09 September 2011

(lack of) mooncake curry

It's Chinese Mid-autumn festival. In Singapore it's sometimes called Mooncake festival, or Lantern festival. It's the time of year when children play with paper lanterns and birthday candles (and yet somehow I'm always the cause of any flare up). Someone told me last year that it's a celebration of the roundest full moon of the year. I can't remember who they were or if they were to be trusted. But I'll take that as the inspiration behind the spherical lanterns, round mooncakes and abundance of pomelos.

We went to Chinese Garden to see their lantern display - I think it's one of the biggest on the island. It was classic unashamed Singaporean kitsch. If you've seen this post, you might notice a theme developing - I'm drawn to the kitsch. I wouldn't say I particularly like it, but I can't take my eyes off it. I can't resist the colours. I think it might be the complete antithesis of the essence of me.

The Boss loved the whole evening. It's pretty magical when it starts to get dark. She was, however, disappointed by the absence of mooncakes - this was a strictly lantern-only affair. I reckon the absence of mooncakes was the best bit. Have you ever tried one? Like a REAL one, with the duck egg yolk in the middle that tastes like it was laid sometime around the beginning of last year? Excuse me while I turn away and take a few deep breaths... There's a Glaswegian expression that sums it up perfectly; they gi'e me the pure boak.

There was a really lame Chinese food court set up, with terrible food. I can't stress enough how unusual that is here in Singapore. Delicious, cheap hawker food, within ten paces from wherever you happen to be standing, is a basic human right here. So once we'd got home and plugged a small person's mouth with a large banana, I decided to whip something up out of the fridge/cupboard. It was a risk, but I think I created something worth repeating. It was good at 10pm last night, though to be honest we were too hungry to even taste it. But for a leisurely, solitary, leftovers lunch today, it was droolsomely delicious. Recipe after the photos (all straight out of the camera).

(lack of) mooncake curry

Makes about 4 portions
You can add more or less spice. These quantities made a mild to medium spicy sauce.
  • 2 onions, sliced into half moons
  • salt
  • a thumb of ginger, grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 4 tsp medium curry powder
  • 3 carrots, cut into large chunks
  • 2 potatoes, cut into similiar chunks
  • half a head of broccoli
  • tin of tomatoes
  • 500ml stock
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 tsp garam masala powder
  • small carton of coconut milk
  • coriander leaves
  • slivered almonds
  1. fry the onions & ginger in vegetable oil in a big wok 
  2. a good pinch on salt helps to stop the onions catching
  3. add the garlic once the onions are quite soft
  4. stir in the coriander powder, cumin powder and curry powder, and fry for a few minutes
  5. add your chopped vegetables, tin of tomatoes and stock (I use a cube)
  6. leave to simmer slowly for as long as it takes the carrots and tatties to be cooked (for those who need accuracy, that's precisely one preschooler bedtime. Oh, OK, about 45 minutes... ish)
  7. put some basmati rice on (if you cook it the right way my way, it'll take exactly 15 minutes)
  8. add the peas and garam masala and cook for another 5 minutes or so to cook the peas through. I read somewhere once that garam masala, being a mixture of ground toasted spices, has already been cooked so you can happily stir it through at the end without worrying about harsh flavours. every day's a school day eh?
  9. turn the heat down and stir in the coconut milk and coriander leaves
  10. let it warm through and serve on rice with almonds sprinkled on the top - or better, leave in the fridge overnight and eat the next day with warm naan...

Sorry, it has all been eaten - no pictures. But as you can imagine, it looks a lot like a plate of curry. And the best bit? NO MOONCAKE.

Sweet Shot Day



  1. Haha - it's a great expression, so it is. Pity about the food, but the curry sounds fine - and I have all the ingredients too! Photos are stunning. x

  2. This looks very tasty! We are big fans of curry and I might be making this recipe. I loved the photos you shared~beautiful!!

  3. Love the photos. The boys would think that was pretty magical!
    Great job with the curry. I like your timings - completely vague at one point and militarily precise at another! ;-)

  4. Well Barefoot Crofter & Swanski, I certainly can't make any claims about the authenticity of this particular curry, borne out of necessity and lack of a $50 note for a takeaway more than anything else! But it certainly tasted good to me!

    PDNFTA, it's like I say to the girl when she's getting bossy; who makes the rules? Yup, that'd be me, like it or lump it ;0) (ps: sorry to delete a comment on your blog just now, realised I had used your name where you generally do not, so re-posted it, oops)

  5. Oh this makes me miss Singapore! visited twice in the early 2000's, pre kids. Thanks for the pointer for the Hindu goddess - have added her to that post! http://dreamingaloudnet.blogspot.com/2011/06/white-heat-of-mama-anger.html

  6. That's cool Dreaming aloud! I'll see if I can get a nicer photo of her for you the next time I'm there.

  7. You captured beautiful colour. So bright and vivid.

  8. What great colors! I love the reflections - thanks for sharing!

  9. What cool, vibrant colors!


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