In her giant, cavernous house in Ampang, Angie Tay is bustling about with objective and willpower. A captivating, multi-talented lady with a smile on the prepared for everybody, Tay shouldn’t be identified for sitting nonetheless and is consistently on the transfer, whether or not it’s to chop up a banana cake she’s simply made or whip up some espresso.
The consummate hostess, she can be all the time wanting to feed her friends. “Would you wish to strive some kombucha? I made it myself, ” she asks. And earlier than you’ll be able to even reply, she has hurried to the fridge to pour a few of the promised kombucha right into a glass as her household watches her fondly.
Tay’s enterprising spirit was in all probability gleaned from her dad and mom. Her father reared geese and chickens of their house and Tay says she grew up with meals long-established out of the homegrown greens harvested from the household’s backyard.
Tay has clearly inherited her dad and mom’ inexperienced streak, as she too has a thriving vegetable backyard, crammed with pumpkin, women’ fingers, chillies, brinjal and all types of different greens and herbs. Actually, she not often buys greens from the market now.
Apparently, though Tay is now a gifted farmer and residential cook dinner, she was nothing of the type till she obtained married and arrange house along with her husband Yee Kong Fatt.
“Once I was younger, I didn’t know cook dinner. Once I obtained married in my twenties, my husband taught me cook dinner rice and boil eggs, ” says Tay, laughing on the reminiscence.
Since then, Tay has upped her cooking abilities. She began by attending cooking courses, then started accumulating cookbooks and recipes and has since turn into an extremely completed house cook dinner.
“She is all the time feeding us. She all the time tells us, ‘Once you eat outdoors, don’t eat a lot. However whenever you eat at house, eat as a lot as you need as a result of my meals is wholesome and nutritious, ” says Tay’s youngest daughter Christine Yee Sook Chuan, laughing.
For Chinese language New Yr, Tay has taken on the mammoth job of feeding her giant prolonged household (over 30 individuals) with the assistance of her daughters Sook Chuan and Sook Fong. On the second day of Chinese language New Yr, she additionally sometimes hosts a big Chinese language New Yr occasion, typically inviting as much as 200 individuals to her house.
“I’ve taught all my youngsters these dishes, so at any time when I cook dinner, I ask them to come back and assist lah, ” she says.
Lots of Tay’s recipes are Hakka staples and derived from the truth that her mom (who was Teochew) moved to Melaka the place there was a big Hakka group and slowly learnt most of the group’s culinary staples.
Tay’s rui cha (additionally known as lui cha or lei cha), as an illustration, is a healthful Hakka dish made up of an assortment of contemporary greens like lengthy beans, corn and tofu in addition to preserved greens like radish buoyed by a herbaceous do-it-yourself vivid inexperienced soup anchored with tea leaves, mint leaves and basil.
It’s a pleasant meal that sates and soothes in equal measure. It’s also a recurring dish on Tay’s desk come Chinese language New Yr (and all year long too).
“I learnt make this from my mom. She used to pound all of the components for the soup with a stick made out of guava wooden till it was finely floor. She was very specific about that! My daughters and I used to assist her do it, however now that I’m making it myself, I want to mix all the pieces because it
saves a lot time.
“And it’s a vegetarian dish, so we usually eat it on the primary day of CNY, when everybody must be vegetarian, ” she says.
Tay additionally continues to make braised duck, a dish that pays homage to her mom’s Teochew heritage.
“Yearly for CNY, we will certainly have this dish. My mom used to make both a roast duck or a braised duck however I solely know do the braised duck. Yearly, we solely make it as soon as, so typically the style can change as a result of I haven’t accomplished it in so lengthy!” says Tay.
After the reunion dinner, most Chinese language households in Malaysia sometimes utilise all of the leftover meat from varied meals and cook dinner this with mustard greens and tamarind on the second day of CNY, successfully making a model new dish, which is usually known as assam mustard greens, kiam chai boey, chop suey and plenty of different names – relying on the Chinese language group that makes it.
Moreover, every household’s recipe is usually distinctive – Tay’s model as an illustration, makes use of pork ribs and is a scrumptious, flavour-packed meal that lingers within the reminiscence lengthy after.“Everyone makes some model of this throughout Chinese language New Yr – it’s a great way to make use of up all of the leftover meat. In my model, I all the time add baked beans – I discover that it makes the bottom sauce tastier and creamier too, ” says Tay.
In the end, Tay says her Chinese language New Yr meals are a throwback to the times of her youth, which have been rooted in custom. And she or he feels that the one approach to protect this custom is to proceed making the meals she grew up with.
“It’s good to recall the previous after we’re celebrating the brand new yr. In order that’s why I all the time stick to those conventional dishes for Chinese language New Yr, ” says Tay.
TEOCHEW BRAISED DUCK
half tsp salt
10 shallots, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
10 thick slices ginger
1.5kg complete duck
100g gula Melaka
2 tbsp Chinese language five-spice
2 tbsp darkish soya sauce
2 tbsp mild soya sauce
three cinnamon stick
three star anise
1 litre water
three items medium delicate tofu
three boiled eggs, shells eliminated
Wash and clear duck. Rub with salt and marinate for 30 minutes. Wash salt off and pat dry duck.
Warmth the wok with some oil and fry shallots, garlic and ginger till aromatic.
Add duck to the wok and fry for a short time. Add the remainder of the components, besides tofu and eggs and let attain a boiling level. As soon as boiled, cut back warmth and go away to cook dinner on low warmth for three hours. Rotate duck a number of occasions to make sure even braising.
On the 2-hour mark, add tofu and eggs to the wok. After three hours, take away duck from the wok. Minimize duck into items.
Sieve the remaining components within the wok, reserving solely the sauce. Cook dinner sauce over medium warmth till it thickens. Pour sauce over duck and serve scorching.
PORK RIBS WITH MUSTARD GREENS
For cooking first
1kg pork ribs, roasted
four dried scallops
40 slices assam keping
10 dried chillies
5 slices ginger
10 cloves garlic
For cooking later
2kg mustard greens
four contemporary tomatoes
2 tbsp mild soya sauce
1 can baked beans
In a pot, boil water and place all of the components for cooking first within the pot. Simmer for an hour on low warmth. Discard pork bones and put in mustard greens, tomatoes and lightweight soya sauce and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add baked beans and stir to combine in effectively. Cook dinner for five minutes and take away from the warmth. Serve scorching.