Friday, 13 October 2014
It’s 8.30 in the morning, through a hundred miles of a winding road and the battles with my inner self. I’m finally here, standing awkwardly among the others. The class will start soon, but the rumbling sounds of a busy street still echoing in my ears. The half of me wanted to be here but the other half of me wanted to stay in my bed and hiding from the world.
Will Meyrick began the class with the introduction about peranakan cuisine and also explain about the dishes that he will cook today.I tried to listen, but it’s hard to concentrate when the voices inside your head cannot stop and your phone always ringing. I just zoned out but then luckily the smells of the spices hitting my nose and woke me up, pulled me back to the real world.
In this class, Chef Will Meyrick shared three recipes: Ayam Tangkap – Acehnese fried chicken, Rujak Salad of Soft Shell Crab- green guava, mango, yam bean, pineapple and soft shell crab with tamarind dressing, and Peranakan fish curry.
The first food he cooked is ayam tangkap. Ayam tangkap is a staple dish from Aceh, the chicken in marinated and fried with herb and spices. For this recipe chef Will Meyrick used spring chicken or poussin chicken. After marinated with bumbu tangkap for overnight, bumbu tangkap , chicken and the leaves mixture then fried separately to prevent the spices mixture to burnt.I don’t really remember what he said about this food but I do remember it smells amazing.
The second recipe is rujak with soft shell crabs. Rujak is popular dish in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Usually rujak is consist of various fruits or vegetables and serving with sweet, spicy and sour sauce. The most common rujak that found in Indonesia is a slices of assorted fruits and then drizzle with rujak dressing. For his rujak dressing, Will Meyrick use the combination of petis, shrimp paste, tamarind juice, palm sugar and chilli. It makes a perfect balance between the sweets, spicy and sour in his dressing. What make it more appetising is the addition of fried soft-shell crabs.
The last recipe is a peranakan fish curry. This dish also had a perfect balance between the spiciness from chilli, spices and sour from tomato and belimbing wuluh (bilimbi). For me this curry is most representative of peranakan cuisine, it used spices that commonly used in South Asian curry like fennel, coriander, turmeric and curry leaves. And some ingredients like pandan leaves, coconut milk, and bilimbi is often used in South East Asia cuisine.