Cover Alia Ali's recipe for Rendang Goreng is on the syllabus for curious home cooks (Photo: Periuk)

Tatler cooks for a cause while getting acquainted with Periuk, a new bilingual platform that publishes Malaysian stories and recipes in English and Malay

Shying away from the cult of the celebrity chef and shining the spotlight on Malaysian home cooking, Periuk is more than a recipe website; you'll also find stories about the painstaking process of making Foochow red wine or keeping Kadazandusun cuisine alive by tapping into technology.

Named after the Malay noun for 'pot' or 'cooking vessel', Periuk was launched by Alia Ali and Surekha Ragavan in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, and one of their first projects was to introduce online cooking classes for a good cause.

"For many reasons, it's been a frustrating and anxious year. But it upsets us the most when our neighbours go to bed hungry. You may already know that people in Sabah are especially hard hit, and that lockdown rules and administrative failures have left many without access to food or basic necessities," reads a statement from Periuk.

Using their skills to pay the needy's bills, Periuk has been channeling funds to three NGOs on the ground: Borneo Komrad, Gender & Sexuality Alliance Kota Kinabalu and Luma' Selakan.

See also: Rice! By Wayang Kitchen Is An Online Theatre Experience With Food Delivery

Cooking Class Details

Although Periuk initially intended to run its donation drive until the end of 2020, repeated extensions of MCO have inspired the team to keep the momentum going.

Syllabus

Most anything that would count as Malay food, which is Alia Ali's métier. According to Ali, Ayam Masak Merah and other homey dishes are the most requested recipes.

Cost & Booking

Each one-on-one class runs for one hour and costs a minimum donation of RM100. To sign up, send Periuk a direct message on Instagram or email them at hello@periuk.my to state your interest.

TATLER TIP: If cooking isn't your cup of tea, Periuk offers two other classes: 1) Pantry organisation and 2) Non-fiction food narratives.  

Tatler Takeaways

With Ali's comforting presence hovering close by on Google Workplace or Zoom, even the most intimidating of Malay recipes feels approachable. The self-taught cook even offers scaled down versions of time-consuming recipes, such as Beef Rendang. "I don't think I would call it rendang, or people would come for my neck," she laughs. Nevertheless, the rendang flavours are there in a palatable beef dish that took under an hour to make.

Not only did we learn that 'tumis' is both a noun and a verb, but we also got a live demonstration of 'pecah minyak', which even the most detailed online articles can't illustrate with smell and sound.

Ali, who has selflessly been donating her time and effort, finds the live cooking classes a "cool way to connect with international students", some of whom have called in from New York, Reading, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Lyon. "A lot of them were either missing Malaysian food or wanted to get more skills," says Ali, whose cute cats wander in and out of frame while she's teaching.