My mother is one of the most admirable women that I know.
She could single handedly cook for dozens of people and still look as fresh as a flower afterwards. On a regular basis. And she was happy and proud to do it! I still remember how she orchestrated Cart and my wedding solemnization, wedding lunch and dinner. Just looking at her burst of energy made me feel very tired.
So when Cart asked me to cook for his colleague and his family, I felt genuinely excited at playing host. I thought about the recipes and decided to share some of the foods that I loved eating in Singapore. Besides, Italians know and are better at Italian food than I would be 🙂
Getting the ingredients for the dinner however, posed a challenge to me. With the help of my in laws, while I was able to source out a couple of Halal butcheries, and Asian vendors. But there were a few ingredients which was shockingly absent and I had to make do with substitutes or go without it.
So far, I have yet to see :
- Fresh or canned baby peas
- Fresh or canned baby corn
- Curry leaves
- Mixed dried whole spices
- Kara coconut milk
- Pandan leaves
Now how would I make Nasi Lemak?
But coming back to the dinner, I started at about 4 pm with the preparation of the food – washing, cutting, frying, all before starting to cook. And Cart was busy with tidying the house. Together, we were so engrossed that we did not realise that time was flying by. All of a sudden, it was already 8 pm and the guests were already here.
And I still wasn’t ready! And I looked completely unglamorous in my t-shirt and track-pants. And the kitchen was like a war zone.
But at length, all the food was ready and I was ready to serve.
And for dinner I made Chicken Curry!
Actually, its a fallacy that all Caucasians are not able to take hot food. Italians for example, enjoy eating Arrabbiata where one of the main ingredient is chilli. Cart’s colleague and his wife in fact, enjoyed the Chicken curry. Unfortunately, their daughter found it a tad bit too hot.
And I made Roti jala which was supposed to be eaten together with the curry. In Malay, Roti means bread while Jala means net. Roti jala is supposed to have a lacy pattern. Unfortunately, my batter came out too thick and I couldn’t make the pattern.
And then I served Sweet and Sour fish with some basmati rice where the family enjoyed a lot. My mum taught me to use tomato sauce and chilli sauce together but can you believe that I did not see even one bottle of chilli sauce in the supermarkets of Italy?
By the time I served Chap Chye, everyone was already too full to even touch it. I’m not too happy with how it turned out anyway since it was lacking in the baby peas and baby corn. It doesn’t look as colourful as it was supposed to be.
And since Cart was vegetarian, I made vegetarian versions of the Curry
I substituted the battered fish with battered eggplant instead for the sweet and sour fish. Turned out fine since Cart liked it 🙂
And for dessert, I made bananas in santan. Forgot to take a picture of it though. In any case, all of us were too stuffed to eat any-more. I think I was a little bit too ambitious in preparing the dinner.
Nevertheless, I was happy that the dinner went smoothly and we all had a lovely time.
After the guests left, I still had to clean up and do the dishes. And I went to be exhausted. It was tiring! How on earth does my mum do it on a regular basis?
But it does gives me the confidence of hosting more in the future. And I’m looking forward to host more. But the next time, I would definitely be better prepared.
Finally I feel more adult and actually married if that actually makes sense.