The Malaysia Kitchen Program USA under the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) has newly appointed Christina Arokiasamy as Malaysia's Food Ambassador to the U.S. As a spice expert and acclaimed cookbook author, Arokiasamy will showcase 25 different Malaysian products at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, January 19-21.
As more consumers become familiar with Asian ingredients and preparation methods, interest in Malaysian cuisine continues to rise. Underpinning this trend is significant growth in the Asian grocery category, which, according to a recent Mintel report, experienced a 10.2 percent dollar sales increase from 2010-2012. The National Restaurant Association has also listed Malaysian cuisine to be number three in their forecast of top trending flavors for 2014, so growth in the category is only expected to continue.
While many of the foods found throughout Asia use spices such as turmeric, chilies, cumin, coriander and cardamom, Malaysian cuisine combines these spices with aromatics such as galangal, lemongrass, ginger, tamarind and curry leaves to create a deeply-layered, complex flavor without the spicy heat of other Southeast Asian cuisines. As the center of the world's spice trade in the 15th century, Malaysia became a unique melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Nonya cooking styles. Malaysian food combines the best of these flavors into a single cuisine.
Malaysia's Food Ambassador to the U.S., Christina Arokiasamy says, "Malaysian cuisine is ready to make its mark in the U.S. Its exotic blend of flavors is a taste born of the spice trade, rich in tradition and on-trend with consumers' appetites globally. I'm excited to introduce people to the traditional flavors of my childhood – anyone can master Malaysian cooking at home with these new products."
Arokiasamy will be the featured chef at the MATRADE booth, cooking with Malaysian products that include certified organic noodles in a variety of flavors such as pumpkin and spinach, as well as high-quality packaged curry mixes and Brahim's rendang spice paste, used to make one of Malaysia's signature dishes, Beef Rendang.
Many of these products are new to the U.S. market and feature convenient preparation methods that cater to the needs of the time-starved home cook. The Asian Meals line of prepared sauces includes a Malaysian Lemongrass Curry and Satay Peanut Sauce that, with the addition of chicken or beef, make authentic Malaysian cuisine easy and accessible.