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Ikan Kelapa from Singapore

It’s Olympics, Day Three…  On to Singapore!

Singapore is one of the mosty memorable places I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit.  It’s almost frightening to think that it’s been 36 years since I was there as a 20 year old sailor.  And I still have fantastic memories.  I had some of the best food from sidewalk carts. 

The old city that I enjoyed so much doesn’t even exist anymore – urban renewal – but I’ll never forget the omelette I had from a guy with a wok on a cart.  The eggs were perfectly cooked with spices I had never had and with vegetables I couldn’t pronounce.  Damn it was good.

I had a curry dish that was so spicy, it seared the back of my eyeballs!  The old guy who cooked it broke into a huge grin when he saw me devour it without missing a beat.  His English was difficult for me to understand, but his food spoke in terms I understood very well!

As an adventurous (and Navy-poor) kid, I ate most of my meals from sidewalk carts and small hole-in-the-wall places.  I was totally fearless – and never did get sick!

Some fun memories came back to me in looking for something Singaporean to cook tonight.  I remember lots of coconut, and thought this fish dish might fill the bill.

It was good, but it wasn’t really, really good.  I think part of it was just the texture of the topping.  It was gritty where my tongue was wanting creamy.  If I were eating it in Singapore, I probably  would have loved every morsel.  But…  I wasn’t in Singapore tonight.

The cauliflower, on the other hand, was freakin’ awesome!  That recipe follows…

Ikan Kelapa – Spiced Coconut Fish

  • Fish fillets
  • 1/2 cup Desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup Hot water
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 12 mm Fresh ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Ground kencur (aromatic ginger)
  • 1 tsp Ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Chopped fresh coriander leaves

Banana leaves
Aluminum foil

Method :
Wash, clean and scale fillets and cut into approximately 10 cm lengths.
Blend together, at high speed, the coconut, hot water, garlic, ginger, kencur, cumin, coriander, garam masala and salt until coconut is very finely ground.
Mix in lemon juice and coriander leaves.
Put equivalent of 1 fillet of fish on each piece of banana leaf placed on square of foil.
Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of coconut mixture on fish.
Wrap leaf over, make a parcel of foil, steam for 15 minutes.
Serve hot.

I was fresh out of Banana leaves, so I used parchment paper.  It worked quite well.

The cauliflower I made was out of this world!  And SPICY!!!  This was really reminiscent of the foods I ate when I was there.  I actually used less chili paste than the recipe called for and it was still firey hot.

Singapore Vegetable Sauté

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup shallot, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chili paste
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Saute together and then add:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
Simmer about 8 minutes.
Sauté any combination of vegetables such as eggplant, carrots, bell peppers, blanched broccoli and or cauliflower and add to sauce.

It was kickapoo awesome! I saved the excess sauce and plan on using it as a BBQ sauce/marinade.

12 more Olympian recipes to go…..

Oh… And Victor made a Good ‘ol USA Lemon Poundcake for dessert. It’s Gold Medal Good!!

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