Recipe writing isn’t easy. What’s tasty for one person may be too much for another. Some folks prefer precise measurements to the gram. Some prefer cups and spoons. Others use their hands and eyes. Malaysian cooking (and home cooking in general) is very much governed by agak-agak or guesstimation.
Many new cooks are intimidated by this concept, yet on the other end of the spectrum, many experienced cooks only look at written measurements as a guide. We’ve tried our best to balance these different conventions, and here’s where we landed:
- Dry ingredients and meats: weight measurements
- Small amounts of liquids and powdered ingredients: cups and spoons
- Large amounts of liquids: millilitres or litres
- Fresh ginger, turmeric and select culinary rhizomes will be measured by inch unless otherwise stated.
- Leafy and bean vegetables are indicated by the bunch, as those are pretty standard in Malaysian markets and supermarkets. An idea of what a bunch is: make a circle with both hands. The stalks you can fit in there make a bunch. A small bunch is half of that.
- We occasionally call for a ‘handful’ or a ‘pinch’ of something. While you may be concerned that your handfuls and pinches are different than ours, we promise you it won’t affect overall flavour.
- Baking and dessert recipes are more precise, so please try to follow them to the letter.
- Most recipes of dishes or lauk would serve 4; this means that they would be able to feed four people alongside rice or other dishes
If you are cooking outside of Malaysia or Asia, note that your stove may not have similar BTUs as Asian-made stoves in Asia. Humidity and temperature fluctuations may also differ in your home. Please adjust heat settings accordingly.
We’ve also decided to do away with numerical prep time estimates. Sure, we could say a recipe takes 30 minutes, but we’ve long realised that time is a construct. Here’s how we define our prep times:
- Quick: Requires minimal effort, or can be cooked in a short amount of time.
- Slightly involved: More attention needed, whether it be more chopping, or more time at the stove. Most recipes will fall in this category.
- A project: This recipe is either very high effort (via energy and/or attention) or takes more than a day to complete (in this case, usually mostly hands-off, e.g. pickling).