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recommendations for a Singaporean cookbook

29970 Views 44 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  phatch
Just looking for deeper info on the topic.
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I'll give some feedback in a couple of weeks.
Books will be shipped to a friend's address in Europe awaiting my collection in June
If you're a Kindle user, they have three of the books at a lower price.
Most reviewers say the formatting of this book series is all messed up on Kindle. The other 2 books got pulled off the Kindle from too many complaints.

I'm more epub focused though I theoretically know how to unlock the file and convert the format.
You lost me here. Haven't a clue what you are trying to say. o_O
I'm a nerd. My comment addresses the different container types that ebooks come in. To a large degree, once you remove the Digital Rights Management, that locks you into a Kindle or a Nook or a Kobo, you can then convert the container format to wh to what
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Ingredient Uniqueness questions.

How does Singapore/Malay belachan/belacan compare to Thai belacan? Wikipedia is calling Thai shrimp paste kapi, but my Thai cookbooks usually call it belacan. Are they the same or close enough?

fish curry powder, I'm seeing this without clear reference. Google shows commercial varieties I can likely find and I'm seeing recipes. Anything I should particularly look for or a preferred recipe?

Black Bean Paste, I'm getting hints that this might differ from Chinese fermented black beans and the common variation black bean sauce with garlic in jars. I've seen a few suggestions of substituting miso instead which seems rather different to me.
Belacan, kapi, terassi and whatever you want to call it, are all the same and all different ;)
That's really an answer you can do nothing with, so a bit more:
They are all shrimp pastes and you can use whichever one you want or can get.
They are all slightly different, but that's even within the name group. Not all terassi's are the same. Same for kapi, same for belachan. It depends which part of the country (sometimes even town) they are made.
As far as I know Kapi is the Thai name, Belachan or belacan the Malay name (Terassi or trassi, the Indonesian name)

Fish curry powder:
I know nothing about it, so can't help.

Black bean paste:
I use the beans and crush them. In Indonesia they are called taotjo.
I find you can sub with black bean paste. It's a little different, but not enough to worry about

Hope that helps :)
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Singapore Hawker Classics Unveiled has arrived. I'm excited to get into it.
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I'm liking its analytical approach and style. Lots of seafood dishes or with dried shrimp inclusions which my daughter is sensitive to. Not sure what I'll attempt first.
They love dried shrimps over there.

There's even a dried shrimp flavoured fried chicken that's quite popular, but I find it unappetizing at best.
Love shrimp in any form or way.
My dad used to use quite a lot of dried shrimp in his Indonesian cooking, maybe that's why
I learned something new to me. Peranakan=Nyonya (baba nyonya) for purposes of Singapore cuisine. That explains some different usage in different sources.
Is there anything specific about Singaporean cooking you need to know? @phatch?
I don't know. I don't know much about it. There's a lot of flavors in that region I like. No restaurant in my area that serves it to try it out and not much discussion of it in a structured way most anywhere.

RasaMalaysia hits on it but my experience with her was she tends to over simplify things too much.

There are some interesting YouTube videos where they dine out some places that pique my interest.
I received the Singapore heritage cookbooks and I like them enough to order the remaining ones in the near future.
I got the Peranakan (I also didn't know that it was the same to Nonya), Eurasian and Malay books.
I have just glanced at them, so this is a first impression.
They start with a history of the specific group in the area and are followed by recipes.
Each recipe has a picture (I mention this because it was considered a minus point in the Charmaine Solomon cookbook).
The recipes look pretty authentic, at least the ingredients do :)
The ingredients are explained in the back.
There is also a mention in the caption of the recipe, where a different group uses a similar recipe.
This is mostly the case between the eurasian and peranakan books

Note that I got the books, not the kindle version
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I bought one too. The Indian one.

Pretty great series I'd extrapolate from what I see in the book I have.

Will buy the rest as I have more money for sure.
I've had some used ones come in from Alibris over the last few days. If you're in the US, they're a great resource for used books. They're kind of a master aggregator from many used book stores around the nation. When you search for a book, you search all the bookstores in the network.

Eurasian, Peranakan, Indian have arrived. Condition for used was quite good, a little ding on the cover of one, but the spines sounded like new when opened. The books are on thick paper, with an excellent binding.

I'm one who tends to find pictures of every dish a sign of weaker cookbook in general. My favorites tend to just have drawings and maybe a section of photos if that. So often it's about the food photos more than the information. I think the purpose here though is more to record things about what these cultures have been. These books are also from the Marshall Cavendish press that Pat Pat linked to for the Hawker Classics book. I have no basis for judging the quality of the recipes but they look interesting. One thing I noticed is that the Fish Head Curry also calls for Fish Curry Powder but doesn't explain it in the back as an ingredient. I'll have to look in the spice packet aisle more closely at my next visit to the Asian grocer and see what differentiates that powder.

I think I was expecting something more Chinese-like but the cuisine seems more diverged from that than I thought it would be as it adapted down the peninsula. My Biases are showing. When I study about Vietnamese or Thai cuisines, I can see strong similarities in approach to what I am familiar with from Chinese cooking. I don't see that so much so far with Singapore. More liquid and saucy and pungent. And spicy.
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That's where the "Chinese" book in the series comes in I believe :)

Before this thread, Singaporean food, to me, has always meant a combination of Indian and Chinese food.

Now I find that it is a bit more diverse and complex than that.
Had some roti canai for the first time yesterday. Greasy but good with a red curry dipping sauce.

A Malaysian/Indonesian restaurant (Makamakan) opened in the more southern part of the valley. First of that cuisine here. They say they've turned the spice level down a ways for the local tastes. It was mild even for the spicy dishes. But very good flavors.

Enjoyed some Rendang and Mei Tek Tek also. I'll go back for some other things on the menu.
Speaking of Rendang, my first experience Saturday was disappointing, and this from a popular spot in Boston's China Town. The beef rendang sauce had little more than the qualities of heat and texture. I would never have known coconut had any part of it, nor the claimed spices of cinnamon, anise, clove, cardomon, ginger, lemon grass and galangal.

There are 2 Malaysian restaurants in Boston that do have glowing recs for their rendang, I will soon give at least one of them a try. I'd certainly try my own hand at it but current temporary living arrangements do not encourage me to set up a properly stocked kitchen. Actually this would not be such a big deal, but at the moment I prefer to eat out for a change.
Sorry to hear that Rick.
Don't give up on rendang though, try it at another place if you can find it.

Note that there are many rendang variations. Not all of them contain anise, cinnamon and cloves....
Thanks, I'd imagined there were variations but this particular restaurant actually listed their "alleged" ingredients.

Speaking of variations, and on a better note, I had the most fabulous chicken tica masala recently at a restaurant in the comparative boondock wilds of central Mass. The effect they got was very much like what I experience when adding a small amount of fine sweet vermouth to a dish, Antica Formula Vermouth to be exact. Nice smooth mouth feel also. Their lamb vindaloo was no slouch either, along with a wonderfully spiced deep fried cheese curd and onion chutney(?) that had a fine tomato like quality to it, though no sign of such pulp. Likely both these effects where achieved by other means than the ingredients imagined, a bit of kitchen magic, it would have been interesting to talk to the chef.
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