Timothy Tye
Learn to cook with Nazlina Hussin

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Nazlina HussinNazlina Hussin (19 March, 2016)

I got to know Nazlina Hussin many years ago. At that time, I didn't know that she was into cooking, even though she has started a website called Pickles and Spices. A while later I met up with Nazlina again at a hotel, and that's where she told me she's started a cooking class. So when I decided to create this section on Penang food authors and teachers, I was naturally eager to feature her.

Nazlina teaches traditional Malay cooking at her shop house, Nazlina Spice Station, at 71, Stewart Lane, in George Town, Penang. She started this business in June 2009 with the emphasis on teaching Penang food including Malay, Nyonya and Indian cuisines along with the various street food that Penang is famous for. Nazlina was born in George Town and grew up here till her teens. Then she continued her studies in Kuala Lumpur before obtaining a degree in Electronics Engineering in Manchester, England.

Nazlina Hussin's Laksa book

In September, 2017, Nazlina published a book on laksa. Entitled The Fierce Aunty's No-Nonsense Guide to the Perfect Laksa, the book has on the cover a super slim caricature of herself. Inside, you'd find a detailed guide to the various types of laksa found not just in Penang, but all over the country. The Fierce Aunty's book not only gives you recipes to cook laksa, it even teaches you how to make your own laksa noodle - if you're up to it! Indeed this is the most complete guide to laksa that I have come across.

Here's Nazlina telling us about her book.

About Nazlina Hussin

Upon returning home to Penang, she worked for a number of multi-national electronics companies in Penang before starting a new life as a mother and homemaker. The idea of setting up the cooking class as a business came about after visitors and readers to her website (www.pickles-and-spices.com) asked her if she could teach them cooking local food when they came to visit Penang.

The cooking class attracted the attention of Slow Food, an international organization that advocates clean, good and fair food because Nazlina incorporates market tour as part of her class. She prefers using local ingredients fresh from the market to create the authentic local Malaysian food experience. The shop house is now also used as a base for the Slow Food movement in Penang, with Nazlina as the convivium leader. Slow Food holds meetings here once a month.

For Nazlina, a meal is not complete without sambal belachan, a condiment that is eaten as a dip with local fresh herbs or vegetables, common to the Malay people. Using sambal belachan as a dressing, this versatile dip can perk up any salad. She likes any kinds of dishes with raw fresh ingredients in it and here she is sharing her "Kerabu Udang" recipe with you.

Nazlina's Chicken RendangNazlina's Chicken Rendang
Author: © Nazlina Hussin

Nazlina's Kerabu UdangNazlina's Kerabu Udang
Author: © Nazlina Hussin

Nazlina's Recipe for Kerabu Udang (Prawn Salad)

  1. 300g small fresh prawns, remove shells and heads, clean the intestines and blanch quickly
  2. 2 lemon grass, chopped finely, use up to till the purple rings only
  3. 6 winged beans, French beans or sweet peas - sliced thinly at an angle (blanch them if necessary or preferably use raw)
  4. 10 shallots, peel then slice lengthwise thinly
  5. ½ bowl of kerisik (toasted fresh coconut or desiccated coconut)
For the dressing
  1. 2 red chilies
  2. ¼ chopped torch ginger/ginger flower
  3. Juice of 1 lime (or more, to your liking)
  4. ½ square inch of toasted belachan (prawn paste)
  5. Salt and sugar to taste
  1. Prepare dressing by pounding the chilies with belachan finely.
  2. Squeeze in lime juice
  3. In a large bowl, mix blanched prawns with beans and toasted coconut
  4. Sprinkle chopped lemongrass and torch ginger.
  5. Toss with the dressing of chilies and belachan paste.
  6. Season with salt and sugar.

Nazlina's Mee RebusNazlina's Mee Rebus
Author: © Nazlina Hussin


Nazlina Spice Station
2 Campbell Street
George Town, Penang
Phone: +60-4-263 0601, 012 453 8167

Enjoying Penang Food with Nazlina

Cooking Class
You can learn to cook the way Nazlina does it at her cooking classes. The rate now (as of May 2015) is RM150. Nazlina's morning class starts at 7.30 am with breakfast and ends at 12.30 pm while Friday afternoon class runs from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

To book a spot in the class, please use the form available on Nazlina's Penang Cooking Class website. A typical class can take up to 12 people while Nazlina also organizes cooking class team building, with a larger number of people. Please contact her for more information.

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