Chef Jackie M shares her Christmas traditions

By
Casey Warrener
Added
15 December, 2015

Malaysian-born, Sydney-based chef Jackie M shares her twists on Australian Christmas tradition.

Over time, the food that we enjoy in Australia has become lighter, fresher, and more influenced by our Southeast Asian neighbours. But this trend hasn’t carried through to our Christmas dishes; despite our celebration falling on hot summer’s days, we still look largely to roast meats and pudding in the English tradition. Of course there are anomalies, such as cold cuts, seafood and Pavlova. But why not try a twist that reflects our diverse cultural landscape, adding vibrant, aromatic flavours to your classic Christmas menu. We caught up with Malaysian-born, Sydney-based chef Jackie M for some ideas.

How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?

I’ve been celebrating the same way every year since I arrived in Australia 31 years ago. Each year we each bring a dish, and as my family has become more multicultural, the menu offerings have diversified. We always have turkey, seafood and Pavlova, but with certain Asian twists. Invariably someone will bring a plate of spring rolls, or an Asian dipping sauce to serve with the prawns.

What’s typically on your Christmas table?

One of my brothers makes this relish or dip that I always look forward to. You mince up fresh garlic and sliced Birdseye chilli, sizzle that in a little bit of oil, and mix through a Malaysian-style soya sauce. We use it to drizzle over our turkey and as a dipping sauce for our prawns. My mum usually does the spring rolls, someone will bring a plate of noodles, and someone will bring Malaysian fried rice with dried shrimp and sambal. In some years we’ve made a durian-topped Pavlova, too. So it’s incorporating a little of our culture without completely reinventing the wheel.

Can you recommend other twists for our intrepid Christmas cooks?

Other things you could try are making a chilli crab sauce to complement your prawns. Serving your roast potatoes with a peanut dressing. Or rubbing your turkey with rendang paste before popping it in the oven to give it a lovely subtle curry flavour.

Malaysian products are readily available in major supermarkets and Asian grocers, so why not try something new. If you’re game, you could even do an inside-out Nasi Lemak [unofficially recognised as Malaysia’s national dish] roast lamb or turkey, using coconut rice, curry spices, and sambal as the ingredients for your stuffing. Or prepare a rojak salad as a side.

Any drinks you’ll reach for on the day?

Being summer, I like fresh coconut drinks. The style we get in Malaysia usually incorporate coconut, palm sugar, shaved ice and cendol, but you can omit the cendol and add your own toppings, perhaps throwing in some sliced rambutans. *For those of you chasing something stronger, why not add a splash of spiced rum?

Check out Jackie's Malaysian-inspired Christmas menu here, including aromatic prawns, Nasi Lemak roast lamb, a summery rojak salad, and a kaya bread pudding.

    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again