Sumathi Sivamany or Su, as she wouldn’t mind being called, refers to herself as “a lawyer by profession, a cook by passion”. She started her YouTube channel just this July, with the goal of sharing her 30-year home-cooking experience to her viewers through simple yet delicious recipes.
“As Malaysians, we love trying each other’s cuisine,” the mother of two grown-up children stated during a brief interview over WhatsApp. “I love experimenting on Malaysian food and have made slight variations to the recipes.”
Her main target audience are the working mothers who have to multitask between their jobs and house chores, which is why she strives to make her recipes as simple as possible without sacrificing their taste, often using ingredients that are either easily available or substituted. She also loves sharing ideas and recommending kitchen gadgets and utensils that she thinks will make the cooking experience even easier and enjoyable, as seen in her videos explaining ovens, mixers and even cast iron pots.
One of Sumathi’s signature recipes is her homemade lemang, as featured in one of her recent videos. “Although classic lemang is a Malaysian favourite, it’s often only available during festive seasons and sold mainly in the outskirts of the city,” she laments. Its methods of preparation are not convenient for typical city homes, either.
As such, she came up with the alternative of using baking cans instead of the traditional bamboo casing, and cooking using an oven instead of an open fire. This, according to her, worked perfectly. Using baking cans also meant opening doors to further customisation; she has even made triangular lemang, for example. Truly adhering to her goal of “making cooking fun and adventurous”.
Sumathi is still a practicing lawyer, with her own legal practice in Old Town. She is also the current President of the Perak Women for Women Society (PWW). She usually shoots her videos after work and during the weekends, aiming to produce two videos every week. She has uploaded a total of 14 videos so far, with 10 in English and 4 in Bahasa Malaysia. Readers can check out her channel at Sumathi Sivamany.
Jia Huey & SeeFoon Koppen