COOKING should not be a daunting task, what with numerous mobile apps in the market now that offer many new and interesting recipes for novice cooks.
But what if you are rummaging through your fridge and find one ingredient which you want to cook with and you need some inspiration for a quick and easy recipe?
You can search the Internet for some ideas, but with the refreshed Kuali.com, Star Media Group’s (SMG) food and recipe website since 1998, the soon-to-be-launched mobile app will have an AI-enabled (artificial intelligence-enabled) camera that will detect the ingredient and suggest recipes to users.
Kuali’s mission to share the love of good food through discovery on technology platforms is evident in its strategic purpose-built web and app experiences.
The website, available on desktop and mobile web browsers, offers full functionality, including submitting and sharing of recipes across 40 food categories, ratings and reviews, as well as food articles and videos.
SMG’s Food Vertical team celebrating the refreshed Kuali website at Menara Star, Petaling Jaya. — Photos: YAP CHEE HONG/ The Star
The app available on Google Play and App Store will include fast searches and allow unique mobile app features and experience such as location-based, gyroscope and camera functions to be added.
The next phase includes building more capabilities using uniquely mobile features, said SMG Digital Products and Analytics senior general manager Freddy Loo.
Kuali will bring stores closer to consumers by enabling the e-commerce function, as evident in Kuali’s recent partnership collaboration with Heritage Foods (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and BMS Organics.
Heritage Foods’ portfolio of companies include halal-certified Bidor Kwong Heng Sdn Bhd, a sauce and condiments manufacturer in Malaysia specialising in naturally-brewed soy sauce and bean paste since 1945.
(From left) Lau, Sandip, Iris and Syazwin with some of the prizes they won for their recipes.
BMS Organics produces organic food and has been in the market for 22 years, with retail chains and organic restaurants.
“We want to revamp the heritage aspect of Kuali and find the right partners to go on this journey with us.
“Heritage Foods and BMS Organics are perfect because ultimately, all good Malaysian food have different types of sauces to go with, and Malaysia is a big halal market,” said Loo, adding that the partnership offered a good way for Kuali to move forward.
One of Bidor Kwong Heng’s halal range of sauces is Salam, which is manufactured for both local and international markets.
Syazwin’s winning Otak Otak Wrap recipe using tortilla wrap, instead of the traditional banana leaves.
Loo said through the Kuali app, their focus was to also engage the younger generation, who are digital platform natives, with a variety of traditional recipes including easy one-pot dishes.
Heritage Foods (Hong Kong) Limited managing director Daniel Saw expressed his excitement on the partnership, saying Kuali was a good platform to share their best products and to promote popular Malaysian dishes.
“Heritage Foods acquired a few brands, including Bidor Kwong Heng two years ago.
“There is a growing trend for halal products internationally and we want to use these (homegrown) brands as a vehicle for international expansion,” said Saw.
Tan’s Nyonya angku Kuih – In Colours and Flavours using butterfly pea flower, dragonfruit and purple sweet potato as natural colouring.
BMS Organics general manager Terrance Tan hoped that the collaboration with Kuali would appeal to the mass market and encourage people to cook with more healthy ingredients.
“BMS Organics will provide this information through the Kuali platform via e-commerce, where customers can also purchase various BMS Organics products,” he said.
SMG chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said the partnership coincided with SMG’s move into e-commerce, while promoting other products on Kuali.
“If there are other food-related companies which are interested, we are willing to bring them onto our platform to work out a collaboration. This is part of SMG’s transformation programme, where we hope to have more transactional revenue to diversify our revenue stream,” said Fu.
The Cook, Win & Celebrate: SMG Kuali Raya Celebration contest offered attractive prizes worth RM1,000 for staff members
In conjunction with the unveiling of Kuali.com and SMG’s Hari Raya celebration, the winners of the “Cook, Win & Celebrate: SMG Kuali Raya Celebration” contest were announced, where SMG staff won attractive prizes worth RM1,000, including food hampers and consolation prizes.
The contest was to discover the hidden culinary talents among staff and share their love for heritage recipes.
Participants had to cook their favourite dish and snap a photo, register and create a profile on kuali.com, submit the recipes and photos as well as like and follow Kuali on Facebook @StarKuali and Instagram (kuali.com_my)
The grand prize winner was Technology team leader and designer Syazwin Hayati Mohamed Ridzwan for her Otak Otak Wrap recipe.
Otak-otak is steamed fish mousse, which is usually wrapped in banana leaves and grilled, but Syazwin added a Western twist to it by using tortilla wraps.
“This dish is reminiscent of my childhood, and it is an easier version, as you can cook it in a pan and don’t have to steam the fish for too long,“ she said.
She also attended cooking workshops organised by Kuali and found the contest a good opportunity to showcase her cooking skills.
The first runner-up was Property Management and Development senior general manager Iris Tan for her Nyonya Angku Kuih - In Colours and Flavours recipe.
“Traditionally, the angku kuih (red tortoise cake) comes in red and sometimes, yellow or orange, from the yellow sweet potato in the dough.
“I made a colourful version using liquid strained from fruits, vegetables and pandan leaves with three flavours – mung bean and dessicated coconut cooked with gula melaka, which are both sweet, and a savoury one with yam beans, carrots and French beans,” she said.
Coming from a Nyonya background, Iris said she wanted to make food that she grew up eating using non-artificial colouring.
The second runner-up winners were Content senior producer Ian Lau, who submitted a recipe for Stuffed Roast Pork Belly, business analytics manager Sandip Mitra for his Homemade Baked Chicken with Pesto and Technology web development team lead Tan Woan Lih for her Banana, Walnut and Date Cake.