The cuisine of Malaysia is a delicious hybrid of Chinese, Indian, Portuguese, Thai, Middle Eastern and native Malay flavors. Chef Zak Pelaccio, who’s spreading the word about Malaysian food around the globe, shares his pantry essentials.
A pungent seasoning made by grinding small shrimp into a paste that is fermented, dried and pressed into cakes. Belacan is often toasted before being used.
A dark, complex, aged Chinese vinegar made from a variety of grains. Its closest Western cousin would be balsamic vinegar.
A palm sugar that’s made from the sap of various palm trees. Dark-brown sugar or muscovado sugar can be used in its place.
A thick, slightly sweet Indonesian seasoning, sometimes called sweet soy sauce, that’s flavored with garlic and/or star anise.
An aged Chinese rice wine often used in cooking. Dry sherry can be substituted.
Belacan, gula Jawa and kecap manis can be ordered from indomart.us.