I feel a bit bashful for putting up a recipe for Chicken Rice.  There are countless versions on the internet, many handed down from mothers or mums’ mums, others gleaned from chefs who sell chicken rice for a living, and most written by Chinese, and rightly so because Chicken Rice as we know it is Hainanese in origin.  And if you didn’t know (though I’m sure you do.  Right?) the Hainanese are Chinese.

But here I am, this Malay chick who looks sort of Chinese, whose accent has an identity crisis, who’s spent more than half her life away from her non-birthplace of Singapore, is going to share with you her version of Hainanese Chicken Rice.

At this point, I’m writing this post to myself because I’m sure at the end of that last paragraph, anyone reading would have shut their browser tab on me.  So I console myself that this post is for me to remember, for posterity, for my children when they’re grown, given I’m still around to pay for my domain. Read More →

Two weeks in the middle east and I’ve got a terrible craving that wouldn’t exist had I my own kitchen out here, but I don’t have my own kitchen.  At least not yet.  I think I must have instinctively known this before I left Singapore because on the day we left, I somehow managed to have time to make this second version of Dan Dan Mian.  That or I was simply trying to finish up the rest of the la mian I had in the fridge before we took off on the plane for a noodleless land. Dan Dan Read More →

I think the origins of Soto is Indonesia, and I personally love how the word is pronounced in the Indonesian language, the vowel sound coming from deep in the throat.  I can’t say it properly myself, to be frank.  I say it the way Malays do, just simply from the mouth as it were, no deep O sound.  When I was a teenager this was one of the first major meals I attempted to cook for myself, in a tiny pot with the proportions that I visualised my mother use, which of course was a mistake.  My mother always cooked for a family of six.  This does not fit into a one-quart saucepan. Read More →

I thought it most appropriate to start off with something that I consider covers the basics of Malay cooking technique, something I learned from my Mom, chicken curry, and something that started off the repetition of the mantra, onion garlic ginger.  And yes, chicken curry really is easy.

In Singapore, it seems everyone has their own version of chicken curry.  I’ve tasted it cooked by a Chinese, an Indian and of course the Melayu.  All taste the same but different.  Anybody would eat it with plain white rice, or bread (traditionally, the kind you get at HDB estates where they call it ‘french loaf’ though flavour and texture wise, it doesn’t resemble a baguette very much).  The Chinese, I’ve very recently discovered, apart from eating it with rice or bread, came up with the idea of eating it with fried rice vermicelli or, as we know it, fried bee hoon which would include all of its own ingredients like vegetables, soy sauce or oyster sauce.  I did think it a strange combination at first, but somehow, it works.  I personally prefer it with white rice, or better still with roti prata.  My mother’s version is very savoury, with only a little sugar to round out the flavour but not sweeten it.  And oily.  And salty.  And spicy.  Very Malay. Read More →