Besides lazying around in a hammock on Langkawi Island and enjoying the balmy weather (I know it’s such a hard life!),  I also did an amazing cookery course in Malaysia. It was truly fantastic and was set above the tree tops in a traditional Malay House in Penchala Hills. But before we got cooking we visited the local food markets and learnt about where the food we were cooking with came from (you can imagine how much my face lit up). Discovering and smelling the local organic plant delights was brilliant and I felt like I was in my element, soaking up every bit of the experience. I had never heard or seen many of these local green beauties before (even my relatives were surprised to discover you could get fermented durian).  This is warm salad we learnt to make it’s called Acar Timun in Malay (meaning spicy cucumber salad).  I think is like similar to a Thai green papaya salad, which I also love. It’s warm and includes so many healing ingredients, so it’s perfect for the colder weather slowly descending upon us…

acar timun - Malaysia salad



Pounded together

  • 3g ginger
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 shallots
  • 5g dried shrimp soaked in water to soften (optional)

Other ingredients

60g cucumber, 30g carrot, 1/2 green chilli, 1/2 red chilli, 2 small garlic, 2-3 small shallots, 1TB Coconut Oil, 1 clove, 2cm cinnamon, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 star anise, dash of turmeric, 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1TBS coconut sugar/honey, 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt, garnish with roasted sesame seeds


Soak the shrimps in warm water (leave for 5 mins or longer). Cut the cucumber, carrot, chillies thinly in half lengthways (about 2 cm) and peel the garlic and shallots leave to one side. Pound together the garlic shallots and with the soften shrimps (see ingredients).

Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan (once hot put on low heat) and add the mustard seeds, star anise, cinnamon stick and clove together for a few seconds, then turn heat to medium and add the pounded ingredients and turmeric powder, keep stirring until fragrant (should take a minute). Add in sugar, vinegar and salt and continue cooking for a few seconds. Add in carrot whole garlic and shallots, fry for 3-4 mins. Finally add in the cucumber and chillies, stir for 1-2 minutes, turn off the heat and serve with toasted sesame seeds on top. What a tasty warming starter!

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