If you have ever been to Singapore, you will know that there is nothing Singaporeans take more seriously than their food.

My family was no different. I grew up surrounded by cooking, and learnt to read from the words on ghee-stained pages of my nana’s recipe book collection.

I spent every afternoon after school peering up at her tiled kitchen-counter tops, covered in its fine patina of flour, watching my grandpa flood big round cake tins with semolina cake batter. Our kitchen was so much more than the place where we cooked, it was home to every family dinner party, mid-afternoon catch-up and the heart and soul, of our home.

Oxford Mail:

But my experience with vibrant Asian food extended so far beyond the four walls of that house – Singapore being a melting pot of the culture-rich, flavour-packed cuisine of its neighbours.

Ingredients that may seem like strange bedfellows form the foundations of so many of our favourite local dishes, which is what makes it extraordinary.

When I left home at 16 for sixth-form in the UK, I threw myself head-first into my cool new life, and I was determined not to be homesick. But life has a funny way of doing the exact opposite of what you plan. Three months in and I was dreaming of my mother’s pineapple tarts (domes of thick, sticky pineapple jam peeking out of an orbit of shortbread), 24/7 tropical heat, and my nana’s kitchen.

I decided to go vegan a year later because I could no longer think of a good enough reason not to. I loved animals and I didn’t want to eat them anymore. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I imagine it would be, but what really hurt was going home and having to turn down the large pot of curry devil my nana had laboured over to celebrate my return, or to say no to the chunky slice of golden sugee cake that my grandfather slid across the table once dinner was over.

Oxford Mail:

I didn’t miss eating meat, or other animal products, but I missed being a part of our dinners. I was nostalgic for the food I grew up with, for the flavours I knew so well.

As you can imagine, I wasn’t very well-equipped for the task of vegan-ising all these Asian recipes as a newbie vegan. But I was determined and, I wanted a pineapple tart, buttery golden crust and all. It took lots of experimenting and six years of trial-and-error, but I got there.

Jackfruit & Blue Ginger is a collection of these recipes. All the gorgeous dishes of my childhood but plant-based. It’s delicious food, packed with spices, laced with fresh herbs and it is the perfect thing for anyone, whether or not you are vegan. The Asian dishes in Jackfruit & Blue Ginger aren’t lesser version of their traditional counterparts. They have a spot right in the middle of the table of every dinner gathering I go home to. And now you can make them for your own family.

Oxford Mail:

Jackfruit and Blue Ginger: Asian favourites, made vegan by Sasha Gill is out now (Murdoch Books, £18.99).