When I was about eight years old, my mom brought home a can of Nestle Milkmaid. The sweet condensed milk with its beautiful texture and sugary sweetness, was a novelty food product I had ever seen. The best thing about it was the paper wrapping around the tin which had dessert recipes. Every time we visited the supermarket, I insisted on buying one with a new recipe. Such was my obsession with learning to cook. On my recent trip to Singapore, I didn’t want to just eat but learn more about the food I ate.
Cookery Magic is Ruqxana Vasanwala’s destiny and gift to the world. Her beautiful home at Fidelio Street is open to travellers who want to pick up a skill and go back home with wonderful memories. Her kitchen studio is setup in her backyard. To save students from the heat, she has planted several trees, mostly bamboo, and fixed fans all around. I booked a private lesson with Ruqxana one evening and we immediately started talking about food. We connected over our story on condense milk can recipes and love for food.
She has six cats that are absolutely friendly and mostly mind their own business. “I just wrapped up my second class for the day class before you arrived,” she said. Ruqxana’s classes are highly recommended and getting a booking can be a little difficult. She can have up to ten people in one class with two people at each station.
This hands-on class is for people who love Singapore culture and want to learn more about it through its food. Ruqxana’s knowledge about Indian, Malay, Singaporean and Thai cooking makes Cookery Magic the most sought after cooking schools for tourists. In my 180 minutes private class, we cooked Onde Onde, Singapore Chilli Prawns and Pepper Crab.
Onde Onde is similar to steamed modak. The base ingredients are similar but prepared in a new method. This dish is typical to Nonya cuisine. Ruqxana explained that Nonya food comes from the Peranakan people. Chinese men who moved to Malay and Singapore for work, married Malay women. These women became known as Nonyas and gave birth to a new cuisine that brings together Chinese and Malay flavours. Onde Onde are round balls of glutinous rice flour, stuffed with gula melaka (palm sugar) and cooked in boiling water before rolling in grated coconut. Secret behind onde onde is that only the cook gets to eat it fresh off the stove and enjoy the molten palm sugar inside.
Singapore Chilli and Singapore Pepper are two sauces which are used to cook prawns or crabs in. They are extremely popular worldwide and every home has its own version. It’s a recipe where everything is made to the cook’s flavour profile.
Several restaurants in Singapore claim to be the creators of the dish but I feel that the one I made at the class had a rustic flavour which I prefer. At Long beach Seafood, the sauce was sweeter, finer, with a lot more egg. At Ruqxana’s class, we chopped up all the ingredients finely and added more chilli. There was such a difference in home-style sauce and restaurant made sauce. After cooking, we sat at a beautifully setup dining table in her veranda where we mopped up the sauces with steamed buns (tingmo) and jasmine rice.
P.S: You can join a cooking class & try other awesome experiences complimentary when you book a Singapore Airlines flight
Does this make you hungry and want to learn how to cook like I did? Here’s why you must plan your next trip to Singapore:
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- Hotel dealswhere you pay for 2 Nights and get 3rd Night free.
- Shop Till You Drop with the never-endingShopping deals and so much more!