It’s that time of the year when the dog-eared, oil-stained finger prints, and years of grim and dirt family book of recipes makes an appearance …
and naturally the dishes being served is as predictable as where the sun is going to rise tomorrow.
As kids, Val and I will play guessing games (no prize for the right answer) during our commute to our grandma’s house for the Chinese New Year reunion dinner. Questions will range from what’s being served, who sits where, what jokes will be cracked, what is being said …
Looking back, it’s rather sad that we never really embraced our very own heritage. It was always some watered down version of what it means to be Chinese, or more accurately an overseas Chinese, which no one seems to have a clue primarily because each and every exodus had originated from different parts of China, bringing with them their own cultural influences, language (dialects) and beliefs.
We are actually rather unique. We were those who assimilated into the local culture through inter-marriages; forming our own sets of beliefs and culture. I’ve always thought it must be quite cool to be one of the pioneers or elderly ~ we get to pick and choose … and boy, did we pick and choose!
For a taste of how cunning we Babas (now known by the politically correct term: Peranakans) are, I’ve listed a list of rather unconventianal dishes that will make an appearance for tonight’s Chinese New Year reunion dinner: unconventional because it’s the first time ever we are having Peranakan styled dishes. And cunning because the overseas Chinese part (that makes 50% of genealogy of the Baba clan) has ‘married’ chinese ingredients successfully with Malay ingredients and cooking style.
+ Chap Chye Masak Titek (Stewed Vegetables)*
+ Pong Tauhu Soup (Beancurd with Meatball Soup)*
+ Bendi Belacan (Okra with Shrimp Paste)
+ Babi Assam (Pork Braised in Tamarind Sauce)*
+ Sambal Belimbing (Sour Star Fruit in Chili Paste)
* denotes non-halal/kosher dishes
“Recipes from my Heritage” Zutter book made by Penelope Gan
All supplies from Scrap-n-Crop