Eurasian cuisine exhibit a fusion of Asian and European cultures in terms of ingredients and cooking methods. Many of the dishes are stews and curries where ample local herbs and spices are cooked alongside European ingredients.
TOP 1 Devil’s Curry
The devil’s curry, also known as “curry debal” is a signature Eurasian dish. The word “debal” means “leftovers” in the Kristang language. Traditionally, devil’s curry is eaten on boxing day as it is cooked using the leftover Christmas meats such as ham, sausages, spare ribs and roast pork. These meats are then cooked in curry with lots of spices such as onions, candlenuts, galangal, lemongrass and chillies which makes it devilishly spicy. In some recipes, western ingredients of mustard and vinegar are also added to balance the flavour.
TOP 2 Sugee Cake
Sugee cake is an iconic item on the Eurasian menu and is hugely popular among the Eurasian community. It is somewhat like a butter cake, and is a must-have during celebrations such as Christmas, weddings and birthdays. Sugee cake is made with semolina or suji, a type of coarse flour made from durum wheat. The semolina is first soaked with butter. Other ingredients such as sugar, eggs and almond flakes are then added. To enhance the flavour and fragrance of the cake, brandy and vanilla essence are sometimes added. The finished cake can be topped with marzipan or icing.
TOP 3 Vindaloo
Vindaloo is a type of curry with Portuguese and Indian influence. Meat such as chicken, pork or beef are first marinated in vinegar and a blend of spices which includes pepper, cloves, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, mustard and paprika. This ensures that every piece of meat is packed with flavour. The meat is then cooked briefly before tomato paste, chopped onions, water, salt and pepper are added to it. It is then stewed on low heat till the meat is tender.
TOP 4 Pang Susi
Pang susi, also known as pang susie, is a popular Eurasian snack. The small bun takes on an oval shape and has a distinctive orange colour from the sweet potato used in the making of the dough of the bun. Within the bun is a flavourful filling made from cooking minced pork in a variety of spices such as coriander seeds, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg and cloves. Pang Susi is popular as a snack for afternoon tea and social gatherings. Traditionally, it is eaten on Easter Sunday to celebrate the end of Lent.
TOP 5 Fish Moolie
Fish moolie is a Portuguese coconut curry with Indian and Eurasian influences. Compared to heavily-spiced Eurasian dishes such as devil’s curry and vindaloo, fish moolie is considerably easier on the palate. One might even find the dish comforting as the coconut milk lends a creamy base for the fish. The fish is marinated with turmeric, lime, ginger, garlic and chilli to remove the fishiness before being pan fried briefly and cooked with onion, chilli, mustard seeds, curry leaves, tomatoes and coconut milk to yield this mouthwatering dish.
TOP 6 Shepherd’s Pie
The classic English shepherd’s pie has a Eurasian adaptation. Traditionally made with minced lamb, many families substitute it with chicken or beef nowadays. Some of the Eurasian versions even include quail eggs and chicken mid wings in the bottom layer. Onions, carrots and garlic are first sauteed till they soften and caramelize before the meat is added to it and stir fried till cooked through. Tomato paste, a vegetable or meat stock, Worcestershire sauce and thyme are then added and the mixture is simmered till the sauce thickens. Peas are added and the mixture is transferred to a baking dish and topped with mashed potatoes to be baked till golden brown.
TOP 7 Pot Roast Beef
The pot roast is another Eurasian favourite. Meat such as pork or beef is first marinated with soy sauce and spices such as galangal, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. The cooking process starts by caramelising rock sugar in the pot over medium high heat. After the rock sugar has melted, the meat is added to the pot to be browned on all sides to achieve the mouthwatering dark caramel colour. After that, water is added to the pot along with more spices, soy sauce, dark soy sauce and rock sugar to adjust the taste. The mixture is simmered on low heat until the pork is sufficiently tender. The pork is then sliced and the reduced sauce act as gravy for this savoury dish.
TOP 8 Smore
The Eurasian smore is a dark and rich beef stew cooked with carrots and potatoes. It is somewhat like an Asian adaptation of the European beef stew, with the addition of Asian ingredients such as soy sauce and spices such as cloves, onions, garlic, ginger and cilantro. This hearty stew is easier on the palate compared to the other spicy Eurasian stews, and is commonly eaten with a plate of rice, bread or mashed potatoes.
TOP 9 Feng
Feng is a uniquely Eurasian dish that is cooked from pork and pig innards such as liver, intestines and tripe. This dish has its origins from the Portuguese sea expeditions in Asia where there is a lack of food onboard. In order to fully utilize the animals brought onboard as food, the less desirable parts and innards of the animals are cooked in a stew with spices.
Fast forward to today, feng has become a dish that’s tedious to prepare as the different parts of the pig need to be treated differently to remove the stench and clean them totally. They are chopped into small pieces and marinated with spices before being stir fried to yield the dish. Due to the complexity of the dish, it is making less of an appearance on dining tables now and is usually only served on special occasions such as Christmas.
TOP 10 Mulligatawny
Mulligatawny is an Anglo-Indian-Eurasian soup that’s thick and spicy and loaded with spices (much like other Eurasian dishes). A plethora of Asian and European ingredients are used in this nourishing soup that is a good source of fibre. Mustard seeds, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, cloves, curry leaves, chillies, coriander, cumin, black pepper, turmeric, onion, garlic, ginger, tamarind, mustard and tomato puree contribute to the complex flavour of this soup. Vegetables such as capsicum, celery and carrots, and meats such as beef strips are added together with lentils and stewed to make this dish.
Photo credits: CarmenChanCooks, Nyonya Cooking, cookpad.com/Ikhwan Arif, theMEATMENchannel, Facebook/Chef Pete Evans, Recipes We Cherish, Quentin’s Eurasian Restaurant, linsfood, Her World, linsfood
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