MALACCA, Sept 23 ― Ever wonder what it would be like to enter a time travel machine and return back to the past? What would you do? If you are a food lover, perhaps the first thing you'd do will be to sample as many dishes as possible, the way they used to make them.
Well, no one has invented a time travel machine (yet) but come October, you will have a chance to learn how to cook Peranakan dishes the way the Nyonyas of yore used to... and in a traditional kitchen in a century-old Peranakan house no less.
Nyonya chef extraordinaire Debbie Teoh will be hosting a Peranakan demo and food tasting at the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum in Malacca on October 3. The museum was originally a Peranakan house built in 1896 in Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. The street was once known as Millionaires' Row, due to its luxurious homes, and the museum is one of the rare buildings that retained the history and glamour of that bygone era.
Teoh will demonstrate how to prepare two styles of Peranakan dishes in the dapur (kitchen): nasi ulam from Penang and gerang assam from Malacca. The former is a flavourful herbed rice while the latter is a spicy and sour fish curry accentuated with the use of tamarind.
“I will be explaining the differences between the Northern and Southern styles of Peranakan cuisine,” she says. “Participants will definitely pick up tips on how to cook a Peranakan dish in the comfort of their own homes. I will teach them useful short cuts so they won't feel overwhelmed. For new cooks, looking at the list of ingredients for Peranakan dishes can be a little intimidating.”
Those with a sweet tooth won't be left out either as Teoh will also make her famous kueh dadar. The pandan-flavoured crêpe is filled with grated coconut infused with gula Melaka, the local palm sugar indispensable for Peranakan desserts, before being rolled into a bite-sized treat.
The museum recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, a new coffee table book commemorating its history was also launched. Teoh says, “Timing-wise, it's a good time for those who have not visited the museum to do so.”
The participants will enjoy a rare walk down memory lane according to Teoh. “They will get to see how a Peranakan household was in the old days with all its antiques. Let's not forget all the lovely majolica tiles found in these homes.”
“I especially love the old kitchen,” says Teoh. “Despite there being no air-conditioning, one can work for hours and yet not feel flustered at all.”
Those who attend the demo and food tasting will also be able to tour the beautiful rooms, either after the demo or on another day, as the event ticket purchase covers museum entry too.
“I am very excited doing this Peranakan cooking demo and food tasting,” says Teoh. “It's not simply for any museum but the Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum. On their part, they have not had such a culinary event at their museum before so for sure the pictures taken here by the participants will be once-in-a-lifetime.”
A Heritage Cooking Class with Chef Debbie Teoh
Date: Oct 3, 2015
Time: 10am – 12pm
Venue: Baba & Nyonya Heritage Museum, 48 & 50 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Malacca
Fee: RM120 per pax
Please register here. Limited to 30 pax.
Where Else to Find Debbie Teoh?
Peranakan cooking demo at Persatuan Peranakan Cina Malaysia
Dishes include Mee Nyonya Melaka, Sago Gula Melaka, Penang Ju Hu Char and Kerabu Bok Ni
Date: Oct 31, 2015
Time: 10am – 12:30pm (registration at 9:30am)
Venue: Wisma Peranakan, 243 Jalan Tengkera, Malacca
Registration: Contact Lee Yuen Thien at 019-6081558
Rakan Melaka Market Tour
Date: Nov 1, 2015
Time: Starts 9am
Venue: Pasar Melaka Sentral, Malacca
Fee: Free, open to all
Registration: Contact Rakan Melaka Penghulu Choo at 017-9444197
Mooncake making classes at Ben’s Independent Grocer
Part 1 (Sep 23, 10am-1:30pm) and Part 2 (Sep 26, 10am-1:30pm)
Venue: Ben’s Independent Grocer, Publika, Kuala Lumpur
Fee: RM250 per class/RM450 for both classes
Registration: Contact Qistina at [email protected]