Acclaimed street food concept, turned casual dining restaurant, in Leeds has launched a brand new cook at home range of Malaysian food that is available nationwide.
From Malaysia to Huddersfield, founder of Dapur Malaysia, Valerie Kolat used time as a stay at home mum to polish up on her dishes, starting a pop-up business initially before moving to permanent premises in Chapel Allerton just seven months before the pandemic hit the UK.
Instead of letting closure knock her confidence, she considered how to adapt her business model and keep the business alive. Many people discovered a passion for cooking recipes from scratch during lockdown 1, but that has now waned in lockdown 3, with parents juggling home-schooling and general lockdown lethargy setting in. Valerie realised that people still want healthy food they can eat at home, but that is quick to cook so the idea for her ready meals was born. Whilst Dapur Malaysia’s delivery and click and collect service remains available for local residents from Thursday to Saturday, the ready meals can be ordered at any time and the nationwide delivery means those living outside of the Leeds area can enjoy the tastes of Valerie’s kitchen at home.
Speaking about Dapur Malaysia, Valerie Kolat said: “Losing both of my parents within a six-month period back in 2011 and early 2012 made me look to cooking as a type of therapy. My mother was an amazing cook and taught me her many Malaysian recipes, as well as Keralan recipes cooked by my grandparents. Food became a way to memorialise my wonderful mum and reminded me of home. Despite my parents not being here anymore, I can cook one of their favourite dishes and feel the nostalgia associated with it.”
Surprised that Malaysian food hadn’t made as many in-roads into the British psyche as other types of cuisine, Valerie wanted to put it on the map. As Malaysia is made up of a multitude of peoples; predominantly Malay, Chinese and Indian, Dapur Malaysia’s dine at home meals are inspired by the flavours from all three groups, as well as unique and purely Malaysian dishes, just like the ones her mum used to cook. Each meal is packed fresh at her Chapel Allerton restaurant and delivered within 3 days of ordering. All dishes can be kept chilled for up to 3 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months, enabling customers to savour the experience.
Valerie continued: “The idea for cook at home has been part of our business model since we opened, but the pandemic kick-started the process. We have taken time to look at different types of packaging, picking one that would ensure our dishes could be delivered fresh to our customers wherever they are in the UK, as well as being microwavable and oven safe. We’ve also made it affordable so, whilst it’s a restaurant at home experience, it’s still accessible. Malaysians are massive foodies and our cuisine definitely has something for everyone. It’s my hope that Malaysian cuisine will gain in popularity when people get a chance to try our dishes.”