Herbs and spices are an amazing way of flavouring our food and as Malaysians, the more flavour the better. Some common herbs and spices you can find in a kitchen include curry leaves, chillis, turmeric, ginger, and more! If you aren’t already using lots of herbs and spices when you cook, what are you waiting for?! Although many herbs are common and easy to get here, why not grow your own little garden. Here is a quick and basic guide on growing your own herbs in Malaysia!
Growing your Own Herbs in Malaysia
One factor to keep in mind before you begin your own garden is to remember our climate. Malaysia is a tropical country which means our weather is primarily hot and humid compared to others. As a result, there are certain herbs that will not grow well here as they might require a cooler climate.
Therefore, try to stick to the herbs that are native to our tropical region and can easily flourish. You will need to look out for those hardy plants that can survive a bit of heat. In fact, some plants don’t even need to be watered everyday.
A great benefit to growing your own herbs at home is that you will always have a supply on hand. While some recipes might not call for a herb, you might decide that it would be a great addition to it. Rather than run to the store, just head to your garden and pluck what you need. Furthermore, you know what goes into growing the plant such as pesticides and fertiliser.
Basil is easy to grow and once you have a healthy plant, it just keeps growing on its own. You can have sweet basil that goes well in Italian cooking or opt for Thai basil for a more Asian taste.
When you think of herbs in Malaysia, surely curry leaves will come to mind. The leaves are great not just for curry but also to include in dishes such as butter chicken, fried chicken, and more. It has such a fragrant smell that will easily complement your meal.
Moving on, coriander is a relatively easy plant to grow at home and is used in a lot of recipes. It is also commonly included as a garnishing for many Asian dishes such as chicken rice and Tom Yum soup. You can grow this plant using small cuttings or even seeds.
Another easy plant to grow here is lemongrass which is also known as serai. It is usually found in dishes like satay sauce, laksa, and more. Moreover, many of us enjoy having a nice cup of lemongrass tea! Just plant some lemongrass stalks in some soil and watch it grow. If your stalks don’t have roots, place them in a container of water first before planting in soil.
Similarly to lemongrass, pandan is also a fragrant herb that is easy to grow. It is a great method to flavour your food even if it’s as simple as throwing a few leaves into your rice pot. Other than that, some people use it to wrap their food such as sticky rice or chicken because it has such a subtle flavour.
This herb will grow anywhere that has bright sunlight and healthy soil so there’s no need to worry. Incorporate chives into your cooking for a mild kick or even as a garnishing on top for that extra pop of colour.
Now that you know a few herbs in Malaysia that can survive the climate, it’s time to get started. Do what feels comfortable first, even if that means starting off with just one or two plants. Make sure to do additional research to understand any needs that specific plants might have. Happy gardening!