Archive for the ‘Indian’ Category

Honestly speaking, I had always associated a vegan being Buddhist. Call me ignorant, but you will forgive me after reading the next paragraph *wink*

My first exposure of a full-fledged vegan meal was when I did not know I had a vegan meal at all! How ironic was that? Then again, it was eons ago. I was a little girl sitting at a big round table, surrounded by adults I could vaguely recollect their faces except for my late Dad and an aunt or two and an adopted cousin and her biological family. Everyone was speaking Henghua, and Mandarin and a smattering of Hokkien and Malay. I remembered eating a cold plate as starter and mains consisting of lo han chai, braised mushrooms with broccoli, yam basket with pieces of ‘meat’, slices of ‘meat’ in orange sauce that tasted like duck meat, whole fish with edible bones. All the dishes were intricately and artistically presented. I was not a good eater when I was a young girl growing up, but I remembered those dishes were simply sublime. Although the tastes seemed quite linear throughout, the textures were rather interesting: chewy, meaty, spongy, sweet, savoury, tangy, tasty; and yet there were no real meats, only mock meats! Yup, that was my first intro to a vegan meal, prepared for a group of people who were mostly Buddhist at the time.

>> Fast forward anno 2013, Belgium >>

On 5th June, 2013, the United Nations celebrated World Environment Day (WED). The company where I work, co-celebrated the year’s theme “Think. Eat. Save”.  A colleague who is a vegan was the best ambassador to present that year’s theme at one of the meetings.

And guess what? I was not being introduced, but more so, re-introduced to yet another full-fledged vegan lunch, albeit on a different level! I must say the vegan burger was a surprise discovery. I have written a post about it, here.

In case you are wondering, nope, my colleague is NOT a Buddhist. She became a vegan due to both dietary and ethical reasons.

Vegan is the New Black!

This phrase is inspired by the opening title of Netflix’s hit show Orange is the New Black. While the 2nd part of the phrase, “the new black” is very common in pop culture, the first part of the phrase, “Vegan”, is the suddenly trendy thing that is happening of late. If you don’t already know, being vegan is not at all a new thing. It was founded in 1944 !!

Loving the Loving Hut

Ever since I had my first bite of that vegan burger, I was on the lookout for that restaurant in Leuven. Loving Hut is a vegan restaurant chain with several outlets worldwide. I’m glad Leuven is one of them! I have brought my younger son there with me on several occasions and he likes the food there, so much so, that it becomes a domino effect. In turn he brought his friends to lunch there, too.

Here’re what I had with my son during one of our visits to Loving Hut. All organic and vegan burgers with vegan “bitterballen” and “calamares”


My favourite remains the refreshingly colourful and tasty, neptunus salad.

Oh by the way, it was at Loving Hut that I got to know of Dr RM, a Kerala born doctor in Ayurveda and yoga therapy. Although I have never been to any of her yoga classes, I have enjoyed a good Ayurvedic full body massage from her.

During one of the massage sessions with Dr RM, she mentioned about giving an Ayurvedic Vegan workshop (yes, she called it a workshop) when the weather was warmer. She sounded extremely enthusiastic about it and even sharing her plan with me. Lucky for her, I’m a good listener 🙂

And doubly lucky for her, I told her to count me in when the workshop day arrived, as I was game – for the food, in particular. Lol!

Workshop Day

28th May arrived. It was a lovely sunny day. I drove to Dr RM’s house where the workshop was. It was my first Vegan workshop, hence, I had not the clue what to expect.

Although I have been to Dr RM’s house on several occasions for the Ayurvedic massage, I have never been into her living room, let alone, her kitchen. It felt like walking into another dimension with our bare feet et al. The living room was unadorned and pure minimalistic, definitely not in a negative sense.

Yoga Before Vegan

We were a small group of 4 participants. Dr RM gave a brief explanation of yoga after which she recited a simple mantra to anchor our attention to our breathing while the calming and Zen meditation music was playing.


We “woke up” with a pleasant serving of aromatic mug of freshly brewed warm Ayurvedic chai. We were in comfort zone, literally speaking.

Ready? Steady…. Cook!

For the next 2 hours or so, I took down mental notes of the vegan cooking process through the photos I captured from my iPhone.

My challenge? To replicate the Vegan lunch in the comfort of my own kitchen *wink*

Okay, just let your imagination run wild with you, with the following photos…

It was supposed to be an interactive cooking workshop but due to time constraint, it ended up with Dr RM preparing and cooking all the dishes herself!

She whipped up 4 vegan recipes while explaining the choice of ingredients used – Ayurvedic mung bean soup, Ayurvedic Chapatis or Rotis, Ayurvedic chutney and kheer or rice pudding with saffron, cardamom and cashew nuts.

What a Feast!

It was worth the wait. A simple, unadulterated vegan meal that’s fresher than FRESH! Couldn’t get any fresher than that.

What more can I say!

My Challenge…

After seeing Dr RM toiling away with the mixing, stirring, kneading and cooking, I thought, “nah, too time consuming!“, so I opted for the extreme alternative.

Yup, I turned to my Thermie for help 😉

With the mental notes in my head, I converted the drudgery of preparing the Ayurvedic vegan lunch into an expeditious culinary journey in the comfort of my own kitchen.

Vegan Sunday with a Twist

My Ayurvedic Chapatis

  • 1 kg potatoes (I used “Jazzy” creamy potatoes)
  • 750 g organic wheat “atta” flour (I used organic spelt flour plus extra for kneading)
  • 1.5 tsp nigella seeds
  • 40g chopped fresh coriander
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

I boiled the potatoes (skin on) as per the BCB and peeled the skin when still warm but not hot. Then I set them aside to cool before mashing the potatoes to the texture I wanted. Then I added the flour bit by bit, nigella seeds, 1 Tbsp coconut oil and salt. I mixed the mixture until a dough is formed. I turned the dial to “knead” for 2 minutes, and added 1 Tbsp coconut oil if too dry, or more flour if still wet. The key here is trial and error and stop when you are happy with the consistency you want.

Next, I tipped the dough onto a floured bowl and leave the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes. After half an hour, I kneaded the dough again by hand on floured surface. For the amount of dough mixture, I was able to make 25 equal-sized balls. I flattened each ball with a floured rolling pin and rolled each ball into disc.

I used two green pans to speed the roti making process. Each pan was pre-heated and drizzled with a tiny bit of coconut oil on medium high heat. The Chapatis were cooked when they puffed in the centre. I just flipped the roti over to cook on both sides until little brown specks became visible. As you can see, my rotis were not of uniform sizes and form. I like it that way as it looked more home-style 😀

My Ayurvedic Chutney

  • 180 g raisins secs
  • 180 g raisins blanc
  • 200 g x 2 dates
  • A palmful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt

I soaked the raisins and dates in water overnight. With the amount of raisins and dates (water removed) and mint I dumped in the TM bowl, I made sure not to go above speed 5 to avoid the TM blades from getting stuck. You can continue by using a wooden spatula to free the area around the blades. Continue blending until you reached the desired texture. I prefer my chutney with a bit of texture.

For smoother puréed-like texture, blend in smaller batches.

Dates and raisins are sweet, so you know the drill. Pep it up with some freshly milled Himalayan rock salt and cayenne or paprika powder. Et voilà!

My Ayurvedic Soup

  • 400 g split mung beans
  • 1,500 g water plus 500 g water
  • 5 g turmeric powder
  • 5 g garlic (sorry, I can’t go without this herb!)
  • 80 g onion (ditto)
  • Ginger
  • Lemon juice from half a lemon
  • Himalayan rock salt, to taste
  • 25 g Coconut oil


  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Roughly chopped Spinach leaves
  • Coconut oil


  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • Crispy fried onions (optional)

Wash the mung beans in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Soak the mung beans for at least 4 hours or overnight

Mince the garlic, onion and ginger upto speed 5 for 3 seconds. Add coconut oil and sauté with turmeric powder for 3mins/ 120 C/ speed 1.

From the overnight-soaked mung beans, weigh 500g of the soaked beans and transfer to the TM bowl. Add 1,500g water. Cook for 20 mins/ 120 C/ R/ Spoon/ Half MC

After 10 minutes, watch out for the foams floating on the surface. Pause and remove the frothy surface. Reduce the temperature to 100C/ Half MC. Cook further until the mung beans are soft and tender. Transfer the soup to a bigger soup pot. Add 500 g water. Boil for another 5 minutes.

And of course, season to taste!

Prepare the tempering by heating some coconut oil and mustard seeds in a frying pan. As soon as the seeds start popping, add the cumin seeds and roughly chopped spinach leaves. Gently pour the tempered ingredients into the soup. Season to taste before serving. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and crispy fried onions (optional)

Our Vegan Lunch was ready to serve!

My Verdict?

I loved Dr RM’s Chapatis. Her rotis puffed up beautifully in the centre. She used plain wheat flour while I used organic Spelt flour. That could be the reason why my rotis did not puff too much and a bit more dense, too. The mixing and kneading in the TM were a breeze but it was the rolling out of the dough into discs and the waiting time to get the rotis cooked went by at annoying snail speed. With my boys popping in and out of the kitchen and incessantly asking “is the food ready yet?” didn’t help one bit at all 😦

I loved my Ayurvedic soup the most. Could it be the un-vegan ingredients of minced garlic, onion and crispy fried shallots that made the world of difference? That’s the Twist, I meant 😉

The guys in my household are not fan of beans and lentils, but surprisingly, they liked the soup.

To be honest, Dr RM’s soup was very bland. It could do with some pinches of extra salt but we were all too ravenous, and gulped all the soup down. Lol!

Our Ayurvedic chutneys were on par. Hers was extremely smooth, more like purée and mine was more relish-y. I prefer my chutney with some texture, hence by not pulsing on high speed for too long was, for me, perfect. If you’re wondering if the chutney was too sweet because of the dates, well, it was on the sweet side but not overly sweet due to the overnight soaking. The slight tartness from the raisins and the cool and refreshing mint, Himalayan salt and cayenne or paprika powder balanced the flavour of the chutney quite flawlessly.

I asked the 3 participants what their favourite dish was. All 3 pointed to the Ayurvedic chutney and the Chapatis 😉

By the way, I did not replicate Dr RM’s dessert as that was my least favourite dish. Her rice pudding did not set in the fridge and it turned out pretty soupy. The flavours were alright.

Will I make these again? Yes! Without a doubt, but on a smaller scale. I will use plain atta flour for the Chapatis. The Ayurvedic soup will be on a future lunch menu. Bookmarked! I will make the Ayurvedic chutney 2 ways – puréed and relished and will add some chilli flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice for extra tartness.

If you have never had an Ayurvedic vegan meal before, you may consider trying this out and judge it for yourself.

I’m not a Vegan but I loved it, however, it’s not something I will eat everyday. Too many restrictions and it’s just not possible for me to abstain from a good bowl of kolo mee or char siu pao 😀

Oh by the way, Dr RM gave away a try-out sample pack of the Ayurvedic chai after the workshop.

I brewed it immediately when I got home.

Mmmmm…. yummy!


This masala chai is a keeper 😉

Have a Blessed Sunday!


1st November this year fell on a Tuesday. I could have made a bridge for a longer “weekend”, but could not due to my workload at work 😦

I was glad to break off work for that one day that week for a yearly family reunion, hosted by one of my SIL’s. While driving to my SIL’s, we stopped at a friend’s house. I received a text message from F that she was giving away some of her ‘harvests’ in her garden. 

Guess what? I hand-picked the chillies in her garden. They were so, very, very fresh! She wanted only the red ones, so I helped myself to the green chillies. I didn’t mind the ‘raw version’ at all, because I knew if I left the chillies wrapped in absorbent paper in the lower drawer of the fridge, the chillies would ripen. 

And I was right!

10 days later, some of the birds’ eye chillies had turned to a lovely bright orange-crimson colour. And I knew exactly where some of the chillies would end up into 😉

Thai Chef vs Me

There was one Wednesday that I took a day off and brought my 2 sons out for lunch (Note, both boys had half-day school / Univ on a Wednesday). We went to a Thai resto near our place. 

For starter, I ordered Tom Yum Goong (TYG) for us. It was a good TYG, but I missed that Oomph in their soup. It was a wee bit too lame. 

Saturday came, and TYG was in the pipeline for our lunch menu.

So here it was, my version vs the Thai Chef’s. 

And not only that, I made my TYG in my thermomix! 

To be honest, I could eat my TYG all day without anything else that day, because it had been a while since I last made the soup! I looked back at a post I wrote; it was in March this year when I had friends over. You can read it all … Here 🙂

Because I love bold-tasting soups, I thought of a way to totally infuse the aromatics in the soup first before proceeding further. Be warned! It’s a highly seasoned soup that hits the palate and warms the heart without burning, if you know what I meant 😉

(Note: This is my own recipe using my preferred method – tried and tested – after a few trials and errors).  

Please be aware that some measurements are not given as only you will know how much or how little you want to put in the dish. Remember, “Ut quod ali cibus est aliis fuat acre venenum” or what is food for one man may be bitter poison to others. 

Ingredients A

  • 2 cm piece galangal
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 2 coriander roots

Ingredient B

  • 5 g cooking oil / coconut oil

Ingredient C

  • 1,500 g water

Ingredients D

  • Lemongrass, bruised and halved
  • Shallots, halved 
  • Galangal, sliced
  • Bird’s eye chillies, lightly bruised
  • Kaffir lime leaves, lightly bruised with the fingers

Ingredients E

  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Homemade chilli paste, eyeball for colour, taste and flavour
  • Salt, to taste 

Ingredients F

  • Prawns, shelled 
  • Mushrooms, sliced 

Ingredient G

  • Lime juice, to taste
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved or whole

Ingredient H

  • Fresh coriander 

Steps –

  • Place A in the TM bowl. Grind 5 sec/ sp 10  * 2

  • Add B. Sauté for 3 mins/100C/ sp 2 
  • Place D in SB and add C. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ sp1

  • Remove the SB and tip the aromatics in a bowl. Set aside for garnish later.

  • Transfer F in the SB. Cook for 4 mins/120C/ sp 1 or until the prawns are cooked. 

  • Remove the SB and set aside the cooked prawns, mushrooms, etc
  • Add E. Cook further for 5 mins/ 120C/ sp 2

  • Add G. Stir for 1 min/ R/ spoon
  • Assemble a serving bowl with prawns, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, some slices of galangal, bird’s eye chillies, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with H.
  • Done!

Happy 1st Anniversary!

I made the TYG to go with my Nasi Ulam and baked spiced chicken. Our Saturday lunch was the bomb, by the way, with full-blown explosion of flavours. Yup, my kind of food 🙂

There’s no better way to celebrate my first year anniversary of owning the thermomix than sharing with you some of the dishes I have conjured the past 12 months using my most used kitchen gadget today!

And as they say, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words‘ …

IMPORTANT NOTICE : Please be aware that I’m neither a Consultant/ Advisor nor an employee of Thermomix.  I am NOT paid anything from any parties. I just happened to own a thermomix and love doing what I’m doing and will continue doing so. 

Happy Mid-Week ya’ll!


When I was a kid, my late Dad used to buy Indian snack for our simple high tea. I have made cucur roday or masala vada(i) a few times aleady on my own. You can find the recipes on my blog: Masala Vada (Spiced Dhall Fritters): Hawkers’ Delight and Crispy Roday – a tribute to my late dad

The other savoury and crunchy snack which I LOVED and still do is Murukku. Murukku is the Tamil word for ‘twisted’ which appropriately described the shape of the snack, which is shaped in a spiked surface spiral form. 

Making Murukku is not difficult at all if you have the right mould or Murukku or Chakli press. I did not have one until last Summer when I was in Kuching with my family. I made sure I bought all the necessary moulds which could not be found in BE. I did not buy a specific Murukku mould or press but more so, a multi purpose mould, which can be used to make string hoppers or putumayam or idiyappam. The mould can also be used to make cendol. It’s a plastic mould with 8 templates of different patterns. It’s not the best mould, but it’s light weight and easy to assemble and to clean…. and its’cheap. Only RM 14 or 3 Euros!

Chakli or Murukku?

I have not heard of the word Chakli while growing up, since Murukku, which is the Tamil word was popularly used in Kuching or Malaysia and Singapore, for that matter. By the way, there is a slight difference in the ingredients used for making Chakli vs Murukku. Chakli has rice flour and besan or chickpea or gram flour while Murukku has rice flour and urad or mung dhal.

Since I am more familiar with the word Murukku, and that there’s a twist in ingredients between Chakli and Murukku and the fact that I never deep-fry my foods in my kitchen, I christened this recipe as “Baked Twisted Murukku

And guess what, I pulverised the organic  dried chickpeas into chickpea flour in my thermie. That was the first step. 

You could also make rice flour from soaked raw rice, but since I had a 1 kg bag of store-bought rice flour in my pantry, I wanted to finish that first.

The idea of baking the Murukku is adapated and improvised from Tarla Dalal’s recipe for Baked Chaklis which I have converted by using the Thermomix. Tarla Dalal used only rice flour, but I added freshly ground chickpea flour to the rice flour. And by the way, I like the idea of adding yoghurt instead of water to the dough mixture.

Ingredient A

  • 100 g organic dried chickpeas

Ingredients B

  • 100 g rice flour
  • 130 g Greek yoghurt
  • 10 g white sesame seeds
  • 5 g whole jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 5 g lovage seeds 
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 5 g chilli powder 
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sunflower (or corn) oil

Ingredient C

  • 1 tsp water (or eye-ball)


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180 deg C.
  2. Place A in TM bowl. Mill 1 min/ sp 10/ MC. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and mill again for 30 sec/ sp 10/ MC. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl and the lid.
  3. Add B. Mix for 1 min/ sp 2. Slowly add C and knead for 5 mins. Eye-ball for dough consistency, which should be a semi-soft dough.
  4. Tip the dough onto a clean bowl and knead briefly. Put some dough mixture into a murukku press using the single star nozzle. Press and make swirls of 5 to 6 cm diameter murukku on a pizza crisper tray or a baking tray lined with silicone baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C for 16 to 17 mins. Do not over-bake as the murukku will be charred bitter.
  6. Cool and store the murukku in air-tight container.

My Verdict?

I LOVED it! The Murukku were super crispy. The flavours of the seeds – sesame, cumin and lovage transported me back to my childhood days. I felt the warmth in my tummy from the chilli flakes rather than in the mouth. It was a good feeling. The only drawback was, I was the only one eating the Murukku! My boys and hubby are not fans of the seeds. Sesame seeds were okay , but not the other Indian spices. Next time I will tweak the recipe and add ingredients that would appeal to their palates. Erm…. maybe the ingredients that go in making the Belgian Speculoos, without the sugar? Nope, don’t think so. Cinnamon and sugar go well. Cinnamon and salt? Nah!

Oh by the way, the addition of the natural yoghurt gave the Murukku just a bit of that tangy taste, which I actually liked. Tarla Dalal baked her chaklis for more than 30 mins which I thought was way too long. The Murukku came out perfect in my oven at just 15 to 16 mins baked on the pizza crisper and baking tray lined with silicone parchment sheet. I will definitely bake these again, on condition if I have a human helper in the kitchen to press the Murukku from the mould. That was the back-breaking and monotonous parts of the entire process, and the robotic Thermomix was no help at all (most unfortunately) *sigh*


Early this month, I received a personal message from a blogger friend.  Some readers might know her by her pseudonym; Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.

It was really sweet of Miss B to ask me if I would like to have some of her freshly harvested “Spaanse pepers” or cayenne chillies.  She ended her note with “Can I mail you some?”

Nope, Miss B was not joking!

The chillies arrived in my letterbox one day after Miss B went to the post office! Wow! That really showed the efficiency of the Belgian Post.  Well done!

1. Pandan chix curry_green chillies11. Pandan chix curry_green chillies2

Everything looked, smelled and felt so fresh with those green chillies. They were nicely tucked in a few layers of absorbent papers. I had a few things in mind what I could do with them…

Of cold and heat

In Belgium, the new school (not tertiary) semester started on the first Monday in the month of September, meaning the end of the school summer holidays anno 2013 for my two boys. How they loathed going back to school and facing the early morning wakes and cycling to school in the cold and rain.

September is also the month when the yo-yo effect of the mercury level played havoc with our immune system.  My older son was down with a rather bad cold recently but yet he did not miss any single lesson. Good boy 😉

To prevent further aggravation and spread of the cold to his younger brother and the rest of us, I decided to cook a tasty plate of hot and fragrant chicken curry – a sure way to curb a nasty cold 😉

2. Pandan chicken curry_Far Eastern Odyssey

A Far Eastern Odyssey

I love watching the many food travel episodes of Rick Stein on BBC. Not long ago, I bought a copy of his cookbook – a translated version in Dutch – “Rick Stein Ontdekt De Oriënt” (Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey). His travel escapades included living, eating and cooking with the locals of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bali and Bangladesh.

By the way, there was one curry dish that stood high on my to-do list for months already.  It was the Sri Lankan Chicken Curry. I was intrigued by the use of pandan leaves in the curry dish recipe.  Maybe I have eaten curries with pandan that I was not aware of in the past, but for sure, I have never actually used pandan leaves in any of my curry dishes until now 😀

This recipe is adapted from Rick Stein’s Sri Lankan Chicken Curry. I have made some changes and modifications indicated in blue italic.

Ingredients –

(Serves 4 – 5)

  • 2 Tbsp coconut or vegetable oil (I used corn oil)
  • 1.5 kg chicken, cut in 8 parts (I used 1 kg ready-to-use boneless chicken cubes)
  • One 15cm cinnamon stick, broken into smaller bits (the last thing I would do was break the cinnamon bark into tiny bits! My three guys would curse me for that, hence, I left the cinnamon stick whole  )
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 10 green cardamom pods, bruised (I used 8 cardamom pods, removed the seeds and ground them with a pestle and mortar)
  • 10 cloves (I used 8 cloves)
  • 350 g onions or shallots, thinly sliced (I used I big onion, blended)
  • 40 g garlic, crushed (I used 8 cloves garlic, blended)
  • 25 g fresh ginger, peeled & grated (I used 5 cm piece ginger, blended)
  • 2 Tbsp Roasted Sri Lankan Chicken Curry powder (I used Yeo’s Malaysian curry powder, which included the following ingredients: coriander seed, chilli, fennel, cumin, turmeric, white pepper, aniseed, cinnamon and clove)
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder (I used 2 heap tsp of  Mum’s homemade chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (I used a 4 cm piece of fresh turmeric, blended)
  • 200 g tin tomato (I used 4 fresh tomatoes, quartered)
  • 20 curry leaves (I used dried curry leaves)
  • 4×4 cm pandan leaves (I used 4 long sprays of screwpine or pandan leaves)
  • 1 fat lemongrass stalk, halved & lightly bruised (I used 2 stalks of lemon grass, lightly bruised, plus 1 stalk, blended)
  • 3 green cayenne chillies, split open lengthways (I used 8 fresh green chillies which I got from Miss B, blended, plus 1 extra split open lengthways)
  • 400 ml coconut milk (Unfortunately, I could not get fresh coconut milk, hence, I used 1 can of 400ml coconut milk)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (I used 1 Tbsp concentrated tamarind paste)
  • I used Himalayan salt, to taste

Method –

1)      Peel and cut roughly the onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric and lemon grass. Remove the stalks from the green chillies and then blend all these together in a blender to form a paste.

 3. Pandan chix curry_blended ingredients13. Pandan chix curry_blended ingredients2

2)      Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and fry over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3)      With the oil left over from the pan, sauté the blended paste until fragrant. Add the par cooked chicken cubes, cinnamon stick, freshly ground cardamom seeds, cloves, lemon grass and knotted pandan leaves (Note my wok was smoking away when I took the picture 😀 )

4. Pandan chix curry_sauteéd ingredients

4)      Simmer for a few minutes and add the curry powder, chilli powder, quartered tomatoes, coconut milk and one green chilli, slit open lengthways with seeds intact. Stir to combine and continue to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, covered, over low to medium heat. Season to taste.

5. Pandan chix curry_seasoned15. Pandan chix curry_seasoned25. Pandan chix curry_seasoned3

5)      While the chicken was simmering away, I steamed the pandan-infused jasmin rice (I ran out of basmati rice)

 6. Pandan chix curry_panda rice

6)      Five minutes before plating up the fragrant pandan chicken curry, I added the tamarind paste.

The tamarind paste and pandan leaves made all the difference to this dish.  I swear it was a top notch chicken curry, quite unlike the ones I have tasted.  It was really quite addictive, I must say.

Pandan Chicken Curry served in an earthenware pot – tagine! A Sri Lankan dish served in a Moroccan tagine by a Malaysian in Belgium. What a global dish! LOL!

Pandan Chicken Curry served in an earthenware pot – tagine! A Sri Lankan dish served in a Moroccan tagine by a Malaysian in Belgium. What a global dish! LOL!

Our Sunday lunch :-D

Our Sunday lunch 😀

Closed up of the fragrant pandan chicken curry – on my plate ;-)

Closed up of the fragrant pandan chicken curry – on my plate 😉

What was left here went in my lunchbox the next day

What was left here went in my lunchbox the next day

My lunchbox – the day after!  YUMMY :-P

My lunchbox – the day after! YUMMY 😛

Oh by the way, my son’s cold was long gone. It could be that he ate one whole raw green chilli! I’m not kidding here.

Summary facts about green chillies (searched from the internet) –

  • Green chillies are a good source of Vitamins A, C, K and Capsaicin
  • Green chillies are actually immature chilli peppers, harvested before fully ripening.  That accounted to the green chillies turning red in my fridge after one week!
  • Green chillies are low in calories, virtually fat-free and rich in nutrients.

 Vitamin A is essential for the health and maintenance of red blood cells, necessary for proper growth and development and to support immune system health.

 Vitamin C helps synthesize collagen, promote the healing of skin wounds and aid in the development of strong bones.

 Vitamin K in green chillies may help decrease your risk of osteoporosis and of heavy bleeding.

 Capsaicin is the substance that occurs naturally in chillies, giving them their spicy flavour, meaning the hotter the chilli, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin acts as a natural pain reliever.

 Note: If you have a chronic digestive disorder, for example irritable bowel syndrome or heartburn, spicy foods may exacerbate the symptoms, so please stay away…

Pandan leaves are not only used as fragrant aromatic agents or natural food colourants, but are also used for myriads of health benefits.  It’s interesting to know after googling the web that these amazing screw pines can be used as a cosmetic and natural medicine such as darkening our grey hairs, warding off dandruffs, improving rheumatism and muscle pains by concocting a massage ointment using pandan leaves, etc..

Oh by the way, if you have forgotten how these stunning wonder plant look like, here you go … again!!

3a. Sago Pudding_pandan13b. Sago Pudding_pandan2 

I’m linking this post to the following events –

1. Little Thumbs up event with the September theme “PANDAN”, hosted by Joceline from Butter, Flour and Me, organized by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.


2. Cook-Your-Books #4 organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

Cook Your Books

3. Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads   – By the way, this dish was cooked over the weekend, hence, I think I’m (still) qualified for this event – hopefully 😉

Weekend Cooking

4. September 2013 Cooking With Herbs Blog Challenge hosted by Lavender and Lovage


Stay well! Stay healthy!

See you soon…


Related reading –

Beef Rendang-by special request

The weather has cooled down this week after a bout of heat last week, and before June bites the dust, I’m making sure that my tingling tongue remains “numbed” with the explosion of spiced up dishes and snacks in the pipeline 😉

I was so craving – again – for one of my childhood favourite snacks, the Masala Vada (Spiced dhall fritters).  I have a story on this and you can read it here.

Masala Vada, Masalvade, Cucur Roday, Vadai....whatever - a favourite snack in our household

Masala Vada, Masalvade, Cucur Roday, Vadai….whatever – a favourite snack in our household

Masala means spices and Vada is the disc shaped lentil (dhall) fritters, very popular in South India. We used to call these snacks “Cucur Roday”, definitely a misheard word, coined by the Kuchingites as “Roday” instead of Vada or Vadai or Vade. Cucur” is the Malay word for fritters or beignets in French.

Think Global, Act Local

With the migration of mostly South Indians to Malaysia and Singapore many, many years ago, even prior to the British colonization of Malaya, you would notice the strong influence of Indian cuisine on traditional Malay cuisine. Indian and/or Mamak restaurants are well received by Malaysians and Singaporeans from all walks of life. The roti canai has become one of Malaysia’s favourite breakfast dishes! Other dishes and snacks included the delectable curries in many forms, flavours and textures, Idiyappam (or putu mayam), nasi kandar, rojak pasembor, thosai (dosa), murukku and the lists go on…

Vada is a snack that has been a favourite in our household since time immemorial. I made this snack last weekend, trying to replicate the vada, I used to eat when I was a child growing up in Kuching, with the inclusion of the secret ingredient “hay bee” (dried shrimps).

I followed the recipe – with some modifications and adjustments – from the paperback, Hawkers Delight: A Guide to Malaysia & Singapore Hawkers’ Food (compiled by Jabbar Ibrahim and photographed by Tan Tai Peng)

Oh! Look at that sneaking hand.... :-D

Oh! Look at that sneaking hand…. 😀

Ingredients –

300g dhall chickpeas (I used 2 cups brown chickpeas, soaked overnight)

150g shrimps (I used 1 cup dried shrimps, soaked in lukewarm water)

2 large onions, chopped

3-4 dried chillies, chopped (I used 3 green chillies)

1 tsp meat curry powder (I used 1 Tbsp Yeo’s Malaysian curry powder)

½ tsp garam masala (I used 1 Tbsp of the self mixed 6 “C” spices *)

2 eggs, beaten (I used 3 eggs)

2 Tbsp flour, sifted (I did not use any flour)

1 tsp salt (I used ½ cube vegetable stock, plus some salt to taste)

1 sprig curry leaves, chopped (I used one handful dried curry leaves, crunched)

1 tsp fennel seeds (not in the recipe)

1 tsp lovage seeds (not in the recipe)

Half a carrot, chopped finely (not in the recipe)

5 sticks French beans (Haricots verts), chopped finely (not in the recipe)

2 roots of fresh coriander, minced (not in the recipe)

Oil for deep frying (I shallow fried my fritters)

*The 5 basic ingredients in Garam Masala are PepperCorns, Cumin, Cloves, Cinnamon and Cardamoms. I added the 6th C – Coriander. If you remember the “C’s” in the garam masala mixed spices, you will not go wrong.  That’s one trick I taught myself :-D

Since I had all the powdered form of the “C” spices, except cloves, I combined everything.  I then ground 3 fresh cloves to powder form and mixed that in the other “C” spices, which rounded up my Garam Masala mix. In hindsight, it would be better to dry roast the fresh spices and then blend them to powder form, just like I did my curry dish here.

Pre-soaked vs soaked (overnight) chickpeas.  The size doubled after soaking overnight and became al dente

Pre-soaked vs soaked (overnight) chickpeas. The size doubled after soaking overnight and became al dente

3c. Masala Vada_soaked chickpeas3d. Masala Vada_dried shrimps

3e. Masala Vada_chopped carrots+green beans3f. Masala Vada_garam masala

Method –

  • Clean the soaked chickpeas and grind/ blend coarsely.
  • Discard the water from the soaked dried shrimps and chop them roughly.
  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly including eggs, curry leaves, chopped carrots and French beans.  Leave the batter in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I left mine for an hour or two.
  • If deep frying, rub a little flour on your hands and make disc-shaped dough and roll the flattened dough over the flour. I did not use flour but made the disc-shaped dough and shallow fried the fritters. (Note: the batter crumbled easily while handling and the key word was – whether you like it or not – PATIENCE 😉
Coarsely blended chickpeas with all the spiced mix and vegetables

Coarsely blended chickpeas with all the spiced mix and vegetables

Mix well to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

Mix well to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

Disc-shaped fritters, shallow fried in a pan

Disc-shaped fritters, shallow fried in a pan

....until crispy and golden brown

….until crispy and golden brown

It's worth the wait. YUMMY!

It’s worth the wait. YUMMY!

Once bitten, forever smitten :-D

Once bitten, forever smitten 😀

Vadas in mini cup liners?

By the way, I never owned a deep fat fryer, which is rather unusual for someone living in Belgium. It would definitely be easier to deep fry these vadas in the fryolator, however, without one, I became fidgety and thought out of the box.

It took me ages shallow frying the little gems, and suddenly I had a stroke of genius and baked some of the batter in little paper cup liners 😉

5. Masala Vada_mini cupcakes

Did they or did they not work?

Erm…let’s just say, stick to the conventional way.  After all, they’re  Hawkers’ delight 😛

6a. Masala Vada_frying vs baking

I am submitting this entry to the following  ‘blog hop-over’ events –

1Little Thumbs Up  with the theme “CURRY”, hosted by Miss B of Everybody Eats well in Flanders, organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids and Doreen of my little favourite D.I.Y.


2Cook-Your-Books #1 organised by Kitchen Flavours.

Cook Your Books

By the way, I’ve said this before, carry on CURRY-ing 😉


Related posts –