Mom likes to keep things simple, and improvises a lot. She prefers to learn from her friends tips on this and that instead of referring to recipe books because they are “too complicated.”
And her favourite go-to person is Ang Cho.
Ang Cho is widely regarded as the grandmaster of kueh-making in our kampong, and has no peer in this department. At a distant second would be a man named Nam Hua, a baba who makes very high quality nyonya kueh as a home business.
Mom is very close to Ang Cho, a recent breast-cancer surviver who lives a stone’s throw away.
Ang Cho never use ready-made rice flour that comes in the bags. She mills her own, at home, using heavy granite mill, like we used to do too, when grandma was alive.
Although mom is not as meticulous as Ang Cho, there is a certain art to her seeming chinchai-ness.
And that very chinchai-ness gives her culinary a charm unreplicatable.
RECIPE for Pineapple Tarts
makes more than 100
- 1 kg of flour
- 500 grams of margarine (set aside some to line on trays)
- 13 eggs
- Heat oven at 160 degree Celsius.
- Sieve flour into a large bowl for kneading.
- On the side, crack 8 eggs and beat them lightly but even.
- Slowly add the margarine and pour beaten eggs, use your fingers lightly to combine them.
- Lightly knead and form them into a few manageable portions.
- Set aside a small portion to be cut into tiny strips for decor.
- The balance 3 eggs to separate and beat the yolks for glazing.
- Use a large piece of polystyrene to roll out the dough.
- Use the tart cutter and form the tart base.
- Glaze egg yolk over the dough before placing the pineapple jam inserts.
- Decorate with trimmings for presentation as necessary.
- Glaze egg yolk over trimmings.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
RECIPE for Pineapple Jam
- 6 bowls of scraped pineapples
- 3 bowls of sugar
- Skin pineapple and scrape out the flesh. Drain flesh on a sieve for 10 minutes to obtain ½ cup of juice.
- Place the scraped pineapple flesh in a non-stick pan and add granulated sugar and pineapple juice.
- Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally for about ½ hour until pineapple jam is sticky.
- Set aside to cool.