Celebrity Chef Norzailina Nordin, who has been using pasta in many of her recipes for over 15 years, offers some tips on how to infuse Malaysian flavours into the Italian ingredient.
“Use local spices and herbs such as coriander leaves, serai, and spring onion, which are easily available compared to fresh herbs such as thyme and oregano,” she said, adding that she also served pasta with curry, rendang and sambal.
She was speaking at a press conference to promote one of the popular pasta brands in the local market, San Remo recently.
“You can be creative with pastas as it comes in many shapes and varieties. I’ve even made kuih talam using angel hair pasta.
“Many people are getting more health conscious now and it’s healthier with pastas,” said the home economist and author.
“My favourite pasta is angel hair as it cooks very fast, about 15 minutes and while waiting, you can prepare the other ingredients,” she said.
According to GBA Corporation Sdn Bhd (the exclusive distributor of San Remo in Malaysia) product manager Kwan Su Khoon, San Remo is the market leader in Australia and Malaysia.
“Our customers include housewives, students and working adults. Students living on their own find it easy to prepare our pastas.
“It’s cheaper, too. For example, it’s RM4.50 for a pack of 500g pasta, once boiled it will double up to 1kg.
The Local flavour: Pasta Delight.
“Add in ingredients and you’ll get a wholesome plate of pasta at less than RM5,” she said. San Remo Pasta was established in Australia in 1936. On San Remo’s marketing strategy, Kwan said the sampling sessions in shopping malls introduced consumers to the various types of pastas available.
“More people are consuming pasta, but many Malaysians still prefer spaghetti. To encourage people to use pasta in their cooking, we have come up with different pasta recipes for them to try out. “We’ve had customers who have used the short pasta for kerabu and one customer even created rendang lasagna!” said Kwan, adding that children would love the colourful and short pastas that come in different shapes such as spirals, bowties, and shells.
Norzailina offered some simple tips on cooking pastas.
“Boil it in hot water, then add salt and oil when it’s cooking to prevent it from sticking.
“Make sure that it is al dente (which means just right in Italian or firm to the bite). For creamy sauces, use pastas with shapes so that the sauce sticks to it,” she said. For this Raya, Norzailina had come up with few dishes and one of it is the Pasta Delight. “The gravy just takes about 15 minutes,” she said. The dish is made from plum sauce, black pepper sauce, sardines and garnished with chopped coriander leaves, chillies and bunga kantan.