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AVOCADO SHAKE

AVOCADO SHAKE

 

The first time I had avocado was in Jakarta many years ago. I had gone on a 7 day cruise in Leisure World (Now this ship is no more) with a friend, Ms Mandy and she introduced the avocado as a miracle fruit. And this fruit was made into a shake which can be found in many cafes. street corners as well as restaurants in Jakarta. Her favourite way of saying something so shiok is “Shokudu”   Sometimes I  use this word when something is so out of this world in taste.

Yes I agree with her so much that this avocado shake is so shokudu in taste especially when gula Melaka (palm sugar) is added.

Back in Singapore then, hardly  could I find avocado except in specialty fruit shops and later the avocado shake was in the menu in Sanur Indonesian restaurant at Centrepoint, Orchard Road, Singapore. They used to make a fantastic avocado shake. Now somehow this drink has been so commercialized and I guess the ingredients are not authentic.

Now practically all kinds of fruit is available all year round due to imports from various countries.   We are very lucky too because I have seen the prices are sometimes much lower than the countries they have been imported from – could be due to economies of scale.

Avocado itself is so versatile. It grows in many countries. The common ones we find here are from South America, USA, Australia , Vietnam, and Indonesia. I have tried Sri Lankan varieties. They are much smaller but the Thai and Vietnamese variety tend to be the size of our palm. In Asian countries it is known as butter fruit. This is quite a suitable name because you can substitute mashed avocado for butter in your toast. Sometimes I sprinkle demerara sugar on my toast or even spread honey with it.  Because of its bland taste and the creaminess, butter can be substituted with avocado puree in cakes. I have tried some cakes and it did turn out well. So you can eat more cake as it contains no butter which is all fat. No need to feel guilty after eating cake!  I have done pancakes and waffles with avocado.  Do find time to check them out  in my blog.  Extremely delicious.

In my home, avocados sit on my fruit basket. Used daily for breakfast, shake and many times in salads.  I also make a Mexican dip known as guacomole.

As in most fruits, avocados ripen best off the tree. But here in Singapore I haven’t seen that so you’ll find that a lot of them are unripe when you shop. Choose avocados that feel heavy. The skin should be dark, with a hint of green, and taut, with no dents.

If a little ripe, when you hold an avocado, it will give a little give.

If avocados at the market are green and unripe, you can ripen them at home. Put them in a brown paper bag out of direct sunlight. Within three days they’ll be ripe and ready to eat. Press the skin gently. It will be tender but not too soft.

 

As for the shake you may put all the ingredients and blend and pour it into a glass, or if you want restaurant style, then the ingredients can be layered to make it so inviting. Of course you can stir and not stir too much to avoid too much of a certain ingredient.

Some may not like too much sweetness or too much coconut cream. And this can be decided if the shake is layered accordingly. For me I prefer to mix all and drink it chilled or slurp it slowly so as to maximize the joy of tasting my favourite fruit shake.

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AVOCADO WAFFLES - A BREAKFAST TREAT

Avocado Waffles

BREAKFAST. We need breakfast daily. Not simply bread and toast all the time, or our favorite local prata, nasi lemak, chee cheong fun, etc. Once in a while make it special and different.

Lately I am experimenting with different types of whole grain and nutritive flours. I did the following breakfast on a Sunday morning which I know my family members will enjoy.

It is so simple once you have your ingredients on hand.

Avocados are always in my house, it is a staple for my daughter who eats it daily with one of her meals at least.

I told her I will make avocado pancakes the night before, but decided to do waffles instead.

At first I thought the buckwheat flour will not marry with the avocado well but I tell you, it happened to be a good combination. If you like buckwheat and avocado then please go ahead and make it because it gives a satisfying and fulfilling breakfast without the feeling of “Oh dear too much of a flour meal first thing in the morning”

The waffles were perfectly cooked, crisp on the outside and soft inside.

I gather this can be an all day breakfast meal if you include a piece of roast chicken or ham etc. Include a green salad and it becomes lunch or dinner.

That’s what I did with leftover batter. So enjoy a different kind of meal for a change, albeit a nutritious clean meal!

 

Avocado waffles

INGREDIENTS

1 cup self raising flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 avocados

 

METHOD

Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend to a batter . It is alright to have some lumpy avocado.

Heat a waffle iron, brush with butter.

Pour half a cup of batter into the waffle iron and cook till desired crispness or softness is reached.

Serve with maple syrup, strawberries or blueberries and sunny side eggs.

Notes:

You may replace oil with any other preferred oil or melted butter.

You may use half cup self raising flour and 1 ½ cups buckwheat flour.

As this is not a cake recipe, you don’t need to be exact in the measurements.

Please reduce the salt if desired.

Use ripe avocadoes if possible and if you use another 1 more avocado, you don’t need the eggs.

You can make pancakes if you do not have a waffle iron. Add half a cup of water to dilute the batter if necessary.

 

ROAST TURKEY – TANTALISING DINNER FEAST

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Christmas and the  New Year  comes once a year and turkey is also allowed once a year into my house!

Usually we will have a formal sit down dinner. When my daughters were younger I used to put up a Christmas tree and they will decorate it with ornaments and wrap up the presents. Now my girls assist me with some of their favourite dishes. My elder daughter loves pate and makes it excellently. So it will be part of the first course.

Many friends have told me they don’t like turkey because it is dry and tasteless.

So I have decided to give a Christmas/New year  feast menu  and to roast a turkey which is moist and full of flavour.

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TOFU PANIYAARAM – A VILLAGE TREAT

tofu-paniyaaram-2

I tend to cook with whatever I have in my pantry or fridge.  So if friends drop by I will just do a quick snack, and this is one of them.

Tasty, easy and savoury!

If there are some vegetarians in the group, then I omit all meat/egg etc and make it totally vegetarian for all to enjoy.

I vaguely remember my mum making these but she had chopped long beans and some salted whitebaits in her paniyaaram.  Her vegetarian ones had cooked dhall (lentils) and vegetables.

If you are wondering what  paniyaaram is,  this is a tamil word for a food made of small balls of batter either fried or steamed.

Again there are so many versions, variations, sweet and savoury and all equally delicious.

My favourite is the Milk paniyaaram which I ate for the first time in a remote village in South India when I visited India as a tourist some 20 years ago.

The lady villager was so hospitable and refused to let me  go until I ate her milk paniyaaram and drank a cup of Indian coffee. I remember her serving me with a baby on her hips and with a wide smile on her face. This meal has been very  memorable for me, sometimes when I recollect, I think I can taste it again.   It was so so delicious. So it only shows that a  simple dish can be unforgettable till today. I will post her recipe sometime later.
Coming back to the paniyaaram, it is called  thus because you need a paniyaaram pan, it is similar to the Japanese takoyaki pan. Or for Malaysians similar to the older version of the Kueh bahulu pan.  The fried balls will retain a circular shape if using the paniyaaram pan.

takoyoki-pan

Japanese  Takoyoki panpaniyaaram-pan

Indian paniyaaram pan

 

If this pan is unavailable, don’t worry too much, just use any pan that you have which can be used to fry small balls of dough.  Use 2 spoons to form a ball and put it into the hot oil gently to fry.

Enjoy this simple recipe, my dear friends.  Do comment and subscribe so that you can receive all my recipes. (more…)

SO VERY REFRESHING…….

Still on Vietnamese food,  this is  another  favourite dish of mine and my family loves it too.  It is wholesome, fresh and so very easy once you prepare the ingredients.

It is a way of eating fresh vegetables in a palatable manner and it is  good for communal eating and sharing .  I like to do this for a party as it can be prepared in advance and not much cooking is required.

Besides it is great for hot summer days as it is so very refreshing.

I taught this dish in my cooking class recently and everyone raved about the simplicity of the fresh ingredients and the delicious sauce that came with it.  It was also deemed to be so easy to do by everyone.  So give it a try, my friends!

This sauce recipe is so very special as it came from a Australian friend  who knew this Vietnamese lady who whipped up this sauce.   I simply love this sauce.  I make more than enough each time and use it for other dishes as accompaniment.  The most easiest way is to pour this sauce onto Chinese rice rolls – chee cheong fun.  Simply divine!

vietnam rolls 1

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Prawn Briyani

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I simply love to cook and eat briyani.  Once I told my close buddy that I can eat it every day and she gave me a startled look! I guess she was worried about all the calories in a plate of briyani!

I have to agree with her if it is not made by me.  There’s every reason to make a   briyani which can be nutritious with lower calories and most importantly not compromising on the taste.

The spices that I have used give a beautiful and heavenly aroma to the dish and of course adding lots of nutritious properties.

Briyani itself is a one-pot dish and can be very easy if you follow my steps to do it.

Briyani was introduced to India by the Persians and in India alone there must be hundreds of versions of briyani!

Every part of India has its own version. And yet you have the middle-eastern, African, Egyptian and south east Asian versions as well.  I ate the Egyptian goat briyani when I was there about 15 years ago.  I was invited by the chef into their huge kitchen and I was surprised to see huge pots being used as it is eaten everyday by many of their men.  1 goat can get into 1 pot! So imagine that!  The ladies do the bread – and I remember that I had some practice to make their flat bread in their charcoal stone ovens.  More of this later – please look out in my future posts.

Even in homes, each will have their own version of briyani.

I must say I have eaten briyani in most Indian restaurants in Singapore, and when I go overseas, always ordering briyani if it is in their menu.  Sadly yet to find the briyani that I want to eat again and again!

The best compliment came from a friend who lives in Melbourne (his family are all in Middle East and his wife is a fantastic cook).   He said the briyani that I cooked that day was the best he had eaten in all his life! I was very happy not because of the compliment but I could see his joy of happiness on his face. That was enough for me to cook for people who enjoy my food!

The Rice is the most important and is actually the hero ingredient.  Using Basmati rice gives a beautiful aroma, and its fluffy texture once it is cooked.  By the way in Sanskrit, Basmati means fragrance.

Today I have cooked Prawn Briyani .  It is slightly spicy – you can always increase or decrease the degree of spiciness.

My family members and I kept going for seconds and thirds as it was really flavourful and rather tasty.  So let’s start cooking or in my case continue eating!!

prawn briyani 1

 

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Mushroom and Vegetable Curry

mushroomvegcurry 1

 

I do love simple vegetarian food,  I cook lots of vegetarian dishes almost daily and have a wide repertoire of recipes.  And each time I cook, it becomes a new dish as I tend to modify or add some new ingredient.

This  vegetarian dish is so simple, interestingly tasty and can be eaten on its own with a glass of wine.   Yes, I didn’t make a mistake here…..

This dish was cooked on a  day when I returned from a trip and I couldn’t bear to go out and eat lunch.  So looking at what I had in my pantry, came up with this dish.   As I didn’t feel like eating rice, I made prata to go with this vegetable dish.

I am not into mushrooms as in itself they taste very bland even though mushrooms can be meaty.   This adds a new dimension to simple potatoes and carrots to create the meatiness in a vegetarian dish.

I used Indian spices as the vegetables need to be cooked for  a little longer than other greens. So the spices tend to gel very well with the longer cooking time, thus giving a lovely curry.

As I said earlier, this dish can be eaten on its own or with any bread,  chappati, or prata.

It is a good accompaniment to rice with some soup or other gravy.

Once in a while it is a nice change to eat simple food.  So try this out and one might not miss any meat!

 

mushroomvegcurry 2

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Bulgur Wheat Payasam

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This is definitely one of my all-time quick payasams (payasam is creamy sweet porridge in the Tamil language). It is a go-to comfort food for me. It is very tasty, easy to make and needs very few ingredients. It is also versatile and you can add lots of dried fruits and nuts as well to make it a very nutritious food.

Bulgur wheat is a quick-cooking whole wheat grain which has been parboiled. It is nutritious and has a very pleasant nut-like flavour. This grain can be used as a substitute for rice, couscous or quinoa. Most middle eastern recipes use this wheat. One famous recipe is tabbouleh.

 

payasam 2
Bulgur wheat 

 

The recipe below serves 3 people or 4 small eaters.

I have given 2 methods of cooking, one on a normal stove and another for a faster method – the microwave. Both methods are very tasty. Try both methods and let me know which method you prefer!

 

payasam 4

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Tauhu Sambal

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There are many times when I prefer to eat non-meat meals at home. Inevitably it will be legumes. One such bean is the soya bean and when it is transformed to tauhu (beancurd) – it tastes wonderful.

Tauhu on its own is bland, it is nicer deep fried or added to curries and sambals.

 

tauhu sambal 1

 

The Chinese love their tauhu, so do the Malays, the Indians have their paneer (indian cheese) as the substitute but then tauhu is so readily available in the supermarkets and is also very economical.

Many people I know love tauhu sambal, it’s my family’s favourite too, hence this simple version. I have made it with very little oil. It is also a protein rich dish and can be eaten with my spinach pilaf, or just plain rice and chappati. The ground paste can be made ahead. It also freezes well.   Once you have the ground paste ready, you could make this dish in 15 to 20 minutes. So no excuse to say no time to cook!

 

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Tauhu sambal, pictured with spinach pilaf (recipe for which is on the blog)

 

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Olive Samba Rice

olive samba rice

 

This recipe was born because I wanted to use up a bottle of green olives that I had bought earlier.

Samba rice is a variety of rice from Sri Lanka and some parts of South India. There are several varieties of samba and it comes in red or the usual white rice. I suppose the red ones are unhulled and that accounts for the red colour. Samba rice can be identified from its oval shape and it is usually short-grain. It is very filling and a little corn-tasting and not so fluffy as the Thai rice.

 

olive samba rice 3

olive samba rice 4

 

But then I like to add fibre to my cooking and surely samba rice fits the bill. I use samba rice for many recipes such as Dosa, (Indian pancakes served for breakfast) and for many kinds of flavoured rice where the cooked rice needs to be grainy in texture.

I must mention that as much as I do healthy dishes, I also love to eat totally devilish and full-of-butter desserts (more of this later)!

My olive samba rice is an easy one pot meal which can be eaten on its own or you may add a salad or a protein side dish. When I made this, I added a simple salad and my Spinach & Chicken Meatballs.

It is a nice dish to bring on a picnic as it can be eaten hot or cold. So enjoy and I suggest to read my notes below before attempting the recipe.

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