Care Pack!

So this morning, I received a package from my parents in Singapore. It is such a warm fuzzy feeling getting stuff from home. Most of the time, these boxes from home contains small little things that remind me how much my parents think of me. There is a lot of everyday practical items that my parents bought over time and consolidated to send to me. They are very special to me and makes me feel like my parents are there with me every step of the way. I know how expensive postage is and am always touched that my parents love me so much they still send stuff all this way to me. I know I am always on their mind just as they are on mine. My parents are the most amazing people I know, and I always tell people that so much of who I am is because of them. We didn’t have a lot growing up, but we always had enough. I know my parents worked hard every single day of their lives to provide for us and I will not be anywhere near where I am in life now if not for the both of them.

It is difficult starting life in a new country and being so far away from them. Even though I have travelled and lived all over the world, homesickness still hits me as hard as ever. I miss the food and my family in Singapore the most. There will always be a piece of Singaporean in me, even if I am to spend the rest of my life here in my newly adopted home, with my new family. I cannot wait to bring the Mr back to Singapore and show him the place I grew up in and share some good Asian food with him. I am also determined to show my children, in the future, this part of their heritage, hard as it may be. My husband and I want to create a family that celebrates both cultures and we want both countries’ flags to fly in our home because our family is both Singaporean and American. Cross cultural families are not a walk in the park. Just watch the Big Fat Greek Wedding (Oh yes, I have a big extended family)! It is a struggle and there are days when gets so frustrating, we are at a lost as to what to do with the differences. Those are times when we have to sit down together and decide how we want to adapt our individual cultures into our new family looking ahead, what are most important to each of us, and what we choose it to be. In some sense, we end up creating our own unique blend that makes up the culture in our little family. It take continuous work, understanding, patience and compromise, but we are committed to making it work. Our Singaporean American family will always be different here, but it will also be amazingly unique and special.

Anyway, here’s a peek into my latest package from Singapore and the happy thoughts it brings! Big hugs to my loved ones halfway across the world!

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For SG50 (50th birthday of Singapore), every household gets a free goodie bag and my parents sent me the ones they received! It’s such a nice gift from them, along with some SG50 commemorative notes they got for us. 🙂 There were also some food items, some practical items for the house/the car, and some cute trinkets (not in photo).

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Old school lanterns for the Mooncake Festival that has just passed. These bring back childhood memories as we use to light them up and walk around the neighbourhood on the night of the Mooncake Festival/Lantern Festival (with a few which burnt to crisp when we were not careful with them).

Here’s to all the cross-cultural families all over the world, may we create unique loving homes everywhere and always celebrate our diversity and differences!

❤ Joy

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Lazy Homecooked Dinner

Last night, the Mr was craving Tikka Masala (*sense of achievement from successfully introducing him to a new dish*) and I was feeling lazy, so I whipped up something quick for dinner. We have store bought Tikka Masala, but I always think it lacks real flavor/spice and so I almost always jazz it up my own way. It is super easy and a quick meal for those lazy nights when you crave a bit of modern Indian food (nothing authentic or traditional about this, I’m afraid). Here’s the result from last night and a rough recipe:

Lazy Night Tikka Masala

Ingredients (Feel free to adjust to your own taste):

  1. Store Bought Tikka Masala Sauce (Have tried different brands and they are all pretty much the same to me)
  2. 1pc Chicken Breast
  3. 1/2 Onion – chopped
  4. 1pc potato
  5. 3 cloves garlic – minced
  6. Madras Curry Powder
  7. Smoked Paprika
  8. Ginger Powder
  9. Tumeric
  10. Olive Oil
  11. Butter
  12. Salt
  13. Chili Pepper
  14. Sriracha powder
  15. 1/4 – 1/2 cup milk

Steps:

  1. Cut chicken breast into cubes, place in bowl and marinate in a mixture of approx. 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a dash of Sriracha powder and 1-2 tsp Madras curry powder (adjust amounts to your own taste). Seal bowl with cling film.
  2. Boil potato for 15-20 mins and remove skin (I use this method which is really easy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTdwWLN0yXM)
  3. Cut cooked and peeled potato into small cubes.
  4. Saute chopped onion & 1 clove of minced garlic in some butter, toss in the marinated chicken cubes and cook till slightly brown. Add chili pepper, salt, tumeric, and ginger powder to taste. Add in milk and cook for a few mins.
  5. Pour in store bought Tikka Masala sauce. Add in cubed cooked potatoes. Stir well.
  6. Bring to low heat and simmer for 15mins.
  7. Serve with fluffy Basmati Rice & any bread for dipping! 🙂

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Simmering Tikka Masala. Smells yummy.

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Dinner is served! 🙂

Cooking does not have to be all complicated and it’s not too difficult to whip up something quick and yummy even if you are not a chef. Especially now, with all the options of pre-made sauces, it cuts down the steps needed to put together a meal when you are feeling lazy or tired after a long day at work.

I am one of those people who cooks with no precision, and continuously taste my food and adjust the ingredients as I wish. I seem unable to follow a recipe because I want to switch it up my way. I want to think this has something to do with my late grandmother, as she is the first person I watch cook amazing meals every day of her life, but whom estimates absolutely everything she puts into those dishes. When I ask her for a recipe, she will be unable to give me amounts of each ingredients as she never processed it that way, and also because she has cooked those dishes so many times that it is like second nature to her and she doesn’t know how to recite out the ingredients or steps out in technical terms.

So the amounts of each ingredient above is simply suggestive, and happens to be an estimation of what I used in last night’s dish. I encourage you to play around with them and definitely not take them as the law. Everyone has such different tastes, that something that tastes too bland to you, might be too strong tasting for others. So who am I to say what your perfect amount is? Experiment and have fun with it! The process is almost more exciting than the result!

❤ Joy