It was a night of fireworks, dancing, marching, and parachuting – not that I would know.
9th of August, Singapore’s National Day, has always been a big deal for me. I’ve always loved watching the over-the-top parade. And the fireworks are always impressive and beautiful. I mean, how often do Singaporeans get to see fireworks? Once a year, that’s how often.
So there I was, feeling especially homesick. My brother, Michael, is in town until the end of August, so we rounded up a couple of friends to have a mini parade of food in my apartment. We decided on some personal favourites: chicken curry and bak kut teh (literally translated: pork bone tea). Yum!
Be prepared for really terrible looking photos.
An easy way out would have been to buy a couple of packets of those instant premixed thingys at one of the Asian grocers lurking on every other corner in the city. I personally don’t like those because it just doesn’t feel quite so homely dumping a packet of dried stuff into a pot or a pan.
So here’s the bak kut teh on the left and the chicken curry on the right:
Curry is pretty easy. It was actually the first dish I ever made on my own. There are different types of curry…I have no idea what this would be. (I apologise; tried asking Google but just got more confused.)
I followed a top secret recipe from my sister – tastes delicious!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Chilli padi (howeveer spicy you want it!)
3 x Dried shrimp
1 x Large onion
1cm x Ginger
3 x Garlic cloves
1 x Tomato
Many curry leaves
1-2 cups x Coconut milk (or substitute with regular/soy milk)
Salt (to taste)
Hard boiled eggs
Heaps of curry powder (to your liking)
Chicken – however much chicken you want in this dish, make sure there is enough water to cover it right from the beginning (refer to the first picture below).
First, I mashed chilli, a clove of garlic and three or four dried shrimp to create sambal. Then, I started with blending and frying onions, garlic and ginger. After the onion-garlic-ginger mix is well-fried, add curry powder over low fire. From this point on, I feel I should mention that the entire house will smell like curry. I love the smell, but you might want to crack a window so it won’t be overpowering.
The mixture should be quite dry but mix it well. Add the sambal – might want to taste it first to make sure it isn’t too spicy. There was once I had to down a whole cup of milk because I burned my tongue tasting my sambal.
While everything is slowly frying in the pan, I massaged curry powder into the chicken. Well. Not into the chicken. But on the chicken? With the chicken? You know what I mean.
Add the marinated chicken to the pan, as well as enough water to cover all the chicken. Throw in some lovely curry leaves (I got a whole bagful from Footscray market for just $2!), tomatoes, a few more spoonfuls of curry powder, and bring it to boil.
Simmer, simmer, chicken gets tender:
Half an hour before eating, I added some milk and salt. I try to eat healthily so I avoided coconut milk.
And here’s the final product (I realise my hand shook like crazy – sorry about the blurriness!):
Threw in some boiled eggs too, just like how my mum makes it at home!
Bak Kut Teh
1 x Garlic
1 tbsp x Black peppercorns
1 tbsp x White peppercorns
1 x Cinnamon stick
Salt (to taste)
Chinese vegetables like Gai choy, Bok choy… The kind with dark green leaves and lighter green stalks.
Pork spare ribs
We took out the pork ribs after about six hours of slow cooking them as the stock for the soup.
The meat was starting to hang off the bone, so it seemed a little sad to just have tny bits of meat floating around instead of pork ribs.
Like most other Singaporeans, I can’t get through meals without some chilli to go along with it! I love chilli padi (bird’s eye chilli). For this meal, I just sliced those babies right up…
…and put them in a mixture of dark soy sauce and a teensy bit of honey.
We coupled everything with two bottles of wine and had a great night all round!
Fireworks in the sky, fireworks in my belly.