I first learned about Asian spices from my best friend’s late mother whom I dearly called Auntie Wong.
Auntie Wong came to Australia from Malaysia in early 80s with her 3 young daughters. She opened up a take away shop at Glebe, an inner suburb of Sydney selling Malaysian fast food. To supplement her income, she made spring rolls for catering companies in the evenings. My friend, who is the youngest of the 3 daughters, helped wrapping hundreds of spring rolls when she was still in primary school. After the 2 older daughters moved out from home, Auntie Wong and her youngest daughter bought a studio apartment in Glebe and lived there together for many years.
I often visited them when I was a student in university. In their tiny but always welcoming studio apartment, Auntie Wong cooked me many heart-warming soups and yummy dishes. The smell of delicious food always filled the apartment and what a wonderful place it was. My favorite soup was Auntie’s Singapore Meat and Bone soup. I tried to cook it myself over the years, and never tasted as good as Auntie’s. She also taught me how to use Salmon XO sauce, and how to use Indian spices in fried rice.
The recipe below is my version of a spiced fried rice – simple, aromatic and heart warming, with fond memory of Auntie Wong’s kindness and love.
- cook the basmati rice in a rice cooker with a few star anise, some cloves, a few teaspoons of turmeric and cumin.
- When the rice is cooked, fluffed the rice with a pair of chopsticks; then take out the star anise and cloves.
- In a frying pan, scramble some eggs with generous amount of cooking oil; add the rice, breaking it up with a spatula; splash a few dashes of dark soy sauce, sesame oil into the rice, along with some salt, white pepper and some frozen peas.
- stir fry the rice until the peas are cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.