Friday, 3 July 2020

Singapore Airlines cabin crew share their travel-inspired dishes

Mitchelle cabin crew recipes
Mitchelle Chua

ChefCrew #1:

Inflight Manager & Air Sommelier Mitchelle Chua Seok Hoon

Dish created: Shakshuka

How long you have been with SIA?
I have been flying for a total of 21 years and 6 months.

Why do you like cooking and what sparked your interest?
I like to cook and bake because I like to eat fresh and healthy food, and I love the smell of freshly baked bread! Cooking relieves me of stress, and the kitchen is my science lab. I love to experiment with different ingredients, create new dishes and cook various international dishes I have discovered while travelling. Last but not least, I enjoy pairing my homemade food with wines, which is more economical and sensible because I can still enjoy good food with wine pairing, yet it does not burn a hole in the pocket.

Mitchelle Chua cabin crew recipes
Mitchelle bakes as well

Where or how did you discover shakshuka?
I chanced upon this dish on a cooking show.

Why is it one of your favourites?
It is a simple yet flavoursome one-pot dish! It is also healthy and versatile in the use of ingredients. You can make it as a vegetarian dish or use your choice of minced meat. Most importantly, it tastes good too!

Does the dish remind you of an SIA destination that you’ve travelled to?
This dish reminds me of Middle Eastern cuisines, such as those from Istanbul and Cairo.

Mitchelle’s wine pairing: Gewurtztraminer

Gewurtztraminer means “spicy Traminer” in German. This grape varietal is usually off-dry, with medium acidity and fruity notes of lychee, peach and apricot. This wine has spicy notes, which will harmonise well with the aroma of shakshuka.


Mitchelle Chua cabin crew recipes
Mitchelle’s shashuka


1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of cumin or turmeric
1/2 tsp smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, chilli powder or Bon Cabe chilli flakes
1 can of chopped tomatoes
4–6 fresh eggs
2 tablespoons of parsley or cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil and sauté onion and red pepper for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and spices and stir consistently for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the whole can of tomatoes, stir and cover with lid. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes at low heat.
  4. After 15 minutes, add salt and pepper to suit your taste.
  5. Turn off the heat. Make 4-6 wells/holes in the sauce and gently crack the eggs onto the wells.
  6. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the eggs, turn on the heat, cover with lid and cook for 5-8 minutes. If you would like soft or runny eggs, cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.
  8. Serve with toast or crusty bread.

Note: You can adjust the spice amount to suit your preference. If you would like a more robust meal, add in some chicken, lamb, beef mince at step 2.

Derek Woo cabin crew recipes
Derek Woo

ChefCrew #2:

Chief Steward Derek Woo Mun Chung

Dish created: Pan-Fried Tofu with Prawns

How long you have been with SIA?
I have been flying for a total of 22 years.

What made you interested in cooking?
I miss my late grandmother’s cooking and decided one day to replicate her dish. There was no stopping me from then on, as I discovered that I love cooking. I cook a variety of dishes, but mainly Chinese dishes, and have ventured into baking with much success as well.

How did you discover this tofu dish?
I created this easy-to-cook tofu dish, as my family loves tofu, and it’s quick to whip up, aesthetically pleasing and so delicious.

Why is this one of your favourite dishes?
Tofu is easy to cook and such a versatile ingredient. You can pan-fry, braise, deep-fry and steam it. It is also rich in nutrients, such as protein, calcium, selenium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Does the dish remind you of an SIA destination that you’ve travelled to?
This dish reminds me of Hong Kong, as it is a very Cantonese based dish, featuring chicken stock with egg drop, and thickened with corn-starch slurry.

Mitchelle’s wine pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

This wine tends to be fermented in stainless steel vats, which results in a clean and crisp flavour. It is fresh, zesty and has an appetising acidity will not overpower the delicate tofu. Shellfish such as prawns will accentuate the herbaceous qualities of Sauvignon Blanc.


Derek Woo cabin crew recipes
Derek’s pan-fried tofu with prawns


1 tube egg tofu, cut into thick circles
1 tsp chopped garlic
100ml chicken stock
Handful of frozen mixed veg
4 prawns
1 egg
Cornstarch, if needed


  1. Shallow fry the tofu till golden brown on each side and set aside.
  2. Fry some chopped garlic with a tsp of oil.
  3. Wait till garlic is fragrant and add in some rich chicken stock and season to taste.
  4. Put in the defrosted mixed vegetables and prawns together.
  5. Wait for the prawns to turn reddish and immediately stir in some beaten egg a little at a time.
  6. If the sauce is not thick enough, you can thicken it with cornstarch slurry (corn flour mixed with water).
  7. Lastly, add in the tofu which you fried earlier and mix gently.
  8. Serve hot.
Tumpakdee Jarusiri cabin crew recipes
Tumpakdee Jarusiri

ChefCrew #3:

Leading Stewardess Tumpakdee Jarusiri

Dish created: Energy Bites

How long you have been with SIA?
I have been with SIA since January 2013, so it has been seven and a half years.

Why sparked your interest in cooking?
I love to eat, and I love to take care of my health. Our body is like our main home, so I love to enrich my body with quality and healthy food, and I know my body will thank me for taking care of it. When I cook, I choose good ingredients and I am particular about cleanliness. Besides, cooking Thai food is the best way to make me feel like I’m back home in Thailand.

How did you discover energy bites?
When I flew to Australia layover stations, I saw many coffee and juice shops selling this type of energy balls, so I figured I could make them too, while tweaking them to suit my own personal taste.

Tumpakdee Jarusiri cabin crew recipes
She decided to make her own energy balls after sampling some in Australia

Why do you like them?
I like cacao powder, dates and nuts! I also love to exercise, so it’s an energy protein ball that I can have before or after my workouts. It contains many kinds of nuts, which are high in protein, and dates, which are high in fibre and energy. Sometimes, I bring them on board and have them during lull periods as they are a healthy snack.

Do they remind you of an SIA destination that you’ve travelled to?
They remind me of Sydney. Once when we flew to Sydney, there was a basement food court right beside our hotel that had a variety of dishes. I liked visiting one of the stores called Top Juice, which sells a variety of healthy foods, for example Greek yoghurt, bircher muesli, fresh juices and energy balls. That was the first time I found out about them and when I tried them, I loved them! Top Juice became my go-to chain store to get some of my energy balls every time I visited any Australian city. It is unlike anything that we serve on board, since the recipe I use contains lots of cacao powder and nuts. Maybe something like this could be introduced in the future as an inflight snack, since it is quite filling and gives us energy and nutrients!

Mitchelle’s wine pairing: Port

This snack has natural sweetness from dates and dried fruit. A sweet fortified port with a robust finish would match the richness of the crunchy and nutty snack.


Tumpakdee Jarusiri cabin crew recipes
Tumpakdee’s energy bites


500g dates
250g dried bananas
250g cacao powder
500g baked almonds
200g rolled oats
250g baked cashew
250g mixed nuts
100g peanut butter (optional)
Salt and honey (optional)


  1. Soak the dates and dried bananas in hot water (the amount of water to come up to just above the ingredients).
  2. Blend almonds, oats, cashew into fine pieces.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together (almonds, oats, cashew, cacao powder and mixed nuts).
  4. Blend the dates and dried bananas.
  5. Mix all the ingredients together. Use your hand to massage the ingredients together and mix them well.
  6. You will get a sticky paste, and you can add in some salt and honey if you would like the bites to be sweeter.
  7. Shape the paste into small balls that are 3cm diameter (or based on your preference), coat them with cocoa powder and keep them in the fridge.
Alvin Ee cabin crew recipes
Alvin Ee

ChefCrew #4:

Leading Steward Alvin Ee Kwong Beng

Dish created: Turmeric Chicken

How long you have been with SIA?
Alvin: I have been with SIA for 15 years.

What made you interested in cooking?
I love to feed those around me and see the smiles on their faces when my food hits the right notes on their taste buds. Cooking is also therapeutic for me. The action of mincing, dicing and chopping just calms the mind.

Alvin Ee cabin crew recipes
Alvin loves cooking as he feels it’s therapeutic

How did you discover this turmeric chicken dish?
This dish was inspired by Nigella Lawson. I remember watching an episode where she put a chicken in a bag and added yogurt and honey. Also, there was a pilot who brought his homemade food and asked me to reheat it for him. When I was plating his chicken main course, it smelled so delightful! I asked him for his recipe, and he said it only requires yogurt and turmeric. So, I went home and decided to add two and two together, and thus this beautiful dish came about.

What do you love about it?
It is easy to make, and the chicken just comes out really tender and tasty, especially when using thigh meat! This easy-to-cook dish can be made in just a few steps and is also a healthy meal.

Does the dish remind you of an SIA destination that you’ve travelled to?
Japan, because the food there always has a good mix of sweet and savoury.

Mitchelle’s wine pairing: German Riesling. 

German Riesling is light, fruity and has a nervy acidity of citrus of gooseberries, green apple and pineapple. It marries well with turmeric spiced chicken.


Alvin Ee cabin crew recipes
Alvin’s turmeric chicken


4 × thigh meat
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey
Dry parsley
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil


  1. Put the chicken inside a ziplock bag. Put in the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil.
  2. Shake the bag well.
  3. Leave it for at least 10 minutes.
  4. When ready to eat, heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  5. Oil your oven tray with a bit of olive oil.
  6. Set chicken to roast for 40 mins.
  7. Check on it and coat it with a little bit of olive oil from time to time to ensure browning.
  8. When your chicken is done, you will get a tender juicy texture. Plate and serve.

SEE ALSO: Sip on these cocktails from Asia’s top bars at home

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