8 Home-Cooked Recipes I’m Grateful My Mum Taught Me 

Home-Cooked Recipes

Coming home to a warm, home-cooked meal is something I was lucky enough to have growing up, and it’s definitely something I want to do for my family in future. 

But truth be told, given my mediocre culinary skills at the age of 24, I wonder if I could ever reach “Mum-level” — which means knowing how to make a huge variety of cuisines, creative ways to make veggies taste good, and of course, a signature lack of portion control. 

As Mother’s Day comes up, I’m grateful for the love shown through her food — not to mention her patience in passing on the recipes to a bumbling cook like me.

I’m far from reaching her standard (will I ever?), but here are 8 of my favourites:


1. Thunder Rice Tea – Lei Cha

My mum is Hakka, so this is one of her signature dishes to make. It’s quite a grand affair, taking her up to 6 hours to prepare! This includes chopping up long beans, chye sim and other veggies, soaking the tau kwa and grinding the earthy tea paste in a mortar bowl by hand. The family recipe she uses, passed down from her grandmother, even specifies the type of tree bark to use as a pestle. (Although recently we’ve been using a blender.)


 /></p><p style=Lei cha at home means unlimited veggies. Photo Credit: Jacinth 


My childhood is filled with memories of her peeling the toasted nuts by hand while watching k-dramas to pass the time — but here we’ve got a 1-hour version for you to try. A sumptuous and filling meal filled to the brim with greens, complete with a rich, nutty tea flavour that’s unique to this traditional dish. 

Tip I’ve learnt: Toast and peel raw peanuts to add as a topping for a delightful and protein-packed crunch.

Recipes: https://themeatmen.sg/thunder-tea-rice/

Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4


2. BBQ Chicken Wings

I loved my mum’s chicken wings so much, that I chose them for my 16th birthday. Just a cake, pink (mock) champagne and a plateful of chicken wings. 

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Seriously though, there’s something about them that really hits the spot. The recipe right here comes pretty close to that with a sweet-savoury flavours, complete with a sticky glaze that’s finger-lickin amazing. If you prefer a dryer version, this air-fryer recipe is a 30-minute miracle. 

 Tip I’ve learnt: Marinate the chicken wings in the fridge overnight. My mum sometimes marinates the chicken with Lee Kum Kee Char Siew Sauce for a more savoury bite. 

Recipes: https://themeatmen.sg/sg-bbq-chicken-wings/ 

Preparation Time: 45 minutes. Serves 4


3. Shrimp Aglio e Olio

When Shrimp Aglio e Olio was served, you immediately knew it was going to be a good night. My mum added this dish to her repertoire rather recently, but she already has it under her belt. It’s now her go-to party staple, like when she whipped up this gigantic bowl for my 21st birthday. 

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Pasta is a super easy dish for beginners, so here are 4 different pasta recipes to try. Between the choices of Cacio e pepe, Cream parmesan, mentaiko and aglio olio, you’ll have trouble deciding. That said, if you need do more fun pasta recipes, check out these creative Asian fusion pasta recipes. 

Tip I’ve learnt: Often, my mum would add steamed broccoli to sneak the veggies in, or use crabstick instead of shrimp as a cheaper alternative. 

Recipe: https://themeatmen.sg/4-quick-pasta/

Preparation Time: 30 minutes. Serves 2


4. One-pot Fried Rice

Being a busy mum with a full-time job, time is really of the essence. Even when I’m not that busy, her one-pot recipe comes to mind because of how easy it is. And how few dishes there are to wash. 

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Similarly, with just 5 simple steps, this one-pot chicken and mushroom rice recipe maximises the convenience aspect without compromising on taste or nutrition. The flavour-packed combination of oyster sauce and sesame oil, combined with the juicy chicken and mushrooms, makes this one-pot rice dish attractive to both beginner and mum-level cooks alike. 


Tip I’ve learnt: Two tablespoons of oyster sauce is usually enough for a standard dish. I tend to underestimate the flavour and end up with a super salty meal. 

Recipe: https://themeatmen.sg/rice-cooker-scallops-rice/

Preparation Time: 45 minutes. Serves 2-4


5. Curry Chicken Noodles

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While this is a super classic dish, there are many variations in terms of ingredients. Sometimes my mum uses Yong Tau Foo ingredients instead of chicken, which somehow works with the curry gravy especially when paired with white or yellow noodles. 

If you do go for the typical chicken-and-potatoes combination, be sure to let the ingredients soak in the curry for about an hour or so, just for it to be extra flavourful. For extra spice, throw in more chilli paste and balance it out with some bruised lemongrass.


Tip I’ve learnt: Tau Kwa is the best ingredient ever to go with all kinds of curry gravy. It soaks up the gravy for a literal flavour explosion. Oh, and don’t wear a white shirt when cooking or eating. 

Recipe: https://themeatmen.sg/curry-chicken-noodles/ 

Preparation Time: 1 hour 20 minutes. Serves 2-4


6. Oyakodon / Omurice

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Characterised by a perfectly done egg – not too solid, not too runny – and a flavour-filled bowl of flavour, this Japanese dish is something my mum experimented with and got it perfect. It works best with Japanese rice, but if you’re not too picky, regular Jasmine rice will do the trick as well. 

Similar to this dish is the famous Omurice, which not only features a beautiful egg, but also a rich brown sauce made with a ketchup base. To both, you can also star chicken as the protein, preferably chicken thigh for its tenderness. 

Tip I’ve learnt: Sprinkle fresh chives over the top for a burst of colour and refreshing kick. 

Recipe: https://themeatmen.sg/omurice/

Preparation Time: 1 hour. Serves 4


7. Teochew Porridge

Some people might see porridge as something to eat when you’re ill, but in my home, porridge days were always welcomed. I particularly enjoyed Teochew Porridge, perhaps not for the porridge itself, but with the variety of side dishes it comes with. It was always a visual spread followed by a full belly, and oftentimes an irresistible afternoon nap. 


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In our recipe for Teochew fish porridge, there is already Pomfret fish in the porridge itself, but you can still create plenty of side dishes to go with. You can also add ground pork in the porridge or have a tasty side dish for a hearty meal. 

Tip I’ve learnt: Blow on the spoonful before taking the first bite. 

Recipe: https://themeatmen.sg/teochew-fish-porridge/ 

Preparation Time: 45 minutes. Serves 2  


8. Soba Noodles

I like to think that my mum’s first foray into soba noodles was when she bought a Daiso bento box and wanted a dish to look nice in it. A few years later, soba noodles is a true family favourite. While we don’t have one brand of noodles that we stick to, we prefer noodles that are mostly buckwheat. 

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It’s a really easy dish to make almost comparable with instant noodle. There are just 2 essential ingredients – the noodles and dipping sauce, which you can buy from most supermarkets. Of course, you can pair the dish with other ingredients like tempura, such as in the recipe here. An alternative is to go for scallion oil, which adds a new depth of flavour. 

Tip I’ve learnt: Soba noodles are served best cold. You can run them under cold water, or serve atop some ice cubes for the shiok chill. 

Recipe: https://themeatmen.sg/soba-noodles-2-ways/ 

Preparation Time: 30-35 minutes. Serves 4 


Easy home-cooked recipes

Whenever I whip up a meal, be it a simple pasta or a one-pot rice dish, I’m grateful for my mum who taught me everything I know.

This Mother’s Day, it’s a good time to appreciate the literal and figure mummies in your life, perhaps with a home-cooked meal with one of these recipes. If you do, join our Meatmen FB Cooking Community for more inspiration and a cooking community to share your stories with.


More of what you might like:

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