Malaysians are known for their love of rich and flavourful food, which has led to the nation being recently listed as among the most obese in Southeast Asia. The challenge in overcoming this problem lies in persuading locals to choose alternative healthy meal choices. However, it is possible to enjoy the vibrant flavours of local cuisine in a healthier manner, without sacrificing taste.
In conjunction with World Diabetes Day, international healthcare company Columbia Asia challenged nine chefs across multiple Columbia Asia facilities to re-interpret classic Malaysian dishes in a way that honoured the original tastes, albeit diabetic-friendly.
Nine chefs from across Columbia Asia’s facilities
Adapting a cooking style format similar to that of the hit U.S. TV series Master Chef, each chef had 45 minutes to prepare their dish before presenting them to a panel that included Columbia Asia-Southeast Asia CEO Kelvin Tan and guest chef judge David Lee.
Chefs at work
All-time favourites nasi lemak, nasi dagang, wantan noodle soup and roti canai were among the revamped recipes. Chef Ravindran a/l Mathavan’s nasi lemak was a favourite among the judges for its innovative use of low-fat milk instead of the typical coconut milk and the addition of baked cornflake crusted chicken, while Chef Mahmoor Abas’ nasi dagang was popular with all guests for its familiar curry flavour and its clever use of baked fish.
However, the top prize went to the only female Chef Fauziah Pakwan Chik who served up stir fried brown rice, together with a cumin-spiced chicken roll and percik sauce.
Diabetic-friendly Nasi LemakNasi Dagang with Baked Fish CurryWantan Noodle Soup with Baby Kai Lan and Steamed ChickenStir Fried Brown Rice ala Kerabu served with Chicken Roll and Percik Sauce
The judges together with the winners of the night: 1st runner up Chef Ravindran a/l Mathavan, CAH Seremban; Champion Chef Fauziah Pakwan Chik, CAH Setapak; and 2nd runner up Chef Mahmor Abas, CAH Nusajaya.
Besides getting to sample some delicious food, the event also featured a sharing session with two guest speakers – Columbia Asia’s dietitian Kong Woan Fei and medical officer Dr Ng Lee Li – who discussed the more serious points of diabetes and how to prevent and control the symptoms.