Zucchini Noodles with Chicken, Spinach and Parmesan
First, allow me to clear the misconception of Asian definition when it comes to food. If there is something like American cheesecake or British bread pudding or Australian carrot cake, there really is no such thing as Asian dessert. However, there are a variety of desserts between different ethnic groups in Asia.
So you can imagine how rich the Asian food culture is, if you collectively identify them as Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Indonesian, Arabic, Philippines etc. Each culture has a completely different tradition and heritage and this is also reflected in their desserts.
A special "Asian" dessert that is little known among Westerners is the traditional Malaysian chicken. These are wonderful chewy and rich desserts made from natural ingredients like tapioca flour, sweet potato flour, banana, palm sugar, coconut milk, glutinous rice etc. There are more than 100 different types of Malaysian kuihs and these recipes came and came from the Indonesian and Malaysian villages. I grew up with these kuihs and used to look at my grandmother who lovingly prepared her goodies over the stove and was delighted to feed us the wonderful things. She also learned the skills of her home country in Sumatera Indonesia before migrating to Singapore.
At that time, women discovered popular resources for making desserts and snacks from natural ingredients or whatever they grew in the garden and growing on trees. These kuihs were mostly steamed, sometimes grilled - baking was non-existent as they not only had no oven, electricity was scarce. In addition to sweets, there is also a tasty version that is often eaten or served during tea time.
Today, kuih's are such popular desserts in Southeast Asia, mainly in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. But very few people know the secrets to making kuihs because many recipe books are written in English. Some recipes are available on the internet. I know many Western friends or those living in the West, who would regularly request a translated version from me. In this part of the world it is quite easy to find these desserts from the wet market to hotels and restaurants. Many of the recipes have been simplified and subsidies are introduced for e.g. whole milk is used instead of coconut milk.
Many locals earn their living from selling these kuihs because there are more people willing to eat than learning the art of making these traditional and delicious desserts. Malaysians knew the secrets to making these cheeses different from other desserts by using banana and pandan leaves for fragrance and color, using combined flour to give contrasting taste and the use of palm sugar melted as cheese to enhance eating.
If you love to bake and cook, you will enjoy learning the art of making this "Asian" dessert belonging to the Malaysian or Indonesian ethnic group. While Asians are familiar with Western desserts and enjoy a wonderful selection of desserts, Westerners still experience a whole new world of desserts that can be learned quickly and easily. Not to mention, to impress the whole neighborhood!