Happy Year of the Horse! And a tale of two grandfathers

Happy Lunar New Year!

Where I grew up, in Malaysia and Singapore, this festival (along with Hari Raya Puasa (the Muslim Eidl), Diwali and Christmas) were open-door celebrations, with neighbors and friends dropping in and out of the celebrants’ homes to wish them well and to partake of the festive goodies. They would mostly be invited, although it would be perfectly normal also to drop in unannounced (to avoid horrified looks, this helps if you know the person ūüėČ ).

My late Granddad’s best friend, Uncle Guan (which was actually his first name), was Peranakan Chinese. He was a descendant of late 15th and 16th century immigrants to the Indonesian islands, who adopted some of the local customs and style of dress, and developed their own hybrid of Nyonya or Baba Chinese cuisine.

He also might have been a perfect character for an Asian version of the TV drama, Big Love (albeit a more genteel,  non-violent one) .

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January 30, 2014. Tags: , , . Asian, Cultural Feasts, Festive, Fish, Melting Pot, Musings. 4 comments.

My Grandmother’s Keralan Fish Cakes

fish cakesI don’t often post the recipes of my maternal grandmother, being as they are, gold. Gold because she is the biggest influence in my life and in the kitchen, and because she was the best cook ever.

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January 30, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Asian, Festive, Fish, Indian, Mains. 8 comments.

Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Asian Salsa Salad

Fish is perfect on week nights. It takes half the time of meat to cook, and there are no worries about cholesterol or saturated fat content.¬† (more…)

August 28, 2012. Tags: , , . Asian, Dinners, Fish, Mains. Leave a comment.

Olympic Task of Running Down a Fridge

As the Olympic Games open in London today, a day before we make our own 100-meter dash (to the boarding gates for our annual pilgrimage to London), I reflect on the gargantuan task I’ve been tackling all week – of emptying a near-full fridge. Ugh. (more…)

July 27, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Fish, Fruit, Leftovers. 4 comments.

Sardines with Zucchini and Carrots

So I fell off the much-touted (by me) WW wagon. It was a wobbly wagon to have clambered onto just before going away on vacation and during the holidays anyway.

I’m trying to get back on it now, despite the discouraging news from my doctor that all the podge I gained during those four months on steroids, for a still-mysterious allergy, will take twice as long to come off because the flippin’ steroids are still in my system. Gee, thanks, Doc. (more…)

January 25, 2011. Tags: , . Dinners, Fish, Mains, Vegetables. 4 comments.

After the Turkey Malarkey, a Fish Quiche

What do you do when you’re in a post-turkey rut? When the leftover cranberry relish, stuffing and sweet potato gratin are no longer calling your name? (Or scarier still, are calling your name with one stalk in the grave?) (more…)

November 29, 2010. Tags: , , , . Baked Goods, Breakfast, Dinners, Fish, Lunch, One-dish meals, winter. 2 comments.

Memorial Day BBQ: Salmon with Ginger and Cumin

This salmon, sitting there on a burntish plank which I didn’t soak for as long as I myself have specified below, looks unassuming and not particularly enticing. But it has converted the salmon-averse to salmon avariciousness! (more…)

May 30, 2010. Tags: , . Asian, Barbecue, Dinners, Fish, Grill, Mains, Summer. 4 comments.

Fish and Fennel Pie

This is a favorite recipe from Jamie Oliver, and one which Him Indoors had added to his repertoire a while ago. I don’t know why my husband picks the not-so-direct recipes for when he decides to cook. Such as risottos and then this one above, and excluding the baked beans on toast – excellent as well – which he occasionally produces with a flourish for a weekend lunch ūüėČ ¬†With the risottos, I gather that half the attraction is drinking the wine that’s meant to go into the pan, making the whole process very enjoyable for him, and no doubt, fortifying the reserves of patience he (and anyone) needs to cook a good risotto.

Perhaps this recipe may be of use for anyone leaning fish-wise and looking for ideas over Lent, when many try to abstain from luxury food. Although eating fish is a ‘hardship’ I would enjoy on a daily basis! To be absolutely strict, substitute fish or veg stock or milk for the cream, and eat a very small sliver of the final product (I dare you to stop there though).

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March 5, 2010. Tags: , . Baked Goods, British, Dinners, Fish, Mains, One-dish meals, winter. 9 comments.

Sushi (Always) On Our Minds

Japan celebrated their New Year’s Day, or gantan, along with the rest of the world who follow the Gregorian calendar, on January 1st. But they’re already one up on everyone else with holidays – on the 11th, Japan observed Coming of Age Day, ¬†seijin no hi – in honor of the youngsters turning 20 this year.

The Japanese have several new year customs and traditions, including eating osechi – comprising boiled seaweed, fish cakes, sweet potato with chestnut and sweet black soybeans – along with sushi and sashimi and non-Japanese food, which were added in the modern era. Practices include sending new year postcards, giving money to children, making sticky-rice cakes, and paying heed the first time something is done that year, such as watching the first sunrise, visiting the temple the first time, the first tea ceremony, the first sale at the shops, and so on.

As I bid my lovely Japanese friends a belated akemashite omedeto gozaimasu, I am grateful to the nation that gave the world sushi and have finally said Yes to my kids who have begged¬†me for weeks to make it. This is something we used to do regularly together, when I realized that having an entire family of Japanese-food enthusiasts wasn’t going to do our bank balance any favors.

We introduced the boys to sushi after their first birthdays, and instantly, they were hooked. (more…)

January 15, 2010. Tags: , , . Asian, Cultural Feasts, Dinners, Festive, Fish, Japanese, Kids, Kids Cuisine, Melting Pot, Stories. Asian. 5 comments.

Honey and Soy Salmon Fingers


My children would eat salmon every day if they could, and, they love it raw best of all. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a fishmonger from whom I can get sushi-grade salmon on a regular basis. This is one of many ways they enjoy this fish.

  • honey, 1 tbsp
  • soy sauce, 2-3 tbsp
  • lemon juice, 2 tbsp
  • sesame oil, 1/2 tsp
  • garlic, 1, chopped
  • ginger, 1/2 tsp, grated
  • breadcrumbs, as needed egg, 1, whisked

  1. Slice the salmon into suitable sized lengths
  2. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour over the fish
  3. Dip the fish into the egg mixture, then into a plate of breadcrumbs
  4. Bake in a preheated 410F oven (190C) for about 10 minutes
  5. Serve with veg and mashed potatoes or chips

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May 14, 2009. Tags: , . Asian, Dinners, Fish, Kids Cuisine, Lunch. 1 comment.

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