Tempeh or tempe is a traditional Javanese soy product that is made from fermented soy beans. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds the soy beans into a cake form (see pic below).
Because tempeh is packed into a cake, it offers more protein than other meat alternatives like tofu. It is also very high in fibre and probiotics and hosts a whole array of minerals and vitamins, which I'm not going to bore you with here. Tempeh has a subtle nutty flavour and absorbs any ingredient flavour it is cooked with, much like its cousin, tofu.
Here, I''m sharing a simple baby spinach and tempeh stir fry which is healthy, vegan and easy to whip up in minutes! It can be a snack, a side dish or even a wholesome breakfast dish! I love it for breakfast with baked beans because its a good protein packed start to the day to keep me full longer. Its a relatively simple dish to prepare so there is no requirement for step by step instructions here.
Ingredients (serves 1-2)
I found this recipe below for Vegan Potato Omelette online and I tweaked it to add yellow onion and baby spinach to add flavor and nutrition. Its a very versatile dish and you can add sliced olives, capsicum or or even boiled kidney beans for added protein. And its gluten free too since we are using chickpea flour.
Ingredients (To serve 6-8 wedges)
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly
2 cups baby spinach
2 tsps garlic herb salt
1 tsp chilli flakes
2-3 large potatoes, steamed, skin removed and cut into small cubes
2 cups chickpea flour
1 cup (+/-) water
1) First mix the chickpea flour, salt and water to form a thick batter. Pour this over the steamed cubed potatoes and mix well.
2) Next take a saucepan or a skillet and melt the vegan butter with the olive oil. Then add in the yellow onion and fry on medium heat.
3) Next, add in the washed baby spinach.
4) This will be followed by the garlic herb salt and chilli flakes. Check for salt. Then add in the chickpea potato mix. Press it down flat with a metal spoon. Add some vegan butter on the sides and on top so that it will cook golden brown when we flip it over.
5) Loosen the sides with a spatula or a flipper. Put a flat large plate over the pan and do a quick turn. Slide the omelette back into the pan and cook the other side.
6) Enjoy this delicious omelette with baked beans and a cup of hot steaming tea.
Baby Eggplants in Tangy Tomato Gravy was a hit in my Diwali gatherings in Oct and Nov last year. It is my mom's quintessential dish and I must say it is quite a flavourful one After receiving several requests for her recipe, I decided to post it here. I have tried to make it numerous times but without success. Today's version, however, seemed close to what my mom churns out for us whenever we request for our gatherings and celebrations. Choose baby eggplants as they can be fried whole and they present well but other types of eggplants can also be used as well. If you are using other types of eggplants, please note that they should be cut into 2 inches. I have used coconut milk to give the gravy its thickness and also to keep it vegan but you can substitute with cooking cream.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)
500gm baby eggplants
2bsp canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1 large tomato, cut into medium sized chunks
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp chilli powder
Tamarind Tomato Mix
1 tsp tamarind paste dissolved in 2 cups of water
1 tsp coriander powder
3/4 (three quarters ) tsp cumin powder
1/2 (half) tsp black pepper powder
1/2 (half) tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp salt (or to your preference)
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tbsps coconut milk
coriander leaves for garnishing
1) Wash and cut the eggplants but not all the way through so it still remains intact at the stem. Soak in salted water for 10 mins. Then, drain away and rinse twice in plain water. This is to remove any bitterness present in the eggplants.
2) Prepare the tamarind tomato mix while the egglants are soaking. Dissolve 1 tsp of tamarind paste in 2 cups of water. Throw away any seeds and skin residue and only keep the tamarind solution. In this solution, add all the masala powders, tomato chunks, salt and sugar.
3) Deep fry the eggplants. This is not very healthy but I'm posting a very authentic recipe to show how it was orginally done. Please do try shallow frying or airfrying. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
4) Take a skillet or a flat pan and heat 2 tbsp canola oil. Fry the onion and curry leaves for 2-3 minutes. Add in 1 tsp chilli powder and be careful it doesn't burn.
5) At this point, add in the tamarind tomato mix and let the mix boil for 5- 10mins till the liquid is half in quantity.
6) Once the liquid has reduced in quantity, add in 2 tbsps coconut milk and stir. Followed by the fried eggplants. Its important you don't stir the eggplants too much as we are keeping them whole. Stirring them too much will dissolve them into the gravy.
7) Serve warm garnished with coriander leaves. Goes particularly well with Vegetable Korma and plain basmati rice.
There are perhaps 50,000 capsicum varieties grown worldwide and they have been classified under 5 major species of cultivated capsicums:
Have I bored you enough? :) So, I came across these peppers while grocery shopping at NTUC Finest in the east of Singapore last weekend. A young lady of perhaps 20 was dressed in a beautiful traditional Korean Hanbok and I was curious to see what she was promoting. At first sight, I was horrified at these chilli peppers! They were huge and looked quite menacing. But she laid my concerns to rest and claimed they were only mildly hot and that they taste very much like our regular capsicums. She had these lettle plastic cups with samples of these cut Dangjo peppers in a mild tomato gravy. I tried a small piece with a tissue on hand in case I needed to spit it out immediately.
Contrary to what I thought, it actually tasted yum! I was bought! The packet of around 15 of these premium peppers costed around $7.50 Singapore dollars but they are truly worth it. Plus, I wondered how long she must have been standing there the whole day and wondered if anyone had bought her pretty expensive bell peppers. I just wanted to help her out in her promotion.
Who says we can't mix Korean and Indian cuisine?
Today I tried making an Indian version of these peppers. It turned out quite delicious. The tomatoes added a sour taste to the peppers and it complemented their mild heat. My husband thought so as well. No way I could introduce peppers to my teen daughters! These Dangjo peppers are so versatile - because they are quite large, you could stuff them with tofu brown rice mix and bake them or you could even make a simple Chinese version by frying ginger and adding light soy sauce and serve them topped with toasted sesame seeds.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side dish)
300gm Dango Peppers cut at an angle
1 medium sized red onion, sliced
1 ginger garlic paste
1 to 2 tsp turmeric powder
1 to 2 tsp cumin powder
1 large ripe tomato sliced
Salt per preference
A sprig of coriender leaves, chopped roughly
This is a relatively easy recipe so I didn't take photos of the actual method.
1. Take a medium sized cooking pot and fry the sliced onion.
2. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a while.
3. Add the spices and salt and stir well.
4. The sliced tomatoes go in next.
5. After a few minutes when the tomatoes get pulpy, add in the sliced Danjo peppers and coriander leaves.
6. Stir, add half a cup of water and cover.
7. Cook till the Dangjo peppers are soft.
8. Serve it at your next gathering - I'm sure it will be a conversation starter!!
In Singapore, I usually frequent a restaurant called The Soup Spoon for its delicious soups but today I decided to try a different dish..the Flatbread with falafel and hummus. I like flatbreads with fillings or wraps. I don't know why but there is something quite delicious and satisfying about them. Its light on the tummy, full of good for you vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, avocadoes, beetroot, pumpkin and we can add any plant protein to make it wholesome. You don't leave the restaurant feeling guilty for loading yourself with carbs and worrying where its going to go - tummy, arms, thighs??
Plant protein comes in various ways - grilled tofu slices, scrambled tofu, soy patties or even chickpea patties or falafel. Falafels are one of my favourite middle eastern dishes and I'm embarassed to say till today I haven't attempted to make them! I just realised oh how long I have deprived my family of this delicious protein packed patties.
So, after gobbling down the flatbread with hummus and falafel, I headed home with a conviction to make them for dinner tonight and I'm proud to say I stuck to my conviction. The recipe below is adapted from a website called Cookie + Kate. I have shallow fried the falafels here but you can even bake them to be extra healthy. The falafels should be golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft inside. One bite will tell you if you have a winning recipe.
Did I mention that these patties are gluten free and vegan? They make great party appetizers as well. You can even make them as large patties for a vegetarian burger treat!
Ingredients (yields around 35-40 small falafels)
2 tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 garlic, peeled and sliced
1 cup of coriander leaves
1/4 cup red onion, cut into big pieces
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsps olive oil
1-2 cups Chickpea flour or Besan flour to thicken the batter should it become too wet while processing
1. Assemble all the ingredients except the Gram flour into a food processor.
2) Process the ingredients into a half crumbly paste. You may need to add bits of water. Don't add too much lest it becomes too wet.
3) Place the uncooked falafel paste into a bowl. Check for salt and add more if needed. If the paste is too wet, add gram flour to thicken so that its the right consistency to make the patties.
4) Take a flat pan and heat 2-3 tbsps of canola oil. Using your hands, take a tablespoon size paste and roll it into a ball, flatten it and place it on to the heated oil on the pan. Do the same for a few more and shallow fry the falafel patties in batches.
5) When brown, turn and cook the other side. Remove from fire and drain the oil on kitchen paper towels. Serve warm with a fresh garden salad and piping hot vegetable soup. That's what I served my family for dinner tonight. Needless to say, it was a winning dish with my family!!
Hi guys! I'm Nilofar Iyer and I have shared my dishes here for you to cook for your own family and friends with love and most importantly with their long term good health in mind.