Anyone born and raised in the boundless human bubble of Singapore would likely think that living abroad is a divine gift. Not only can you gasp at awe-inspiring sights in crisp and cool air, in fact, for the first time you can recklessly partake in any house-wrecking activity with no strings attached. (We’re sure those aren’t the only reasons for the deluge of Singaporean students in Australia.)
There’s but one problem: the delicious Singaporean food you once thought was an inviolate part of life is now unjustifiably compromised in some Asian restaurants and takeouts; you either pay too much for a ostensibly similar dish, or are forced to settle with some culinary travesty like Singapore-style Noodles (seriously, what on earth is that).
All is not lost, at least not for good. With a contributing team fortified by many Singapore-Australian alumni, we’d like to share recipes for some simple Singapore dishes to cook when you pine for the flavour of home! Both the preparation as well as where in Australia you can find the ingredients are included:
1. Chwee Kueh 水粿
These steamed rice cakes topped with savory pickled radish make for a lovely homely snack!
- 1 cup Rice Flour
- 1 tablespoon Tapioca Flour
- 1 tablespoon Oil
- 3 teaspoons Salt
- 5 cups Water
- 1 packet Pickled Chye Po (Preserved Salted Radish)
- Sugar (self-directed amount, used as Radish Dressing)
- Dark Soya Sauce (self-directed amount, used as Radish Dressing)
- Cupcake/muffin moulds
Rice Cake Preparation
- Set aside 1.5 cups of water mixed with 1 cup of rice flour.
- Add 1.5 cups of boiling water and 3 teaspoons of salt into the flour mixture and stir well.
- Oil moulds before filling with flour mixture.
- Steam at high heat for 8-12 minutes.
Salted Radish Preparation
- Wash 1 packet of pickled Chye Po thoroughly and drain.
- Heat oil on frying pan, then fry Chye Po over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Remove cooked Chye Po and season with sugar and dark soya sauce.
- Add to rice cakes and serve. The more the merrier!
2. Muah Chee 麻糍
Muah Chee, the peanut-rich glutinous rice ball, is Shermaine’s favourite childhood snack. After much trial and error with the water-to-flour ratio, below is what she deems optimal for the soft and chewy bite most familiar to Muah Chee lovers.
- 1 cup Glutinous Rice Flour
- 1 cup Water
- 2 Tablespoons Shallot Oil
- 2 teaspoons Salt
- 1 packet Grounded Peanuts
- Sugar (self-directed amount)
- Stick-free pan
- Kitchen scissors
Glutinous Rice Balls Preparation
- Mix all the water, glutinous rice flour, shallot oil, and salt in a bowl to a thickly white consistency
- Placing the stick-free pan under medium heat, pour flour mixture onto pan and stir continuously with a wooden spatula until a soft dough is formed
- Reduce heat and toss the dough for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- Mix grounded peanuts with sugar in a tray/bowl.
- Coat the dough with peanut mixture, cut up into desired sizes, and serve immediately!
3. Seafood Crispy Noodle 生面
The one-pan preparation of Crispy Noodles will ensure you still have a nutritious meal on a lazy night, since the only thing you have to worry about is the gravy containing seafood and vegetables.
Ingredients (for 2 pax)
- 2 nests Yee-Mee (a.k.a Deep-fried Noodles)
- Salt and pepper (self-directed amounts)
- 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Cube
- 2 tablespoons Corn Flour
- 400ml water
- 2 teaspoons Cooking Oil
- 1 tablespoon Chopped Garlic
- 1.5oz Chinese Greens (Chye Sin recommended)
- 1.0oz Mushrooms
- 6 Prawns
- 6 Crabsticks
- Shallots (optional, self-directed amount)
- Mix 2 tablespoons of corn flour with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a bowl till a thick, opaque, and starchy consistency is formed. Set aside, and remember to stir thoroughly before adding to wok later.
- Dissolve chicken cube in 250ml of boiling water, then set aside.
Gravy Contents Preparation
- Line a wok over medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons of oil, and add chopped garlic when tiny bubbles form (adjust flame to avoid burning garlic).
- Add prawns to wok and stir-fry to a light-orange hue.
- Reduce to medium heat, then add crabsticks, mushrooms, and vegetables to wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
- Add chicken stock mixture to wok and stir for 1 minute.
- Add corn flour mixture to wok and stir till desired viscosity of sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Pour mixture over the noodle nest and serve immediately. Garnish with shallots.
4. Yong Tau Foo 釀豆腐
Yong Tau Foo is essentially beancurd, mushrooms etc. stuffed with fish paste and meat. If you were thinking of doing some fuss-free frying, this recipe for a unique Pan Fried Yong Tau Foo teaches you just that.
- 2 teaspoons Cooking Oil
- Salt and pepper (self-directed seasoning)
- 10 cups Water
- 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
- 1 tablespoon Light Soya Sauce
- Dried Chinese Mushrooms
- Spongy Tofu (Tau Pok)
- Beancurd (Tau Kwa)
- 1 packet of Fish Paste
- 1 packet of Minced Pork/Chicken
- 1 tablespoon Miso Paste
- Mix fish paste and minced meat in the ratio of 2:1, then season with salt and pepper, sesame oil, and light soya sauce. Set aside.
- Soak chinese mushrooms in water to soften mushrooms. Note: This process can be expedited by soaking the mushrooms in warm water in a closed container and then shaking vigorously.
- Cut the mushroom stems such that there is a stuffing gap, then begin inserting the stuffing.
- Similarly, gently cut a slit precisely in the center of the tau pok and tau kwa to create the stuffing gap. Insert the stuffing.
- Boil the stuffed mushrooms, tau pok, and tau kwa for 2 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- Place 2 teaspoons of cooking oil in the frying pan under medium heat, then add 1 tablespoon miso paste. Stir for 30 seconds.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and stir evenly for 1 minute.
- Add the blanched Yong Tau Foo pieces to the frying pan. Stir to coat them well in the sauce.
- Serve with rice, or pretty much anything on the side. Enjoy!
5. Chicken Rice 鸡饭
The ever so delicious chicken rice is fairly easy to prepare and always befitting of a feast. Focus on making each element (rice, chicken, chili) the most original it can be.
Ingredients (for 4 pax)
- 1 chicken
- 2 cups jasmine rice
- 1 ginger root
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 litre chicken stock (optional if you don’t have a large enough pot/insufficient natural broth)
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 6 fresh hot red chilies
- Remove fat from chicken to use for rice
- Rub 1 teaspoon salt all over and inside chicken
- Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 4 ginger slices to a pot large enough to entirely submerge chicken
- Fill pot with water and bring to a boil
- Place chicken into pot, lower heat, and let chicken simmer partially covered for 20 minutes
- Turn off the heat, cover pot, and let chicken sit for 20 minutes
- Drain the broth and reserve for rice
- Transfer chicken to a ice water bucket and let it cool
- Retrieve cooled chicken and cut into serving pieces
- Prepare 5 ginger slices and 2 cloves worth of flattened minced garlic
- Wash rice in cold water thoroughly
- Stir fry prepared ginger and garlic with chicken fat for 2 minutes, add vegetable oil if necessary
- Add rice to pan and cook with the mix for 1 minute
- Drain ginger and transfer rice mixture to a rice cooker
- Add 3 cups of reserved broth (or chicken stock) to the rice cooker and then cook
- Grind 3 ginger slices, 6 chilies, and 2 garlic cloves till very fine
- Add to bowl with fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and begin mixing till desired consistency
Ingredients available at these Oriental Supermarkets:
Kong’s Oriental: 415 William Street, Perth Western Australia 6000
Emma’s Asian Grocery: 194 Newcastle Street, Northbridge Western Australia 6003
VHT Perth: 410-412 William Street, Perth Western Australia 6000
Formosa Asian Market: 104 Mary Street, Brisbane Queensland 4000
Koz Market: 85 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane Queensland 4000
Hanaro Mart: 65 Mary Street, Brisbane Queensland 4000
Wing & Co: 6 Russell Crescent, Sandy Bay, Tasmania 7005
Chinese Emporium: 42 Main Rd, Moonah, Tasmania 7005
Hometown Asian Supermarket: 2/422-440 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Great Eastern Groceries Centre: 185 Russell Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000
KT Mart: 527 Elizabeth, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Miracle Asian Supermarket: World Square, 644 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Bondi Asian Supermarket: 1/71-77 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, Sydney NSW 2022
Randwick Oriental Supermarket: 500 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, NSW 2032
Editor’s end notes
*Recipes compiled and tested with the help of our fellow writer Shermaine Lew.
As with all cooking, you might not attain perfection at your first attempt. But never fear the taste of what you whip up. You’ll only slowly grow to find a deeper appreciation for our local cuisines.
Are there other easy peasy recipes that you have attempted? Share with us in the comments!