PrefaceHaving tried my “delicious and superb” cooking over the years, many friends and relatives have asked me why I have not thought of opening my own restaurant. For many years, my answer to these compliments was a NO. Food businesses cannot thrive on just good food alone as there are many other costs to consider and therefore, to me, they are tough to operate. Furthermore, while I have picked up my culinary skills from my beloved mum since the age of 15 (1979) and I am proud of my cooking, I personally feel that the standard has yet to reach ‘restaurant’ levels.
So why a cook book?
There are more than 100 dishes that I had learnt from my mum, and another 15 from my paternal and maternal grandmothers. There is one that I learnt from my mother-in-law in 1991. My motto is that good food has to be shared because food is what binds people together, just as it has strengthened my own family binds. Before age catches up on me and I forget how many tablespoons full of light soya sauce is required for my Fresh-Crab Sharks-Fin Soup™, I decided to document everything down.
And why is this a book of “House Warming cuisine recipes”?
It really has nothing to do with throwing a party for friends and relatives when you move into a newly purchased house, which is what most people will perceive of the term “House Warming”. You see, I have been cooking in very large quantities for my family members of 18 since young. I have always enjoyed the time spent with my mum in our hot and stuffy kitchen and the ensuing WARMTH from every family gathering. We used to take every opportunity to celebrate any occasion as a family so you can imagine how much time I spent in the kitchen with my mum over the years. Seeing everyone enjoys our cooking always make our day. Every family gathering warms the house and this is what I call “home”.
Why am I not selling this cook book for $$$?
This has never crossed my mind. To me, there is no secret in any cooking recipe. Anyone who knows how to cook would be able to guess at least 90% of the ingredients in a dish. I still remember those unforgettable days when my mum and I scrambled to cook the dishes we had tried the day before in hawker centres or restaurants. Many of the dishes turned out to be similar in taste or even better (eg the Braised Pork Belly with Steamed Bun or the Braised Asam Prawns™). Of course, there were times when these cooking experiments turned into disasters (such as when the Nasi Lemak – “Coconut Milk Rice” which I cooked when I was 16 turned out to be “Coconut Milk Porridge” as I had added too much coconut milk!).
My signature dish – ResidentAgent® Fermented Chicken™ (Fermented Chicken Sauce)?
It was created by chance! No, I did not accidentally put raw chicken to sun-tan for weeks and conveniently forgot about it until it became “fermented”. It was one faithful day after chopping up my Traditional Hainanese Chicken™when I felt it was bland and boring. As I opened the fridge to look for other condiments to add, a small glass bottle of “Fermented Bean Curd” stared right in my face! The rest is history! Give it a try – you will love it!
David Lim S Y (January 2008)