Ask most people what they know about Malaysian food and you're likely to be met with a blank stare. But start naming dishes – chicken satay, beef rendang, laksa – and suddenly they'll realise they not only know Malaysian food, they love it. Who hasn't nibbled on a shop-bought satay stick at a buffet or seen rendang on a pub menu on curry night?

We think it's time this Asian cuisine claimed its share of the limelight, and the good news is that shops around the country seem to agree. Malaysian ingredients and flavourings, such as Kicap Manis (sweetened soy sauce), palm sugar and sambal oelek (a fiery chilli paste) are now widely available, and in Sainsbury's, too. Peter Lloyd, chef at top Malaysian restaurant Spice Market in London, has shared his secrets with us and this is our version of his delicious black pepper shrimp recipe to get you in the Malay mood.

What's your favourite Malaysian dish? Tell us in the comments box below.

Spice Market restaurant in Covent Garden is currently offering a special Malaysian tasting menu for £48 a head.

BLACK PEPPER SHRIMP WITH OVEN-DRIED PINEAPPLE

Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients

  • ½ ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed, corn or other neutral oil
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • ¾ tsp black peppercorns, crushed
  • ¾ tsp black bean sauce
  • 3 tbsp Kicap manis
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tbsp caster or granulated sugar
  • 12 large raw prawns, peeled, deveined and halved crosswise
  • 30g fresh green apple, peeled and diced
  • 10g micro pea shoots

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 110°C, fan 90°C, gas ¼.
  2. Place a rack on top of a rimmed baking tray and line the rack with baking paper. Place the pineapple chunks on the baking paper in a single layer. Bake until the pineapple is dried, shrivelled, and chewy – this should take about 2 hours. Remove to a rack
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the spring onions, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and golden.
  4. Add the crushed pepper and cook until fragrant, then add the black bean sauce, kicap manis, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and ½ teaspoon of salt; bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
  5. Turn the heat to medium and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer to a blender and purée until coarsely blended. Set aside.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is just about smoking, add the prawns and cook, turning once, until crisp and browned.
  7. Remove the oil from the wok, then add the black pepper sauce and 2 tablespoons of water.
  8. Cook, stirring, until the prawns are well coated, then stir in half the dried pineapple.
  9. Divide among serving plates and garnish with the remaining pineapple, the apple and pea shoots.
 

About the author

Sarah Alcock