Every week, we discover the cuisine and music of a new country.
Last week, I made my family relive my trip to Singapore with a plate of Singapore Noodles.
This was our meal selection (the family looks at recipes together and then picks via a voting process) out of the recipes we found online.
Singapore is a melting pot of cultures. We could have opted for Indonesian flavors, Malaysian flavors, Chinese Flavors, Myanmar flavors, Filipino flavors and the list goes on and on and on.
Singapore Noodles are an Asian-American recipe but since the whole country of Singapore has very American tastes, we saw this meal in most restaurants. It is a savvy combination of Indian and Asian flavors which is so typical of Ind0-Chine.
The interesting thing about Singapore Noodles is that the main time consumer is prep time or what the chefs call “la mise en place” whereby you chop up all the vegetables and prep the meat.
Once this is accomplished, the meal requires about 5-minutes of actual cooking time.
I would like to note that I got creative with the veggie selection. I went with what felt right. We visited the local farmer’s market, marché 440 in Laval (440 market) and selected the nicest and freshest looking vegetables. The snow peas and the zucchinis looked very nice and I needed to see some greenery (it was hailing on that day) so green was quite attractive to me.
My kids prefer bell peppers raw rather then cooked so bell peppers were not an option in my household but they would have added a further splash of color. Orange bell peppers and red bell peppers would have spruced it up even further with the coral of the shrimp and the amber color of the vermicelli once infused with the curry powder flavor.
Also, the kids helped with the chopping thus giving the entire concoction a rustic look and feel.
I made quite a few additions and substitutions, it’s Singapore Noodles à la cooksploratrice. You can find more authentic recipes online: http://chinese.food.com/recipe/singapore-rice-noodles-84231; http://rasamalaysia.com/singapore-fried-rice-noodles-recipe/2/
But, as per usual, your kitchen is your domain, you should feel inspired by local wares and try to encourage local farmers as much as possible. I try to limit (except for the necessary to survival lemon, limes, and citrus fruit) the carbon footprint of my plate of food as much as possible. I suggest you do the same to be kind to Mother Earth.
We used to have a wok but it died of over-abuse and we had yet to replace it. I would recommend a wok for cooking. We did not have a wok and had The Producer not been at-hand, the contents of the pot we used would have overflowed and I would have had a Singapore Noodles kitchen.
2 cloves of garlic
1 lemon (zest and juice)
1 package rice vermicelli, previously boiled for 2-3 minutes
4 pork chops, previously cooked and sliced into thin strips “julienne”
1 pound of prawns, cooked, shell removed
2 cups of zucchinis, cubed thinly
2 cups of snow peas, sliced into three
Fish Sauce (2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup of chicken stock for marinating the meat
1/4 cup of chicken stock for
Rice Flour (1 tbsp) (as a replacement to corn starch)
1 chili pepper seeds removed and chopped extremely finely
2 eggs, yolk and white blended together
Peanut Oil for frying
30 minutes prior to putting the meal together, take the meat (prawns and chops) and soak them in the liquid mixture. The marinade is comprised of 3/4 cup of chicken broth, the rice flour blended properly. with 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and the lemon juice and let sit for the full 30 minutes. Throw away the liquid afterwards.
Put in about 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a pan and warm up the pan or wok to high temperature (I need to see smoke)
Incorporate the eggs until they become stringy, remove the eggs from the pan and put into a plate
Deposit the garlic and ginger and chili peppers as well as the curry powder (to taste) until they turn slightly golden and the smell consumes your kitchen
Incorporate the snow peas and the zucchinis
Slowly drizzle 1/4 cup of chicken stock as well as 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and soy sauce each to slow the cooking process somewhat and add a nice salty flavor mix
Mix-in the vermicelli and blend-in all of the ingredients
Throw the egg-strips back into the mix
Serve while piping hot
My son, Benjamin, felt there were way too many vegetables.
My daughter Emilie felt it tasted too peppery and foreign (this was her first exposure to curry powder)
The producer and I, we loved the crunch of the veggies as well as the color of the meal but felt it could have been hotter. I would have added some coriander (but don’t I put that on everything already?)
The only thing that was missing was a Singapore sling to complement the evening. This would have brought me back to the Raffles Hotel in Singapore with my team.
How else did I bring Singapore to life that evening?
Nobody was allowed to chew gum, we made sure the floors were spotless and everyone behaved with the utmost courtesy. The girls wore short skirts with extremely high heels.
We could have also shopped until we dropped all afternoon. This is the country’s national past-time after all. My visa would have cried but my Emilie would have been over the moon.
We should have listened to Vanessa Mae’s Violin Fantasy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaKwvt7G29Y (A beautiful piece of music) or better yet her full concert at Crocus City Hall in Moscow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8AMqHn0-LI
She is native of Singapore but left the country at a young age as its music industry was still quite embryonic.
We could have also listened to Perenakan folk music: http://youtu.be/9rqmagFkyko
Or better yet, I need to share this link with you: Baba Nyonya Style (Peranakan version of Gangnam Style): http://youtu.be/KfT9dyEh8mU
We could have listened to Heavy Metal music (Singapore has a quite vibrant heavy metal music community) but who wants to have a nice sit-down dinner listening to hardcore punk music)?
I could have lit some green mango scented candles and as well as ginger flower scented candles. The two aromas are reminiscent of Rojak. I did not try Fruit Rojak in Singapore (as per wikipedia: Fruit rojak consists typically of cucumber, pineapple, benkoang jicama , bean sprouts, taupok (puffy, deep-fried tofu ) and youtiao (cut-up Chinese-style fritters). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rojak
Next week, the meal will be from New-Zealand. The land of lamb and ewe. The land of the Māori. The land where the Hobbit movie, which the Producer and I had reviewed for you, was filmed.
Do you have any meal suggestions or blog or website suggestions to help me in my project of making my family travel to New-Zealand through taste and smell and sound but without the expenditure of airfare and what not?