Sunday 19 April 2009

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup with a vegetarian twist.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2-3

Vegetable stock, 1/2 cube
Lemongrass, 2 stalks
Garlic, 3 cloves (finely chopped)
Small red chillis, 2-3
Green pepper, 1
Red Pepper, 1
Cherry tomatoes, a handful
Straw Mushrooms, 1 can
Lime Leaves, 2-3 (destemmed and torn)
Lime juices, 2 tbsp
Galangal (Thai Blue Ginger), 4 thin slices
Tofu, 1 packet,
Tom Yum Paste (2 tbsp : 3 cups of boiling water), Woh Hup

1. Boil water and vegetable stock over medium heat. Add lemongrass, the galangal, lime leaves and the tom yum sauce. Cook till fragrant. Throw in the garlic and the chilli. Bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes.
2. Add in the mushrooms and the bell peppers. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low heat. Simmer. Add the cherry tomatoes in, thereafter add the tofu. Simmer for a while.
3. In your serving bowl, add the lime juice, extra small red chillis (if desired) and soya sauce. Mix well and serve.

Note: If you do not require something strictly vegetarian, use chicken / fish stock instead of vegetable stock for Step 1. For Step 3, use fish sauce instead of soya sauce for a more authentic taste.

As I have never handled lemongrass before, I did find the link below useful:
You may too!

Chilli Chicken (Indian Chinese)

Dish that originated from India - India's take to Chinese cuisine. Very similar to Kung Pao Chicken.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2-3, as a side dish (with rice)

Chicken fillet, 500-600 gms (2 packets of 300 gms), cubed into bite-sized pieces
Dried red chillis, cut into edges (a small bowl)
Green pepper, 1 (medium diced)
Red pepper, 1 (medium diced)
Onion, 1 (medium diced)
Egg, 1
Garlic, 3 cloves (finely chopped)
Ginger, 1 tsp (finely grated)
Soya sauce
Corn flour, 1tbsp
Corn flour water, 1 tbsp mixed with a cup of water
Chicken stock, 1/2 cube
Celery, 1 stick (finely chopped)
Chilli garlic paste, 4 tbsp (to taste)
Sesame seed oil, 3 tbsp
Cashew nuts (optional)

1. Sprinkle the cornflour (around a tbsp) and a dash of salt on the chicken cubes. Crack and egg into the mixture. Mix with your hands. Add a dash of pepper.
2. Heat up a frying pan. Add sufficient oil for the purposes of deep-frying. Carefully place the chicken cubes in the oil. Turn over. Once the chicken cubes are cooked, drain the oil and set aside.
2. In the same frying pan, heat up the sesame oil. Thereafter, saute the dried red chillis in this oil. Add the garlic and ginger paste and saute.
3. Toss in the cashew nuts (optional). Thereafter, add the onions in and saute until the onions are translucent. Add in the peppers and celery. Toss in a dash of pepper, some chilli powder and soya sauce to taste. Add in garlic chilli sauce over the mixture liberally. Mix well.
4. Now, pour approximately 1 cup of water (mixed with the chicken stock) into the mixture. Let the mixture boil and leave to simmer. Taste. Add in more pepper, soya sauce and garlic chilli sauce (if desired).
5. Place the chicken pieces into the mixture. Now, very carefully, add in a spoonful of the corn flour water and mix well. If required, add in another spoonful of the corn flour water (around 4 spoonfuls of corn flour water will be added if the measurements above are followed closely). Toss the mixture well. There you have your delicious Chilli Chicken dish. Enjoy!

Note: Instead of chicken fillet, use chicken thigh if you prefer the meat to be more tender.

Adding the corn flour water gives the mixture a starchy feel, which is usual in Chinese stir-fry dishes. Be careful not to add in the corn flour water too quickly or too liberally, else the sauce will be coagulated and you are left with a mess of chicken! Ideally, some sauce should be left behind.

Indian Style Macaroni

Spicy Macaroni - Adding an Indian touch to non-Indian cuisine.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course

Pasta Macaroni, 2 cups
Tomatoes, 3-4 medium (diced - medium sized cubes)
Tomato puree 3 tbsp
Onions, 1 1/2 medium (diced - medium sized cubes)
Ginger paste 1 tsp (very finely grated)
Garlic, 2 cloves (finely chopped - optional)
Chilli powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt (to taste)
Garam Masala 1 tsp
Cilantro (a couple of sprigs - for garnishing)
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Oil 2 tbsp

1. Boil water and cook pasta (adding oil and salt) until the pasta is al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Next, heat up the oil on low heat in a wok or pan. Fry the mustard seeds till they pop. Now add in the cumin seeds.
2. Add the onions to the mixture and fry till the onions turn translucent.
3. Add in the ginger paste, garlic (optional), turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala, chilli powder, salt and pepper. Saute for a while.
4. Throw the tomatoes in. Add more water if mixture is too dry at this juncture. Add in the tomato puree. Simmer for a while. Taste the mixture. Add in more garam masala, pepper, salt or chilli powder as desired (if required).
5. Mix in the cooked macaroni. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Note: You can use garlic chilli sauce instead of tomato puree. It will be slightly spicier with a hint of vinegar. Instead of tomato puree or any extra sauce for that matter, you can simply use more tomatoes (juice will seep from these tomatoes). If the mixture is too dry, sprinkle drops of water into the mixture.


Vegetarian option, yet tasty.

Monday 6 April 2009

Seasoned (Tadka) Dal (also spelt as Dahl/Daal/Dhal)

Nutritious and easy to cook dish that is the staple food in many Indian households.

PREP TIME 10 Min + 20 Min (soaking - but soak overnight if possible)
COOK TIME 30 Min (with a pressure cooker, longer if without)

Original recipe yield: Serves 2-3 with other complementary side dishes

Masoor Dal (Red beans)- 1/2th of a cup
Mung Dal (Yellow beans) - 1/2th of a cup
Water - 3 cups
Oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1 med., finely chopped
Turmeric Powder - 1/4th tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder - to taste
Salt - to taste

For Seasoning (Tadka):
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (also known as hing) - pinch
Curry Leaves - few (optional)
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
Green Chillis - to taste, slit
Lime Juice - to taste
Cilantro - Finely chopped for garnishing purpose

1. Combine all the dals, rinse with water at least 3-5 times. Soak for 20-30 minutes.

2. Drain out the water and put it in a pressure cooker.

3. Add water, salt into the pressure cooker. Cook the dals on medium heat and wait for the whistling (3 times). If you do not have a pressure cooker, you can use a saucepan instead, but you may have to cook for up to 30 minutes longer.

4. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat the oil on medium flame. Once the oil is hot, add in the turmeric powder and the asafoetida.

7. We can then add in the onions and a little salt thereafter and saute the onions till they turn translucent.

8. Once done, the dry powders such as cumin powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder can be added.

9. Roast the powders for approximately 10-15 seconds.

10. Stir the above mixture into the dals, check the salt and water consistency and allow it to boil for 4-5 minutes. At this stage you can add in more water if required, depending on the dal consistency you desire.

11. Pour in a serving dish and set aside.

12. For the tadka, take a small frying pan and heat up the oil on medium heat.

13. Once hot, add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop.

14. Add in cumin seeds, curry leaves (optional), green chillis, garlic, ginger and cook for a few minutes.

15. Top the dals with this tadka. Top further with lime juice and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

Note: I have replaced the usage of ghee with sunflower oil instead, which is a lower fat version.

Lime juice can be replaced with lemon juice.

Soaking the dals overnight is useful in helping to shorten the cooking time if you do not have a pressure cooker.


A healthy vegetarian dish which provides the requisite proteins required for a balanced diet.

Chinese Fried Rice (Chicken or Prawn - Spicy if desired)

This scrumptious Chinese Fried Rice, makes for an easy meal to prepare if you have some left over cooked rice. A quick yet tasty lunch or dinner!


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course

250 gms of chicken fillet
200gms of mixed vegetables (finely cubed corn, peas and carrots)
2 eggs
Cooked rice (from 1/2 cup of uncooked basmati rice or any other white rice)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 ginger, finely chopped
1 medium onion, diced
Pepper (finely grounded, not peppercorns)
Soya sauce
Cooking oil
Vinegar (if desired - optional)
Belachan to taste (if desired - optional)
Spring onions to taste (if desired - optional)

1. Firstly, cut the chicken fillet in smaller pieces(1 - 1.5 inches each). Sprinkle a dash of finely grounded pepper over the chicken pieces, then sprinkle a dash a salt. Mix the chicken well with the pepper and salt using your hands. Leave aside to marinate for a while (a quick marination of 10-15 mins or lesser will do).

2. Boil water in a pot. Throw the mixed vegetables in once the water boils. Once cooked, drain the water and leave aside.

3. Heat up the oil in the frying pan. Use around 2-3 tablespoons of oil at least. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the chicken pieces. Move them around with a frying stick. Once cooked, drain the oil and leave aside.

4. Leave a little bit of the oil in the frying pan (you are re-using the oil in step 3).

5. Add finely chopped ginger and garlic into the frying pan. Saute for a while (5-8 mins).

6. When the garlic is slightly browned, add in the diced onions. Saute till the onions are slightly transparent.

7. Add in the beaten eggs (in my case, it was 2 egg whites and 1/2 egg yolk as it's healthier and a low cholesterol option). Pour the eggs all over the onions, garlic and ginger (it looks like a nicely rounded omelette). Stir and break the egg mixture.

8. Once eggs are cooked, add a little bit of pepper and then salt.

9. Pour in the mixed vegetables. Add in a few drops of vinegar at this stage (less than a bottle cap - optional ). Add in soya sauce. Stir and mix well.

8. Add in the cooked chicken. Then add in the cooked rice. Mix well. Check the taste at this point.

9. Add in soya sauce for colour and more flavour if required.

10. If you want something spicy, add a little bit of belachan (or garlic chilli sauce - optional) and mix it up. You can also finish off with spring onions (optional) and mix it up.

There you have your Chinese Fried Rice ;)!

Note: When marinating the chicken pieces with pepper and salt, you can also sprinkle some corn floor and add two drops of egg (beaten). I did without the corn floor or the egg when I cooked my Chinese Fried Rice.

If you want a less oily dish, place the chicken pieces on a napkin to soak up the oil.

You can use prawns / shrimps instead of chicken when cooking your Chinese Fried Rice. The same steps can be applied by simply substituting chicken for prawns/shrimp.

Instead of mixing the belachan or garlic chilli sauce, just have the belachan or garlic chilli sauce served on the side.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Okra (Ladies Fingers/Bhindi) with Belachan

Belachan (shrimp paste) is a spicy and essential Asian flavour. Okra’s texture is excellent with belachan! Spicy and very satisfying served simply with hot steamed rice. An easy dish to prepare with a straightforward recipe.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2-3 with other complementary side dishes

12 ladies fingers or okra, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Taho brand belachan chilli (2 flat tbsps)
2 shallots, finely chopped

1. Firstly, heat up 1 tbsp cooking oil in a wok or pan. Saute the garlic slices until fragrant.
2. Add the onions and fry till the onions turn translucent.
3. Add the belacan. Stir-fry briskly. Add in the okra slices and about 4 tbsps water. Stir-fry till cooked. Serve hot with rice.

Note: Taho brand is sufficiently spicy - be sure not to be too generous with the belachan or you could end up making repeated trips to the toilet ;)! If you will like to make your own belachan you can do so - simply make the 2 tbsps belachan by instead pounding 1 tbsp belachan, dried red chillis and shallots with a mortar and pestle.

If you will like the okra softer (instead of crunchy), simply prepare thinner slices of okra so that they cook faster and get softer within a shorter time. For a less oily dish, simply add more water, close the wok with a lid and let the okra simmer to perfection.


Okra is considered to be a healthy food which is good at reducing sugar in the blood.