This is just one of the many dishes passed down from our ancestors as far as I can remember. The Eurasians maybe a “vanishing Race” but our heritage recipes need not be.
How old were you when you started cooking: I started cooking when I was 11 years old.
Personal wish related to cooking: I wish to make Eurasian dishes more well known!
Mary Teresa Especkerman , Preserver of Eurasian Recipes
Green Chilli Prawn Sambal is a traditional dish that we serve on special occasions in our family, a “must-have” during the festive seasons of Christmas and the New Year.
My mother learnt to prepare and cook this dish by her mother (my grandmother), whose ancestors were of the Macau-Portugese descent, hence our cooking has the influence of the Chinese-Portugese. The Portuguese are well known for their spicy food.
My siblings’ love for spicy food runs in our family. We all enjoy the challenge of spicy food to this very day, although we now have children of our own. Even they, the younger generation, love this dish and think it is awesome! They have already learnt to cook and prepare it themselves.
As I reminisce of the many Christmases gone by of having to prepare this dish from scratch, I recall fondly the extra effort we had to put in in those days. We did not own a food processor or blender then. The pestle and mortar was the only way to grind the ingredients for the rempah (Malay word for mixed spices paste). It was a very laborious task as I was very young then. Grinding the onions always made me cry, but the result was well worth all the tears and trouble.
One funny incident at a Christmas dinner, I made this delicious Green Chilli Prawn Sambal for a few friends. A couple of the guests put quite a dollop of the dish on their plates not realizing that it was green chillies. They mistook it for string beans/French bean. We all thought it was really funny, but by the looks on their faces, I doubt they thought so! This dish is not for the faint-hearted.
This is just one of the many dishes passed down from our ancestors as far as I can remember. The Eurasians maybe a “vanishing Race” but our heritage recipes need not be. With this family recipe now recorded in My Singapore Food, I hope our children and their children, as well as their children’s children will be able to enjoy this special dish for years to come and continue our Eurasian heritage.