Mango trees grow all over Asia, even in the middle of urban Singapore. When in season, mangoes are used in everything from candy to pudding to ice cream. Here is a delicious sorbet recipe adapted from A Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, by Aun Koh, author of chubbyhubby.net Singaporean food blog.
2.2 pounds peeled and deseeded ripe mangoes, roughly diced
4.5 ounces grams sugar
5.4 ounces bottled water
8 teaspoons freshly squeezed kalamansi (a lime indigenous to Philippines) juice
2 tablespoons dark rum
Pinch of salt
Combine the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth (add more lime juice and/or rum to taste). Chill the mixture then freeze it in your ice cream machine.
Servings: Makes one quart.
The Singapore Sling is a “must try” beverage, especially at the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel. Historical record shows Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon first mixed the sweet concoction for the hotel sometime around 1910, although the exact date is disputed. The following is reproduced from a Long Bar recipe.
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Cherry Heering brandy
1/4 ounce Cointreau
1/4 ounce Benedictine
4 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/3 ounce grenadine
Dash of bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with cherry and slice of pineapple.
Servings: Serves one.
Laksa is the great comfort food of Singapore. This recipe for the traditional seafood soup is from Singapore Heritage Food by Sylvia Tan.
1 pound medium prawns
2 cups shallots, peeled
20 dried chilies, softened in hot water
1 tablespoon belacan (shrimp paste)
3 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked for a while in water to soften
10 buah keras (candlenuts)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon roasted coriander powder
2 stalks lemon grass, white stem portion, crushed
4 tablespoons oil
4 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound dried thick rice noodles
9 ounces bean sprouts, scalded
7 ounces dried glass noodles, scalded and drained
4 fresh red chilies, pounded
Salt to taste
1 cucumber, peeled, cored and shredded
4 fried fishcakes, sliced
1 bunch daun kesom (laksa leaves), finely shredded
3 ounces see hum (fresh cockles), optional
Boil a pot of water and cook prawns until they turn pink. Remove, shell prawns when cool, and reserve prawns and stock. Process shallots, chilies, belacan, dried shrimp, and buah keras in a chopper until fine. Add powdered spices to the paste.
Heat oil in a pot large enough for the gravy. Brown spice paste and add lemon grass stalks, adding a little water from time to time to prevent burning, until oil rises to the surface. Add prawn stock, followed by coconut milk, stirring all the time to prevent curdling until it comes to boil. Season with salt, sugar, and pepper to taste.
Boil some water in another pot and boil dried noodles until they are al dente. Drain and divide noodles among bowls. Top with a little softened glass noodles and bean sprouts. Garnish with a prawn, fishcake slices, shredded cucumber and daun kesom. Pour over hot coconut gravy and serve with a dollop of pounded chili mixed with a pinch of salt.
Servings: Serves four to six.
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