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Bitter gourd salad – raw and refreshing!

 

 

BITTERGOURD. Think of this vegetable and the first thought that comes to mind is its bitterness. Bitter gourd is believed to have many nutritive and medicinal values and great for detoxing. I have known that by consuming the bitter gourd juice regularly one can alleviate diabetes. Not sure about this. If any one have done this and have had improvement, kindly let me know.

 

There are a few types of bitter gourd.   Normally I use 2 types depending on what I want to use it for.  I have a daughter

who from a very young age loves bitter gourd, surprising me too as I am not fond of this vegetable.  I usually slice them very thinly and bake as chips for her to munch.   My whole family loves bitter gourd done this way.   I have grown to love this vegetable now.  So I am dedicating this dish/salad to my daughter who simply loves this vegetable!

 

About 1 year ago, I learnt from my cousin of another way of using up bitter gourd and it was a delight to eat, I was very surprised because she did not cook it. She made it into a salad. Guess what! This is a raw bitter gourd salad with the end result so refreshing and not at all bitter.

I have some bitter gourd plants at home so whenever there is one ready to be plucked, this salad will be made. It is that simple to make too.

This salad is a fabulous accompaniment to fish or any curry dish. It is enjoyable as an appetizer too.

If you panfry a fish or bake it, you can have this bitter gourd salad as a side dish as well.

So get going with a raw vegetable that is surprisingly not bitter as the name says!

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Sambal Belachan – So shiok!

Some years ago, I went to Janda Baik in Malaysia for a course on Awareness Before Change 

It was my Company that encouraged me to go for it. To go for this course was one of the best  decisions that I made – I should say. It changed my life, the way I think and what to do if I ever need to get what I want. I am not saying need. It is What I want!. I didn’t practise what I learnt because I don’t have any wants in life. If I had been the go getter probably I would be a multi millionaires now!

No! I was more intrigued by the lifestyle of the trainers, the Colonel and his beautiful petite wife and who they have become to be.

At Janda Baik, at lunch time, our long wooden table always carried a cane basket full of this winged beans which were plucked  from the garden or maybe from the jungle nearby.

I was not going to eat vegetables that were not cooked especially vegetables that I am not familiar with. But I was coersed by the Cooks that I should try as it is very good for health.  Decided to give a try and it was indeed very refreshing.  I was hooked!

Back in Singapore – I couldn’t find it for a long time. I wanted my girls to eat this vegetable because they enjoy raw food. And I got a friend to buy it at a local market. (now I can get it at the Kranji farm which has this organic vegetable and other varieties too). But to eat this raw one needs a sambal to go with it.

I notice most of our various cultures have some form of sambals/dips in the diet. Indians have their chutneys, pickles, Italians their various olive oil dips, Thais have their nam prik, nam pla and many more.

But I love a mean sambal belachan which can be eaten with raw vegetables, or stir fried or as an accompaniment to rice.

As a child in my grandma’s place in Bukit Timah, I have seen my Malay neighbours eating together as a group using one huge tray of food. They sit on the floor in a circle around the tray and enjoy their rice with boiled vegetables, sambal belachan and fried fish. It is a sight to behold. I remember allowing them into my grandma’s garden to pluck sweet potato leaves and tapioca and some other vegetables on a regular basis.

My grandma was a giver of food, just like my mum. I remember that almost daily, some people will come and ask for permission to pluck fruits and vegetables. We had plenty to eat and to give away too.

I remember too, when I was married and had my own place, there were just too many ladies fingers and brinjals in my backyard that I gave away daily. Sometimes I pack it and give to whoever I meet when I go for a walk or when I wanted to fetch my girls from school.

Somehow this habit of giving food has been instilled in me that I tend to cook more than necessary so that I can pack the leftovers for my guests to bring home too.

Now when I am teaching baking or cooking at my Potong Pasir Community Club, I also tend to cook extra and my student residents are just too happy to have more. And I do this teaching voluntarily too.   I remember my WEC Chairman, Ms Jenny Yong, telling me once when I initially started to teach about 5 ½ years ago, that we want happy residents.  I totally agree with her.

This joy of seeing others happy is just too great. Money definitely cannot buy that, right? (more…)

ROAST TURKEY – TANTALISING DINNER FEAST

christmas-30

 

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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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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winged bean mango salad

Winged Bean & Mango Salad

winged bean mango salad 1

 

I became interested in the winged bean when I was at a retreat in Malaysia in a place called Janda Baik. At this retreat, everything was organically grown and picked for lunch and dinner.

We were served a big basket of the winged beans with a condiment on the side. I saw my friends taking each bean, dunking it into the sauce and eating with relish and gusto! That was many moons ago!

But I have grown to like and enjoy this angled vegetable as it is eaten raw.

It is low calorie, and is a great source of vitamins such as folates and Vitamin C, as well as minerals. Surprisingly, it has proteins too.

Not many people know about the goodness of this vegetable and I thought to introduce you to this by making a salad.

You can eat it on its own or as a side dish to fish or chicken. It goes well with lamb biryani too.

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