Monday, March 23, 2015

Lip smacking Singaporean cuisine

Every cuisine carries with it a flavour of its culture that brings you close to its ethnicity. In Singapore, food is viewed as crucial to national identity and also it is a unifying cultural thread; Singaporean literature too declares eating as a national pastime and food as a national obsession. It's a popular take that when in Singapore, be sure to try the 'fish head curry' and 'chilli crab' that will keep your taste buds relishing for a long time.

If you love sea food, you must try what Singapore offers in terms of its seafood cuisine. Their popular seafood dishes include - 'sambal stingray', 'black pepper crab', 'fried Chinese buns', 'oyster omelette', etc. In addition, they have a many different versions of Prata too.

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Before heading to some restaurant, if you want try cooking some Singaporean cuisine at home, here's a recipe that will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Laksa Pulao - These are aromatic rice made from french beans, almonds, herbs, masalas, veggies and laksa leaves (they are spicy and very common in Singapore). If you can't get your hands onto laksa leaves, just use mint or coriander leaves.

Ingredients: 300 gm fresh French beans
                    50  gm almonds
                    500 gm basmati rice
                    60  gm desi ghee (clarified butter)
                    30  gm laksa leaves, chopped (or mint or coriander leaves)
                    20  gm fresh turmeric, chopped
                    20  gm ginger, chopped
                    20  gm garlic, chopped
                    40  gm onion, chopped
                    3-4 fresh green chilli, chopped
                    A pinch of pepper powder for seasoning
                    A pinch of salt for seasoning

For Garnishing: Sliced golden fried onions
                          Slit green chilli
                          Chopped laksa leaves

Method: 1) Clean the french beans and boil until they turn tender. Remove and place them into ice cold water to maintain their crispiness and color.
2) Blanch the almonds and then peel and slit them in half from the center.
3) Clean and the soak the rice in water for 20 minutes.
4) Heat the desi ghee in a pan, add the garlic, onion, ginger, and saute till onions are translucent.
5) Add fresh turmeric and green chilli and stir fry. Then, add the beans and laksa leaves. Cook till the beans are done.
6) Season with salt and pepper powder.
7) Take a flat, thick bottomed  pan, add oil and heat it to saute the rice for a minute. Add 500 ml of water, the sauteed vegetables, almonds and some chopped laksa leaves. Place over a very low flame till the rice is cooked (all the water should have evaporated from the pan)
8) Spoon the pulao onto a platter, garnish with fried onions and green chilli. Serve hot with raita.

Bon appétit!