The turkey has an unfortunate reputation – dry, tasteless and stringy. Yet it is a bird associated with Christmas, even in tropical Singapore.
When I was a girl, my father used to regularly bring home a roast turkey from Cold Storage during the season. Now grown up and in my own home, I still cook a turkey for Christmas, but win over doubting diners by roasting it with Asian herbs. It makes sense really, with the Thai basil, kaffir lime and laksa leaves growing at our doorstep.
To keep to the Asian theme, the appetiser is salmon carpaccio, raw salmon but dressed witha family favourite: laksa-flavoured oil.
And dessert is a yoghurt ice-cream, rich with Christmas pudding flavours. Dotted with colourful dried fruit, it becomes a bejewelled confection, perfect for the season.
Raw salmon and zucchini slices with laksa emulsion
A simple roast turkey rubbed with Asian herbs and belacan
A fruity Christmas dessert
Food writer and author of eight cookbooks – ‘Mad, Madder and Maddest About Food’, ‘Home Cooking’, ‘Singapore Heritage Food’, ‘Taste, Eat to Live’ and ‘Modern Nonya’ – Sylvia Tan has covered every cuisine, from home-cooked Singapore food and healthy Asian to Peranakan cooking. Her column ‘Eat to Live’ in The Straits Times focuses on healthy cooking. A former deputy news editor for The Straits Times newspaper, she is frequently called upon to write and gives talks on Singapore food heritage. She is now a freelancer.