Talam Kacang Merah
Talam refers to a tray or in Malay, a dulang whereas Kacang Merah means Red Beans or in this case Red Mung Beans. So I guess the name refers to Red Mung Bean cake in a tray. But you may say isn’t a cake a kueh in Malay? Honestly, though I am a Malay, I am just as confused between a kueh and a talam. As far as I know, a kueh in Malay typically refers to a snack or dessert. So my guess is, back then it was given this name due to the fact that this kueh is cooked in a metal tray or some may say a wide cake pan which was also used as a tray for serving. Well at least that’s my take on this issue.
I hope I didn’t confuse you with my explanation. Now, the word kueh is more well-known than a talam so you will be understood if using just the word kueh.
I have explained to you the characteristics of traditional Malay kuehs in my previous post and Talam Kacang Merah is no different. It is a steamed cake, made primarily of rice flour, coconut milk and sugar. It has two layers, one of which contains red beans and is sweet and is usually the bottom layer. The top layer is usually unsweetened, in fact, has a tinge of saltiness, to balance the sweet bottom layer. This top layer is usually thinner than the bottom layer. As for the color, you can color both which ever way you want but rule of thumb is to color each layer differently.
Serimuka aka Putri Salat
This is a Malay traditional cake. It is one of the most common cakes you can find in Singapore. There are several common characteristics you will notice in most traditional Malay cakes. They are mostly steamed cakes and almost all makes use of coconut milk because coconuts are aplenty in this region and use rice flour instead of wheat flour because rice is easily and more commonly available in this region.
Traditionally, I was told, rice flour were home-made. The women would soak the rice overnight then drained and grounded to a paste the next day. It will then be wrapped tightly in a piece of cloth. A heavy object is then placed on top of it to exert pressure and squeeze out the water making it to become dry.
But we have come a long way since and now we can buy rice flour in packets from the supermarket. Thank God for that 🙂
Today I will be sharing the recipe for Serimuka or Putri Salat. It is an easy cake to make but there are no shortcuts. This cakes like most Malay cakes, have two layers. The rice layer at the bottom and the custard topping on top. Please see the recipe below.
Red Snapper Coconut Curry
The fish curry sold in most Indian stalls here in Singapore have thin gravy. It is not as thick as the meat curries. Come to think of it, this could be how it is cooked in South India because most Indian food in Singapore has a South Indian influence. I am not a fan of thin gravy curries thus I seldom buy fish curries sold at the food stalls.
I came across a picture of a fish curry with thick gravy and I was hooked. Moreover, it used my favorite fish, red snapper. I know a picture can be misleading but the recipe is by a Masterchef winner, Shelina Permalloo, a Mauritian at heart, born in the UK. So I gave it a shot since I need something to go with my Lemon & Raisin Rice I just made.
It turned out better than I expected, I made it so hot and spicy but the hubby loved it. He had a second helping of rice and the curry. You can reduce the spiciness by reducing the chillies or leave it out totally but why would you do that!
I have made some adjustments to the recipe due to the amount of fish I used. Please remember, the recipe is just a guideline. You have to keep tasting your food while cooking and adjust the seasoning to get the best taste and consistency. I cooked it a bit longer because I wanted to have a thicker gravy but you need not do so if you find it’s thick enough. Below is the recipe.
The Red Snapper Curry with Lemon & Raisin Rice
This recipe is a hand-me-down recipe. The rice is fragrant and there is a slight sweetness due to the raisins. Eaten with curry and some fresh greens it is refreshing.
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 – 15 minutes
- 2 cups of Basmati rice, washed and drained
- 4 cups of water*
(*the proportion to cooking Basmati rice is 2 cups of water for 1 cup of Basmati rice). You can also see my previous post on cooking Basmati rice here.
- 40 grams of butter
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon of ginger paste
- 2 teaspoons of ground shallots
- 1 leaf of daun pandan or pandanus screwpine leaf, washed and knotted
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 clove of star anise
- 2 cardamoms
- 1 cube of Knorr’s chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Salt and Seasoning powder to taste
Daun Pegaga are known by many other names. Also known as Indonesian Pegagan, Indian Gotu Kola and its scientific name, Centella Asiatica, it is a herb I used to make Ulam or just eat with sambal belachan. It is normally eaten as a salad with a main dish and warm rice.
Daun Pegaga is known for its health benefits, eaten during confinement, it is said to help tighten and promote smooth skin. I have seen Centella Asiatica as one of the highlighted ingredients in many skincare products. However, the highly visible benefit is the fibre it provide which promotes bowel movement.
Besides just for its health benefit, it taste better than some vegetables eaten raw. You can grow this herb on your own but you won’t be able to yield much. I recalled my dad picking the herbs at his backyard whenever we visit him. When I first tasted it, I requested to bring the live plant home to re-pot and hope to grow it.