Shamelessly turned up at L's parents' dining room for Nyonya assam laksa. The kind with fish broth, using ikan kembung (Indian mackerel). The good thing about this laksa, L's mom made it in a delicate way and I could choose to not stir in the shrimp paste (hae ko). This fish broth was beautifully tangy, but not heavy on the assam. Whewwww. I'm not a fan of the true-blue robust almost-pungent 'authentic' Penang assam laksa.
But Peranakan matriarchs don't stop at one dish. They go the whole nine yards. 😲😳 Everything is homemade because they don't think any commercial retailers come up to their standards. They even made kueh pie ti shells the night before! Goodness. So much effort. We were all like, "Whatever we do, eat up those shells!" So we did. Made space for dessert too. There was kueh kosui freshly cooked and steamed, and served with coconut flakes when we were done with the mains. The best sorts are still found in home kitchens- not too sweet, yet remaining soft and springy.
The kitchen churned out ngoh hiang (five-spice pork rolls wrapped in beancurd skin), and also made the thin beancurd skin. In order to keep the skin crisp, many kitchens choose to deep-fry the many pieces of ngoh hiang only when the guests arrive. The friends sent a photo earlier in the morning to prove that they were co-opted as kitchen elves. Hahahaha.