Watercress Soup 西洋菜汤

Watercress is a vegetable most Chinese people are thoroughly familiar with even though it’s called “Western vegetable” or 西洋菜. The only thing I know about watercress, is that it makes excellent soup.

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Here’s the “meaty” part – sliced carrots and chicken cubes. I boiled them in water flavoured with Bovril.

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Gorgeous watercress fresh from the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.

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You won’t believe how easy it is. Just dump all the watercress into the pot and keep on boiling until the fragrance of the watercress fills your nose.

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And here it is. All done. As you may have expected, the kids loved it. This soup is virtually idiot-proof. You should try it. Once our population hits 6.9 million and all our true blue Singaporean hawkers are gone, your cooking skills will come in extremely handy.

© Chan Joon Yee

Fried Tofu

I ordered this at a coffee shop near my son’s school at Yishun. It’s actually a porridge stall but this tofu dish was available. I decided to try it. The hawker’s rudeness was an indication that the dish might be good.

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I find the peanuts rather special. It blends very well with the tofu and I’m certainly going to try this the next time I make fried tofu.

Chan’s Prata

This is one of my favourite home-cooked dishes. Apart from the great taste, there is also some sentimental value attached to this dish. My father made it quite often when I was a kid growing up in Queenstown. I shall call it Chan’s prata and it’s so easy to make that I can’t really call it my family’s secret recipe.

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First, put some dried shrimp in a food processor and grind it down to a nice floss. Cut up some long beans. That’s it.

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Next, you put in the flour, add water and mix it to a thick batter-like consistency. No seasoning is required as all the taste comes from the dried shrimp.

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Heat up some oil in a pan, pour and flatten the mix. Fry till the mix is brown. Flip over and fry the other side. It normally takes a shorter time to fry the other side.

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And here it is. A very tasty and fragrant pancake-like “prata” which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Depending on how fast you can prepare the mix, it may take as little as 15 minutes to prepare this breakfast for the whole family.

Once our population hits 6.9 million and all our true blue Singaporean hawkers are gone, your cooking skills will come in extremely handy.

© Chan Joon Yee