Hello Hello. I wish to introduce my adventures in cooking food stuff I find in the (fondly named and fascinating) ‘Weird Shit’ section of my local supermarket.
I promised myself recently that living in Singapore second time round, I’m going to learn how to cook some delicious local food. I am always interested in stretching the technical side of my cooking too, so learning how to make steamed chinese dumplings, ‘carrot cake’, and a yam ring are on my list… along with some sweet favourites such as Sago Gula Melaka. Hmmm sedap sekali. Whilst we live in Singapore I know that I will never create a dish as expertly as the eateries down the road, but I want to know more about the dishes, ingredients, culture behind the dish, and stand a chance of recreating the dishes when this expat stint in Singapore comes to an end (which it will some day do, sniff). Best of all, the local ingredients are cheap lah!
I am one of these people who love nosing round art shops, and I’ve really just transferred that fascination across to cooking and supermarkets. Wow, look at this, what do you do with that, pretty colours, weird textures… oooohhhh….squigdy. You get it? Some stuff is less weird and more just not the usual items on my grocery list, but they soon prove to be great staples for simple local dishes, for example fresh udon noodles for making laksa, or pork balls for noodle soups – which I found the kids loved. You just have to watch out for the ol’ MSG which does tend to pop up quite a lot over here. Ever wondered how those takeaways get soooo damn tasty?!
This weeks weird shit purchase was Pandan Leaves. Pandan leaves are used in a huge number of Singaporean/Malay dishes. The green leaves have a subtle flavour a bit like tea (to me), and can be used in savoury and sweet dishes. They are used quite often with sticky rice, or to wrap chicken or fish that is then steamed. They are also used in sponge cakes and sweet jellies. I got a bunch of leaves from the supermarket that cost me 80 cents and just the smell in the house from them was great. I decided to do a rice pudding using them and soft brown sugar to create my western asian fusion Pandan Coconut Rice Pudding. Well it tasted good…. the colour was just a bit of an un-appetizing brown green!! I’ll add recipe soon with link here… (I promise Barb!)