Some of the best cooks around are mothers who hold the families very close together with great food come rain or shine, for lunch and dinner. Instead of leaving it to maids which is very common these days among Singapore families, they put their own personal touches to it, creating their own individual stamp on the food they cook. We are beginning to lose a lot of these traditions as fast food and hawker food take over our daily diets. This is also the result of more women entering the work force and are basically too tired after a hard day's work to cook a family meal and clean up.
Even though I'm a working woman, I have resisted taking the easy way out and make the attempt to cook dinner each night and sometimes even lunch for the kids for their meals after schools. I do have days where I can't muster the strength and we'll get take-aways but this is more the exception.
I love meeting women who take such pride in their home cooking and they form such good mentors to mothers struggling to increase their dinner repertoire each week. The mum of my good friend Pete is one such lady and just the other day, she showed me how to make Ayam Buah Keluak, a very famous Nyonya dish. Buah keluak is an Indonesian nut that is slightly bitter but gives a flavoursome contrast to the sour assam taste of the gravy. Being a Nyonya herself with both Peranakan parents, cooking for her children and grandchildren is a daily affair and holds the family very close together.
Thank you Mrs Chua for showing me how to cook Ayam Buah Keluak.