Bitter Gourd Omelette

Ahhhhh… Bitter Gourd. You either love it or hate it. For me it was love developed overtime. I still remember vividly the first time Bitter Gourd appeared in my household when I was a lot younger. I was not the most adventurous eater back then (sure am making up for lost time now hehe), but my sister was tempted by its beautiful flower-like appearance. But one bite, she was traumatised for life (or at least for many years after). So yes, the taste of Bitter Gourd can take a little getting used to, but it does come with a myriad of health benefits.

Bitter Gourd is a temperate/tropical vegetable originated in South-East Asia, it’s very low in calories, but contains high amount of Vitamin C, folate, ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and Vitamin A. It’s also moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese and Magnesium. Most importantly, it contains a phyto-nutrient called polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels, which means it’s great for people with diabetes too. So in short, all of us would benefit from consuming Bitter Gourd.

There are many ways of preparing Bitter Gourd. My favourite would be Bitter Gourd Omelette. Although I’m also partial to Bitter Gourd and Pork soup. I’d say that Bitter Gourd omelette appears pretty often on our table anyway. But it wasn’t until couple of months ago during our trip to Penang, our mind was truly blown.

Most of the time when we cook Bitter Gourd Omelette, the eggs are fully cooked, achieving a little bit of char for that extra wok hei. But not at this place called Song River Coffee Shop at Gurney Drive Penang.

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The egg was runny, and a brown sauce is poured over, providing that extra umami touch. I know it’s super simple, but please give a round of applause to whoever came up with this recipe. It has truly set a new standard for us. Needless to say, this dish was the highlight of our trip and I vowed to never cook Bitter Gourd any other way.

The dish is simple enough though. I’ve since cooked it a few times at home and it’s always the first dish to finish. Here’s my version:

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Mine’s a little more cooked than the Song River’s, you can always undercook it a little more. But the idea is to achieve at least 50% runny bit for the ultimate sensory experience.

Bitter Gourd Omelette

Half a medium size Bitter Gourd, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
3 Eggs
Light Soy Sauce (around 1 tablespoon)
Fish Sauce (around 1 teaspoon)

Usually, after I sliced the Bitter Gourd, I like to sprinkle some salt over and leave it for 10-15 minutes, as this will draw out excess juice to make it less bitter. You can omit this step if you like it extra bitter. Rinse the salt off well, and set aside. Mix the soy sauce and fish sauce with a little of water and set aside.

Heat a pan on high and add your choice of oil. You need a little more for the eggs to be nice and smooth. Add Bitter Gourd and cook for 2-3 minutes until soften.

Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly break up the yolks, don’t beat it though because we want to keep the yolk and white slightly separated. Distribute the Bitter Gourd evenly and pour over the egg. Use the spatula to move it a couple of times to distribute the egg. Then let it cook for under a minute, until the bottom is just set.

Pour over the sauce around the side and over the middle just as you turn off the heat, and serve immediately. Best with rice!

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Yeap. It’s just simple as that!

A video posted by Kelly Siew (@kellysiew) on Oct 2, 2016 at 3:01am PDT

 

Look at that wobble!

As for the sauce, if you have a very good soy sauce which has a balance of sweet and savoury note, you won’t need anything else. Feel free to adjust the sauce to your liking, I sometimes add a touch of Black vinegar too for a little tang.

Do try this at home and let me know what you think!

Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (CNY)

It’s exactly one week to go until Chinese New Year! Have you bought all the necessary things (by necessary I mean mostly food) yet? Some of you have been baking up a frenzy, no doubt. Since we finally got a decent oven for this household, I’ve been hardworking enough to churn out some Chinese New Year cookies as well, and this year I’ve decided to try something new: Salted Egg Yolk Cookies!

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Salted Egg Yolk (SEY) anything have always been hugely popular in Malaysia/Singapore and people are putting them in everything: ice cream, croissant, waffles, pasta…. you name it and it has been tried. It’s hard to resist the allure of it, of course. It’s the very definition of umami, and adds that extra decadence to your dishes, be it sweet or savoury. Because of the SEY craze, I’ve tried putting it on pizza, pasta and our favourite concoction has to be these melt-in-the-mouth cookies. Easy to make, absolutely delightful to eat. You just can’t stop at one bite!

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Here’s the recipe I use with a little bit of adaptation of my own. It’s pretty straight forward and it goes without saying that the better ingredients you use, the better it will taste. So try to get Salted Egg from the market, and best butter you can buy (I’d suggest Kerrygold because I only use Grassfed butter, the cheaper alternative is Anchor). I added milk powder because I like the taste, you can totally omit it if you wish. Let’s get to it!

Salted Egg Yolk Cookies (adapted from Bake for Happy Kids)
125g Plan Flour
10g Corn Starch
1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Salted Egg Yolks
85g Butter
40g Sugar
1 Tablespoon Milk Powder
Pinch of Salt
Egg wash
Sesame Seeds

First, cook the salted egg yolks, you may choose to cook the salted egg whole and just scoop out the egg yolks, or steam the yolks alone. What I do is I usually boil the whole egg for about 9 minutes (I’ve tried cooking for shorter time but the egg yolks tend to be undercooked). By the way if you have some fantastic ideas for leftover salted egg whites, send it my way! Mash the egg yolk with a fork and set aside until needed.

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Weigh out the ingredients accordingly. I usually do the flour, corn starch baking powder, salt and milk powder together.

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In a big bowl, weigh out butter and sugar and mix it together well (you can use a handmixer for this too). Pour the rest of the dry ingredients together along with the salted egg yolks, and mix well.

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The dough now should come together easily when you gather by hands.
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Flatten the dough to a disc (around 6mm thickness would be ideal) and wrap in cling film to cool in fridge for around half an hour. When you are ready, pick your favourite cookie cutter and cut out the dough. When it’s sufficiently cold, it should be quite easy to handle. If it gets too soft, put it back into the fridge for a while and then continue working.

By now you should have your oven preheated to 170 degree Celsius. This number should yield around 80 small cookies so you can do it in 2 batches. Brush the top with some egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. The egg wash is important here because not only it will give the cookies a nice sheen, it also acts as a glue for the sesame seeds.

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Send the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until lovely golden. Let cool completely and try not to steal too many of it before storing it in airtight container.

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I’ve already made 3 batches of these and there’s barely anything left now (it’s only a 3 person household, mind you). Kevin actually finished the first batch in one seating. So much for watching his diet. Hehe. I guess I need to make some more before next week then.

Happy Baking (and Eating)!

Eco Life Kitchen

I received an invitation from Cheng Yi to visit a Vegetarian restaurant together and I had to do a double take. Cheng Yi? Eating vegetarian food? I have a mental image of him gnawing on a bone… (better still, I have a real image…click here). Anyway apparently a meat man can be meat-ed out afterall. To be fair, Kevin and I had been a little out-of-control with our eating spree lately, so an all organic meal could probably do us much good. Though, as you will find out, we still overate anyway.

I almost had to cancel the dinner because it was day 1 of my Dengue fever (as I found out the day after when I was diagnosed). I run super high fever and felt like I was hit by a truck, aching all over and could barely get out of bed. But a promise is a promise, so I popped a couple of Paracetamol tablets and soldiered on. Turned out, good thing we did because Eco Life Kitchen opened on their off day just for us, how nice of them.

This restaurant is located in Fraser Business Park (which is completely foreign to me), it’s apparently not hard to find if you know the area, just look for Munich Cafe & Bar which spots a very bright signage at night. The owner also runs an Eco Leisure Village called Song Yan in Bukit Tinggi, which comes with a farm. This means the vegetables they use in the restaurant mostly comes from their own farm. The kitchen is run by Chef Steven Siew (long lost cousin?), who has also turned vegetarian himself.

Our welcome drink was a very thirst quenching Fizzy Calamansi Lime Drink, which truly hit the spot for me (as I soon find out I need tons of liquid for my illness).

Mango Sushi Roll

First we were presented a pretty looking sushi roll. It had mango on the top complete with mayo and black sesame seeds, inside there are cucumber, pickled radish, purple cabbage, and pumpkin floss. This item is not yet on the menu, though I can see it being popular if it is. I love the natural sweetness of the vegetables and the lovely textural contrast.

Omelette Roll (RM11.90)

This is not vegan of course because there are eggs. But I love the idea of wrapping the omelette on top of seaweed. Inside there are a variety of vegetables not dissimilar to the Mango roll above. Personally I prefer this one more than the Mango roll just because I’m an egg lover.

Pumpkin Tofu (RM9.90)

The Pumpkin Tofu is done Thai style with julienned cucumber, green mango, pineapple, turnip, carrot and topped with a Thai chili sauce. Kevin as a huge fan of tofu approved of this. I enjoyed the fresh vegetables and fruits although the peanuts kinda put me off the dish (can’t eat peanuts because I’ll lose my voice).

Penang Rojak (RM9.90)

How do you make the Rojak sauce without prawns? Chef Steven said that the sauce is derived from Seaweed for the ocean taste. The group enjoyed the dish, while I had to avoid it again due to you know what.

Mushroom Satay (RM8.90)

Of course, it won’t be surprising to see a lot of mushrooms in the menu. Because of the earthy note and the chewy texture, mushrooms can be very good meat substitute. By the way, you won’t see mock meats (basically gluten… eeww) on the menu, which can be a turn off for many. The mushroom satay is made with Coprinus Comatus mushrooms (杏鮑菇), which are typically very big and chewy. These are great as beer (if beer is allowed) snacks.

Vegetable Steamboat (RM23.90)

It’s nice to see a whole platter of fresh organic vegetables and I was happy to spot some of my favourites: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Enoki Mushrooms, Bitter Gourd, Pumpkin and various green leafy veg. The foojuk (fried beancurd skin) is popular amongst the table too. There are 2 types of broth to choose from: miso and old cucumber soup. Both are lovely.

Nasi Lemak (RM14.90)

This is a very photogenic dish. The nasi lemak here is made healthier with brown rice cooked with coconut oil (instead of coconut milk), curry vegetables made with cashew nut milk instead of (coconut milk), and on the side we have sambal, belinjo, tempeh, cucumber, and an enoki mushroom tempura (I’m deliberately ignoring the peanuts, of course). I thought that the curry is packed with flavours and I enjoyed the homemade sambal with the rice. The coconut oil isn’t so pronounced though. Nevertheless it’s quite a filling dish and I’d say it’s suitable for sharing, unless you are focusing on this dish alone.

Vegetarian Bak Kut Teh (RM16.90)

Bak Kut Teh in an Vegetarian restaurant? Are they crazy? In fact, this dish is one of their pride and joy, as there are over 14 herbs used in the recipe for that maximum flavours. Instead of fatty pork, you get a variety of mushrooms, tofu, foojuk etc. The broth is surprisingly flavoursome, though cleaner tasting. There’s a very meaty tasting mushroom in there called Monkey Head Mushrooms, which I must try and source and cook one day.

Assam Laksa (RM13.90)

The noodles used in the Assam Laksa is the Korean Sweet Potato Noodles which is one of my favourites, however I’m not a fan of Assam Laksa at all so can’t say much for this dish (no benchmark, you see).

Indo Curry Mee (RM13.90)

The Indo Curry Mee however, fared a lot better owing to the same delicious curry from the nasi lemak. I like how they used thick udon noodles to soak up all that lovely gravy, though few bites later this does feel a little cloying for me because the curry is really quite thick.

Lei Cha King (RM14.90)

Lei Cha (Hakka Thunder Tea) is a very foreign dish for me because I’ve never had it in my life. Here it’s made really colourful with brown rice, carrot, pumpkin, peanuts (again), radish, beancurd, Chinese white cabbage, chickpeas and a green sauce made with basil, mint, and a host of other herbs is poured on top before eating.

Green sauce pouring action.

Once again I have no benchmark for this dish so I can’t compare it with the rest. However, I really liked the combination of texture and the clean flavours of the vegetables and herbs. This is something I’d probably order again, sans the peanuts.

Spinach Pesto (RM13.90)

I wasn’t kidding when I said we overate. There were 4 of us for all these dishes! The last dish that came out was a very good looking plate of Fettuccine coated in pesto topped with spinach and mixture of carrot and pumpkin. If I wasn’t so full I’d gladly devour more of this because I really love the pesto!

To finish, we had a couple pots of flower teas (caffeine free of course) to cleanse our palate.

Thank you Eco Life Kitchen for accommodating us and we can’t wait to visit the resort in Bukit Tinggi!

Eco Life Kitchen
40-4 Fraser Business Park
Jalan Metro Pudu
Off Jalan Loke Yew
Tel: 03-2389 0228
Closed Wednesdays

Maison Francaise: A Revisit

Following a pleasant visit to Maison Francaise back in 2013 (geez how time flies), I didn’t hesitate before accepting another invitation to dine at the romantic mansion again. Chef Thierry Le Baut has recently taken over the kitchen and needless to say has brought some changes to the menu. Let’s take a look at the food, shall we?

Amuse Bouche: Cauliflower Puree, Pickled Cauliflower and Carrot, Tomato Puree.

If the amuse bouche is any indication, the dishes here is still kept relatively clean and definitely caters to the gluten-free market. I have mentioned more than a couple of times how much I love cauliflower and this definitely perked up my day. The puree is kept cold, and the pickled vegetables was a nice touch.

Goat Cheese Basket, Tapenade quenelle, Honey dressing RM68++

Frank is usually meatless during food review, and that day was no exception. However, I think he got all the nicer dishes, take a look at this Goat Cheese Basket, for example.

Pretty as a picture.

The distinct pungent goat cheese goes exceptionally well with the crispy tuille. And the umami olive tapenade completes the dish. Though it was almost a shame to dismantle the dish.

Red Snapper Carpaccio, Tomato and Schallotstartare, Rocket Salad Sandwich RM59++

My Red Snapper Carpaccio was also elegantly presented.

Food art at its best.

Served with a tomato and shallot “tartare”, and mini rocket sandwich, this dish is pretty pleasant. The fish is adequately seasoned and since I like rocket, I didn’t mind the bread. Although taste wise, it lacks the wow factor; a case of beauty over substance.

Brick Roasted with Thyme Oil, Artichoke and Oyster Mushroom Risotto, served with Season Vegetables RM65++

Apart from the amusing name (brick? I know someone who should be eating brick, hmmph), this dish is very well executed. The risotto is sufficiently creamy, and infused with the delightful taste of mushrooms. The vegetables maintained a slight crunch to add a textural contrast.

Hake Fillet, French extra fine Pea Cream, Wasabi foam and Sauteed Mushrooms. RM95++

The Hake Fillet I received though, was mediocre at best. The fish was slightly overcooked hence became a little bit dry (I think you can even tell from the picture), but the saving grace is the Pea cream, obviously cooked with fish/seafood stock for that extra briny taste. I didn’t care much for the wasabi foam, which tasted pretty bland to me. I hope this is just an off day though.

Apple tart, Creamy sabayon, Chocolate Mousse, Apple Sorbet RM35++

The dessert comes in a form of a tart covered with chocolate mousse, and when you take a stab, the creamy sabayon oozes out of the tart. I wasn’t sure if the tart was supposed to be a little soggy (perhaps been sitting for a while?), but the chocolate mousse pairs well with the sabayon. The apple tart comes in deconstructed form and I enjoyed the crumbs. However the apple sorbet didn’t do much for me.

This visit is a little bit hit and miss. I guess if I do go back, I will opt for non fish dishes to gauge for myself. Frank was pleased with his meal in general, so that’s good news for all your vegetarians out there.

Maison Francaise
5 Jalan Changkat Kia Peng
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel No: 032144-1474
Fax No: 032181-2664
E Mail: info@maisonfrancaise.com.my
Monday to Sunday: 11.00am – 11.30pm

AFF Philippines: Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette)

When I was researching for Philippine cuisine, I was deeply intrigued by this dish called Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelette). A dish combining 2 of my favourite things: Eggplant and Egg; of course I had to try it! I wonder how come I’ve never thought of doing that myself, but nevermind as now this dish is in my life, I will never let it go.

In Philippines, Tortang Talong is a very popular breakfast dish and it’s pretty economical as well. At the basic form, it’s just Eggplant with Egg seasoned with Salt and Pepper. Some do opt for ground meat or other vegetables in their versions. I have gone for some onion and chili to suit my taste. Plus the chili does give it a lovely colour contrast. Usually, this is enjoyed with white rice and banana ketchup. But to make it fully Paleo, I served it with some lettuce instead. To see the recipe for Banana Ketchup which I’ve posted recently, click here.

Tortang Talong

Eggplant, preferably the Asian/Japanese variety
1 Egg (add more if using more eggplants)
Salt and pepper
1 Red Chili
Quarter Onion, finely diced

First we’ll need to char the eggplant. There are few ways of doing this. You can either grill it over the stove top until all the surface area is charred, then cool the eggplant, and peel off the skin. You could also use an oven broiler. But if you have a Philip Airfryer, it gets even easier! Just airfry it in 200C for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the eggplant.

Tada! Let’s get the eggplant naked!
Nice and naked! Haha

Beat the egg on a bowl and mix with cut chili and onion (feel free to cook the onion beforehand for extra sweetness). Place the eggplant on top ensuring that it is fully coated with the eggwash. Mash or flatten the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat some oil in a frying pan. Slide the eggplant to the pan and start frying it. You can use the eggplant’s stem to lift it up and check to see if the other side is already cooked. If the bottom of the eggplant has set and is cooked, flip it over to cook the other side. Fry until it has set and has turned a lovely golden brown.

Transfer to the plate and enjoy while hot! To be truly Pinoy, eat it with banana ketchup as your condiment.

Aerial View.

As expected, the texture is both fluffy and silky, and I love the simplicity of the flavours, enhanced by the delicious banana ketchup. Can’t wait to make it again! Frank isn’t really a huge fan of Eggplant but he enjoyed this dish too.

Yummy!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

AFF Philippines: Banana Ketchup

Even though I have quite a few Philippino friends, strangely I’ve never been introduced to the cuisine. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know whether there are good restaurants in Melbourne serving Philippine cuisine. Luckily, Mr Google has proven to be useful in this research and I’ve been learning tons about this cuisine. Of course, it’s not enough to just read about it. Tasting is paramount. And once of the most intriguing thing I wanted to try was Banana Ketchup. It’s totally unique to the country as an alternative to Tomato Ketchup.

The tomato ketchup was brought in by the Americans, but during World War II, there was a tomato shortage. This very clever lady Maria Orosa apparently created the banana version because there are always plenty of bananas in Asia. And soon this became a hit and til this day, many still prefer the banana version over tomato. It’s used in almost everything: burgers, omelettes, fries, meat marinade, even spaghetti!

As you know, making things from scratch is very much my thing (ditch the bottled stuff, you know) and I found a couple of recipes online which are easy to follow. In the end I chose Andrea Nguyen’s version because I have everything except for the annatto seed, which is actually optional just to add some colour to the ketchup. Some people choose to add red food colouring, but I don’t have a problem with yellowish ketchup as long as it tastes good! So here’s how I made my banana ketchup, Paleo-style.

Banana Ketchup

Recipe adapted from VietWorldKitchen

Olive Oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, mined
5 Chili Padi, chopped
1 generous tablespoon tomato paste
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (net 9 oz / 270 gr)
1/2 cup (120 ml) apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1 tablespoon Honey
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Cloves
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Liquid Aminos
1 bay leaf

Heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and chile, stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until aromatic. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is orange red and the tomato is no longer visible.

Add the mashed bananas, stir to combine well. Then add the vinegar, water, sugar, pepper, clove, salt, liquid aminos, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, partially covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until thick like—ketchup! Remove from the heat, cool for 10 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf and cloves.

Use a mini food processor or blender to puree the mixture. Taste and add water to thin, sugar to sweeten, or vinegar to tartness. Transfer to a jar and use, or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Done!

I’m glad I gave this a go because it’s so delicious! Now I understand why it’s so popular. Similar to tomato ketchup, it has the sweetness and tang, but there’s an extra aroma from the bananas and the addition of spice is such a brilliant idea. I made Frank try a bit and he’s now hooked. I think I might not need to replenish that Heinz ketchup anytime soon, as long as I keep buying bananas.

Next recipe post would be another Philippine dish which goes extremely well with the Banana Ketchup, so stay tuned!

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest – Philippines hosted by The Sweet Spot.

 

AFF Indian Subcontinent: Bhindi Masala

It’s nearly halfway through May and here is my first post for the month. What have I been up to? Well, to paint you a picture, I have average of 3-4 shows per week, along with about 4-5 rehearsals with the 2 different bands I have. Which means most nights I’m not at home and some of the afternoons are spent doing soundchecks for shows etc. As a result I’ve been eating mostly the same thing at home and when I’m out, I’m at the mercy of event organisors and the venue hosts. I’m sure you won’t be interested to see which vegetable soup I had for dinner last week, so I do apologise for the lack of new recipes.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing my homework however, as I bookmarked a few recipes to cook for the next few weeks including dishes for the Asian Food Fest’s Indian Subcontinent month and the next month which I am hosting. Anticipating a lot more blogging in June!

Looking through my blog, I realised I haven’t posted any Indian recipes. Both of us love curries, but strangely I have not cooked curries for a long time. Well, this month is a good opportunity to rectify that, and the first dish I’ve cooked utilises one of my favourite vegetable, Okra, aka Ladies finger, aka Bhindi in their language. Someone once mention that Okra looks like a shooting star, well I do agree it’s a very pretty vegetable and it’s also full of goodness for you.

Growing up, Okra is a common dish at home and I enjoy it simply stir fried with a bit of garlic. I don’t mind the slime and in fact this stuff helps to lubricate soothe the gut. Naturally, I am attracted to Fish Head Curry solely because of the tender Okras soaked in the flavourful spicy broth. So why not make a curry full of it instead so Frank can enjoy as well, I thought. Mention Fish Head and he will run for cover. Hehe. Presenting Bhindi Masala, a Punjabi semi dry side dish that is vegan, commonly served with chapatis, roti and naan.

Bhindi Masala

Bhindi Masala (serves 3-4) Recipe adapted from VegrecipesofIndia.com

300g Bhindi/Okra
1 medium size Red Onion, chopped
3-4 medium size tomatoes, chopped (this time I’ve used canned whole peeled tomatoes with half the liquid)
½ inch ginger and 2-3 garlic, minced and crushed
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander Seeds
½ teaspoon Chili Powder (more if you prefer spicier)
½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
½ teaspoon Garam Masala
Salt to taste
Coconut Oil (or other oil you prefer)

As I couldn’t find amchur powder (dry mango powder) and Dried fenugreek leaves, I omitted both.

Rinse the Okras well and let dry. Remove the base and cut into 1-2 inch pieces. Prep other vegetables as indicated.

Heat coconut oil in pan and stir fry Okras for a few minutes until they are tender. They do soak up a bit of oil so I suggest using around 2 tablespoons. Coconut oil is good for you anyway!

Once the Okras are cooked, remove from pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and saute the onion until translucent. Then add the ginger and garlic to cook for about 1 minute.

And tomato and cook until they become soft and mushy, then add all the spices, one by one. If the mixture becomes too dry, add some water or in my case, remaining liquid from the can. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes, then add the cooked okras and season to taste. Once the okras are well heated through, turn off the heat and serve warm.

So pretty!

I of course served mine with some Cauli rice for a Paleo Vegan meal.

Yum!

I have made mine mild for the Ang Moh taste bud, and I really shouldn’t be eating too much spicy food with the frequent gigs. This is so delicious! I love the tang from the tomatoes and the sweetness of onion, backed by the aromatic spices. The okras are still slightly crunchy and for there’s no slime at all, which is great for those who fear this vegetable.

Do you love Indian food? What’s your favourite dish?

I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest Indian Subcontinent Month, hosted by Alvin of Chef and Sommelier

AFF Korea: Gyeran JJim (Steamed Egg Custard)

It’s common knowledge that there are a lot of crossovers in Asian cuisines. Take dumplings for example: Chinese makes Jiaozi, Japanese makes Gyoza, Korean makes Mandu and even Nepalese has Momos. Not surprisingly, it’s easy to adapt and enjoy these cuisines as if they are our own. Similarly, the humble steamed egg can be seen in Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisine as well. Most of us have probably grown up with this dish.

Eggs taste fabulous no matter what cooking style, but the most comforting would probably have to be the silky, savoury steamed version. It goes superbly with rice, and if you add extra ingredients, it can even be a meal on its own. The Korean version is called Gyeran Jjim and at its basic form, it only requires egg(s), water, salt and some spring onions. I’ve added some shredded in mine for a bit of texture and visual appeal.

GyeranJJim (Korean Steamed Egg Custard)

It’s not difficult to achieve a smooth steam egg if you get the water and egg ratio right (generally 1.5:1 is good). You can even opt to do everything in the microwave as Maangchi has demonstrated in her post. I have tried doing it the traditional way as well as microwave and honestly can’t tell the difference in taste. The  microwave version does tend to puff up a little bit though. Nevertheless this dish is quick, requires almost no effort but oh-so-satisfying.

So here’s a ridiculously short recipe!

Korean-Style Steamed Eggs (Gyeran Jjim)
Serves 1-2

1 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Water, or Chicken Stock
Pinch of shredded Carrot
1 stalk of Spring Onion, chopped

Combine the eggs, salt, and water in a heat-safe ceramic bowl, such as a ramekin or small ddukbaegi (so I like to call it the Korean claypot). Whisk until well combined and foamy. Add the carrot and stir it to distribute, then sprinkle the spring onion on top.

Place the bowl in a large pan fill with water (about half way up the sides) and a metal steaming tray. Cover the pan preferably with a clear glass lid so you can easily watch the water and eggs. Cook over low-medium heat for 10-12 minutes, making sure the water stays at a gentle simmer. The eggs are ready when the middle is just set but still wobbly.

Carefully lift the bowl from the pan and serve warm.

Yum!

I will let you in a secret: I’ve been having this almost everyday. It’s great as a light lunch or a quick supper after gigs. Good way to get good proteins and other important nutrients. I even add a little bit of doenjang sometimes for extra flavours. Don’t think I’ll ever get sick of this.

I am submitting this post to Asian Food Fest: Korea, hosted by Sharon of Feats of Feasts.

Massaged Kale Salad

Everytime I come across a Kale recipe on Youtube or blog, I feel a pang of envy because I have never been able to find that in KL. And to be honest this nature’s superfood was not on my radar when I was still living in Oz, as it hasn’t gained such a huge popularity yet. Oh, once I did see that in B.I.G but the price was way too crazy, I picked it up and hesitated. Only until a couple of days ago when we were at our local supermarket I finally saw some imported Kale for quite reasonable price, so I snatched a bunch in a heart beat.

Green and Beautiful

Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, a group of vegetables including cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts that have gained recent widespread attention due to their health-promoting, sulfur-containing phytonutrients. Curly kale has ruffled leaves and a fibrous stalk and is usually deep green in color. It has a lively pungent flavor with delicious bitter peppery qualities.

Nutrients wise, it has high content of antioxidants, dietary fibre, Omega-3 Fatty Acids and not to mention various Vitamins and Minerals. It’s no wonder Kale has been dubbed the new Superfood. And don’t be intimidated by the extreme green hue, when prepared right, it can be quite delicious (as far as vegetables can be of course, I’m not going to promise tasting bacon from this, although you are welcome to add some….).

There are many ways Kale can be cooked. Braised, Steamed, Baked in to chips, Blend into juice but for the first recipe, I wanted to try it in its Raw form. Particularly, I wanted to have a go at “massaging” the kale. So I explored my fridge for some salad ingredients and put this salad together. Of them there was a bulb of fennel I had wanted to cook with some fish but didn’t get to, but just as well because I love the aniseed flavour when it’s raw.

Eat the rainbow!

This salad took no time at all to put together and it has a lovely balance of sweet and tartness, complete with delightful texture and crunch. Here’s the recipe:

Massaged Kale Salad (serves 2 or 1 very hungry person)
2 large stalks of Kale
1 Medium Apple
1/8 Small Purple Cabbage
1 Small Carrot
1 bulb medium Fennel
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon honey (Omit for those on Whole 30)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Tear the kale leaves into small section and remove the hard stalks. In a large bowl, add a little olive oil and salt and get both hands to massage the leaves until the leaves are nicely wilted and soft. It’s quite a therapeutic process, mind you.

Slice the apple thinly and slice the purple cabbage, carrot and fennel into thin strips. Meanwhile mix olive oil, lemon juice, and honey and whisk well. Mix all fruits and vegetables together (arrange nicely if you like) and drizzle the dressing over. Season with salt and pepper if you like. Serves as is or cold.

Of course, when it comes to salads, the sky is your limit. Feel free to add your choice of fruits (mango is quite popular with kale, orange too) and perhaps some nuts too. I like to keep my dressing fairly simple to eat clean, you can always spice it up with more herbs and spices.

Kale Salad and a cat.

Bonus Pic: Featuring the very adventurous Harry (who once went missing for a week and caused a ruckus) was being his mischievous self nosing around.

Back to the salad:

I feel healthy just looking at this!

Can’t wait to buy more Kale!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I’m starting to think that I’m eating way too much cauliflower. I’m using it as rice, replacing potato in hash, faux-potato mash, and even faux ‘English Muffin’, while at the same time I also quite like it as a side dish anyway. But I think this recipe might just be the ultimate as it ticks 2 important boxes: Frank’s favourite food, and making unhealthy food healthy. That’s right, I’m talking about Pizza!

Eating the rainbow while at it.
Eating the rainbow while at it.

Cauliflower crust pizza doesn’t sound too appealing and in fact when I mention the idea to Frank the Pizza addict he simply said “You can’t cal that a Pizza”. Fine, so I made the Not-Pizza and guess who gobbled it up and then asked for more?

Make it vegetarian, make it meatlover friendly, both awesome for your waistline.
Make it vegetarian, make it meatlover friendly, both awesome for your waistline.

The best thing about Cauliflower Pizza crust, apart from having far lower carbs content and just much more nutritious for us, is that it took hardly any time at all. Gone were the days I slave over the kitchen counter working the dough and spending hours waiting for it to rise, now whenever we feel like having a pizza I can simply whip it up in about half an hour. I just have to make sure I have a constant supply of cauliflower.

So here’s how to make this almost guilt-free treat.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust:
1 (Small Head) Cauliflower
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1 Tablespoon Almond Meal
1 Egg

Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Cut off the florets and pulse in the food processor until you get powdery snow like cauliflower, this will take less than a minute. Place cauliflower onto a cheese cloth and squeeze out all the liquid with all your might. Then place the dry cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover, cook for 4 minutes.

In a bowl, add the cooked cauliflower, cheese, salt, dried oregano, almond meal and egg and mix well together. Once mixed together, spread the “dough” onto a baking sheet and work it into a flat round. Bake for about 10 minutes in 250C oven until starting to brown at the edges. Now we are ready for the toppings.

Toppings
Tomato Paste
Broccoli, break into small florets
Onion, roughly sliced
Zucchini, sliced
Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
Mozzarella Cheese

As these would be cooked in a shorter time than regular pizza, I recommend you get started with a sauteeing all the vegetables beforehand, especially the onions.

Once the crust is out of the oven, start by spreading spoonfuls of tomato paste (or homemade pizza sauce) on the crust and however much toppings you like. Top with cheese. Bake for further 5 minutes in the oven or until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Let cool for several minutes (very important) before serving so the crust will hold together.

Yum!
Yum!

Pizzas are always vegetarian here because Frank rarely eats meat. I love adding colourful vegetables as I believe we eat with our eyes and of course extra antioxidants can’t hurt. I do believe the cauliflower crust tastes better than the regular wheat flour dough, but you might want to try it out to make your judgement. The base holds together perfectly, tasted cheesy and aromatic. The edges are slight crispy while the middle is soft but not really fluffy like regular pizza. It’s a winner! No doubt this will be our regular.

Pizza is more delicious eaten with hands.
Pizza is more delicious eaten with hands.

Oh yeah, cheese is not included in the Paleo diet. But as long as you are not lactose intolerant, there’s no problem consuming dairy at all. In fact most cheeses would have lower content of lactose and you still get the nutritional benefits. So treat yourself once in a while and stick to full fat cheese.

Busy weekend ahead! Shall see you again sometimes next week if I made it through (recovering from respiratory woes no thanks to the crazy hot weather and my easily-overheat-body).