Yesterday in Melaka: This city is more than just Nonya food...

I believe in Yesterday
... and chendol, for the matter.

Melaka is a convenient for short getaway for Singaporeans. I was there for a short break recently. It is a haven for Nonya food but I did not have any of the usual dishes.

The typical Nonya restaurants in Melaka can be pretty average as modern chefs go for convenience rather than excellence. There are some very good ones but you often need to book in advance.

When it comes to Nonya, I grew up eating them, and as a grown up, cooking them. My Mum learned a lot from my step-grandmother who was a very good Nonya cook. Come to think of it, my step grandma was always dressed in her sarong kebaya.

No wonder. Our daughters always said that Nonya restaurant dishes "taste like home." My cooking has inescapable Nonya roots. This may explain why we do not always make a beeline for Nonya restaurants as we seldom eat what we can cook at home.

There are some good Nonya recipes here on this blog.

Perfecting the Roast Chicken


This is my usual cooking notes to remind myself of what I have been cooking.

Not that I get to cook a lot these days since I took up my new assignment at a very busy church (hint - it has the largest cross in Singapore - see pic). It is a cool church.

The humble roast chicken is something that is commonly done in many households and it does seem like our kitchen ovens are conventionally designed for it.

My idea of a good roast chicken is this: the skin should be crisped, nicely browned and the meat flavourful and moist. That is the reason why putting the chicken on a stack of vegetable is a big no-no for me. It was a method I used when I was following a cookbook. The meat should be moist and flavourful and this means you should not overcook your chicken.

Sous Vide Appliances for the Home Kitchen

L-R: Sous Vide Magic, Demi-Supreme, Anova
Top: Codlo
If you do a lot of Sous Vide cooking, and assuming you can afford it, it is useful to have more than one type of appliance.

I have been using Anova, Codlo, Sous Vide Supreme and Sous Vide Magic.

I know this may sound like over-indulging a cook's fascination with kitchen appliances but I don't own all of them. Some are shared with my Mum-in-law and they are also used in my church food ministry. They fulfil a wide range of sous vide cooking needs.

I will let you know what I think of them.

The rock of all ages...and the coming elections


This rock has been a steady thump for centuries.

It offers no glamour shots.
It has an old greyish look.
It makes color photos look monochrome.
It is simply not cool.
It does not make a good birthday present.

It has no manual nor fanciful package. In fact, even without a manual, a child or an elderly person are equally adept at using it.

It is a rock of all ages.

New gadgets with fanciful names like Philip, Meyers, Braun, National etc have all appeared and threaten to usurp it's place.

Yet, this rock seems immovable.

Keeping your Brinjal's colour and the Fried Brinjal with Dried Shrimps and Sambal Recipe


Brinjal. Eggplant. Aubergine.

Depending on where you live, it bears a different name. It also comes in many different shapes: round, oval and long. One thing is certain, it is popular in many cuisines and there are many ways to cook it. As I have mentioned it is a star piece of a Hakka Yong Tau Foo spread.

For regular dinners, to cook it the "Chinese" wok style, I will add it straight to the wok after making "fragrant" ingredients like garlic and sambal.

It will normally end up mushy with an unappetising brown colour.
What happened to the beautiful violet?

What makes bridal delicious is when the skin is crisped and the flesh is creamy.
But a mushy stir-fried brinjal dish is what you will normally get from your home wok.

The contrast in texture and appealing colors are some of the reasons why we like eat them in Cze Char stalls.

Happy 50th Birthday Singapore...and celebrating it with Nasi Lemak


"A good plate of Nasi Lemak is about getting the basics right. It is not about adding good side-dishes or adding expensive gourmet ingredients."
This is one of those "public cooking notes," where I had to jot down notes after cooking a good dish and you get to read it.

It was a wonderful day of celebrating the 50th birthday of our nation. Being a Sunday, it started with worship in church where we prayed together a prayer of thanksgiving. Then families gathered to watch the NDP together in the evening. What should we serve for dinner?

We decided on Nasi Lemak and indeed, it was the right choice.

Both Malay and Nonya at the same time, this dish which originated in Malay seaside villages has evolved in our multicultural city to what it is today. In fact, there are many versions of it, from the simple and essential, to those that come served with many side dishes.