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Celebratory Nonya Heritage Soups by Chef Joycelyn Shu

23 Jan 2021 (Sat), 1pm - 4:30pm



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Early bird price or 10% off when booked by 10 January 2021

In the Nonya soup repertoire, there are certain preparations that make a special appearance traditionally only on festive occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and Chinese New Year, thanks to the luxurious ingredients and labour intensiveness involved.


Discover at this class how to craft from scratch two centerpiece soups, and a sumptuous kerabu.


Itek Tim/Kiam Chye Ark/Duck and Salted Mustard Greens Soup

Myriad variations of this piquant duck and preserved vegetable soup exist where the Chinese diaspora has settled. The Cantonese and Hakka versions, for instance, known as Choi Keok, resourcefully use leftover roast duck and pork, typically with fresh mustard greens. The Nonya iteration is based on fresh duck, pork hock, and salted mustard greens (kiam chye/hum choy).


In Hokkien, “kiam chye” and “ark” are salted mustard greens and duck respectively. Itek Tim is the name of the soup in Nonya patois; “itek” is duck in Malay, and “tim” in Hokkien is , to gently and slowly simmer. Dried tamarind slices/assam keping/gelugor, tomatoes, and sour plums balance the rich soup with a vibrant tartness. Fresh green chillies and a nip of brandy are the classic finishing touches. The beauty of this soup, besides its delectability, is that it keeps well for several days and in fact improves. This makes it ideal for Chinese New Year, when one is traditionally not supposed to cook on the first day.


Bakwan Kepiting/Pork and Crab Meatball Soup

The name of this classic festive feast soup is a giveaway as to its Nonya provenance. “Bakwan” is meatball in Hokkien, and “kepiting” is crab in Malay. The broth in which the bakwan are poached is based on a deeply flavoured compound stock of pork, crab, and prawns. The forcemeat is a tour de force in itself.


The juicy handmade pork meatballs are given great piscine sweetness and umami with the generous addition of crabmeat and prawns, whilst bamboo shoots add an earthy dimension and crunch. Fried garlic oil imbues the forcemeat with much character, and is also the essential finishing flourish. You can choose to serve Bakwan Kepiting as a starter in a multi-course banquet with dainty handrolled meatballs. Or if you prefer to serve Bakwan Kepiting as a main course, stuffing the forcemeat into the crab shells before poaching makes for a beautiful presentation.     


Kerabu Kay/Chicken Kerabu

Kerabu loosely means salad in Malay, and is related to that family of recipes in Thai cookery known as yam, which means “mix” and also has been loosely translated as salad. There are as many types of kerabu as there are cooks. They usually feature a vegetable and/or fruit, perhaps some protein be it in the form of meat, seafood, or offal, with a tumble of herbs and a spicy dressing. Kerabu can be a modest dish, or it can be an elaborate dish.


Kerabu Kay falls into the latter category, thus befitting a celebratory occasion. Succulent poached chicken and prawns are mixed with wood ear mushrooms for slippery texture and shallots for allium kick and crunch, then tossed with a heady sambal belachan and calamansi lime based dressing fragrant with bunga kantan/torch ginger bud and enriched with coconut cream and kerisik (toasted grated coconut).



Suitable for All Levels (Novice/Intermediate/Advanced)


Maximum of 20 participants



View Joycelyn’s Bio Here


Programme Line Up

  • Chef will demonstrate all recipes and bring home a recipe pack.


Terms and Conditions

Weight 0.3 kg
Dimensions 10 x 15 x 5 cm
Date and Time

23 Jan 2021 (Sat), 1pm – 4:30pm


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