Despite Brewsvegas chewing up most of my free time this week, I’m continuing my theme of Formula 1-inspired dishes and beer pairing suggestions. Last installment, for the Australian Grand Prix, I enjoyed Brewcult Spoiler Alert with Lemon Myrtle Barra. This weekend the Formula 1 comes to Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia, and offers some inspiration to expand my culinary skills by trying my hand at some local chow and suggesting some beers suited to the cuisine.
After some brief research on the interweb I settled on Nasi Lemak – widely considered as Malaysia’s national dish – and pretty much followed this recipe from allrecipes.com exactly. The only change I made was with the sauce where I added about 3 times as much chilli and half the anchovies (because I’d run out) to make something that more resembled sambals I’ve had previously.
As for the beer, knowing the dish would be decently spicy, I had my heart set on an IPA very much from the outset. India pale ales (and to a great extent pale ales as well) are perfect paired against robust spicy foods. Particularly clean, hop-forward variations of the style such as American or West Coast IPAs. Lagers too are great for lighter dishes that have a bit of a kick. With local lads Noisy Minor having recently released ANZUS IPA in bottles, with its robust Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin and Simcoe hopping, it was a bit of a no-brainer.
The dish has everything – sweet, salty, spicy – and not only does the beer bring refreshment from the heat it brings its bitterness along to play as well. The chilli and the hops linger on the palate and dance turn after turn, one taking the lead from the other. The tropical fruit aromas of the beer add yet another element to an already fragrant experience – it’s a certified nose-gasm.
And that rice though. Amazing. And oh so simple to make. The whole meal is a patchwork of textures, colours, flavours, sensations. Like a patchwork quilt not yet put together, you wonder how it’s all going to unite, and yet somehow it just works.