Assam Fish Curry


Assam Fish is a sourish, spicy and appetizing dish which my Mum made regularly.

This curry is not creamy and coconut milk is not added. The sour taste comes from the assam keeping and tamarind paste.

This recipe is versatile and can be used for various types of firm-fleshed fish like black pomfret, snapper, buttermilk fillets, cencaru or stingray.

As fish cooks quickly, it is important that you do not overcook it. This means you only need a short time-window. It can be assembled a la minute and this recipe is about doing that. For better control of the texture, I prefer to cook the vegetables separately.

Pickled Cucumber with Red Onions

I have been slower in putting up recipes since my life has gotten busier with a shift in my work place.

I have also been focusing on getting the cookbook out, which involves focused work and discipline. I have to dedicate my off days to do this and we are aiming to release the cookbook in October.

I want to talk about pickling today.

I am always amazed how the humble cucumber is transformed in flavour and texture through some simple pickling process.

Pickling typically involve immersion in vinegar. The adding of salt dehydrates the vegetable further, resulting in a more intense flavour. A popular local pickled recipe is Acar, a recipe which I hope to put up one day soon on this blog.

Auntie Ruby's Curry Puff


Your mum or grandma must have made some curry puffs that you miss so much.

Commercial ones are not the same. You know that.

We are so busy, huffing and puffing, that the idea of patient pastry recipes like these have become feint memories and a lost tradition. Thus we stuff ourselves with "chunky" ones (sorry, can't resist the pun) and moan about the good old times.

"Wha ah, kali paff tis days tass so bad? I miss my po-po's." (With a mouth full of pastry and mashed potato, it can be hard to speak Singlish properly.)

Making curry puffs may sound like a lot of work for most. And having tried it, I can tell you it is not for the lazy. But my Mum's version has delighted many.

In fact, curry puffs was the last thing my Mum wanted to make before her operation; when she was still conscious. That was what she promised the wonderful nurses at her ward at Mt Elizabeth. She never fulfilled that promise. Not that she could.

It has taken me a while. I finally got round to working on her curry puffs.

So, how did it go? Did we nail it?

This is Home ..dedicated to all Singaporeans overseas

Photo credit for this post: All taken by Mark Ong

4 years ago, in one of my silly moments, I penned this parody, hoping to record it one day and dedicate it to all my S'porean friends overseas. Anyway, to all of you overseas, wishing you a blessed National Day and always remember where home is!

  Whenever I am feeling low
I look around me and I know
There is food that will stay within me
wherever I may choose to go

I will always recall the city
Know every street and stall
Walk down the lanes that bring us life
Winding through my Singapore

This is home truly
Laksa and bak chor mee
Where my prata waits for me
Where the curry always flows
This is home surely

Durian senses tell me
This is where I won't be alone

For this is where I know it's home

When there is hunger to go through
We'll find a way to make char siew
There is comfort in the knowledge
That home's about its cuisine too

So we'll have steamboat together
Teh Tarik midnight to four
Satay bee hoon until it's five
There'll always be Singapore

This is home truly
Char Kuay teow, Wan ton mee
Where satay waits for me
Where the sauces always flow
This is home surely
Durian senses tell me
This is where I won't be alone
For this is where I know it's home

For this is where
I know I'm home

This is definitely home!

Santan Prawns

Photo credit: Goh Eck Kheng
This is a dish Mum made regularly.

She simply called it Santan Prawns. As I have not encountered this dish outside our home, I am not sure what the real name is or whether it was my Mum who concocted this recipe. In any case, it has obvious Thai-Northern Malay influence and is somewhat similar to Tom Yum Soup.

It’s easy to prepare and fast to cook. Is it a soup or a curry? It leans more to the former. Diners should have a separate bowl to scoop it in and drink from there.

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.