Rendang is a popular dish of meat (chicken, mutton or beef) stewed in coconut milk and a variety of spices and chilli. Originating among the Minangkabau ethnic people of Indonesia, it is hugely popular in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. I do enjoy some of the dishes of the Malay cuisine but I don't fancy the use of meat of any kind. Upon seeing a FB video of Rendang Ayam (Ayam is chicken in the Malay language), I decided to come up with a vegetarian version of this dish. If you think about it, most of the dishes that uses meat can be replaced with the very versatile tofu. I replaced the coconut milk with skim milk to reduce calorie count. A tasty result with a strong flavor of lemongrasss and kaffir lime leaves - both of which I love :)
Ingredients (Serves 4 as a side dish)
2 red chillies - cut into big species
10gm dried red chillies (around 6 pieces) soaked in hot water for 30 mins
12 shallots, peeled and cut into half
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut into half
2 inch turmeric root, peeled and sliced
1 inch blue ginger (galangal), peeled and sliced
2 lemongrass, skinned and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 tbsp canola oil (yes you need that much for the ground paste to cook)
2 pieces of blue ginger
2 lemongrass, slightly bruised to release the essence
2 heaped tsps mushroom seasoning
450ml skim milk ( 200ml Low Fat coconut and 250 ml skim milk)
2 blocks of firm tofu cut into 8 big cubes and grilled/shallow fried/air fried
5 kaffir lime leaves , sliced thin
1)Gather the ingredients - under A.
2) Under B.
3) Grind A and B into a paste seperately.
4) Get a big pot and heat the 4 tbsp of oil and start frying the blue ginger pieces and the lemongrass.
5) Add the ground chilli paste A and fry for 5 minutes.
6) Now, add the ground paste B and let it cook for 10 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring and watch out for the heat so that the paste doesn't burn.
7) After 10 minutes, the mix would have taken an orange hue.
8) Add the 50 ml water and stir for a few minutes.
9) This will then be followed by the skim milk and grilled tofu cubes . Stir and cook for 15 minutes covered.
10) After 15 minutes, the gravy would have thickened and reduce to form a thick consistency. Add the sugar, salt and the sliced kaffir lime leaves now.
11) Cook for another 5 more minutes and switch of the flame.
12) Serve with any rice of your preference, garnished with more sliced kaffir lime leaves. If you find the gravy too thick, dilute with 1/2 cup hot water.
Yee Fu Noodles are also called E fu noodles or Yi Fu noodles. Made primarily of wheat flour and eggs, braised Yee Fu Noodles is a very popular dish in China. I was introduced to this dish by a friend from WEC Ms Chua We Lin who sent me a link to a Youtube video by CoKohKitchen.The recipe was so simple and delicious looking, I decided to try out the dish. I added bird's eye chilli for heat and a sunny side up egg for protein. It turned out very well.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 Cakes of uncooked Yee Fu Noodles (See pic below)
1 tbsp canola oil
2 inch ginger, cut into strips
1 bird's eye chilli (chilli padi), sliced
5 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 stalk of spring onions, cut into 1 inch size
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 sunny side/boiled egg
Ingredients for sauce
1 cup water
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1) Follow the instructions on the noodle packet and boil the noodles. Only till 3/4 cooked as the noodles will be further cooked in the sauce later..
2) Drain under cool water and keep aside.
3) Heat a wok and add the canola oil. Fry the ginger pieces and sliced bird's eye chilli.
4) Add in the sliced shitake mushrooms and a bit of salt to allow them to sweat.
5) Meanwhile, make the sauce separately. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add in the boiled noodles and the sauce. Give it a good stir.
6) Once the sauce is fully abosrbed, add in the spring onions.
7) Finish off with the drizzle of sesame oil. Serve with a sunny side egg for protein. Grilled tofus can also be added at the mushroom juncture.
Cabbage Stir Fry with Lentils and Grated coconut or Cabbage Poriyal is a basic South Indian vegetable side dish very commonly made in many Indian households. The lentils add protein while the coconut is more for an added flavor. Cabbage can be substituted with many other vegetables like French or Long Beans, Carrots, Snake Gourds etc. Cabbage shreds are steam cooked which gives it a nice natural flavor.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/2 head of cabbage, shredded
2 tbsp Moong Dhal
1 tbsp canola oil (or any other veg oil)
1/4 tsp mustad seeds
1/4 tsp urad dhal
1 dried chilli, cut into 4
1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 cup peas
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt per preference
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp grated coconut
1) Soak the moong dhal in water for 15 mins. Drain and keep aside.
2) Heat a pot and add 1 tbsp canola oil
3) Add the dry spices - mustard seeds, urad dhal and dried chilli.
4) Add the onion and curry leaves and fry further till onions turn translucent.
5) Add in the cabbage, green peas, moong dhal, turmeric powder and salt. Give it a stir. Add 1/2 cup water, cover and steam cook for 5-10 mins till vegetables are cooked. Stir occasionally to ensure vegetables don't stick to the pot and burn.
6) Lastly, add grated coconut, stir again and switch off your fire.
7) Enjoy with many of your curries as a side dish. Goes particularly well with Sambar (a South Indian Lentil Curry) or Rasam (a South Indian Tamarind Soup).
I don't often make fruit cakes. Somehow something always goes wrong - either the mixed fruit just sinks to the bottom or the cake crumbles easily. My husband, Anand, had requested me to make a fruit cake while he was in Beijing last week. It is often a challenge to make fruit cakes (or any cake) for him as he isn't fond of butter and whole egge.
Just the other day, he was commenting on how he had lost the taste for egg yolks after coming to Singapore. He finds the eggs here in Singapore have a very strong egg smell. It can be overpowering for someone who is very conscious of the smell. Even I who is someone who has grown up in Singapore find certain eggs very eggy. Fortunately, I have discovered a certain brand which doesn't seem to have that strong a smell.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand, I used to find it difficult to make eggs rise without any eggs and butter. Recently, Anand seemed to have bend the rules regarding eggs! So after a very long time, I baked a cake for Anand with eggs and butter in it. Anand found the butter flavor a tad too strong - my next try - to mix half the butter with sunflower oil. Let's see how that goes. But overall, I found the cake quite nice - not too sweet and light fruit cake flavor. Best part- it is so easy to put together. No soaking of the fruits overnight, no beating of butter and sugar...boil and mix everything, that's it!
Ingredients (makes one 20 cm square cake)
This spiced powder or Idli Dosa Podi is a must when you serve Idlis (Steamed Rice Cakes) or Dosas (Rice Lentil Crepes) in any South Indian household. Typically eaten with a little drizzle of sesame oil, the flavor of this powder is enhanced with the addition of the roasted sesame seeds.
1/2 cup chana dal
1/2 cup urad dal
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/2 cup curry leaves - roughly 10-15 leaves
1/3 cup dried red chillies
3/4 tsp salt
1)Take a big pan and dry roast chana and urad dal. Keep aside to cool.
2)Next, roast the white sesame seeds and the dried red chillies. Keep aside.
3) This will be followed by the curry leaves.
g4) Cool all the ingredients on a big flat plate.
5) Grind to a roughly textured powder. Serve with Idlis or Dosas together with Green Coconut Chutney.
My mother's fried rice is a very simple poor man's fried rice. The reason I am sharing this recipe with you is because of the inclusion of tomato ketchup in the seasonings, which I found rather unique. My mother Mrs Mumtaz Begum came to Singapore in 1977 at the age of 35 with her three young kids in tow with no knowledge of English. Having grown up in India, she was and still very fleunt in Tamil. I remember nostalgically how she would refuse to go for English speaking lessons when we tried to coax her. She was awfully shy and said she would rather manage with her broken English.
We grew up with some hard times as my father had opened a private school and was struggling to keep it afloat. Sometimes, there wouldn't even be bread in our cupboard. We, the kids, were in our own world of friends, books and exams and didn't realise the intensity of our hardship then. My mother had to manage with whatever vegs was in the fridge that day. So she came up with simple fried rice that used very basic ingredients of carrot, beans and potato. When we had eggs in our pantry, it was a big bonus for us!
I share this recipe with you so that you can try and taste a slightly soury spicy and what I call a poor man's fried rice, courtesy of my mom. But she used to deep fry the vegetables - this was way before the whole clean cooking concept was introduced. The vegetables are steamed here for a healthier version. My mom now 74, is quite fleunt in English and can carry a conversation with a taxi driver or with her doctor too! Sometimes, when put in the deep end of the pool, you hv no choice but to quickly swim to stay afloat!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
Spiced Potato Cubes and Cauliflorets or Aloo Gobi as it is commonly called in Hindi is a dry potato and cauliflower dish of Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese and Bangladeshi origin. It can be cooked in many different ways. Some cooks fry the cauliflorets and potatoes for added flavor and to ensure the vegetables don't over cook and dissolve in the curry. Some use peas while others don't. Different bases are also used - tomato based or a simple ginger based. Spices used can also be different. I came across Kitchen King spice powder which worked very well for this version of Aloo Gobi. Its a very versatile dish that can be cooked in a myriad of ways.
Aloo Gobi is hugely popular because of its intense flavor and is found in all the menus in Indian restaurants throughout the world. It would make a wonderful delicious side dish for your next North Indian meal at home.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
A simple dish of roasted potatoes and portobello mushrooms. Potatoes when roasted in oven has a delicious burnt taste and married with pan roasted portobellos, you get a little taste of heaven! Using only 6 ingredients, this recipe could come in handy for your next weekday dinner.
Ingredients (Serves 2)