Classic comfort food
Food features so prominently in the cultural landscape here that it is hard to pick a dish for this special edition to celebrate 50 years of our nation's independence.
I settled on kambing soup.
This Indian-Muslim dish is one that has evolved in Singapore, says the National Library Board's Infopedia website.
Kambing soup as we know it is usually accompanied by pieces of crusty French loaf.
Its close kin soup tulang, or bone marrow soup, is believed to be a local variant of the kambing soup.
For me, kambing soup, which has Indian origins, is telling of the local food culture here.
Kambing means goat in Malay. Traditionally, kambing soup is prepared using goat meat. Here, more people use mutton from sheep, or even lamb to cook the dish.
The mutton seller at my neighbourhood market recommended lamb because the taste is not as gamey and it takes a lot less boiling time for the meat to get tender.
It is not easy to find a stall that serves a robust and tasty kambing soup, especially one that does not come with a thick layer of oil.
All the more reason to cook your own and do your part in preserving our food heritage.
- 1kg lamb rack, trimmed and cut into individual ribs
- 300g lamb cubes
- 5 litres water
- 1.5 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp fennel
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 6 cardamom seeds
- 3 star anise
- 1 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cloves
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 head of garlic, separate cloves
- 30g ginger, minced
- 1 white onion, sectioned
- 3 large tomatoes, de-skinned
- 1 tbsp meat curry powder
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- Dash of white pepper
- 120g shallots, sliced and fried
- 3 stalks flat leaf parsley
- 1 flat tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
1. Grind the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel together.
2. Bring the 5 litres of water to a boil.
3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a pan. Fry the garlic and ginger until almost browned, add the cardamom, star anise, cloves and ground mixture of cumin, coriander and fennel.
4. Add the ground turmeric and curry powder. Fry for a few minutes and turn off the heat.
5. Place lamb rack and cubes into the boiling water. Add in the garlic cloves, white onion and cinnamon stick.
6. Transfer the fried spice mixture into the pot. Add a generous dash of white pepper. Add the tomatoes.
7. Boil for three hours or until the meat is tender.
8. Season with salt.
9. Serve piping hot, garnished with fried shallots and fresh flat leaf parsley.