Thursday, May 24, 2007


You must be thinking, what is so unique about these prawns. They are just steamed prawns presented in a beautiful way hanging over a coconut shell. I must say, there is so much more that meets the eye.

Usually, when we eat steamed prawns, they are either overcooked, dry, not sweet, mashy or very bouncy (which is due to the alkaline solution that they have been soaked in).

This may look like a simple prawn dish presented in a unique way, but there is a lot to learn from it. Firstly, the prawns are boiled in the coconut water to retain and further enhanced the prawns sweetness. Secondly, they are put over the sides of the coconut shell. This coconut shell is placed over some solid fuel and lighted. The sweet fragrance of the prawns is evolved.

The gastronomy science behind cooking the prawns ends here, but there is still the savouring side. As we take one prawn out of the coconut shell, the outer shell is warm and does not scald our fingers which ease peeling of the prawns. Next, you will observed that the prawns are cooked to perfection in terms of colour and texture. As you placed it into your mouth, the prawn is naturally bouncy, free of the alkaline taste.

Definitely a dish to whip up for parties and it will surely be a conversational piece. You can wow your guest by telling them the gastronomical science of cooking and eating prawns.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Doughnuts... The picture above shows how the shape and design of doughnuts can vary. Look at the first picture, these are doughnuts from Vietnam. At a first glance, these were once upon a time, the most basic form of doughnuts (fried ring shaped dough coated with a layer of powdered sugar). Nowadays, you see that doughnuts have taken on a new look (coloured glazed, jam filled centres, etc...). This is a very evident example of how the food that we eat also evolves with time. Here is a poem written by my culinary teacher, Chef Judy Koh, "Doughnuts with holes in the middle".

Doughnuts with holes in the middle

hands kneading to silky smoothness
stretched so thin it forms skin over timpani
make music the magic of dough
and hear it grow

cut to circles
then in bubbling oil they go
sink, then float and rise
like golden sunshines

golden sunshines
with holes in center
eclipses that mar
the perfect wheel of life

yet little hands will grab
doughnuts with holes in the middle
and laugh at each bite
and doughnuts with holes in the middle
will fill the eclipses that
mar the perfect wheel of life

- Judy Koh, 8th December 2003.

A very interesting food poem to ponder upon. Comparing how life is never perfect just like doughnuts with holes in the middle, yet at every bite of it, you could taste the joys of life and forgets the imperfections of life. To my loyal bake journal readers out there, if you too have a good food poem to share, email me at