‘Tis the season to be jolly! Roll out the red carpet for year-end feasting ideas and updates on where and how to make merry.
Words: Alice Yong
First coined in British India in 1844, the word ‘Eurasian’ initially referred to people of mixed British and Indian descent but later was expanded to include other mixed ethnicities such as Dutch Burghers (those with Dutch or German surnames) and the Kristang people of Malaysia (those with Portuguese ancestry). For the Kristang community, Christmas is incomplete without their customary dishes drawn from their Portuguese intermingled with Malay, Indian, Chinese and Nyonya (Straits Chinese) culinary influences.
A Chinese-influenced dish of braised pork, pigs’ ears and sometimes intestines in soy-galangal sauce with cinnamon, cloves and star anise served on a salad of cucumber, lettuce and tomato topped with homemade chilli, garlic and vinegar dressing.
Curry Debal/Devil’s Curry
Traditionally cooked on Boxing Day (December 26) as an ingenious way to make use of leftover meats from Christmas Day, the dish is prepared with a fiery-hot blend of dried chillies, mustard, turmeric powder, candlenuts, vinegar and galangal. Similar Eurasian flavours can be savoured at Top Hat restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. Try the Bon Natal platter by Chef Richard Moreira, a celebratory platter that includes cashew nut and raisin butter rice, assam prawns, lamb prune curry, acar awak (mixed pickles), sebak and chicken curry with kaffir lime. www.top-hat-restaurants.com
How does a hazelnut and chai yoghurt drink, luscious lemon gourmet yoghurt, or some rich haloumi sound? Now you can have it all from The Collective, a brand that specialises in epicurean flavoured yoghurts, yoghurt drinks and cheeses. Best of all, the handcrafted, probiotic and vegetarian range is completely gluten, gelatine and preservative-free!
Originally known as the Chinese gooseberry, the kiwifruit was first planted in New Zealand in 1906 by Mary Isabel Fraser following her visit to China. Just a serving (150g) of this little fruit gives you over 150% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C (twice as much as a 100g orange). Vitamin C helps to reduce fatigue and, enhances the body’s absorption of important minerals such as iron and calcium. Eating more kiwifruit also helps regulate bowel movement and reduces stomach discomfort after a heavy meal. Its fibre-rich content promotes the growth of benefi cial bacteria in the gut and the protease enzyme (actinidin) spurs food protein digestion, enabling better nutrient absorption in our bodies.
The fruit is also low in Glycemic index and serves as a natural source of folate that’s essential for formation of red blood cells, cell growth and nerve development. www.zespri.com
Feasting in Philippines
In the Philippines, the Yuletide feast includes bibingka – a sweet Christmas dessert made with rice fl our, coconut milk,salted egg, cheese and coconut; putò bumbóng – purple, sticky rice delicacy steamed in bamboo tubes, buttered and sprinkled with brown sugar and shredded dried coconut flesh; pandesal – bread rolls made of flour, eggs, east, sugar and salt, and hamón (Christmas ham). Drinks include coffee, salabát (a ginger tisane) and tsokoláte (thick Spanish-style hot chocolate). If you are not in Philippines during the Yuletide season, sample bibingka and other Christmassy treats at Delicious Café in Singapore and Malaysia throughout December. www.thedeliciousgroup.com