I sent off an email to him on a Friday afternoon, explaining my background and how I learned to cook in my mother's kitchen back home in Malaysia from a very young age. I asked if he might like to come eat with us sometime. It turns out that our food explorer barely survived a much-less-than-awesome meal at a Malaysian restaurant in downtown Manhattan and was inclined to delete my email and hope never to hear from me again!!!
Thankfully, he squelched his apprehensions and emailed me back - "here's my phone number, call me and let's figure out what we can do." We made a plan - I would cook, he would bring 17 of his most adventurous friends. Read his review of the meal that was prepared for them here: http://joshuambernstein.com/2011/04/21/gut-instinct-hitting-the-club/
This was the menu for the evening:
Ikan Bilis with Peanuts as an appetizer - crunchy and salty ikan bilis with shallots and chillies.
Spicy Shrimp Sambal - sautéed in red chillies, lemongrass and coconut milk.
Yellow Split Peas with Carrots & Potatoes
Sinhalese-style Cucumber Raita
Collard Greens - flavored with mustard seeds and fenugreek.
Dessert - Lepat Pisang. A traditional Malaysian dessert made with bananas, jaggery and shreddedcoconut, steamed in banana leaves.
The idea for an underground supper club slowly came together - it was dubbed The Cardamom Club. A few dinners were organized and executed. Very quickly it became clear that I needed to hit the reset button and start a-new. Auria's Malaysian Kitchen is the phoenix that has risen from the ashes of The Cardamom Club.
I'll be sharing a lot of authentic Malaysian recipes and showing you how easy it is to make really delicious, simple, and healthy meals at home the way my mother cooked for us. If you've eaten something at a Malaysian restaurant and would like to know how it's made, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll find an easy, make-at-home version for you to try.
I hope to see you at Auria's Malaysian Kitchen and share some of the delights of the East with you soon!