|George Town, 26 July 2018 – Eyes bulged when the ingredient for the main course in the cooking competition was presented.|
KDU Penang University College culinary students joined a local cooking competition organized by Penang Island City Council (MBPP) on July 21, 2018, and started thinking deeply when they were asked to prepare a dish out of the walking catfish, or ‘ikan keli’ in Bahasa Malaysia.
This freshwater fish, usually bred in dugout ponds or concrete tanks, is a favourite, low-priced fish especially for Malay communities nationwide. But while the flesh is tender and juicy, its downside is that the fish occasionally has an earthy taste because of how it was bred.
KDU Penang’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts lecturer, Chef Chuah Lay Yen, said the students wanted to prepare the fish in two styles: deep-fried and poached, to present the best eating qualities. But poaching was a challenge because the fish’s earthy flavour might stand out.
“After some thought, the students decided to poach the fish in a spicy tamarind sauce or assam pedas so that the sourness can offset that freshwater fish flavour.
When it came to deep-frying, the students breaded the catfish to give it a crunchy side and dealt with the earthy flavour by employing teriyaki sauce. That little spark of culinary ingenuity did not disappoint the judges. KDU Penang sent three teams of students and they all won.
Chuah said the teriyaki sauce work like a charm. Of the three teams from KDU Penang, the one that prepared grilled catfish with teriyaki sauce, potato croquettes and sautéed mixed greens bagged the first prize of RM350.
Another KDU Penang team was second runner-up with poached catfish served with deep-fried breaded catfish in tamarind sauce with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables, winning RM200. The third KDU Penang team went home with the fourth prize of RM70 with a similar dish to the first prize winner. For dessert, mango was the given ingredient and the students prepared a mouthwatering mango cheesecake parfait.
“The mix of tamarind and teriyaki sauces was the perfect solution for preparing the catfish and the mango cheesecake parfait became an eye-catching dessert.” said Chef Chuah.
Uniqueness and creativity are the hallmark features of the culinary arts taught in KDU Penang, said Chef Chuah.
Want to explore the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts? Contact 04-238368 or visit www.kdupg.edu.my.