food, Malay, Singapore

My Hari Raya or Eid

After fasting for a month, Muslims around the world celebrate this victory of the physical, spiritual and mental self with a few days of celebration called Eid. Or in this part of the world I’m from, Hari Raya – literally Day of Celebration.

However, the mood is sombre with what’s happening over in Gaza and here in our tiny island. We entered a phase of Heightened Alert so on Hari Raya we were only allowed 5 visitors to the home, but could visit two other homes. Naturally for me, it was a visit to the mothers’ but for some of my friends who have more than 5 people in their household, they stayed home. 😦

Let me share how Hari Raya is celebrated in my family. Which is pretty much how many Malays here would celebrate it.

In Singapore and Malaysia, cookies is a must and a staple on the table. When we receive guests, they sit around the table and are served cookies. Mind you, these cookies are never huge Subway kinds! Many times, they are dainty bite-sized pieces and they come in a variety of colours and flavours. I’ve shared a couple I think on this blog site, the latest being the Dahlia cookies. Slowly, when I roll into semi-retirement mode, I’ll make more cookie types and share them. 🙂

Growing up, a staple Raya cookie is the Kuih Tart or Pineapple Tarts which my mom would make yearly. My family’s version is an open faced tart instead of the balled versions. I have shared the recipe here.

Another family staple is Biskut Gajus (cashewnuts cookies), Macaroons (not the French type) and chocolate chip cookies. Alas, my mother is getting too old to be making Raya cookies so I usually buy them from others or try making one or two types if time permits.

These cookies are placed in pretty canisters of choice. Pyrex is the classic but lately, Pyrex does not make pretty canisters anymore so I have been using these pink ones I have since more than a decade ago.

Let me show how it’s like in pictures.

I have exactly six pink canisters, and luckily for me this year, I have exactly six types of cookies. 😂
We line these canisters with paper doilies. All these I learn of course from my mom and aunts. And when I married, I learnt that my mom in law does the exact same thing. It’s tradition I guess for many. It protects the canisters from the grease.
Fill the canisters to the brim with cookies. Because they look very pretty when filled. These are pineapple tarts, the filled ones which I bought online.
I just love my pink canisters! 6 different types of cookies, two which I made myself 😆
And then what we do is we place them on a table. I have two larger canisters filled with nuts. One was spiced coated cashewnuts and the other spiced peanuts.
Hope you have a rough idea how it’s celebrated here. Sitting around a table full of cookies and crunchy savouries and making small talk. This year, only my brother came with his family because the next thing we knew, the restrictions from 5 was reduced to 2! And that was the end of everything 😂

I must say I really do miss my celebrations not only pre-COVID but also pre-marriage days! Or rather pre-teen kids as now they feel theyare too old to celebrate with us days! 😂 It’s fun when you’re a kid, playing with cousins and eating tons of cookies without gaining a pound but that’s life. Maybe one day it’ll be fun again with grandkids? Oh my goodness! Hopefully that’ll be another 15 years from now! 🤣

food, Salads and Vegetables

Vegetarian Dinner Soirée

So tonight I had the pleasure of hosting some very dear friends I got to know since uni days and what’s more fun is planning a vegetarian menu!

I served:

1. Spinach feta cheese phyllo rolls

2. Focaccia two kinds – one with Marion Grasby’s fried onion and chilli flakes topping and the other dukkah topping

3. Hazelnuts with dukkah

4. Hummus

5. Store bought artichoke dip

6. Shakshuka

7. Tiramisu

And one of my friends brought bread and butter pudding she purchased from a home based baker.

I’m pretty pleased to have come up with a vegetarian menu but more to spend a lovely and safe night in with friends. ☺️


food

Father’s Day Lunch

So today for Father’s Day I didn’t cook anything new. I made saffron rice, roasted lamb shoulder encrusted with a tahini lemon marinade, fired up some sirloin steaks and baked some zaatar chicken wings. My sister came over and brought a Iranian salad which she made. And I made kunafa again – though this time with mozzarella and queso blanco cheese as the filling.

But it was a day to thank the fathers in my family – my husband, my brother and my brother-in-law. My own father passed on 17 years ago. Time really does heal and sometimes I feel anxious when I forget certain memories. All I can do now is to gift him a prayer.

The saffron rice with some cute Australian boiled eggs and pomegranate seeds.
Sirloin with roasted tomatoes on a vine.
Roasted lamb shoulder. I marinated overnight with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt.
This time round I made sure I made a wall from then kataifi base to get a full kataifi encrusted kunafa.
Delicious salad made by my sister. I added cubes of grilled haloumi because I had some leftover and didn’t want to waste.

Happy Father’s Day to all daddies out there. Continue to uphold strong values and be wonderful role models to your children. ☺️

Asian Dishes, food, Places

The best of halal Thai Street food

So we just came back from a very good holiday in Krabi with a belly full of good food and a good shade darker.

Featuring the best of what I ate. Last photo of insects is just a novelty. Didn’t see a single person buying them at his stall at the Krabi Night Market. By the way, this is SUPER overated and really not worth the visit.

1. Grilled meats. Soooo tender and flavourful. There’s cubes of fat in the middle of the beef and hence the melt in the mouth deliciousness.

2. Fresh grilled squid with barbecue sauce.

3. Mango sticky rice!

4. Grilled corn. So delicious!

5. Khanom Buang. Traditional Thai snack only found on the weekends night markets. It’s meringue with a savoury topping. Nothing I’ve ever tasted in Singapore before. Yum!

6. Pad Thai! I bought packets of pad Thai sauce in this trip. Will be whipping some up when I get my new kitchen in a month’s time!

7. Thai tea! So good here especially when the weather was sooo hot on some days.

8. Fried insects! For the fearless and boundary-less 😃

Asian Dishes, breakfast, food, Places

Singaporean Breakfast: Ya Kun

I posted years ago my breakfast of soft boiled eggs. But I noticed in that post it was a picture of the steamed sandwich version.

A typical home-style favourite in Singapore, especially for the Chinese here, is soft-boiled eggs with kaya toast. Kaya being a coconut pandan jam. However if you’re a true blue Singaporean, regardless of race, you’ll tend to incorporate the other cultures into your homes and for many Malays, eating soft-boiled eggs for breakfast wasn’t the exception.

I remember eating this when I was young and so did The Hubster. I think many Singaporean mothers back in the 80s and 90s believed in the nutritious value of eggs on their children’s intellect.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to eat this again at Ya Kun for breakfast on a weekday before work. What bliss.

And this time, I made sure I took a snapshot of it with the crispy and creamy and buttery kaya toast that goes along with it. Sipped with coffee, this is the go-to breakfast of champion Singaporean kids who rule over PISA scores and our humble taxi drivers.