KLANG - Her Royal Highness Tengku Ampuan Rahimah of Selangor was known for many things throughout her lifetime; she was a generous philanthropist, and royal grace personified. But to her daughter Tengku Puteri Nor Zehan, she had another side that only a f
“My mother was very much at home in the kitchen, and I was brought up the same way.
“My father loved food and my mother would try all sorts of new dishes to impress him,” said Tengku Puteri Nor Zehan after the launch of Dapur Istana Alam Shah: Royal Recipes From Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Selangor at Istana Alam Shah in Klang.
It had always been the Tengku Puteri’s dream to write a cookbook, especially one that not only shares recipes but also contributes to the less fortunate.
When her brother, Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah suggested the production of a cookbook that showcased signature recipes from Istana Alam Shah, Tengku Puteri Nor Zehan took on the project.
“I took Tuanku’s suggestion and worked to produce this cookbook of recipes from the best cook I have ever known – my mother.
“She loved to cook and I have so many memories of being in the kitchen with her, especially during the last two weeks before Hari Raya.
“We would stay up all night baking biscuits for hundreds of people. The most requested were her pineapple tarts,” she said.
The Tengku Puteri compiled all of her mother’s recipes in Dapur Istana Alam Shah: Royal Recipes From Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Selangor, the proceeds of which will go towards the construction of a multi-purpose hall at Rumah Amal Cahaya Tengku Ampuan Rahimah (Ractar) in Subang Jaya.
It took two years for Tengku Puteri Nor Zehan to reconstruct her mother’s famous recipes, which were heavily influenced by Dutch and Indonesian cuisines, due to her time studying in a Dutch school in Medan, Indonesia.
The Tengku Puteri noted that her mother was an amazing cook who was meticulous in her selection of ingredients and careful in her food preparation, but like most mothers, the Tengku Ampuan also subscribed to the “agak-agak” school of cooking.
“Her recipes relied on her own estimates and never contained exact quantities and measurements. It took us a while to reconstruct her recipes and get everything perfect,” said Tengku Puteri Nor Zehan.
She enlisted the help of Tengku Ampuan’s close friends and confidants to rebuild more than 60 recipes categorised under Lunch Dishes, Afternoon Tea, Dinner Cuisine, State Banquet Delicacies, Royal Favourites and Special Recipes. Some of Tengku Ampuan’s handwritten recipes are also printed in the bilingual cookbook.
“I feel it is indeed appropriate that my mother’s love for cooking is the reason we are able to earn the funds needed to sustain the very institution that she herself established in her lifetime and which carries her name,” said Tengku Puteri Nor Zehan.
“I have a feeling that, if she were still around, she would be very proud of this cookbook.”