Fried Brinjal with Anchovies in Assam Paste


I tried this out for the first time and it was simply delicious. I knew because it was long gone before dinner was over. 

I have explained in this post on how to cook brinjal well. For the home, a two step method of first cooking it on high heat - roasting in oven, pan-searing or deep frying - before flavouring it works well. The skin of the brinjal is delicious and crisp up when roasted or seared coated in some oil.

Ayam Sioh

Ayam Sioh is a simple Nonya staple.

As you should know by now, Nonya or Peranakan is as a cuisine which evolved from the coming together of Chinese (mostly Hokkien) and Malay cuisine cultures. Sometimes, it reflects foreign cultural influences like Portuguese, Dutch and English as well, those being the colonial masters of earlier years. It is also called "Straits Cuisine" as most of the areas where Nonya culture evolved from were port cities like Melaka, Penang and Singapore.

In this recipe, using the tau-chu or soy bean paste is obviously from Chinese cuisine. But what other ingredient marks it out as Nonya? Tamarind paste and ketumbar.

Ketumbar is basically a Malay term for Coriander powder. Technically one should call it serbuk ketumbar, but typically the term alone speaks for itself.  Tau chu+ ketumbar + tamarind, and the coming together of this Chinese and Malay  paste and spice in this recipe reflects it's inter-cultural roots.

Claypot Chicken Rice - Simplifying the recipe for the daily dinner

If I need to put some decent home-cooked dinner on thr table with a minimum of fuss, this is my favourite goto one-pot recipe.

Elsewhere, I have explained at length on how to do a really good pot of this but for a quick dinner, it makes sense to keep it simple. It will still be delicious.  

You can opt to use boneless chicken meat, which will cook faster. Use the right sand clay pot, cook the rice just right and you can expect a very good dinner, all done within 30 minutes. 

It is now 6.00 pm and you have to prepare for your family of four.

Fried Batang Fish (Mackerel) in Turmeric Powder

Fried Batang fish, served here with kecap manis sauce, omelette and rice. 

This is a simple recipe which you can use for your daily dinners.

Fried Batang or Mackerel fish, marinated in turmeric powder was a comfort food in my childhood home. I can also recall it being sold in my Mum's restaurant and canteen.

Over the years, Batang has become more expensive but it is still relatively a cheaper fish to use and is very suited for pan or deep frying as the flesh is firm.

Whether you are serving a whole family or just a dinner for two, this dish is convenient and easy to make.

Note a few tips about fish:
  • As long as it is fresh, you won't need to do a lot to make it taste good.
  • It keeps well frozen.
  • Fish do not need to be marinated for too long. 30 minutes at most. 
  • Clean your fish thoroughly to remove the blood and scum. 
  • Fish bones and heads can be used to make stock.

Enjoying Lai Huat Signature's Cze Char dishes in CBD


So, when you want to introduce overseas guests to Singapore food, what do you think of?

The usual street food dishes like Chicken Rice and Bak Chor Mee perhaps. But are there restaurants selling cooked à la minute Singaporean Chinese dishes, which though Chinese, is not to be confused with Hong Kong influenced eateries like Imperial Treasure or Crystal Jade? Where will you bring them if they want to eat Chinese and local?

Here is where our local Cze Char eateries hold their own ground. It is an interesting SingMa phenomena. The dishes have evolved over the years, adjusting to the local palette and marrying the best of Cantonese cooking with Nonya/Malay influence. On Sunday evenings, Singaporean families will dine at such eateries commonly found at HDB void decks. Many of the recipes on this blog share the same roots.

Preparing a Malay-themed dinner party


It is a joy to be able to get back to "community cooking" in this new church I am serving in. As I have said elsewhere, it is a familiar environment that I grew up with where I am very much at home.

We ran the Alpha Introductory Dinner recently and made a decision to offer "home-cooked" dinner. This article serves as cooking notes for  myself and the team and I am sure, you will find helpful as well.

As I have recently learned to prepare Nasi Ulam, I thought a Malay or Nonya themed dinner will be nice for the occasion.