Father's Day 2020
Father, Dad, Papa, Pere, Padre, Otosan.
How you address your father depends on the language you speak.
My father was Daddy to me, a larger than life personality in every way.
He was my role model, my protector and the first man in my life.
I felt safe and loved when he cradled me in his arms.
He was in his 50s when I was born. He and mum were widowed and had children from their first marriages.
I always explained that I was the “ours” in the “yours, mine and ours” arrangement that was our blended family.
Yet Daddy loved his step daughter as his own, his love was all-encompassing. He said that he had lost two daughters in the Second World War and gained two daughters when my sister joined the family and later I was born.
Dad was very affectionate and showed his emotions quite freely, not so common in many men of his generation.
He was also the original metrosexual, using skin care and grooming products when most men thought soap and water and a slick of Brylcreem was enough to look decent.
He had a lot of strength, both physical and emotional, was a dab hand in the kitchen and took over the cooking at Chinese New Year, so Mum could focus on baking and decorating the house for the festivities.
When we fell on hard times because his unscrupulous boss squandered his money on wine, women and song and didn't pay his salary, Dad took matters in his own hands.
He went to accountancy classes at a mature age, qualified as an accountant and set up a new company with himself and family members as partners.
When he disciplined us, it was with firm, but kind words, never with harshness or cruelty.
He taught me self-respect, independence, creativity, kindness to the less fortunate and fairness.
He would have been proud that I have inherited his culinary skills, and I hope, some of his strength of character.
Here's to you, Daddy, Chia Kim Yam, on Father's Day. My take on your chicken curry recipe, a family favourite on festive occasions.
Serves 4 hungry people
3 chicken Marylands, skin removed and cut into 3 pieces, leave bone in
3 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
thumbsize piece ginger, peeled
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
3 tbsp curry powder, mixed with ½ cup water
½ tsp garam masala
4 green or black cardamom seeds, crushed
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
2 sprigs fresh or dried curry leaves
2 cups water
1 ½ cups coconut milk
¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil
salt and sugar to taste
Pound ginger and garlic together in a pestle and mortar or blend in a food processor.
Rub mixture all over chicken pieces and marinate for at least an hour.
Heat a deep saucepan or wok and when hot, add oil. When it is smoking hot, lower flame and fry onions until soft, but not browned.
Add marinated chicken pieces and stir fry until fragrant, but not browned. Add curry paste over low heat, stirring frequently.
If it starts to stick, add a little water.
Add curry leaves, cardamom, fenugreek, garam masala and potatoes.
Stir until it is well combined, then add water.
Bring to the boil and lower heat.
Simmer until chicken and potatoes are tender.
Add coconut milk over a medium heat and stir. Do not boil as coconut milk will curdle.
Season with salt and sugar to taste.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
Photos by my former colleague, photographer and friend Jason Sammon, who sadly left us too soon. Jason loved trying out my recipes and we went on a number of photo shoots together.
In his words, “When I warmed up the chicken curry for lunch in the office, everyone said the fragrance was amazing. Thank you for the recipe, Ida.”
And yes, I had his permission to use the photos.
Happy Father's Day, everyone!