“Learn Secret Nonya Recipes with 50.Taste”
Singapore’s diverse, culturally integrated society has resulted in the assimilation of many different cuisines. In our 50th Singapore anniversary, People’s Association has launched a series of 50.Taste workshops that allow participants to recreate nostalgic memories of local delicacies from the past, untouched by mass commercialisation methods.
Thanks to this jubilee year, community centres now hold various cooking classes via the 50. Taste campaign. Through this, Singaporeans have the opportunity to master the forgotten recipes of authentic local delights; including those of Chinese, Nyonya, Malay, Eurasian and Indian descent.
With eager anticipation, we were delighted to attend the Nonya Peranakan cooking demo by Chef Alan Seet held at Siglap South CC, along with an enthusiastic crowd of food lovers.
With a zealous enthusiasm for cooking, Chef Alan Seet’s passion is only equally matched by the eager students who attended the cooking demo. They often crowd around the kitchen workspace to clarify their doubts on the different details of preparation, to which Chef Seet patiently explains the process and queries. Through this enriching session, we learnt how to make the delicate Nyonya Kueh, Lawbak and Glutinous Black Rice (Puloh Hitam), the local favourites of many.
With a detailed step-by-step process, chef Alan guides his students through the seemingly laborious preparation of the various Nonya dishes, albeit with much joy. You might find the elaborate preparation of Peranakan dishes daunting, but as this class ensues, the excitement and rewarding process of it all shows just how fulfilling a successful dish can be.
Chef Seet guides the class along with his live demonstration of how to fold the delicate banana leaves to its proper shape which will wrap the Kueh.
And the class eagerly follows along his step-by-step explanation as well with banana leaves given out for first-hand training.
Known to be extremely difficult to master, this class taught us the different techniques to specially handcraft this little kueh delight, from tips and hands-on experiences of folding the banana leaves to how you can get the special blue tint from the flowers of the morning glory. The process of it all was very fun and lighthearted, and I walked away enriched and inspired to cook my own Nyonya Chang.
The end product is traditional Singaporean favourite, the Nyonya Chang (dumpling).
Lawbak (Braised Pork) with eggs and taupok.
Some might find it a chore to laboriously prepare this Peranakan favourite, but the Chef Alan here shows that it might not always be the case.
Especially if you’re having such a fun time receiving detailed instructions on how to do so. The Lawbak was extremely tasty, with distinct notes of robust flavours in the gravy. It was also well-integrated into the tender pork, juicy and moist with each bite. Of course, not to forget the wonderfully marinated braised egg that lifts this dish from monotony.
For dessert, Chef Seet demonstrated how to make Puloh Hitam (Glutinous Rice) with Ginko nuts.
Chef Seet’s recipe is modified from the usual, where he adds gingko nuts and dried longans to the mix for more sweetness. They give off additional interesting flavours, of which really went very well with the black glutinous rice base.
This was my favourite dessert I had growing up, and it definitely hits a sweet spot in my heart. I have always wanted to try making my own, but the imminent failure of complicated and tricky recipes has always put me off.
But now, I am only more than excited to do so, with the chef’s simple recipe of this delectable dessert. He also advices to store it in the fridge to further thicken the sweet broth before consumption. A great mix with the slightly salty coconut milk.
Each student who attends these 50.Taste workshops gets his/her own copy of handcrafted recipes for the different dishes demonstrated in the class too.
Course fees are between $20 (Passion card members) to $25 (non-Passion card). For off-site classes/workshops for example in a restaurant, the course fee ranges from $54 (Passion card member) to $60 (non-Passion card member).
There is also an additional $5 – $10 for ingredient fees.
For such a valuable hands-on learning experience, this 50 tastes workshop is definitely one you won’t want to miss. View their 50.Taste Cooking class schedules here.
50.Taste Launch Event: COOK-OFF! Men Cook With Love
Found all that intriguing and want to experience more?
For the aspiring chefs, you can show off your honed skills through People’s Assocation’s upcoming cook-off challenge specially targeted men. In conjunction with the SG50 celebration 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 a great platform for you to demonstrate your impressive culinary skills and showcase mouth-watering dishes revolving around the theme of “Our Secret Recipe”.
Bring along an assistant (Male!) to help you through the cooking process. Each team must complete one main dish within 60 minutes, from preparation to serving, where no advance preparation is allowed. You 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.
1st – $300 Dining Vouchers and Kitchen Ware Hamper (worth $150)
2nd – $200 Dining Vouchers and Kitchen Ware Hamper (worth $100)
3rd – $150 Dining Vouchers and Kitchen Ware Hamper (worth $80)
4th & 5th – $50 Dining Vouchers
Last day of registration is 6 May 2015. Registration is free, what are you waiting for!