As Malaysians, we take great pride in our local dishes and cuisines. Not only do they taste good and every flavour complements each other well, but at the same time, our food is also symbolic of the various cultures we have in Malaysia.
As if we’re not proud enough of our cuisines, Malaysian-born chef Ping Coombes has brought that pride to another level by snatching the crown from MasterChef’s Champion of Champions competition with authentic Malaysian cuisine!
Last weekend, it was announced on the official Instagram account of MasterChef UK that Ping Coombes, the 2014 winner of MasterChef UK has won the competition! She went against 2011 champion Tim Anderson, 2017 champion Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed, 2018 champion Kenny Tutt and 2019 champion Irini Tzortzoglou.
There were two challenges for the champions to face in the competition; one, to create a dish that they have known by-heart and two, create their best two courses from their repertoire. All in 2 hours and 15 minutes. So Ping, decided to dive real deep into her heritage. The winning dishes that she had prepared for the judges were her modified version of Clay Pot Chicken, and an exclusive version of the famous roadside stall dessert, Ais Kacang.
She used a Guinea fowl for the Clay Pot Chicken, and stuffed it with sausage and shiitake mushroom rice, topped with lime, ginger and chili gel. She also served shards of crispy rice with bits of dried shrimps on the side. The dish was served with a Guinea fowl sauce that is somewhat fruity but with hints of heat from the ginger.
While for the Ais Kacang, instead of topping rose-flavoured syrup on the shaved ice as usual, Ping used a rose-flavoured meringue shards that melts on the tongue and also salted sweet corn mousse. The most unique part is, the shaved ice goes on top of those cream and solid elements. Where does the coconut milk go, you may ask; the shaved ice is infused with coconut!
Not only are those dishes mouth-watering, but also creative! Even judge Gregg Wallace can’t seem to get enough of the Ais Kacang! Ping mentioned how she was relieved after hearing the comments from the judges, and was even more grateful to be crowned as the champion amongst the champions. She stated, “(I’m) putting myself out there again, open to criticism, but to get those comments was like absolutely out of this world.”
We, from Hype, are so proud that Ping Coombes is putting our local dishes on the palates and plates of the world.