He never fails to invite my family to his home during Hari Raya celebrations, and join in with his big bustling family to dine together. His family and friends always treat us with utmost kindness and love.
How old were you when you started cooking: Seven years old
Personal wish related to cooking: After so many years of cooking, I wish to pass on my knowledge and skills of all the dishes I know to whoever is willing to learn, so I can sit back and enjoy the food myself!
Mahmood Maricar , Best Neighbour Award by Rachel
Uncle Mahmood is an Indian Muslim. Both our families became close when we were neighbours in our HDB block before we had to move due to an en-bloc project. Our families used to help each other out a lot when we were living in much closer proximity – Uncle Mahmood would help to tend to our potted plants, and my mother would give Mr. and Mrs. Mahmood car rides.
Every Hari Raya, Uncle Mahmood would spend 24 hours (yes, he would go without sleep) cooking a huge array of authentic Indian Muslim dishes to prepare for relatives visitation, and to celebrate the end of the fasting month. Though we live further apart now, he never fails to invite my family to his home during Hari Raya celebrations, and join in with his big bustling family to dine together. His family and friends always treat us with utmost kindness and love.
Uncle Mahmood always encourages us to “da bao” (colloquial term for takeaway) the amazing food that he has prepared. Even if it is not a festive occasion, he often brings home-cooked food over to my home. His cooking is fantastic, and the taste of this home-cooked food has always been delicious and sumptuous.
Uncle Mahmood’s father used to own a catering business. At the age of 7, he began picking up amazing cooking skill sets from his dad. He once told me that he was a little disappointed that none of his children would like to learn the authentic food recipes from him. When he offered to impart some of his recipes to me, I grabbed the opportunity to learn to cook authentic Indian Muslim dishes from the closest neighbour I ever had. It also gave me an opportunity to stay in touch closely with Uncle Mahmood and his wife.
Unfortunately in this day and age, most Singaporeans, even myself, are quite closed off from our neighbours. It is usually a much simpler form of polite “Hi” and “Bye” to one another, or even a vague smile to acknowledge the other’s presence. This made me treasure the relationship between Uncle Mahmood and my family even more.
I chose Uncle Mahmood’s Mutton Curry to be featured on My Singapore Food, because he cooks this dish with only the best ingredients – the mutton always turns out soft and flavourful. It is his signature dish at almost every Muslim festival.