Preparing a Malay-themed dinner party

Saturday, February 27, 2016

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.

Nasi Ulam (cover photo) is easy enough. It is "salad rice", which means that the only thing which needs cooking is the rice. Using basmati rice is a no-brainer and ideal as the grains stay separate. The rice water ratio is 1:1, with the washing factored in. I tried to get as many herbs as I could, knowing that our version of Nasi Ulam will taste great as long as diners are not fixated on it's traditional taste and the thing is, few today have even tasted it. There was a lot of patient herbs fine-slicing and doing that with a sharp knife remains the only way. Get a recipe for this here.

Next is Ayam Goreng. We have an electric deep-fryer and it was indeed God-send as we did not have proper stoves in the kitchen. In fact, I think it works much better than the traditional wok. It needed at least 8 minutes, being thigh meat. The recipe for the marinate is here.

We thought we needed another side dish. Since Nasi Ulam needed sambal, doing Sambal Egg made sense. Doing the Sambal was easy enough: fresh chilli paste, belachan and onions. Simmer the blended onions in oil first to caramelise. Peeling the 160 hard-boiled eggs was a pain, as usual. I think, world-wide, no one has found an easy way of doing it.

For the veg, we opted for pickled cucumber, fresh chills and onions. Some sugar, salt and vinegar and cucumber turns magically into something else. That was easy.

We served it with Malay-themed decor, very Asian indeed. The atmosphere was great and I think this dinner turned out well.

We will continue to offer some home-cooked dishes in the Alpha sessions to come. If you are interested to participate, do know that the Alpha Course is about introducing basic Christianity to those who are less acquainted. No one will force you to accept these beliefs but as I will always say, some issues in life are worth the time to explore.

Like Nasi Ulam, if you have not tried it before, there can always be a first time. Just come and explore the meaning of life.
For more info on the Alpha Course in the Cathedral go here.
The Course is also organised in other places. Check out info here.

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  1. Hi Pastor

    Haven't had Nasi Ulam for a long, long time!! Unfortunately not easy to get ulam in the US!

    Btw,cooking and peeling hard boiled eggs is a breeze in the Instant Pot. It is a Canadian product which is getting very popular in Canada, UK and US. I heard it is going to be introduced in Australia soon.

    Check out the Instant Pot Community and Instant Pot for Indian Cooking on Facebook.



    PS Which church are you in now?

    You could try getting one from the UK (that would work in Singapore) and you will want to make hard boiled eggs every day!!! :) The shells literally just slide off the eggs after they have been soaked in ice water and gently tapped all over.