Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Word of the Week: Rempah

Many people, my mom included, believe a good rempah can only be made using mortar and pestle.
A food processor is a strict no-no.

Rempah - I learned this word from a classmate in culinary school during our lesson on Malay cuisine.  Apparently a common term amongst Peranakans (Straits Chinese), Rempah is a Malay word used to describe the spice paste used in many dishes throughout Southeast Asia.

I've never been big on chillies and spicy food but the Chef who specialised in Malay cuisine changed my mind and palate, and I have a much deeper appreciation now for rempah. Here's a typical rempah recipe which I absolutely adore - the die-die-must-try sambal roast chicken. I have tested this dish and received good feedback from family and friends. It's worth every calorie count! See if this picture helps to entice you to try it.

And in view of the coming holidays, let me end on this note. The Little Drummer Boy knew something about rempah that others didn't. Hear ye, hear ye!

Come, they told me, pa-rempah-pum-pum
A new born King to see, pa-rempah-pum-pum
Our finest gifts we bring, pa-rempah-pum-pum
To lay before the King, pa-rempah-pum-pum
Rempah-pum-pum, Rempah-pum-pum
So to honour Him, pa-Rempah-pum-pum
When we come.


  1. LOL.. that's a very good ending to this post.
    Well, they did bring myrrh and frankincense... rempah also what.

  2. U are hilarious! I see your rempah, makes me drool and I feel like cooking something w rempah now. But can't cos am busy chopping carrots and onions for tomorrow's dinner.

    Karen Ho-Chan
    Merry Christmas!
    Christmas 2012


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