Back in the Kitchen

Being home has afforded me the opportunity to start baking again rediscover the joy of cooking. (As I write this, I can smell my mother’s sweet strawberry jam wafting from upstairs. )

Pineapple tarts, filled with freshly pureed pineapple, topped with cloves.

Brushing with egg yolks before baking gives it a nice, browned coating.

Almond cookies, a Martha Stewart recipe. They have a touch of orange rind that adds a citrus lightness to the meringue base.


I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying my parents’ cooking. My great-grandparents were both born in Indonesia before traveling through Malaysia and finally to Singapore, where I grew up. My family is therefore Indonesian Peranakan, descendants of early Chinese immigrants to Indonesia and Malaysia. I mention this because this heritage has been a culinary blessing. Nonya (nyonya) cooking is the distinct cuisine that was born out of the intermingling of various Chinese, Malay and Indonesian culinary traditions. Or, in my opinion, the most flavorful food in the world. I’ll be posting more pictures and samples of this food as long as I’m still at home, but here’s a sample.

Otak Otak Panggang: Spicy fish grilled in banana leaves.  Red snapper is beaten into a sticky paste, to which coconut milk, eggs, slices of fish, lime leaves and turmeric leaves are added. This fish mixture is spooned onto the middle of each banana leaf. After wrapping the leaf around the paste and securing the ends, the packages are grilled. Shallots, garlic, galangal, candlenuts, dried chillies, shrimp paste, turmeric, coriander,  and lemon grass are ground into a fine paste; this forms the rempah. Here is it served with omelet, fresh cucumbers, fried tofu, and rice.

Yong Taufu: a noodle dish with daikon/tofu soup and fishcake stuffed in peppers, eggplant, and (fried) tofu with chili sauce and cilantro/green onions as garnishes. This is obviously an aberration of the dish, as we had to use leftover noodles (it should be the proper bee hoon).

Chicken porridge with fried poh pia (spring rolls). A simple, comforting meal.

Music: joe hisaishi – ponyo’s lullaby | ben folds five – the luckiest


One comment

  1. your parents sure know way to keep you feel at home, at ease:O)
    and with such meals…no matter where glen is going, guess he will still wish to come back
    to taste his home made peranakan food..

    and i am so in love with the pineapple tarts and otah otah(sg) or otak (msia) but would prefer it to be vegan version thou:O)

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