Achar!


This is a traditional and wonderfully appetizing pickle commonly available in Singapore and Malaysia (though I sometimes see this in Indian food stalls too). Recipe is passed directly with love from Mum. As with all pickles, adjust the dressing according to taste. Do remember to always add the minimum amounts first, taste, and add more along the way. Keeps well in the refrigerator up to a week, although this has never sat in ours for more than 2 days!

Ingredients
2 cucumbers, deseeded
1 carrot, skinned
- cut the above into julienne, put into a large mixing bowl and rub with 3 tsp of salt. Then rinse the vegetables and drain dry before mixing in the rest of the vegetables.
1 turnip, skinned and julienne
3 large green chillies, deseeded & sliced
2 slices of ripe, sweet pineapple, cut into cubes
Dressing (taste before adding more to suit taste)
1.5-2.5 tbsp sea salt
3-4 tbsp white sugar
1/3-1/2 cup white vinegar (depending on how sour you like yours)
2 tbsp chilli powder
Garnish
3-4 tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
sprig of coriander (optional)

Drain dry all cut vegetables, put into large mixing bowl and add all dressing in its minimum amounts and mix well. Taste and gradually add more. During last few mix, add in chopped peanuts, top with coriander (optional) and serve. Can be served chilled as well.

3-step Tofu


Mum said this was one of grandpa’s favourite dish, and she loved making it for him because it’s so easy. Besides being so nutritious and full of proteins, I believe it’s the simplest tofu recipe ever. I mean EVER! Don’t you not believe it!

I’ll show you! I’ll show you all!!

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
2 packets of silken tofu, drained of excess water
3 tbs of chopped spring onions
3 tbs of fried shallots
3-4 tbs of dark soya sauce
2 tbs of light soya sauce
1 tbs of oyster sauce (optional)
dash of sesame oil & white ground pepper
a sprig or 2 of Chinese parsley (optional)

Cut tofu into smaller cubes, or not, if you can’t be bother.

Add the sesame oil.

Steam for 5 minutes. Remove from wok and immediately drizzle all the condiments on the tofu. Lastly add all the greens and fried shallots over it.

I took more time posting this than actually making the tofu dish. It’s that fast and simple!

The Cheapest Healthy Dish Ever!


I know many Asian families have their own hand-me-down methods of making this dirt cheap vegetable dish. Bean sprouts are available in most markets / supermarkets and are so cheap its ridiculous. The above sprouts dish costed me a whopping S$1.10 (approximately USD0.75).

While it is a widely consumed veggie, not many people realise how richly nutrient-fied it is, probably due to its humble appearance. Half a cup of raw, uncooked bean sprouts contains 1.2g of dietary fibre, 31.5 mcg of folic acid and 7mg of vitamin C. Folic acid is especially important for expecting mums as it’s deficiency is linked to cleft palates and neural tube defects.

Ingredients
2 large handfuls of fresh, crispy beansprouts, washed
1 piece of firm tofu, cubed
handful of sweet peas
1 tbsp of garlic, minced
3 tbsp of sesame oil
1-2 tbsp of oyster sauce (depending on preference)
pinch of sea salt to taste

Heat sesame oil in a wok or pan. Fry tofu on all sides, then remove from pan. (*life saving tip: always pat dry tofu with kitchen towels to prevent splattering).

With the pan still heated, brown the garlic and throw in the peas and add oyster sauce. Throw in the beansprouts and give it a quick stir, adding some sea salt if you like. Quickly remove from heat to prevent overcooking.

Always remember that overcooking veggies is a criminal offense!

And there you have it. The cheapest healthy food you can get.

PS: I’d love to hear from you your favourite variation of this wonderful veg. Please!

It’s a wrap!

If you love Thai/Laotian food and vegetables, you’ll find a little piece of healthy heaven in this one. I used fresh lettuce for this but you can also use “rice paper”, which are essentially spring roll skins made with rice flour.
Prepare the following vegetables and plain rice noodles.

Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing fish sauce, lime juice, chopped chillies, minced garlic, coriander, sugar, water and chopped peanuts.

Wash the lettuce without breaking it. You need a whole piece like this.

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One Eye Man

Before I met the legendary D-man, I hated herbal tea and anything to do with herbal anything. My impression of herbal teas and the likes was that it was always nasty, unbelievably bitter and vomit inducing.

Then D-man introduced me to the One Eye Man years ago. I was feeling unwell with a sore throat and a fever lurking behind waiting to pounce on poor old me.  No, the One Eye Man is not a doctor (even though I can’t be sure because he is ancient), nor is he a pirate or a dark wizard.

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Butter fingers

I was at the supermarket earlier to grab some soy milk when I turned to see butter further down the aisle. Remembering that I need to get some bread spread 2 weeks ago (try saying bread spread quickly for 20 times) I dragged my basket over, gave a quick glance and froze. There were more than 20 different types of spreads, ranging from canola, sunflower, olive and vegetable oil. Then there were the ones that are a mix of different vegetable oils, some with  more polyunsaturated oils, some were monounsaturated oils, others were lactose free and don’t even get me started on the ones that taste, smells and look like butter but are not.

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