CHICKEN CURRY FOR THE SOUL
The long weekend just past got me in a mood for cocooning, so I did not eat out a lot. My mother, bless her, came to my rescue by making a big pot of chicken curry, and we had it with crusty baguette and a little salad of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and arugula leaves that she grows on her balcony.
I don't often get to eat her cooking because when I see my parents, I like to take them out.
This was a real treat, just exactly what I needed after all that eating out. After wolfing down my curry, I decided it was time I learnt to make it myself. When I do, I'll write about it, and there'll be a recipe too.
COFFEE SHOP FULL OF GOODIES
When I have a prata craving I head either to Mr & Mrs Mohgan's Super Crispy Prata in Crane Road in the East Coast, or to Sin Ming Roti Prata at Block 24, Sin Ming Road. That coffee shop, near the double-storey carpark, is full of good stalls.
Sin Ming Roti Prata's pratas are okay. On weekends, they are pre-made and are perhaps not as crisp as they could be. However, if you order Coin Prata ($3.50 for six), they make them fresh, and how light, crisp and airy they are. I drench them in fish curry gravy and that is a breakfast of champions.
However, I cannot resist the French toast ($1.20) from the stall next to it - Charcoal Traditional Toast. Slices of local baguette are toasted over charcoal and spread with a thick, not-too-sweet kaya, There is also a thick slice of butter in between the bread. The bread is toasted just right, so it does not crack the teeth, but has a gentle crunch. It is a good thing to have while waiting for the coin prata.
Other stalls worth trying include a branch of Armenian Street char kway teow and a branch of Ann Chin popiah, with skin made on the spot.
Do note that Sin Ming Roti Prata is closed until Aug 26.
The queues are crazy at lunch time but that does not stop me from going to Nonya Delicatessen (B1-K69 Bukit Tima Plaza, tel: 6469 1166) for its laksa and mee siam ($5 a serving). Magically, after getting my food, I always manage to get a seat.
The laksa is unabashedly rich and that is what I love about it. There are no prawns or cockles, alas, just slices of fish cake and tau pok or tofu puffs. But that is good enough for me. On days when I cannot bear the thought of a rich gravy, then the tangy mee siam is a good alternative.
A home-cooked meal is always a treat.
My friend's mother whipped up a terrific meal recently. She had just returned from a trip to Hong Kong and had bought dried prawn roe or har ji. This she sprinkled over blanched egg noodles that had been tossed with oyster sauce, sesame oil and soya sauce. The simplest food is always the best, and those noodles were close to perfect.
But, there was one dish that is hard to forget - her char siew. She uses pork collar, which has a beautiful springy texture, and the marinade properly penetrates the meat. It emerges from the oven shiny, with crisp edges. Such a pleasure to eat.
I hope I get invited back soon.
A trip to Changi always seems to me like a little vacation, even though the parking snarls there are not funny. There is something laid back about the place and I love eating at the hawker centre.
Recently, I drove out for chicken wings from Ah Hwee BBQ Chicken Wings & Spring Chicken (Block 2, Changi Village Road, 01-52, Changi Village food centre). I had those beautifully burnished wings during the stall's recent collaboration with Moosehead Kitchen + Bar in Telok Ayer Street, and wanted more.
The wings ($1.20 each), grilled over charcoal, have a deep, nuanced flavour and as good as the chilli dip is, I mostly eat it plain. It takes skill to get the wings so evenly browned and to keep the meat juicy. And yes, every single wing is just like that. Perfect.
This article was first published on August 13, 2015.
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