Buying and handling fish tips


  • Eyes are slightly protruded, bright and clear
  • Gills are red or pink
  • Note that stale fish has pink sunken eye that is cloudy and the gills are grey.

Cooking tip (either of the following)

  • Bermudian ‘salt and sour’ trick is to squeeze lime/lemon juice over fish and season it with salt and pepper, stand at room temperature, 1 hour
  • Soak fish in 1/4 cup vinegar, lemon juice (or wine) and water
  • Thaw frozen fish in milk

Cooking method

  • To rid of odour, add vinegar to water and simmer fish in s small saucepan until cooked
  • To bake, add thinly sliced onions, parsley, lettuce leaves as base. Bake at 180 Celsius, 10 min per inch thickness. Fish can be wrapped in well-oiled cheesecloth

Rid odour off your hands

  • Rub hands with a wedge of fresh lemon
  • Alternatively, wash with vinegar and water (or salt and water)

Cherry rum preserves


  • 4 pounds (2 kg) dark sweet cherries
  • 1 pound (450 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark rum
  • Jars to contain the cherry rum preserves later


  1. Wash, stem, and pit cherries
  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine cherries and sugar and cook over low heat for 1.5 hours.
  3. Stir carefully to prevent scorching
  4. Remove from heat, cool 5 min and mix with rum
  5. Pack the cherries into the jars
  6. Cover and seal





  • 1 kg meat
  • Marinate
    • 3 tbsp peanut oil (or other oil)
    • 1 large red onion, chopped
    • 2 stalks lemongrass, chopped (base region)
    • 2 cloves garlic (cf., head or bulb)
    • 6 small shallots, peeled
    • 2 tsp turmeric powder
    • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 tsp ginger powder
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tbsp salt to taste (or soy sauce)
    • 2 tbsp sugar
    • You can experiment with other herbs or spices


  1. Blend all marinade ingredients (add water to facilitate).
  2. Add meat slices or cubes to the blend and mix
  3. Marinate meat for at least 6 hoiurs in low temperature (fridge)
  4. Run the meat through the bamboo sticks (soaked in water)
  5. BBQ (barbecue) on charcoal grill

Peanut sauce preparation

  • Ingredients
    • 1 cup roasted peanuts
    • 1 tbsp tamarind pulps (assam)
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
    • 2 tbsp sugar (or palm sugar)
      • 1 tsp coriander powder
    • 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
    • 8 dried red chilies, seeded and soaked in warm water
    • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 4 cloves small shallots, peeled
    • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut to strips (use base region)
    • 1/2 inch galangal, peeled
  • Steps
    • Ground peanuts
    • In a bowl, add both tamarind and water, sit for 15 min. Extract the tamarind juice from pulp into water. Use the juice.
    • Chop chilies, garlic, shallot, lemongrass, and galangal into smaller pieces. Add into food processor (or mortar), add little water to blend. This is spice paste.
    • In saucepan, heat oil, add spice paste, cook until aromatic or fragrant.
    • Add in all other ingredients.
    • Stir to combine. Adjust the heat to medium-low.
    • Stir continuously until peanut sauce thickens to desired consistency (where oil and sauce separates)
    • Cool to room temperature and serve with satay meat.


  1. Chicken satay (
  2. Singapore satay (
  3. Satay peanut sauce (
  4. Satay peanut sauce (

Daun Ketapang (or Indian Almond Leave) is used to keep betta fish

Betta fish is also known as Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) found in freshwater and native to South-East Asia.

Aquarists who keep this fish will use Daun Ketapang (Indian Almond leave, Terminalia catappa) in the water when their fish is sick or lethargic. The dried leave are added to the water, where they will lower its pH and infuse the water with beneficial chemicals. One major chemical component is tannic acid and tannins.

The Ketapang is useful to treat fish skin ailment. The antimicrobial tannin kills bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It is better alternative to the fish antibiotics (ref. 2)

How to make almond leaf extract? The tannin and other phytochemicals are water soluble. You can increase the chemical release by pouring hot water over the dry leave and incubate overnight until the water changes colour. Keep the solution chilled for months.

Tannin is a non-toxic phenol that function as crosslinking agent (ref. 3). It is used to agglutinate microbes in order to inactivate them. Its crosslinking property is beneficial in wound healing (ref. 4)

Tannin has been used in leather-making industry where curing involves chemical crosslinking afforded by adding tannin to the leather (ref. 5).


  1. Where to find Ketapang leaf (aka Indian Almond Leaf) (
  2. Indian Almond Leaves: Keeping your fish happy, naturally, 7 Apr 2021 (
  3. Effect of tannic acid as crosslinking agent on fish skin gelatin-silver nanocomposite film (
  4. The use of tannins in the local treatment of burn wounds – a pilot study (
  5. Tanning (leather) (

ginger shallot soy BBQ sauce


  • 1 kg chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp light brown sugarr
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp paprika/red capsicum
  • 3-4 shallots, minced
  • 1 tsp pepper


  1. mix all ingredients until thorough
  2. marinate refrigerated >= 4 hrs to overnight
  3. grill at low heat (or BBQ) until golden brown

ngoh hiang (five spice fritter)


  • 1 packet bean curd skin
  • 500g minced pork belly (fatty)
  • 500 g fresh shrimps, minced
  • 400 g chestnuts (or jicama)
  • 1 egg
  • 6 garlic
  • 6 shallots


  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp white pepper
  • 50 g flour
  • 1 tsp five spice powder


  1. mix all ingredients and seasoning together and marinate, >= 1 hr
  2. place 3 tbsp filling in lower half of bean curd skin (soaked first)
  3. roll it in and seal edges with egg yolk/washes (egg wash is mixture of egg, water, milk, cream and salt)
  4. optional step: steam >= 10 min, cut into smaller pieces, coat with flour and proceed to deep fry
  5. deep fry until ngoh hiang turns golden brown
  6. drain excess oil and paper towel
  7. serve

deep fried anchovies (ikan bilis)


  • dried anchovies
  • cooking oil


  1. heat thick bottomed saucepan with 4-5 cm cooking oil, 5 to 10 min
  2. test oil by adding few anchovies into the oil. anchovies should float up within second.
  3. drop in only a handful of anchovies to fry each time.
  4. when anchovies sizzle, stir and pick the rest up to test, approx 4-5 min.
  5. drain fried anchovies.

DIY chee cheung fun (rice noodle)


  • 354 ml rice flour
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 2 tbsp wheat starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil (and extra for greasing pan)
  • 354 ml lukewarm water
  • 236 ml boiling water


  1. combine rice flour, tapioca, and wheat starch, and salt in mixing bowl
  2. add canola oil and lukewarm water
  3. whisk until smooth
  4. whisk in boiling water
  5. set aside and allow the batter to rest, 45 min
  6. use aluminium square cakepan for steaming rice noodle
  7. add batter to abiout 1/8 in thickness to prewarmed greased pan
  8. swirl around to coat evenly and steam, 3 min until noodle bubble up

Traditional white bread

Tradtional white bread should be soft and once toasted, good candidate for butter and kaya. This setup will complement with soft-boiled egg (softer than poached egg). Such setup is best for typical Singaporean breakfast.


  • 2 packages of 0.25 oz active dry yeast
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water (45oC)
  • 3 tbsp margarine/butter
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 6 1/2 cups bread flour


  1. in large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water
  2. stir in margarine/butter, 2 cups flour
  3. stir in remaining flour gradually
  4. when dough has pulled together, turn it out onto lightly floured surface
  5. knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 min
  6. lightly oil large bowl, place in and turn to coat with oil
  7. cover with damp cloth and rest in warm place until doubled in volume, 1 hr
  8. dflate the dough and turn it out onto lightly floured surface
  9. divide dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves
  10. place them in lightly greased loaf pans
  11. cover loaves with damp cloth and let rise until double in volume, approx 40 min
  12. preheat oven to 220oC
  13. bake at 190oC, 30 min until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped

Aglio et olio spaghetti


  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp salt (for sauce)
  • 450 g spaghetti
  • 3 cloves garlic,minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 lemon zested (optional)
  • Freshly grated parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)


  1. cook pasta, approx 8 min in salted water
  2. in large bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and red pepper flakes.
  3. warm over low heat, stir intermitently until garlic softens, 8 min
  4. drain pasta
  5. reserve 1/4 cup cooking water
  6. add pasta and water to garlic mixture
  7. mix well
  8. add parsley and lemon zest
  9. adjust seasoning to taste
  10. transfer to a large bowl
  11. serve with grated cheese (optional)