Home cooks share their recipes

Enjoy food by home cooks at O.P.E.N. Kitchens in the run-up to the Singapore International Festival of Arts


If Ms Asha Adnan needs a pick-me- up, she fries sweet potato doughnuts (kueh keria) the way her grandmother taught her.

"Whenever I feel low, I make these and turn the radio on to the oldies channel which she likes," says the 27-year-old, who teaches art and cooking with the group Asha & Co.

She is among 20 sets of home cooks who will share recipes and feed visitors next month, in the run-up to the Singapore International Festival of Arts (Sifa).

Visitors to O.P.E.N. Kitchens, held from July 8 to 30, will learn recipes and stories about food that are central to the cooks' identities.

The event is part of a season of public engagement, the O.P.E.N., which leads into Sifa's main programme of dance, theatre and performance art from Aug 5 to Sept 9. The director of the O.P.E.N., artist Noorlinah Mohamed, also curated and devised O.P.E.N. Kitchens.

Nine home kitchens will be open to visits and 11 kitchens have also been set up for the project in shophouses in Geylang. Visitors are limited to 20 or 25 at a time.

In this hot weather, people don't always want to drink a heavy soup.

TEEN COOK JOSHUA TANG (top, in black, with other home cooks) on the gazpacho he will be showcasing at the O.P.E.N. Kitchens session

Home cooks sharing recipes range from cookbook author Sylvia Tan (who will make nasi ulam) to teen cook Joshua Tang, who made gazpacho at a media preview yesterday.

He blended cherry tomatoes, red onions, Japanese cucumbers and non- alcoholic sherry vinegar to offer a refreshing alternative to the restaurant staple, cream of mushroom soup.


    WHERE: Various locations

    WHEN: July 8 to 30, 6.30pm (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays); 10.30am and 6.30pm (Saturdays); 10.30am and 5pm (Sundays)

    ADMISSION: Free with $45 O.P.E.N. Pass from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg). One entry for each pass. Limited capacity, so register at www.sifa.sg/theopen/registration

"In this hot weather, people don't always want to drink a heavy soup," says the 17-year-old, who studies tourism at Singapore Polytechnic.

Another home cook, Madam Ng Swee Hiah, 74, will make a pesto sauce of kedondong fruit with the aid of her 14-year-old grandson Dylan Soh.

She looks forward to hosting visitors in her Telok Kurau home. "Our house will be an open community. We are going to recreate the kampung spirit where people can come in and we will share our recipes and food," she says.

O.P.E.N. director Noorlinah says: "The idea is to generate community bonding, not just eat the food."

O.P.E.N. Kitchens is inspired by the philosophy of culinary activist Kamal Mouzawak. He brings communities together over food traditions in his native Lebanon and will speak about his Make Food Not War projects on July 7 at the Malay Heritage Centre.

In the spirit of community, bakers Nurhasana Kamaruzaman and Rusnah Sajee will cook vegetarian Malay food for O.P.E.N. Kitchens. Madam Rusnah, 57, invented recipes for vegetarian rendang and sambal goreng so the session would be more inclusive.

Visitors to Ms Nurhasana's two-room flat in Ang Mo Kio will also feast from common trays, as it is traditional. Ms Nurhasana, 30, says: "I hope I can make everyone comfortable and they enjoy the experience."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Home cooks share their recipes'. Print Edition | Subscribe