Taste of Singapore I
Singapore is a small island just at the most southern tip of the Malaya Peninsular. It is an independent republic and is only 699.4 sq km and enterprises of 1 main island (617.1 sq km) and some 63 offshore islands. That is equivalent to 3.5 times the land mass of Washington DC in United States. Some of the larger offshore islands are Sentosa (460 hectares), Pulau Tekong (2365.5 hectares) and Pulau Ubin (1023.9 hectares).
Singapore has a total population of 4,351 million (from census in 2005). Out of this figure, 3,553 million (2005) are Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. People in Singapore are large descendents of immigrants from the Malay Peninsula, China and the Indian sub-continent. Chinese accounts for 75.6%; Malaysia 13.6%; Indians 8.7%; Others 2.1%.
It is a cosmopolitan city and and has one of the busiest sea port and airport in the world. It's also a multi-racial, multi-culture society. Many foreigners also work here and as a result, we have all kinds of cuisine all year round – Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian, Peranakan (fusion of Malay and Chinese), Japanese, Turkish, Korean, Italian, Brazilian etc …
The one thing Singapore people do best is EAT! Ask a Singaporean what he / she miss most about the country when overseas and most likely the answer will be the local dishes. Food like the famous Hainanese Chinese Rice, Malay Satay (meat skewered on bamboo sticks), Indian Prata (fried flatten flour dough), Mee Siam (Vermicelli in sourish hot sauce). Not forgetting that on Chinese New Year, special dish like “Love Letters” (thin egg roll), Kueh Lapis (multi-layered cake) and mini Pineapple Tarts. Then there is the Malay New Year (Hari Raya) and Indian New Year. Each of them will have special dishes for the festivals.
Here is the recipe for the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice:
Chicken: 1 whole chicken, 10 bowls water. (bowl = to small Chinese rice bowl)
Sauce: 90 ml chicken stock, 2 tbsp light soy sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1.5 tbsp sesame oil, 1.5tsp sugar and 1.5 tbsp oil oil
Rice: 450g rinsed uncooked rice, 1 tbsp chopped shallots and chopped garlic each, 1 tbsp cooking oil, 12 cloves garlic (leave skin on), 1 bunch pandan leaves.
Seasoning: 700 ml chicken stock, 1tsp salt, 3 tbsp ginger juice, 1tbsp chicken stock powder.
1. Boil 10 bowls of water in a pot. Put in chicken, bring to boil and turn off heat. Leave the chicken in water for 25 minutes before removing it and place it in pot of cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in frying pan and fry chopped shallots and chopped garlic till fragrant. Add rice and stir well. Remove the mixture and pour them into rice cooker. Add seasoning, garlic (with skin on) and pandan leave. Cook till rice is done.
* you can heat oil directly in rice cooker instead and fry the shallots and garlic. It saves the washing of the additional frying pan.
3. After the chicken has been removed from the cold water, chop it up and pour the sauce on top. Serve with fragrant rice.