The preparation and cooking of vegetables is an art in itself. They have to be cut properly, and different ways of cooking require different styles of cutting. Some are served raw, while others are steamed or blanched accompanied by sambal, or stir-fried. But whatever the technique is, vegetables are not overcooked and should be served slightly crisp, still retaining a fresh colour.

Stir-fried Cabbage and Eggs

1 clove garlic, minced
1 red pepper, finely sliced
1/2 head white/green cabbage, finely shredded
2 eggs
1 tbs oil
1/4 cup chicken stock, pre-heated
salt and pepper to taste

In a wok, heat 1 tbs oil and saute garlic and red pepper. Add cabbage, salt and pepper and stir-fry for 5 minutes. Before serving, add beaten eggs. Stir well. Serve hot. Serves 2.

Stir-fried Chinese Cabbage and Dried Shrimp

5 dried shrimps (you can get them from the Chinese store)
1 head Chinese cabbage
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs oil
1 red pepper, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

Soak dried shrimps in hot water until soft. Cut up into small bits. Cut cabbage in 3 cm sections. Heat oil in wok and saute garlic and onions. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Add cabbage, red pepper and stir-fry for 5 minutes until cabbage is cooked but not soft. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Gado Gado (Vegetable Salad with Peanut Sauce)
A great Malaysian salad.

Ĺ green cabbage
1 cucumber
3 potatoes (boiled in jackets)
3 hard-boiled eggs
100g bean sprouts
100g long beans
3 beancurd cakes (pre-fried)

Skin potatoes and dice. Parboil long beans and cut 1 cm in length. Slice cabbage in small squares. Bring to boil.(donít overcook). Julienne cucumber. Parboil beansprouts. Slice eggs into quaters. Place the vegetables decoratively on a large platter. Serve individually with peanut sauce.

For Peanut Sauce:
1 med onion
2 tbs oil
2 tsp ground chilli
1 cup coconut milk
4 tbs ground roasted peanuts
1 tsp lemon juice
salt/sugar to taste

Saute chopped onion in oil. Add ground chilli, reduce heat; add peanuts and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Bring to boil and add coconut milk and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, sugar and lemon juice. This sauce is preferably served hot during winter and at room temperature during summer.

Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables
This is a flavourful Chinese dish with great colour for presentation. The following is a basic recipe from which you can improvise. You can also add sliced chicken breasts or shrimp. It always important not to overcook the vegetables.

1 head cauliflower or broccoli, cut into florets
50g snow peas or french beans, halved
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 can young corn, halved
1 can mushroom
1 celery stalk, diced (optional)
2 carrots, sliced thinly
1/2 cup chicken stock or oyster sauce
garlic, minced
1 cm ginger, sliced

Heat oil in wok and fry garlic and ginger until fragrant and golden. Add cauliflower, carrots and celery. Stir-fry till tender. Add snow peas, young corn, mushrooms, red and green pepper. Pour in chicken stock and stir-fry for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Cucumber and Pineapple Salad
Another Malaysian salad served with
Rendang and Rice.

1 cucumber, skinned and sliced
1 red onion, sliced into rings
2 slices fresh pineapple, cubed
1 red chilli pepper, sliced
salt and sugar to taste

Add all the ingredients in a bowl. Add enough vinegar and sugar to have that sweet and sour taste. Serve cold.

Acar (Pickled Vegetables)
This is a Malaysian pickle served as an appetizer.

1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemongrass, chop fine
1 tbsp galangal, chop fine
3 cloves garlic, whole
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp turmeric (either fresh or powder)
1 tsp chilli paste
1/2 cup carrots, julienne
1/2 cup cucumber, julienne
1/2 cup cauliflower, broken into florets
1/2 cup shallots, whole

Bring vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds and water to boil. Add lemon grass, galangal, garlic, turmeric and chilli paste and simmer for 5 minutes. Add carrots and cauliflower, simmer for 3 minutes. Add cucumber and onions. Allow to cool and then refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. Drain and serve cold.

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