I started this post in Singapore, but only completed it two weeks later, after only typing out the first three paragraphs!  We are now residing in the middle east, but pretend as you read won’t you, that we are speaking to you from Singapore!

In anticipation of leaving Singapore and being unable to eat our favourite foods for a long while, we recently allowed ourselves the indulgence of stuffing our faces.  Then the day of our departure rolled round and because of a technical glitch, or stupidity perhaps, however you want to look at it, we did not leave, and so we find ourselves still in Singapore but with seven large suitcases, two smaller ones,  and really, nothing else.  This could be worse, at least we have a place to stay.  The result of having an empty house and the uncertainty of our next departure date which could be next week, tomorrow, or next month, is more eating out, and some frozen dinners.

So over the course of a few weeks we have eaten at, The Sushi Bar, Rumah Makan Minang, I Am, Nur Ilham Nasi Padang stall, Curry Times, Thohirah at Jalan Kayu, and were particularly surprised by one TV dinner we had. Read More →

IMG_6627Friends, it’s been awhile.

My family and I are about to move countries again so we’re a tad over our heads in a reasonable amount of panic trying to breathe.  The goings on here have been anything but interesting as we are too busy doing, not enough enjoying.  But today was a little different because my parents were in town and they kept my kids happy in the living room while I was in the kitchen enjoying food again.

This recipe I’m about to share is a tweak of my Nyai’s recipe.  My mother brought it around the world with her on her travels, and now I am lucky enough do the same.   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 →

We have been here about six days now, and It’s been interesting, I’ve noticed a few things.  There are malls, and then there are sort-of-malls.  Women’s movements are restricted, yet ironically there are more options for them to choose from than men, although, a woman can forget about exercise (Amore Fitness would thrive here).  They don’t socialise through clubs, under the shroud of darkness, but the young socialise in malls in a sort-of shroud of darkness.  People really don’t head out til past 5pm when there’s a larger gap between prayer times, and then finally no more prayers scheduled for the rest of the evening.  It’s dawned on us though, we won’t be one of those people because the kids wind down for bed at about 6pm, but then, perhaps that means we will be avoiding crowds then.

We’ve been using Uber to get around, and after six trips I’m pretty satisfied with the service so far ; the cars are clean, the drivers are polite.  How did I find out about Uber..?  Oh my, I can’t even remember, from one of my internet trawlings no doubt, but thank goodness I did!   Read More →

Dan Dan Noodles

It’s been raining and we haven’t eaten anything chilli-fied at home in ages.  I thought it’s time to put the chilli hiatus on hiatus just  for a day.  Enter…Dan Dan Noodles!

Okay, let’s be honest.  I didn’t know they were called Dan Dan Noodles until I googled “la mian spicy chilli oil, peanuts”.   Read More →

I’ve been really busy the past few weeks preparing for this trip, hence my silence on the blog.  I’ve found, since having children, I have rather little brain space for anything else with the addition of any new projects, on top of the daily grind of cleaning, cooking, counselling, dhoby duties, librarian, nurse, you get what I mean.  Or I could just be making excuses for myself.

As I sit here in the hotel room typing this, my three year old is next to me with the flu and demanding I tag her in a game of tag.  It’s very hard to think in full sentences, but I will try. Read More →

nasi goreng jawa

Javanese fried rice.

This is typically made with a dried shrimp paste called belacan but it is very pungent and I have had friends living in Europe who had complaints made against them by neighbours because of their cooking with belacan.  I very rarely use belacan in my own cooking so I don’t feel it’s worth the space in my crammed pantry to have it there, but I know most Malay kitchens wouldn’t be complete without it.  As a substitute for belacan, I’ve found that using canned anchovy results in a satisfyingly similar flavour without the pungency that some can’t bear.  Even if you do use belacan, I would recommend you not use more than 1/2 a teaspoon, and it should be added to the wok and dry fried, set aside before proceeding with the recipe below.  Add the toasted belacan back to the wok in place of the anchovy.  (If you buy belacan, get the Malaysian variety for this one.  Thai belacan is not the same as Malay belacan and tastes very different) Read More →

Malays and Indonesians and quite certainly the rest of Indo-China, have a vast array of chilli dips, also known in Malay as sambal.  Maybe you already know this, but it is always eaten in small amounts, perhaps a teaspoon or so, on the side of your dish to add to your food as you eat your way through the meal, not to mix in with your meal to a homogenous flavour.  In each mouthful you are supposed to have nuances of sour, heat, salt, sweet, whatever the particular sambal is made of, in differing levels and strengths, lilting upwards and then downwards like a colourful song, not as a boring monotone.

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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 →