Nyonya (also spelt Nonya) or Peranakan cuisine is a unique blend of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian cooking. Although they use a lot of shrimp paste, we still like this unique cuisine’s aromatic tanginess which is nicely blended with spices and herbs. Even without shrimp paste, it is still quite interesting and different.
The first time we were introduced to this aromatic cuisine was at Eight Treasures Restaurant in Singapore in 2010. Some of you may remember my post about this place and its food some time ago. If you don’t then it means you’re not following my posts. In that case, well, have a nice life 🙂
Anyway, we had this particular vegan version of Singapore Nyonya Curry at Eight Treasures. Of course, they didn’t give me the recipe. I did ask! In fact, the owner said something like this: “If you have my recipe, I might have to kill you.” Well, I’m still alive but I don’t have her recipe as you may have figured it out yourself. What I have, though, a non-vegan cookbook on Nyonya cuisine which I bought while in Singapore. I thought I could figure something out on my return to Australia. Here’s how it worked out for me:
- The vegetable ensemble of my recipe here comes from Traditional Nonya Cuisine by Lucy Koh even though I don’t use brinjals. The original recipe in this book uses fish head, by the way, which is staring back at you in the photo. So you could say the original dish has a face.
- The actual Singapore Nyonya curry paste came from a jar. A friend of ours –who is from India by the way –told us that we could get a “safe” Nyonya curry from Asian supermarkets in Sydney. Safe meaning no shrimp paste. We found it in Chatswood.
And that’s how it all came together Peoples. Enjoy!
Nyonya Style Faux-Fish Curry
8 pieces Lamyong Chunky Fish, thawed
½ bottle Tropicana Singapore Nyonya Curry Sauce, stirred well before use (I use a teaspoon for the job)
1 cup okra (lady’s fingers), I used frozen ones
½ onion, cut into thin wedges
1 large tomato, peeled and cut into small wedges (If you don’t peel them the skin turns into Spock’s ears)
270 ml coconut milk
1 cup soy milk
Vegetable oil to fry the faux-fish
Steamed rice to serve
• Pan-fry the faux-fish with a little bit of vegetable oil, making sure all the sides are browned lightly. Remove the faux-fish and set aside.
• Heat the Nyonya curry sauce and coconut milk in a wok on medium heat. Stir well to dissolve the lumps. Then add the soy milk. Check its heat and if you find it too hot add more coconut milk.
• Add the okra, onions and tomatoes. Lightly cook the vegetables on low heat until they are soft.