Possibly the Best Eggplant Dish? / 燉茄子

Singapore Braised Eggplant
Good with Curries and Western Meat Dishes

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

Eggplant has an image problem with Western cooks.  This results from the fact that they usually cook it the wrong Continue reading

Jam Drops

Jane Austen in Singapore
An English Influence

Jam Drops, an English-inspired dish

Jam Drops

Jam Drops are a Singaporean sweet treat to serve with Tea. They show the English influence in the cooking of the Republic.

The recipe is adapted from Ellice Handy, who got it from Sophia Blackmore, a Methodist missionary who helped found the Methodist Girls School in Singapore in the late 19th century. So the origins are definitely English and probably from Jane Austen’s England. Continue reading

Singapore Peanut Sauce

For Satay or Gado Gado
Galangal Mees Kemerie Meets Tamarind

Galangal, an important Southeast Asian spice

Galangal

Peanut Sauces are popular in Southeast Asian cuisines.  So, we have a Thai Peanut Sauce, and Indonesian Peanut Sauce, both of which might go with foods like Satay and salads like Gado Gado.

Singapore Cuisine has its own version of Peanut Sauce.  This is good with Satay and also can be used as a dressing for a Gado Gado salad.

This sauce takes about 10 minutes to prepare and about 15 minutes to cook. It makes about a cup and a half

Special ingredients include Galangal, Tamarind and Kemerie or Candlenuts, as well as Lemongrass.  The Candlenuts are sometimes difficult to find; Almonds can be substituted.

Peanut Sauce

Singapore

Ingredients:

Tamarind Juice, Thailand origin

Tamarind Juice

2 ounces Tamarind Pulp (may substitute Lime juice in a pinch)
2 cups Water
3 Kemerie (Candlenuts) — or could substitute Macadamia nuts or Almonds
½ ounce Galangal or 1½ teaspoons powdered Galangal
15 small dried Red Chilies
1 stalk Lemongrass
3 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Shrimp Paste
1 Shallot or 2 tablespoons minced Onions
½ cup Vegetable Oil

1 cup toasted unsalted Peanuts
¼ cup Sugar
½ teaspoon Rice Vinegar or Malt Vinegar
¾ teaspoon Salt

Method:

First, mix the Tamarind Pulp with Water and strain it through a fine sieve.  You can also use the more refined Tamarind Juice from Thailand.

Prepare the Peanuts, by shelling them, and powdering them finely.   Originally this would be done in a mortar and pestle.  A blender or food processor works fine.

You want to do the other minor preparation — crush the Candlenuts or Macadamia Nuts coarsely, blanch and skin the Almonds if that is what you are using.,

Soak the Red Chilies in warm water and drain off the excess water.  This could be done while preparing the Peanuts.

The Garlic or Shallots need to be peeled and then minced.

The Lemongrass should be smashed lightly; the side of a heavy cleaver works well for this.

When all the preliminary preparation is ready, put the Candlenuts or whatever nuts are used, the Galangal, Chilies, Lemongrass, Garlic, Shrimp Paste and Shallots into a grinder or blender.  Process until very fine.

Then heat the Oil in a large hot saucepan or wok until the Oil is also hot.  Then add the Nut mixture, dry, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant.  Stir in the Peanuts, strained Tamarind liquid, the Sugar, Vinegar and Salt.

Boil these gently, uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring well while cooking.

Cool the sauce and allow the spices to infuse their fragrance into the Peanuts.

The sauce is served at room temperature, with Satay or Gado Gado salad. Recipe adapted from Violet Ooon.

Singapore - Skyline

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Nasi Minyak

A Staple at Malayan Weddings
Ghee Meets Saffron and Vanilla

Using garlic to make Nasi Minyak, Savory Rice

Garlic

Nasi Minyak, or Savory Rice, is a version of Rice cooked in or with Ghee, with an addition of spices and is a key dish in Malayan cuisine.

The name Nasi Minyak comes from Malay and literally means “Rice cooked with Oil,” referring to the Ghee which is a key ingredient in this preparation.

Nasi Minyak is commonly served at Malayan wedding banquets. Here is a recipe obtained from one of the Chefs at the legendary Goodwood Park Hotel in Singapore. Continue reading

Singapore Cuisine

City of the Merlion
Peranakan Cuisine

“Singapore is one of the few great cities of the world which still work.” — Philip Atlee [1]

“Modern Singapore food is, in fact, all about fusion.” — Molly O’Neill [2]

Vanda orchid Miss Joaqim, Singapore natgional flower

Vanda Miss Joaquim,
Singapore’s National
Flower

Can a city-state have its own cuisine? It would seem so, as Singapore is a multicultural city, a major crossroads of the Pacific, with many influences in its cooking which have developed some unique aspects.

Singapore, with a population of a little over  million, has been an independent country since 1965.

Singapore was settled as a modern city by Stamford Raffles of the East Indian Company in the early 19th century and was later part of the British colony of Malaya.

Continue reading

Sambals

Essential to Any Indonesian Dinner
Another Tamil Traveler

“A most essential part of any respectable Indonesian dinner.” — Alec Robeau [1]

“In the realm of condiments, the unbridled Indonesian imagination runs wild.” — Agnes de Keijzer Brackman [2]

Indonesian sambal

Sambal Istimewa, one of many Indonesian sambals

The Indonesian food group called Sambals is sometimes translated as pickles or relish or condiments.  It is commonly described as chili based, although this may not always  be the case.

Sambal is normally used to mean a condiment that has a chile based sauce.

Sambals are popular in the cooking of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, Continue reading

Coconut Milk

A Tropical Secret
Not Just for Candy Bars

“Coconuts are probably the most valuable fruit of the tropics.” — Kathie Webber [1]

The Coconut is a staple food throughout the tropical regions of the world. If you cook Southeast Asian dishes, you no doubt already use Coconut and Coconut Milk in making a number of dishes. [2,3]

Coconut Palm

Coconut Palm

Coconut Milk is used in making curries, as well as sauces, soups, and as ingredients in a number of dishes in several Pacific Rim countries.

In recent years, some concerns have surfaced about possible health risks connected with Coconut, especially with the nature of the oil it contains.  On the other hand, there are reports that there may be a number of health benefits involved, ranging from cancer prevention to treatment of dementia. Continue reading