Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Singapore Day 4 - Learning To Cook Hainan Chicken Rice

In Chinatown we headed to Food Playground Singapore for our next activity.

It was a cultural cooking class.

Taught by a Singaporean chef, she had grown up learning her mother's cooking and recipes and then did them herself as a stay at home mom. Now that her kds are grown she works for Food Playground teaching others the traditional dishes. She first gave us a brief overview of Singaporean culinary history and its traditional cooking and dishes.

Singaporean cooking tends to be labor intensive and was indeed the province of the ladies of the house. Nowadays those ladies are either working long hours or studying long hours, and don't have time to cook many of the dishes so much of the traditions are not being done in the home anymore. In her case one daughter is in college studying night and day and has no time to learn or to do cooking arts.

Hainan chicken starts with chicken with skin on that is salted and then steamed with ginger pieces on top, then once cooked the chicken is dunked in ice water to stop it from overcooking.

Then rice is first fried and then boiled in chicken broth along with garlic, ginger and the pandan leaf, a fragrant leaf, similar to lemongrass, that imparts a very nice flavor and smell. We aso made a chili sauce the old fashioned way to accompany it - mashing the chilies in a mortar and pestle.

Then we made wontons including making the filling for them for wanton soup, and learned a few different traditional folding methods.

The final product was awesome.

Certainly a great class to learn about Singaporean history and cuisine.

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