic cloves, ½ cm piece of ginger – pound finely together
    • 2 tbs curry powder, mixed with 2 tbs water (to form the paste)
    • 180ml water
    • 30g potatoes, cubed
    • 1 small piece asam keeping (if you are unable to find this ingredient, you can substitute with 1tsp tamarind)
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 130g chicken breast, cubed
    • 70ml coconut milk
    Our wonderful teachers demonstrating how to make Kari Ayam

    Our wonderful teachers demonstrating how to make Kari Ayam

    Method
    1. Heat oil in a pan on low and sauté curry leaves, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and cardamom until fragrant
    2. Add in pounded shallot, garlic & ginger mix
    3. Sauté for a few more minutes, until aromatic
    4. Add curry paste and fry until oil surfaces (this is important), stirring it occasionally.
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    5. Add water, potatoes, asam keeping and salt and let it simmer
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    6. Once potatoes are almost cooked and softened, add in chicken and coconut milk
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    7. Continue cooking on medium heat until chicken is cooked
    8. Serve with rice or roti.
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    This tasted as good as the dishes I had in restaurants, and there is something about the pride felt when making it yourself. I don’t know about you, but I think it made it taste better!

    If you are visiting Malaysia and enjoy cooking delicious food, get in touch with Ana at LaZat. Not only will you walk away with a full belly and a booklet of recipes cooked on the day, you’ll also have made a friend for life.

    Oh and remember the black chicken I mentioned earlier? Ana actually had one living at her place! They look a lot cuter alive!

    LaZat's resident Black Chicken

    LaZat’s resident Black Chicken

    If you love food as much as we do, check out our other food articles here.

    What’s your favourite Malaysian dish? Have you done a cooking class during your travels? Comment below?

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    Land-Dwelling Mermaid, Hispanophile and travel addict. Kim-Ling one day hopes to convince Guy to build her a room for her huge shoe collection.

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