Auria was born and raised in a tiny little town in Malaysia called Seremban, where according to the Lonely Planet Guide "there is nothing to see or do". How wrong could they be? Seremban is well known as a destination for some of Malaysia’s most popular street/hawker food.
Auria's dad's family is from Kerala. Her mom's is from Sri Lanka. Every day at 5pm, her dad would come out to the yard, point a finger at her and say "You! In the kitchen with your mother!" Ugh! Auria resented the fact that my brothers got to stay outside for a couple more hours and play, while she had to be in the kitchen washing rice, peeling and chopping garlic, ginger and onions. But today, Auria can see what his plan was.
Her mom was a tough head chef - for months all she did was wash rice, and peel and chop onions, garlic and ginger. After a while, she let me peel and cut up the potatoes. Then it was the veggies. She was very strict about everything being the same size, so it would all take the same amount of time to cook.
Besides the Malayali and Sinhalese influences, Auria's beautiful mom's cooking was also colored by the fact that we lived in Malaysia, a wonderful melting pot of cultures - Chinese, Malay, and Portuguese food concepts crept into our daily home-cooked meals. Malaysians love their seafood - shrimp, crabs, fish. They make magic with fresh vegetables. They use coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal, fresh and powdered turmeric, fenugreek, whole cinnamon sticks, curry leaves, shredded coconut, cardamon, star anise, fresh Sarawak pepper and so on. This style of cooking is rarely experienced outside the home.
Auria grew up in a kitchen where nothing is measured and everything is by feel. She has now been in the States for 21 years and has found herself cooking for all of the people in her life! She loves the feeling of cooking for a group of people and watch them experience new ingredients and tastes.
AMK Hot Chilli Sambal is the first in what Auria hopes will be a line of Malaysian condiments, sauces etc. With this product, she has kept her promise to herself to stay true to the flavors and tradition of Malaysian cooking. The product is spicy, and a little goes a long way. When folks ask her what is it good on, the simple answer is “EVERYTHING!"