Gado Gado ( Indonesian salad with peanut dressing )

Salad is universal. In Chinese cuisine, we have 凉拌菜(liang ban cai ) which are basically cold dishes . I remember my days in Shanghai , the fresh cucumbers with vinegar and garlic. Such a simple dish yet always so yummy. Or the thinly sliced tofu with century eggs and a dash of soya sauce and sesame oil topped with loads of green onions. So when my Dad brought back a few packets of Gado Gado sauce from Indonesia , I knew what I had to make. Gado Gado is an Indonesian dish with boiled vegetables and eggs mixed into a sweet peanut sauce with spices. It is absolutely delicious and just as healthy as any other salad. I deviated from the normal recipe and just included vegetables I like.

INGREDIENTS

1 head cabbage ( medium-sized , chopped roughly )
2 slices of tau kwah ( hard beancurd , sliced )
1 cup Chinese long beans ( cut into small pieces of about 2.5cm )
10 quail eggs (boiled and shelled) 
1.5 cups bean sprouts 
1 cucumber ( sliced )
1 packet Gado Gado sauce
1 pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Add a pinch of salt to a pot of water and bring it to boil

2) Blanch the cabbage , bean sprouts and Chinese long beans separately 

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3) Arrange the tau kwah on a lined baking pan ( do coat the baking paper with a little olive oil before putting on the tau kwah )

4 ) Bake it at around 150 degrees for 15 minutes before flipping all pieces over and baking it for another 15 minutes

5) Add some hot water into the Gado Gado sauce to soften it such that it becomes a paste

6) Place all ingredients in separate bowls and prepare for serving

I prefer to place all ingredients in separate bowls so that each person can customise their own salad. But it’s really up to you and you can place all ingredients in a bowl with the sauce and mix it up. 

Confession : I left out the crackers that was later added to the salad. But honestly, the prawn crackers really tastes awesome with the peanut sauce.

Curried cauliflower

I found some amazing sambal belachan in my fridge and decided to do something with it. I considered the options of nasi lemak, stir frying or making fried rice. But they all seemed to greasy and filling so I settled on this light cauliflower recipe which will serve as a perfect side with a taste of Singapore.

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INGREDIENTS

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sambal belachan
Loads of garlic powder

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Cut the cauliflower into florets

2) Mix the other ingredients together in large bowl

3) Mix the cauliflower into the bowl and ensure that each floret is evenly coated

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4 ) Baked it in the oven at 150 degrees for 40 minutes. ( Give it a stir midway through to ensure that the cauliflower is evenly baked )

Brown sugar cinnamon nut mix

Craving for a snack between meals is something which almost everyone experiences. Maybe its completely psychological or I am really working hard , I always yearn to snack more during work. Considering my mission to embark on a healthy lifestyle, I tried to fulfil this need with fruits. But my body craved for more so I embarked on a mission to search for healthy alternatives. I love the combination of brown sugar and cinnamon especially on warm and fluffy cinnamon rolls. I worked around this perfect combination and created a healthy yummy snack that I definitely feel good about when snacking.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 sunflower seeds

1/2 egg white

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

 

INSTRUCTIONS

C360_2014-07-27-22-18-53-7201) Whip egg white till frothy. Add to nuts then add the cinnamon and salt

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2) Bake at 140 degrees for 60 minutes ( 20 minutes interval ), mixing the nuts during the intervals.

Quinoa chowder

It’s been a great week at work for me. I got recognised for my work and had sufficient things to keep me occupied. But I still feel a little empty inside.Especially with the recent string of aviation accidents and a family death. I feel much more about the vulnerability of life and how every moment counts. It is so weird how one minute you might be with someone yet they are gone the next. Recovering from the death of a loved one is never easy. Every time I pass her area , my mind drift towards her unknowingly. My grandma was almost immortal to me that her death never felt real. So cooking is now a time for me to heal and take my thoughts away from everything else. And I decided to make soup because soup always calms my soul.

Modified from recipe by pickyeaterblog

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained  
1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 small shallots, chopped
2 cups broth ( chicken or vegetable )
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
Lemon wedges
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Heat the oil in a pot and add in the corn, green peas and shallots. Sauté till the shallots are translucent

2) Add broth and soymilk to the pot and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and all spices . Reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer 10 minutes.

3) Ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with lemon wedges (squeeze a little bit lemon juice before eating and it really gives it an extra kick).

Lentils & chickpeas patties

I never got the huge fuss over gluten-free food till I met people who suffered from gluten allergy. The pains of not being able to indulge in simple pleasures such a slice of bread or cake for dessert. So its newfound hobby to google gluten-free recipes and understanding how we can work around these constraints and undo the impossible. This lentils & chickpeas patties recipes is not only gluten-free but also vegan. So I am guessing that’s a double kill. 

Adapted from recipe by Cookieandkate

INGREDIENTS

Patty ( makes around 7 patties )

1 carrot, peeled and grated
½ medium yellow onion , finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups steamed green lentils
½ cup cooked chickpeas
2 eggs
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Flour for dusting

Avocado dressing

1 medium avocado, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small roma tomato, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
4 tablespoons EVOO

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Pat dry the chickpeas between two kitchen towels. Add the chickpeas , green lentil , eggs, oats , garlic, spices , salt and pepper to the food processer. Pulse till all ingredients are mixed well into a paste.

2) Stir in the grated carrots and onion 

3) On a dusted surface, form 7 equally sized patties and dusting it evenly on both sides

4) Heat up on tablespoon of EVOO in a pan and lightly pan fry the patties till browned on both sides

5) Set the cooked patties aside and start working on the dressing

6) Mix all ingredients together and that’s as easy as the dressing could get

7) Serve the patties with a spoonful of goodness on it

These patties can be enjoyed on its own on between some rice cakes or gluten-free bread.

Healthy Tandoori Chicken

I have always thought that Indian food was hard to recreate given the amount of spices required. So even though I love Indian food , I have never attempted to cook it. Perhaps its the unfamiliarity with the spices that made me fear failure. However, my recent trip to Little India along Serangoon Road made me change my perspective. Was it the people or was it the fresh good ingredients I saw ? Frankly, I do not recall much of it. But all I know is that I was determined to try cooking Indian food . So for my first attempt, I decided to make Tandoori Chicken paired with some pre-made Dhal and chickpeas in sauce. It was glorious. So my advice is to venture into the unknown and you might just realise something new about yourself.

 

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons grated onions
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
2 garlic cloves , finely minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 large chicken breast

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Mix all items except the chicken breast together in a ziplock bag

2) Place the chicken breast in the bag and ensure that it is fully coated

3) Leave it in the fridge overnight

4) Bake the chicken breast in the oven for 23 minutes at 170 degrees

5) Enjoy it with steamed white rice

Spicy broccoli salad

Did you know that broccoli is actually part of the cabbage family ? Though it looks nothing like its cousins , it is just as delicious and healthy. In fact, broccoli is full of vitamin A & C and it is also perfect for salads as it does not turn mushy easily. Most people eat only the green flowered parts of the plant and throw away the stem. But I actually find the stem really delicious too. Besides its just a waste of good food to throw it away. Simply peel of the outer layer and cut the green flesh into small pieces before stir frying or blanching. 

Adapted from recipe by Maangchi

INGREDIENTS

1 head of broccoli
2 tablespoon of EVOO
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of red chilli flakes
1 garlic cloved, finely minced 
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar

 

INSTRUCTIONS

1) Cut the broccoli into florets 
2) Pour the washed florets into a pot of boiling water and leave it for around 3 minutes
3) Drain the water and run the cooked broccoli under cold water
4) Mix all other ingredients in a bowl
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5) Mix the cooked broccoli with the sauce. Refrigerate the salad for an hour before serving