Nyonya chicken curry pie tie and buah keluak beef sliders
Traditional Peranakan dishes are given a modern twist in a special collaboration between food consultant Shermay Lee and executive sous chef Alex Siah of Conrad Centennial Singapore. By Priyanka Elhence
Mention ingredients like coconut milk, galangal, buah keluak, belachan, lemongrass, and kaffir lime among others, and you've got the staples for a soulful Peranakan meal. Some of the more popular dishes from this tangy, spicy and herbaceous cuisine include beef rendang, laksa, and ayam buah kelak, the latter loved for the iconic tamarind gravy-laden chicken braised with candlenut.
To coincide with National Day, executive sous chef Alex Siah of Conrad Centennial Singapore has teamed up with food consultant, cookbook author and founder-owner, Shermay Lee of Shermay’s Singapore Fine Food, to create two dishes that pay homage to the island’s rich Peranakan history. A sixthgeneration Peranakan with a strong culinary tradition, Lee was only five years old when she started cooking alongside her grandmother, Lee Chin Koon, then considered a doyenne of Peranakan cuisine, and author of the famous cookbook, Mrs Lee’s Cookbook. Shermay’s Singapore Fine Food features a range of sauces, marinades, crackers and curry powder, of which several items have been used in these two recipes. Both dishes
– Nyonya Chicken Curry Pie Tee and Buah Keluak Beef Slices – will be available on the buffet spread at Oscar’s for the month of August.
Together, Siah and Lee have given the traditional pie tee a different spin by filling the crispy shells with Mrs. Lee’s Nonya chicken curry-infused coconut sauce, and garnished with homemade pickles. “This bite-sized dish is inspired by the crispy Indian pani puri, which is also a popular snack around the world,” says Lee.
Giving the beef sliders a Peranakan slant, is the duo’s Buah Keluak Beef Sliders, where premium beef patties are mixed with aromatic buah keluak paste, and nestled between charcoal buns, served along with Lee’s keropok udang fries, instead of potato fries. “The trick in cooking the paste is to give the spices enough time to release the aromatics and make the flavours full-bodied,” advises Lee.
NYONYA CHICKEN CURRY PIE TEE
Makes 30 bite-sized portions
Prep time 40 minutes + 30 minutes resting time
Cook time 30 minutes
50g Shermay's Nonya Curry Powder (available at TANGS or www.shermay.com)
5 tbsp water
1.1 In a large bowl, mix the curry powder with water and stir until it forms a smooth paste.
3 small red shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 slices mature ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
400g skinless boneless chicken thigh, diced
2.1 Blend all the aromatics into a coarse paste,
then add it to the curry paste.
2.2 Add the chicken and mix all until even.
dry chicken curry
1 tbsp oil
¼ white onion, diced 300ml coconut cream 200g carrots, diced 50g potatoes, diced 1 tsp salt
3.1 In a wok, add the oil and sauté the onion until light golden brown.
3.2 Add in the marinated chicken and continue to stir-fry to cook the spice paste.
3.3 Add in coconut cream while stirring.
3.4 Add in carrots and potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then quickly lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Leave wok uncovered to allow the mixture to dry. Season.
3.5 Spread the cooked mixture on a wide tray to cool. Set aside. simple Nyonya pickle
½ cucumber, diced
½ carrot, diced
½ red onion, diced
½ turnip or jicama, diced (optional) 1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ rice or white vinegar
4.1 In a bowl, mix all the vegetables, sugar and salt before adding just enough vinegar to cover the ingredients. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
4.2 When ready to use, drain excess liquid through a fine mesh sieve.
1 bucket store-bought mini pie tee shells fresh coriander leaves, garnish
5.1 Place the pie tee shells on a serving dish. Using a teaspoon, fill the cooked Nonya chicken into each shell.
5.2 Top with the pickles, and garnish with a sprig of fresh coriander. Serve immediately.
THE BLACK GOLD – BUAH KELUAK BEEF SLIDERS
Prep time 40 minutes + 12 hours resting time
Cook time 30 minutes
rempah for buah keluak mix
60g galangal or blue ginger, peeled and sliced 5g fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced 20g candlenuts
100g small red shallots, peeled 200g fresh red chillies, rinsed and wiped dry 50g shrimp paste 1 tsp coriander powder 30g lemongrass 400ml oil, for frying
1.1 Blend all the rempah ingredients for the buah keluak mix in a food processor to form a coarse paste.
1.2 Heat the oil in a non-stick wok over medium-high heat, and add the rempah.
1.3 Continue stir-frying for approximately 10 minutes to release the aromatics or until the oil is released from the paste, and the colour darkens to a deeper orange.
350g buah keluak paste 2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine salt
720g minced striploin
4 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
2.1 Add the buah keluak paste to the rempah paste and stir for 2 minutes over medium heat to release more oil. Season with sugar and salt. Transfer the cooked mix to a tray to cool down. Set aside.
2.2 In a bowl with the minced beef, add 120g of the cooled paste. Mix well and shape mixture into 50g mini patties.
2.3 Lay patties on a tray lined with parchment or cling film, then cover with more cling film to prevent drying. Leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours to allow it to bind.
2.4 Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place patties in the pan and leave untouched for 3 minutes. Check the underside. If the desirable browning has been achieved, carefully flip the patties over and cook uncovered for another 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and rest for 3 minutes.
1 large white onion, thinly sliced 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
3.1 Heat the oil in a frying pan over low heat and add in onions. Stir-fry for approximately 10 minutes or until the onions are caramelised. 3.2 Add in soy sauce and mix evenly. Set aside.
6 charcoal burger buns, buttered and lightly toasted
6 pieces local or romaine lettuce cooked buah keluak paste
Shermay's keropok fries (available at TANGS or www.shermay.com) Shermay's Cilicuka Very Hot (available at TANGS or www.shermay.com) fresh calamansi lime
4.1 Lay heel of the bun on a plate and top with patty. Spread 1 tsp of the cooked buah keluak paste on the patty, and top with carmelised onions and lettuce, before adding the crown of the bun.
4.2 Garnish with keropok fries, Cilicuka hot sauce and lime, and buah keluak paste.
3.4 5.1 5.2
Check out epicure on Youtube for a behindthe-scenes video of this masterclass.