Some of you may know that I am of multicultural origin. Some of you may additionally know that I am married to someone of a different race and religion.

Today is Eid ul-Fitr or Aidil Fitri in Singapore, and it presents a perfect opportunity to celebrate the diversity that is my life and to make some noise about a cause I believe in. Every second Friday of the month has been designated Curry for Peace Day by a group I am Curry People formed expressly to promote awareness, tolerance (though one hopes for acceptance) and peace. I did a post on it last month here if you'd like to know more about it.

ayam panggang pedas - spicy roast chicken with chilli, turmeric, coriander, cumin blah, blah. blah. the eye popping red elixir in the pitcher is rose syrup,  a childhood favourite that goes so well with the avalanche of herbs and spices that is a Malay meal

I don't observe Eid, but my husband does. Today I prepared the usual Singaporean Muslim festive meal of Malay and Indonesian dishes to mark the celebration that follows the end of the month long fast known as Ramadan, universally observed by Muslims. This year though, the menu is somewhat abbreviated as I am juggling a few more things then I was last year.

rendang sapi - beef rendang or that amorphous brown lump in the foreground, a glorious mess of sinewy beef simmered for 4 hours in a litre of coconut milk  along with lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, chillies, lime leaves and yada, yada, yada. turmeric rice in the background is topped with serundeng

I've been served gag orders from about half a dozen family matriarchs and kitchen mavens and as many pairs of eyes will be watching my every move with hawk-like intensity, to ensure the recipes remain family secrets. However at the request of Stella from The Witchy Kitchen, to whom I am incapable of saying "No", I have decided to ignore them and share the recipe for Turmeric Rice, a simple but heavenly accompaniment to all manner of spicy southeast Asian curries and such. I wish I could share everything with you as these dishes really are incredibly delicious and so satisfying that every year I am impatient for the end of Ramadan so I can get out all my cooking pots to stir up this magical meal!

acar - a delightful mixed vegetable pickle on the left and lontong or boiled rice cakes. this year I got bored and made the usual white lontong and my slightly off kilter, turmeric tinted yellow lontong

If you pay close attention to the small print though,  you may just be able to crack the code for at least some of these dishes. Don't look at me that way N - it's just a simple recipe and you can't take it with you! ;)

behold! the beast rises from the murky depths!! sambal sotong or cuttlefish sambal on the left and sayur lodeh on the right

serundeng or you can just call it fairy dust - fresh grated coconut taken up more than a few notches with turmeric, chillies, lemongrass, practically a forest of perfumed tropical leaves and tiny krill (shrimps)

But of all the offerings on the Aidil Fitri table, my favourite is the humble bowl of lontong - rice cakes swimming in sayur lodeh, a medley of vegetables including long beans, jicama, cabbage, carrots and fried tofu blocks swimming in turmeric tinted and lemongrass perfumed coconut milk sweetened with the tiniest shrimp you ever saw. A sprinkling of serundeng and a mad dollop of sambal sotong, and I'm a happy girl......

my most favoured Malay dish ever, lontong. lontong is both the simple boiled rice cake as well as the composed dish you see above.

If you are interested in furthering the cause of Curry for Peace, please check out this link for more information on what you can do.  Make curry, not war and to all my Muslim readers (if any) A Very Happy and Blessed Eid :)

Prep 10 mins         Cook 25 mins        Serves 4 - 6

3 Tbsp light vegetable oil (olive oil is too overpowering in flavour here)
1 small onion, peel and slice very thin
4 fresh pandan leaves, wash and tie each into a knot (omit if unavailable)
2 fat stalks lemongrass, discard most of tops and tough outer leaves, bash the bottoms
2 level tsp pure turmeric powder
5 cups long grain jasmine or Thai Hom Mali rice (a fragrant, high grade long rain Asian rice)
5 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup thick coconut milk
2 level tsp sea salt (or to taste - I use 3 tsp)
1 level tsp sugar

Preheat oven at 180 C (350 F). Gently rinse rice in a few changes of water and drain in a colander.

Heat the oil in a large pot that is wider than it is high and gently cook the onion, pandan leaves and lemongrass bottoms until onions are limp and everything is fragrant. Add the turmeric and stir for a minute or so, ensuring it doesn't burn.

Add the drained rice to the pot and stir gently (so you don't break the grains) until all the rice is coated with oil and turmeric and grains begin to crackle. Pour in the hot stock and coconut milk and season to taste. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring gently from time to time so the bottom doesn't stick.

When most of the liquid has evaporated and a few steam vents begin to appear on the surface, cover pot and put into oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn off oven and leave door ajar. Leave pot inside for another 10 minutes then remove. Leave pot alone with lid on, until ready to eat. Fluff up rice gently with a large fork and serve with your favourite southeast Asian curry or spicy main dish.