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!!
Now that my girls are vegans, I have to replace their favourite egg scramble with an alternative for their breakfast. My younger daughter Riya found a recipe online for tofu scrambled with just turmeric powder and salt. Just turmeric and salt? Wouldn't that be so bland and boring?
So, I added my own ingredients to make it tastier. I must say it did turn out quite delicious. Serve this tofu scramble with baked beans and vegan toast and you have a complete protein packed belly filling start to the day! Now, I make this quite often as it turned out to be a favourite with my family.
Ingredients (For 4)
2 blocks of firm tofu, mashed
2 tbsps of canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1/4 of each red and green bell peppers, sliced thin
1 medium sized tomato, chopped small
1 sprig coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Chilli powder
1) Heat the canola oil in a large pot and fry the chopped onions for 3 mins on medium heat.
2) Add the sliced bell peppers and fry for another 3 minutes on medium to high heat. Its important the bell peppers are cooked before you add in the tomatoes.
3) Add in the turmeric, chilli powders and salt per your preference.
4) Add in the chopped tomato pieces and cook till it turns pulpy.
5) Finally add in the mashed tofu and mix well.
6) Cook till the mix is well incorporated, roughly 5-10mins on medium to low heat. Watch out for the mix sticking to the pot.
7) Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.
'Revihosoupa' or 'Revithia' is a traditional Greek vegan soup that has origins, well from Greece. Usually served during cold wintery evenings to warm our soul and body. With winter fast approaching in other parts of the world and Singapore having wet I-don't- want-to-step-out rainy evenings, this soup could not have been introduced at a better time.
Traditionally, this soup is made using dried chickpeas soaked overnight and boiled the next day in vegetable stock. This process takes a little longer but it will definitely taste better. So go for it if you have the time on hand. Canned chickpeas make a suitable substitute if you are pressed for time. This recipe requires very few ingredients and most of them will be readily available in your kitchen. I have not used any potato but you could add it (cubed) as well to further thicken the soup.
It serves as a wholesome meal on its own with sufficient protein and because its thick and creamy, it rests quite snugly in our belly soothing us into deep hibernating sleep. Serve with a couple of crusty bread on the sides. You may need some chilli flakes for heat, if you are an Asian!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 tbps olive oil
1 medium onion (yellow or red), chopped finely
1-2 sprigs thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 litre veg broth
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cans of chickpeas (400gm each)
Salt & Pepper
Extra Olive oil, sprig of thyme for garnish
1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, and fry the bay leaf and thyme leaves. This will be followed by the chopped onion.
2) Add the veg stock and season with salt & freshly ground pepper. Also add the 1 tbsp lemon juice at this point and let it come to a boil.
3) Add the drained canned chickpeas and simmer for 10 mins.
4) Take half the soup, blend it to a smooth batter and pour it back into the pot where the other half is still simmering.
5) Serve hot with a swirl of olive oil, extra ground pepper, chilli flakes (if using) and thyme leaves for garnish.
Chervil is a delicate herb related to parsley. Sometimes called French parsley or garden chevril, it is commonly used to season mild flavoured dishes and is one of the essential ingredients in the French cuisine along with other herbs like chives, parsley and terragon. This easy warm potato salad is light and tastes different from our usual mayonnaise potato salads we are used to.
Ingredients (serves 4 as a side)
10 small new potatoes
3 tbsps olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt & Pepper
2 tbps chopped chervil leaves
1 tbsps chives, chopped
1 tbsps terragon, chopped
Make sure you get the potatoes with very thin skin so you don't have to peel them. Wash and boil the potatoes in salt for 10-15 mins till they are just cooked. Not overcooked. We aren't making mashed potatoes.
2) Meanwhile, make the vinegrette by first whisking the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper till they are well emulsified. Then, add in the chopped herbs.
3) Drain the potatoes when they are cooked. Mix the vinegrette with boiled potatoes, check for seasonings and serve immediately.
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.