Chef Nurilkarim | Jawi Peranakan Cuisine

This 4th August 2015, TSG Cooking School will be having a Jawi Peranakan cuisine cooking class conducted by one of our guest chefs, Chef Nuril.

Jawi Peranakan refers to a community of Muslims with South Indian and Malay parentage born in the port cities of the Straits of Melaka; namely Penang, Malacca, and Singapore. It all started in the early 19th century when Muslims from South India migrated to Southeast Asia as traders and missionaries. As they settled down and married the locals, the resulting cultural merge was a “distinctive identity that was captured in their architecture, clothing, jewellery, and cuisine.”

Immensely proud of his heritage, Chef Nuril is eager to share the delights of Jawi Peranakan cuisine with TSG Cooking School guests where “the surroundings are calming with its beautifully landscaped hills of healthy spice [and herb plants] which allow us to gain a further understanding of how we incorporate these spices in our daily food.”

“Working as a chef, I have done quite a number of classes and demonstrations but cooking in Tropical Spice Garden is a privilege for anyone who loves food and the bond it has with nature.” The kitchen in TSG Cooking School is equipped with 10 working stations for a very intimate, hands-on experience for “enthusiastic individuals be it a tourist or local who is keen on learning the unique blends of Malaysian cuisine.”

Chef Nuril has won multiple awards since his undergraduate days and was the Culinary Editor of the Peranakan Muslim Heritage Series book, “Feasts of Penang: Muslim Culinary Heritage” by Dato Dr. Wazir Jahan Karim. With a remarkable academic background in western culinary arts, his passion remains in the tantalising flavours of Asian food and Penang’s unique Jawi Peranakan cuisine.

As an esteemed chef, one does wonder if Chef Nuril has higher expectations of himself when it comes to cooking Jawi Peranakan dishes compared to other cuisines.

“I definitely have high expectations of myself, not only in the food but more for the overall delivery of the class, and whether the students are comfortable with my workflow. Personal expectations are usually achievable if we take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of making a mistake. For my students, when it comes to Jawi Peranakan cooking, setting my expectations too high would mean a very rigid class. Personally, to relax and enjoy the fun you have with cooking is the first step so knowledge can be retained alongside fond memories, my expectations for the students most of the time is their willingness to learn and to try new things even though if it may seem a little alien at first. Jawi Peranakan food, like many cuisines from fusions of many cultures, focuses on balance although [it is] slightly richer than traditional Malay food. Once the students understand how to achieve this balance in the food with the usage of the proper ingredients and its quantities, most of my work is done. From there having understood the fundamental principles of cooking, the student is then empowered to add their own personal touches or adjust the flavours notes to their liking.”


Upcoming classes:

4th August 2015

15th September 2015


9.00am – Live Guided Tour of the Spice Terraces

9.45am – Complimentary tea @ Bamboo Garden

10.00am – Gift Shop 10.15am – Cooking Class

1.00pm – Lunch with Chef @ The Patio



Creamy Rose Chicken

Ghee Rice with Cucumber Achar

Sago Pudding with Palm Sugar


Charges: RM233.20 (incl. GST 6%)


> Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School 

Recipe : Golden Turmeric Latkes

  • 2 cups shredded peeled russet potatoesgolden turmeric latkes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 fresh green Serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided


  • Thoroughly mix potatoes, onion, chiles to taste, cilantro, flour, cumin, salt, turmeric and eggs in a large bowl.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat.
  • Place a heaping tablespoon of the potato mixture in the skillet and flatten with a spatula into a disk roughly 3 inches in diameter. Form as many latkes as you can in the pan without overcrowding.
  • l Cook until golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • l Briefly drain on a paper towel-lined plate, then transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining oil and potato mixture.


Cooking Demo : Thai Inspired Party Food

cooking demo-devi-general


Throwing a party at home? Besides from drinks and cocktails, party snacks and finger food is a must!

TSG Cooking School will be hosting a Cooking Demo on Thai inspired party food by our very own in-house cheft- Devi Nadarajan. Learn how to make simple Thai snack dishes like the ‘Pandan’ Chicken, Money Bag, Green Curry Chicken Cake and for the dessert learn to make Thai Sticky Rice Balls in Coconut Milk!

Date: 28th March 2015

Time: 10.30am – 1pm

Location: Santai Corner, Tropical Spice Garden

Price: RM60 (normal) & RM45 (Spice Friends and partners)

Click here to register for the Cooking Demo.

*Best to register before the 24th of March so that we can prepare the very best for you! :)

Do not miss out this opportunity to learn with our passionate chef and to mingle with groups of food enthusiast.
Hosted by: Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School

*Please note that the cooking demo will be conducted in group demonstration form, no individual station.

T: +604 881 1797    M:+60124865795  E:

Jawi Cuisines at it’s best with Chef Nuril

Chef Nurilkarim

Chef Nurilkarim

Introducing our new guest chef at TSG Cooking School starting February 2015- Chef Nurilkarim Razha.

Nuril will be conducting cooking classes on Jawi Peranakan cuisines, which we believe he is the most suitable candidate to do so because of his astonishing background and experience in the industry. He will be having his very first class at TSG Cooking School on the 3rd of February 2015. Do not miss this opportunity to learn from an authentic Peranakan Jawi chef!

I have always had a very strong passion for food from an early age, not only in cooking Asian dishes but trying out different combinations of herbs to enhance local flavours and bland European food. The food industry also generates infinite possibilities for the young and passionate. My interest in this field is inspired by the way my parents encouraged me to make culinary presentations to their guests and the ovation I received from my friends every time I cooked for them. Growing up in an environment such as Penang where the culinary mosaic is so diverse and all ethnic communities delight in trying food from other cultures, I have thoroughly enjoyed eating out and finding the ‘secret’ ingredients which has made particular dishes so ‘special’ to the people in Penang and tourists. Penang has helped me develop a strong love for local cuisine and flavours. I believe my Diploma in Culinary Arts and Degree in Hospitality and Events Management combines well with my earlier interests and will provide me with a firm foundation to start my career in this industry.

Furthering my undergraduate studies in Hospitality and Events Management has also given me a wider perspective in the industry. I now can expand my capabilities and interests and venture beyond the kitchen into higher managerial positions. I have also learned to accept high standards of practice and service, necessary to expel the perceived mediocrity affecting Hospitality and Tourism in some parts of the country. My other personal interests also include flora and fauna photography, gardening and indigenous aquaculture related to sources of food; I am a firm believer in sustainable sources of food particularly in businesses which are large consumers of natural resources. As an individual who is young in this field, I am eager to develop a modern fine dining Peranakan cuisine for an international clientele where every flora of the Menu; flowers, spices, shoots and herbs, will be research based and sourced from our lush equatorial gardens and rainforests. I hope eventually to be an international symbol of tropical hospitality and a future market leader. I know I must do this – fulfil my life ambition and find happiness in what I do.”

Nurilkarim Razha is a Malaysian award winning Chef, with a degree in IMI Bachelor of Arts in International Hospitality and Events Management (Hons) and an IMI Diploma in Culinary Arts. While he was an undergraduate at college, he was Captain of the Independent team at Hong Kong; won the Bronze Medal at’ the Food Hotel Asia Culinary Challenge’, East meets West, Open Category, Food & Hotel Asia Singapore, in April 2010 and the Silver Medal at the International Culinary Classic Competition, Hong Kong in 2011. He created a fusion nyonya and French entrée prepared with grilled cod and otak-otak with Asian basil and pesto sauce. He conducted a cooking demo for a book launch, entitled, ‘Redefinition: Molecular Cuisine, Traditional Recipes through a Modern Kaleidoscope” by Darren Teoh Min Guo’ at the Grand Dorsett, Subang Jaya in October 2010 and had a published patented recipe in the book, entitled Senangin Masak Assam,Peppered Jelly, Ulam pp 172-175 ; 2010: August Publishing . Nuril was Head of Food & Beverage and Planned Menu for ‘World Chefs Day’, Tropicana City Mall, endorsed by Chefs Association of Malaysia, October 2010. He has been Executive Chef of the ‘Practical Production Module’ KDU University College, November 2009 and Class Representative and Executive Chef of Cula 3, Diploma in 2009.

Nuril Joined Cilantro at Micasa Hotels, Kuala Lumpur in 2011, the only Malaysian Restaurant listed in the Miele Food Guide where he engaged in a week-long food fest with two Star Michelin Celebrity Chef, Yuichi Kamimura in November 2012. In 2013, he returned to Penang to take up a job as Executive Chef and Manager of JAWI HOUSE, a Jawi Peranakan or Peranakan Muslim Heritage Café on the famous Armenian Street walk in George Town. He designed the Peranakan Muslim Heritage Menu and the organisational plan of the Heritage Café at JAWI HOUSE.

Nuril was Culinary Editor of the much acclaimed Peranakan Muslim Heritage Series book, “Feasts of Penang: Muslim Culinary Heritage” by Dato’ Dr Wazir Jahan Karim (MPH 2012) and presented the book to TYT, Tun Abdul Rahman (Dr) Hj. Abdul Abbas, the Governor of Penang in July 2013 at the Third George Town Festival, an event co-sponsored by Think City and JAWI HOUSE, which also launched JAWI HOUSE Café Gallery. In August 2014, he was selected for the Penang Global Tourism Promotional Campaign, featuring Jawi Peranakan foods and participated in AFC/Penang Global Tourism Series on ‘My Penang’ in August 2014. In September 2014, he organised the Peranakan Muslim Food Launch at the Opening of The Star Building, George Town. Nuril was strongly recommended to participate in SNAP TV (London) Series on George Town’s Street Foods with Ainsley Harriot; “Anisley Eats the World” and demonstrated Jawi Laksa, a JAWI HOUSE signature dish for Chef Ainsley Harriot, in November 2014.

For more information about cooking classes schedules and availability, do log on to TSG Cooking School’s website: or simply drop us a line below if you need any assistance. All bookings and payment should be made in advance to avoid any disappointment. 

TSG Cooking School’s new HOMEpage

TSG Cooking School

The Tropical Spice Garden Cooking School now has a new website with more information and for easier reference.

No, we are not separating from each other nor moving out, just thought that a stand alone website for The School itself would be great to meet the needs of the guest as time goes by.

Browse around the website to read more about the school itself, the multi-racial cuisines, our friendly (and beautiful) chefs, and of course, Book a Class!

We hope to serve you better. Stay tuned for more upgrading works :)

Storing Spices?

TSG Cooking School

TSG Cooking School Spice Rack

Whether you’re partial to bold curries, homemade chilli, warmly spiced granola, or all three, chances are you’ve accrued quite the spice collection, but do you know how best to store your flavourful bounty? Protect your investment by keeping a few simple guidelines in mind:

  • Store spices in airtight containers away from direct heat and sunlight, preferably in a cupboard, pantry, or drawer, so as to avoid damage to their essential oils. If storing spices in a drawer, stock up on a brand whose lid is labeled on top, like Morton & Basset, for easy identification of the contents within, or label the lids yourself. If housing spices in a cupboard or pantry, try a tiered shelf or lazy Susan for the best access.
  • When you first crack open a spice jar, make certain to label it somewhere — we typically mark the bottom of the jar — with the date using a permanent marker. This way you’ll know when the contents’ potency has dulled, avoiding bland, disappointing dishes ahead. Whole spices are typically good for up to three years, while pre-ground should be discarded after one year.
  • If possible, purchase whole spices and grind them to order. As explained above, whole spices have a much longer shelf life, particularly with delicate varieties like nutmeg and cardamom. And the extra step of either grating or grinding up just the right amount — try a Microplane or dedicated coffee grinder, respectively — takes little extra time and will boost flavour immensely.
  • When in doubt, purchase the smallest container of a spice available. If your grocer sells bulk spices, they’re a best bet as turnover is typically high, and you can purchase just what you think you’ll use up within the next few months, storing any extra in a tin or glass container. Alternatively, we’re fond of Spicily, which packages spices in smaller quantities than average.

Green is the New Black

Guest Chef of TSG Cooking School . Vegetarian Menu

Cheng Lze Huei

People are drawn to vegetarian by all sorts of motives including to live healthier and to save the environment. Lze Huei shares her vegetarianism by cooking and believes that people are still open for modern living vegetarian lifestyle base on her experiences.


Lze Huei started her career since 2007 by sharing her personal menu and cooking method. In year 2011, she established vegetarian kiosk “I Love Vege” at Queensbay Mall, Bayan Lepas to share her passions with both locals and oversea customers.  She can be said as the pioneer in the industry and hope to make it a trend to eat healthy.


Some of her expertise dishes includes Japanese Sushi, Basil Spaghetti & Vegen Mushroom Soup, Hot and Sour Soup of Mushroom and Mustard (Chinese Chai-Boi), and Chinese Herbal Soup serve with mixture of mushroom (Bakut Teh),


“By teaching more people about vegetarian food, we can share more modern eating trend to more people so that they can share it with even more families and friends of theirs wherever they go.”


A Culinary Adventure with Dad – TSG Cooking School

A Culinary Adventure with Dad

A Culinary Adventure with Dad

“A Culinary Adventure with Dad” – Father’s Day special Cooking Class just for the faithful fathers and cheeky child! Don’t know how to cook? No worries, we have our talented Chef Rohana to guide you/them throughout the whole session and you will be amazed when you see how good your husband/kid can be!

Class is on 15th June 2014, 9am-1pm.

Have any questions ? Don’t doubt yourself, call us at +604 881 1797 now. Our friendly staff will be there to help you from 9am-6pm daily :)

*advance booking required!

Hope to see you !


Valen-Thai Tiffin Picnic by the garden

Valentine's Poster

ValenThai Special

Valentine’s Day is just a week away.

Still wondering on how to surprise your partner?

Forget about the chocolates and flower!

Do something special this year. How about cooking side by side with your Valentine and make this 3 beautiful Thai dishes with your beloved one on this memorable day and dine amidst our luscious garden.

So hurry and booked with us now!

CNY ‘Kuih’ Making Workshop

It’s the season of gift and joy again..

Noticed that the Aunty opposite your house starts to sit in the porch with the charcoal burning and some metal clips on it.. that familiar noise from the metal clips.. that buttery yet a little bit burnt smell in the air..


For those of you who cannot picture this, visit the garden on the 26th January 2014 to get a hands-on on how Kuih Kapit and Kuih Bangkit is done.

CNY Poster

Let me give you a brief intorduction:

IMG_0102Kuih Kapit a.k.a Love Letters is a traditional Nyonya thin/sliced biscuits make using these metal clips. and has has become a culture of the Chinese to make this during the Chinese New Year.

traditional chinese new year cookies

traditional chinese new year cookies

Kuih Bangkit a.k.a Baked Tapioca Flour Cookie is another famous Nyonya cookies and it’s a must have during the Chinese New Year. It is very soft and melts as soon as it’s in our mouth!

To learn more about them, come visit us at the garden.

Bring your kids along, it would be a great opportunity for them to learn and experience a culture’s tradition.