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MasterChef Australia: Poh Ling Yeow's Mum Taught Her Malaysian Cooking Passed Down Through Generations

The reality star also learnt baking from her family at age nine when she moved to Australia.

Wednesday night’s episode of ‘MasterChef Australia’ is going to be a tear-jerker, with the remaining contestants being surprised with photos of their loved ones, and then asked to cook a dish that is reminiscent of them.

Fan favourite Poh Ling Yeow has often referred to her mum Christina when speaking about some of the Malaysian dishes she’s made this season.

Not only do they share a love of food, but a fantastic sense of humour as well.

In a recent text message exchange shared on Poh’s Instagram account, the mother and daughter swapped notes about coronavirus lockdown haircuts.

But jokes aside, Poh has learnt a lot of her cooking from her knowledgeable mum, starting with baking skills after moving to Australia from Malaysia when she was nine.

“On weekends Mum, who baked fiendishly, took painstaking care training me up on things like how to line a tin meticulously,” she wrote in her book, ‘Poh Bakes 100 Greats’.

“I remember as if it were yesterday, the moment that she taught me the invaluable skill of folding flour into batter, explaining why it had to be done ‘just like so’.”

Her interest in Malaysian cuisine developed in her adult life, and when she started learning, she had her mum and great aunt, Kim’s feedback.

“They’d say no, no you didn’t put enough turmeric in that or not enough galangal,” she told Business Insider in 2014.

The knowledge has been passed down by generations.

In a blog post published on Fooding With The Yeows (run by Poh’s brother Casper) in 2016, Poh’s mum opened up about learning how to cook many Malaysian specialties from her mother-in-law after marrying husband Steve in 1969.

“My mother-in-law was Nonya. Nonya were descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Singapore and Indonesia inter-marrying with local Malays,” wrote Christina.

They were renown for their amazing cooking, typically spicy, made using a combination of Malay and Chinese ingredients and techniques.”

After marrying into the family, she also introduced some of the baking recipes she had learnt from her own mum and grandmother.

“As I cooked for the masses, I was able to refine many of my own grandma’s and mum’s recipes and introduce, to the Yeows, some western desserts like French crepes and marbled cake that I learnt at school,” she explained.

Last week Poh and co-star Jess Liemantara were asked to create their ultimate ‘comfort food’ dishes after impressing the judges in the instant noodles challenge.

Poh chose to make Nasi Lemak with Otak Otak, which she said was “totally my childhood on a plate”.

‘MasterChef Australia: Back To Win’ continues at 7:30pm on Channel 10.

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