Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

March 9th, 2015

4 things that didn’t make the cut in my episode of ‘A cook abroad’

It was pretty impossible to fit all the marvellous food Malaysia has to offer into my one hour episode of  ‘A cook abroad’. So naturally quite a few things didn’t make it in the edit like:

1. Cooking Char Keow Teow in Ipoh

2. Jungle squirrel

Rachel Khoo Malaysia A Cook Abroad jungle squirrel

When I visited the Orang Asli tribe I was fortunate to be treated to jungle squirrel stew. I say ‘fortunate’ as squirrel stew is a bit of a delicacy. They showed me how to prepare the animal (skin and gut). When you start skinning it, it starts to ressemble a rat somewhat. It was stewed in a pot over a fire with an onion, chilli and a few very basic ‘jungle’ ingredients. Served on banana leaf with some rice like any other stew. It tasted similar to rabbit, only thing is there’s really not much meat on the animal, especially on the tail. Needless to say I don’t think a squirrel stew recipe will be ending up in my next cookbook.

3. Nyonya food


As a kid I grew up with Nyonya food. It’s a combination of the best of two cuisines: Malay and Chinese. My Malaysian grandma was a fantastic Nyonya cook, unfortunately she is no longer around, but I did get to cook with two fantastic women who know just about everything there is to know about this fantastic fusion food. Otak otak (a paste of fish spiked with galangal, chilli, coconut milk and a few other herbs all wrapped in a banana leaf) was on the menu. It took a while to get the knack of wrapping up the spicy fish paste but I managed to get a few done to make a generous plateful.

4. Dim sum at the local coffee shop

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Dim sum has to be one of my favourite foods. While I was in Ipoh it was easy to spot huge steaming baskets full of them being served up for breakfast. The local coffee shop is the Malaysian equivalent of the greasy spoon (minus the grease). It’s a totally laid back vibe, thanks to the plastic chairs and tables. For me this kind of eating epitomises what Malaysian food is about. Cheap, cheerful and utterly delicious.

To see what Malaysian delicacies did make the show, tune into BBC2 9pm Monday 9th March (it’ll also be repeated and available on BBC iPlayer).

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12 thoughts on “4 things that didn’t make the cut in my episode of ‘A cook abroad’

  1. Malaysian food is great. I loved it when I was there years ago. Once I left, I wondered how I would ever enjoy breakfast again without kaya pandan. I adored it.
    Thanks for sharing what didn’t make the cut. My hunter husband will be very interested in hearing about the squirrel stew. Beaver stew is his current favourite.

  2. Rachel, saw A Cook Abroad and was hugely envious of you! Loved the cultural focus. I have family in KL too and every time I visit I’m greeted with the typical Malaysian hospitality – elasticated pants crucial!

    I watched the excerpt Char Keow Teow as it is also one of my favourites and love the simplicity and speed. If only I could fit one of those cookers into my kitchen…

  3. Hello Rachel,

    I watched cook abroad this evening, you presented it really well and made it interesting. The fact that you are half Malaysian showed the strong connection about this programme. Thank you for sharing your travel experience! Terima kasih.

    Kind regards,
    Oktiva Turvey

    p.s ever wonder to travel to Indonesia ? That is where rendang originally comes from !

  4. Hi Rachel,

    Fantastic to see you getting in touch with your Malaysian roots! Really enjoyed your program. I found it a balanced and fair representation of Malaysia and it was wonderful to see so many of my childhood haunts and favourites making it on the show. I see you met Julie! Did you try any of her delicious cakes at Indulgence?

    Kind regards,

  5. hi Rachel

    I really enjoyed the show last night about Malaysian food. You presented it really well, so natural. Love to see more of you on TV.

  6. Hi Rachel,

    A wonderful programme which gave a great insight into the Malaysian people and their wide range of cuisine. Keep up the good work! Fantastic- looking forward to seeing more of you on TV.

    Best wishes
    Alex Leung

  7. Wow really enjoyed your show! Haven’t been to Malaysia yet, but it is now offcially on my list. Also, I saw in your family temple that your surname is 邱 in Chinese character.

  8. Hello Rachel, loved the your episode of a cook abroad, I hope to see you on our screens again soon, your style is a real breath of fresh air.


  9. Loved the programme Rachel – it was so interesting. You’re a ‘natural’ on the telly. Didn’t Malaysia (and the food) come across fantastic in the programme. I think your ‘fixers’ did a great job – you packed so much into the programme. Thanks Rachel. Any of your ‘fan’s wanting more background info on early years of KL may want to checkout:-


    I Live in hope you buy the book one day Rachel….hehe. All the best.

  10. This was a great show! Took me back to my year in Malaysia last year, working and eating my way through the country. Could not stop eating… Such a wonderful eclectic mix of flavours and smells and satisfying goodness! Penang and KL has the best variety! We need more of it in the UK…

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