I'm from Singapore, though I'm Chinese and not Peranakan, but we're exposed to the various cuisines.
This cookbook is rather old. In days of old recipes were handed down verbally. So, for the same recipe prepared by two persons, they will turn up slightly different. Don't sweat the coconut thing as they're almost always simmered and reduced.
For chili powder, curry powder and such, you'll be fine going for the ones from Malaysia as this cuisine is a marriage of Malay and Chinese. For dried chilli's, very those that are about 4" for less spicy, while those about 2"are spicier .