The People’s Association 50.TASTE Cook-off! – Men Cook with Love
Community centres play an important part in my life. I spend my childhood attending art classes, spend my teenage years attending cooking classes, and also joined youth group to plan activities for youth, all in community centres!
Recently, I have also attended cooking classes in community centres! They have launched 50.TASTE culinary program where you can learn to cook a gourmet feast for your friends or master the forgotten recipes and techniques of authentic Chinese dialect, Peranakan, Malay, Eurasian and Indian cuisines. Last Friday at Siglap South CC, I attended a local delights cooking demo by Chef Alan Seet.
A true-blue Peranakan, Chef Alan Seet loves to whip up authentic mouth-watering Nonya dishes. He has been sharing his passion for cooking since 1999 and during the cooking demo, I learnt how to cook Nonya curry chicken, sambal brinjal and tauyu pork chop.
Peranakan cooking is often thought to be complicated, elaborated, time-consuming and difficult to learn. Yes, the dishes indeed need more time to prepare and cook than others, but if you spend time and effort to do it, it is definitely a rewarding experience. Peranakans take pride in making their own rempah (spice mix), it is not as difficult as I thought. Plus, you can make the rempah in big batch and keep in the fridge. The rempah is very versatile and can be used in many dishes. So whenever you need it, just take it out and cook it in the wok. For this cooking demo, we got the learn how to make a super solid rempah which is used for cooking curry chicken!
- 70g chilli powder
- 30g water
- 220g small onions
- 1 piece yellow ginger
- 3-4 pcs buah keras
- 1 chicken, cut into small pieces
- 5-7 Holland potatoes, peeled and cut
- 80g curry powder
- 50g coconut milk (A)
- 450g concentrated coconut milk
- 1.3 litres water
- 10g salt
- a pinch of MSG
- 15g sugar
- 100g cooking oil
- Mix coconut milk A with 1300g water.
- Blend the chili, water, small onion, yellow ginger and buah keras together till fine and become paste.
- Pre fry the cut potatoes with cooking oil and a pinch of salt for 1-2 minutes in cooking pot.
- Take out the potatoes from cooking pot and fry the chilli paste till fragrant.
- Add the curry powder into the cooking pot and mix well with chilli paste.
- Add some diluted coconut (A) into cooking pot and mixed well.
- Add chicken into cooking pot and mix well. Then add in the pre-fried potatoes.
- After mixing them well, add in more diluted coconut till finish.
- Add in salt, sugar and MSG stirring regularly.
- When the curry comes to a boil, add in the concentrated coconut milk.
- Stir the curry regularly until boil. Serve with rice or bread.
Besides nonya curry chicken, we also learnt how to stir fry sambal brinjal using the same chilli paste recipe with balachan and dried shrimp. The sambal brinjal is so simple yet tastes so good. The wonderful and spicy taste of rempah mixed together with the fragrant aroma from the dried shrimp and belachan creates a perfect combination when stir fried together with brinjal.
Nonya Tauyu Pork Chop is said to be a forgotten dish. Marinated with dark soy sauce, the pork chop has a balance of savoury and sweet flavor, while keeping the meat tender and moist after pan-frying. I am not going to share the recipe for both, so as to tempt you to join 50.TASTE cooking classes! You can view more class schedule here.
Even though it is a demonstration, we really get up close with the trainer and are free to ask as many questions as we want. It feels like I was involved in the cooking process!
After learning the dishes, I went home to make my curry chicken, adapting from Chef Alan’s recipe. I skipped the curry powder and lower the chilli powder because my family can’t take heat too well. We had it for dinner with rice, and with baguette for breakfast!
Have you heard? In celebration of SG50 and Mother’s day, People’s Association is organizing “Cook-Off! Men Cook with Love” competition on 9 May 2015 at Tampines Community Plaza (outside Tampines One)! It is the platform for you to demonstrate your impressive culinary skills and showcase mouth-watering dishes revolving around the theme of “Our Secret Recipe”.
Each participating team must complete one main dish within 60 minutes, from preparation to serving. Teams can choose one main ingredient from a choice of two and prepare a dish using the condiments and seasonings provided. All ingredients provided are halal-certified.
– any male individual (aged 15 and above), who knows how to cook or loves cooking can participate in the competition.
– Application is only open to Singapore citizens and permanent residents of Singapore.
– Each participant is required to bring along a male assistant.
How to register:
Email your name, NRIC, address, mobile no. and date of birth to [email protected] or call 6238 2136 for enquiries.
Last day of registration is 6 May 2015. Registration is free, attractive prizes to be won! Hope to see you there!