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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

prawn briyani 2

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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Kuih Lopes

lopez 3

 

The main ingredient in this kuih (cake in the Malay language; pronounced: kway) is the glutinous rice.

It’s one of my favourite ingredients, but then I like it sweet and fragrant.  I am not keen on and I do not like savoury food items using glutinous rice. Many sweet glutinous rice recipes are serikaya, wajek, chendol, pulut inti, mango with glutinous rice and the list goes on (I will post the processes of making these in due course).

As the calorie content of these sweet delicacies can go sky high, I eat it moderately. Inevitably, most Malaysian kuihs are loaded with palm sugar and coconut, which make them really delectable and so divine.

 

lopez 1

 

One such kuih is kuih lopes (pronounced: lo-pez). Some years ago, my aunt, who is also a very good cook, visited me with a bouquet of kueh lopes. I always thought it is very difficult to do; my aunt told me otherwise.

I took the plunge to do it myself as I could not find a good-tasting lopes in the food shops. The preparation may be a little long, but once you plan the process of making it, it becomes doable and you get immense pleasure when eating it with friends. It is a good idea to do more as it can be shared with family and friends.

Most of us like to buy it, but when you do it yourself, you can be assured of good quality ingredients and hence a very best tasting kuih, which can be eaten for breakfast or as a dessert snack (for me it’s a breakfast/lunch/dinner and anytime snack too – oh oh!! – I can never resist kuih lopes).

 

lopez 2

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Simple Spinach Pilaf

spinach pilaf 3

 

Spinach is a green vegetable that I became very fond of ever since I watched Popeye as a little girl. Popeye gets extreme strength every time he eats a can of spinach. I was intrigued then and till today it is one of my favourite vegetables.

It is a favourite not because of Popeye, but rather because it is such a versatile vegetable. One can do so much using this as a main ingredient (I will add more spinach recipes along the way)! It also has much nutrition and one of the few vegetables that contains iron, It is also easily available in the local markets as well as supermarkets.

 

spinach pilaf 2
Spinach Pilaf pictured with Tauhu Sambal (recipe to feature soon on tummycalling!)

 

Some types of spinach can be eaten raw especially English spinach and salad spinach. Those are crisp and taste refreshing. The Indians love to use their spinach with cheese, lentils and even in some meat dishes as well. One popular Indian dish that sits on most North Indian restaurants’ menus is palak paneer (spinach cooked with Indian cheese).

What I have shown here is a rice dish cooked with spinach. I given it some richness by adding spices and almonds. It is suitable for vegetarians and it is a one pot meal. To make it wholesome, I usually serve with tauhu (beancurd) sambal or tauhu curry and a citrusy salad. It justs goes so well together.

Enjoy!

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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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Claypot Chicken Rice

claypot chicken rice

 

I have been making this one-dish rice recipe since my 2 girls were little. It is a complete dish with carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. I can play around with the ratio of each depending on who will be eating on that day.  For me, I love more vegetables so I add extra cabbage, bak choy or even spinach.

Always use a whole chicken, bones and all, as it makes the rice very tasty.  I have made this rice dish using different varieties of rice such as basmati, jasmine, brown etc. Each time, the dish tastes fabulous. A great dish for celebrating birthdays with the young ones!

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