Archive for the ‘Own Recipe’ 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”

Awesome!



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.

A-U-M!

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


Tempering

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


Garnishing

  • 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!

Zen….

This masala chai is a keeper 😉

Have a Blessed Sunday!

Cheers!

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Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!

Although I have never seen the neighbourhood cockerel, he seems to know when to crow at the precise time daily. I was awoken by his crow at exactly 8 am. I know it would be a rather late wake up call for those who have to get up to rush to work, but hey, it’s my holiday and I didn’t mind the 8 o’clock morning call one bit.

With the heatwave the past 3 days, it finally rained at St-Rémy-de-Provence. With a mild stroke of mistral, it was nice sleeping through the night without the fan on for once. The rain and wind cooled down the temperature giving way to gloomier skies. I didn’t mind a bit because it was our stay-at-home day.

Home-working

I shouldn’t be doing that during my vacation but I had to do it as there were some unfinished tasks that needed to be completed. I was working in the living room but the table was too low, so I had to improvise by stacking enough books to elevate my laptop. It was not the most comfortable position to work, but it was a temporary solution …

Spagbol

While working at my laptop, I was juggling with my tasks in the kitchen. Remember I had to rush down the aisles with the shopping trolley at Intermarché because we were short on time on a Sunday morning?

<< Flashback

It was 11.39 am. We headed straight for Intermarché, not realising that it was closed at 12 noon. We were dilly-dallying along the aisles browsing through some stuffs, until an agitated looking duty manager rushed us for time. If only you could see how I flung the shopping trolley down each aisle, grabbing items while picturing spagbol in my mind! Okay, I believed I had everything, or did I??!!

>> Fast Forward

Oh kay! Home-cooked Spagbol for lunch it was!

And by the way, I did forget the grated cheese! Ah well, we didn’t miss it as it’s not THE main ingredient in the making of spagbol. 😉

A Visitor

The spagbol went down very well, so much so we had a “visitor” at our door that afternoon. He must have sniffed the bolognese sauce from afar and walked his way to the front yard. He reminded me of The Littlest Hobo.

And then he left the compound in a mysterious way …You know what? He’ll come back for sure because he had just given us the signal “this is my territory and I’ll be back!

We shall see …

Cheers !

Fruit for Thought

What would you do if you have too much aubergine, bell pepper and tomato in your fridge? I had a bountiful of each waiting eagerly for me to consume them, as it had been almost a week since I bought the fruits. Yes, scientifically speaking aubergines, capsicums, courgettes and tomatoes are FRUITS and not vegetables, because they have seeds! I was planning to make a quick one-dish meal one weekend. First off, I was thinking of making ratatouille, but that would be too boring. Furthermore, I live with 3 carnivores and a no-meat dish would not entice them at all.

So I scurried to a nearby supermarket and bought 2 extra ingredients. Chicken and grated cheese.

I knew I would come up with a winning dish *wink

This!

Mmmm….does this not look tasty and festive at the same time?

A Frugal Regal Meal

I love the colours and more so, knowing how healthy the dish was, plus how economical I could put all the ingredients together for a top notch meal. Gosh, I may sound somewhat cocky, but I can’t help it, because it’s true *wink



I have adapted only some of the steps from the Thermomix BCB, while the rest are pure common sense, guestimation and creative thinking 😉

Ingredients A

  • Aubergines or egg plants, halved lengthwise 
  • Capsicums or bell peppers, halved

Ingredient B

  • 600 g water

Ingredients C

  • 550 g chicken breasts, diced

Ingredients D

  • 30 g shallots
  • 10 g garlic 

Ingredient E

  • 10 g EVOO

Ingredients F

  • 10 g fresh herbs (mint, basil, spring onion, etc)
  • 1 tsp dried herb (thyme)
  • 1 heap tsp homemade vegetable stock paste
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 150 g tomato, de-seeded 

Ingredient G

  • 100 g bread (grate in dry TM bowl at 7 sec/ sp 10)

Ingredient H

  • Grated cheese

Method


  1. Arrange A in Varoma dish and tray with cut-side down. Place B in TM bowl. Steam A as per instruction in the BCB. Remove water from the TM bowl. Using a tsp or Tbsp, scoop out the pulp of the aubergines. Chop roughly. Set aside.
  2. Add D in mixing bowl. Blend for 3 sec/ sp 5.5. Add E and sauté for 3 mins/ 100 C/ sp 2
  3. Place the chopped pulp of the aubergines, C, F and G. Cook for 15 mins/ 120C/ R/ spoon. Season to taste.
  4. Fill the shells with the cooked stuffing, cut-side up on a baking tray. Drizzle H liberally on each stuffed shell.
  5. Bake at pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 mins or until the cheese has melted and turned a lovely golden brown.


This dish goes very well with baked new potatoes or potato wedges. Makes one awesome complete meal 😀


My Verdict?

To be honest, my other half does not like to consume store-bought ground meat. He says there’s too much fat and other-god-knows-what things mixed in the meat. I agreed with him on that, so I made this healthier version of stuffed aubergines and bell peppers. He could not believe I home-ground the meat in my thermie 😉

By the way, this was not the first time I made this dish. I have used store-bought ground meat before and they tasted great, too. The fact that I used lean chicken breast meat and home-ground them, made the whole dish lighter and healthier. Hubby was euphoric over the dish. And my boys? They eat anything that aren’t sloppy looking and with meat. Lol!

The best thing about this dish is, you can use almost any fruit or vegetable that you can scoop out the flesh to make a cavity. Courgettes or zucchinis are great. So are squashes, but the steaming and baking time need to be adjusted.

Will I make this again? You bet! Over and over again. Anytime, because …. It’s cheap. It’s tasty. It’s colourful. It’s healthy. It’s easy!

Have a fruitful mid-week!
Cheers!

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!

Cheers!

The rotisserie whole chickens looked so tempting. Every Wednesday evening while driving home from work, I would drive past the mobile food truck on the N2 road from Brussels to Leuven.


I could smell the roasted chicken smoke whiffing past my nostrils through the vents of my car somewhere! It’s oh so tempting. 

I just had to stop. 

So one Wednesday evening, I stopped and walked towards the food truck.

There was only one guy manning the truck that evening. I pointed to the chicken I wanted and some baked potatoes. The guy then packed the roasted bird in a microwaveable paper bag, and a separate bag for the potatoes.

I was pretty certain my guys at home would be beaming with delight from what I had just bought.

BUT … Most unfortunately what you see is not what you get!  The chicken was juiceless and shrivelled when I carved the meat. No doubt it was cooked through, but the taste was rather bland. I suspected only salt, pepper and paprika powder were used to season the chicken. To add salt to injury, the potatoes were swimming in buckets of dripping! Urgh!

Hubby had his last words, “Don’t buy this chicken any more!

I Did It My Way …!

Okay, I did not buy the rotisserie whole chicken anymore from the food truck, but we have had some form of rotisserie whole chicken at home, done my way *big smile*

Oh by the way, I had been fiddling with the flavours of the chicken and I have found the right one, me thinks!

I oven-baked this whole chicken last Sunday and my family of 4 finished the entire bird and licked our platters clean!


This simple lunch was a keeper. It was hassle-free. While waiting for the chicken and potatoes to cook in the oven, I prepared a simple and quick salad. I had the most idle Sunday ever. Yay!


Eureka! 

Here’s how I did it. 

First of all, pre-heat the oven at 190 degrees Celsius.

Rinse and pat dry 1 whole chicken weighing at least 1.5kg. Set the chicken aside to room temperature for at least half an hour.

In a clean bowl, mix together your favourite dry herbs and spices, sea salt and freshly-milled black pepper. The choice is endless, so don’t be shy. Stir well to combine.

Meanwhile, stuff the cavity of the chicken with 4 cloves garlic, 1 lemon or lime (halved), 1 onion (quartered), a few slices of ginger and fresh rosemary. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the chicken. This is the trick to keep the chicken sappy AND tasty from inception to end. *wink*

Next, drizzle some olive oil over the chicken and transfer the homemade rub mixture all over the chicken. Then comes the most therapeutic part … massage the chicken thoroughly with the rub mixture making sure every nook and cranny of the bird is being swaddled completely.

Finally, transfer the chicken, breast-side up onto a baking tray, lined with (olive) oiled and seasoned potatoes and/ or root vegetables, onions, garlics and fresh rosemary.


Bake the chicken for 1 hour 30 minutes in the pre-heated oven at 190 deg C. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. 


The chicken may look dry at the first instant, but trust me, the meat is cooked through perfectly and is as juicy and succulent as ever!


By the way, I have oven-baked whole chicken a few times already. I discovered that baking at the right temperature and timing  are paramount execution in getting the best equilibrium.  Believe you me, I have had a few charred experiences. It was only by several trials and errors that I can finally say, Eureka!



My Verdict?
 

Well, I will definitely not buy the rotisserie chicken from the food truck anymore, that’s for sure! 

What can I say, nothing beats homemade cooking any day, any time. Simple as that!

A word of caution though, this foolproof baking is in accordance to the type of oven I own. You may have a different oven than mine, hence, the temperature and timing may or may not differ. And I did mention that it was by several trials and errors that I finally got the bird cooked right, my way *wink*

Have a great week ahead!

Cheers!

Phew! It’s a looonng process, but I’m so glad I DID it … finally, with some help from my thermie 🙂

Eating white rice can be rather boring, so to make the staple more enticing, a bit of picasso and van gogh will bring the little white beads to life. 

Making Nasi Ulam is not rocket science, far from it, but there are several steps or parts to consider before the final piece of puzzle fell into place. 

With the lengthy list of fresh herbs and spices that go into making Nasi Ulam, it will not make you feel guilty even if you overindulged. 

I could eat the fresh and fragrant herbed rice on its own, but a baked chicken on the side certainly made my Sunday lunch more complete and a million percent more alluring and tantalizing.

Like so …


Choosing The Right Rice

I have done this herbed rice before using Jasmine rice. I found it was not quite the right type of rice to use. Why? The grains of Jasmine rice clinged and are somewhat stickier than for example the American long-grain rice or Basmati rice.

So I chose Basmati rice, which is easily available in our local stores. It was also easier to handle and toss the rice with the many fresh herbs and spices that went into the rice.

How to cook the rice in the Thermomix?

Weigh 300 g of basmati rice in the Simmering Basket. Remove it from the TM bowl and wash the rice to remove excess starch.

Place the SB with the rice back in the TM bowl. Add 1kg water. Cook/ steam the rice for 18 mins/ 100C/ sp 4/ MC


Leave the rice in the TM bowl for 10 minutes before taking it out to cool at room temperature.

Choosing Your Fresh Herbs 

I have been looking high and low for torch ginger (bunga kantan) but it’s nowhere to be found in our local Asian stores where I live. It’s a shame because bunga kantan is one of the main star herbs in Nasi Ulam. Well, it’s not the end of the world. There are many other fragrant herbs I could find to complement the making of my version of homemade Nasi Ulam

By the way, I used 7 different fresh herbs, of which 4 herbs were bought at the Asian store whilst the remaining 3 herbs can be found easily at the hyper market.


Spiced and Flavoured Ingredients


  • 1/2 cup dried shrimps (hay bee), soaked
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • Salted fish 
  • Shallots
  • Galangal
  • Lemongrass
  • Turmeric 
  • Freshly-milled white Sarawak pepper
  • Coarse sea salt, to taste

Herbed Ingredients 


  • Eryngium foetidum (Culantro)
  • Thai sweet basil leaves
  • Mint
  • Coriander (incl roots)
  • Flat leaf parsley
  • Kaffir lime leaves
  • Dill

Making Kerisik

Toast the dessicated coconut until golden brown. Transfer to TM bowl and grind for 10 sec/ sp 10. Scrape the sides of the inner bowl. Check the consistency. Grind for another 10 sec/ sp 10. Tip the Kerisik into a clean bowl and set aside.


Toasting the hay bee

Drain the water from the dried shrimps. Transfer the hay bee to the TM bowl. Blend for 5 sec/ sp 5.5.  Tip the roughly blended dried shrimps to a hot pan. Toast the dried shrimps until lightly brown and crusty. Transfer the toasted shrimps to a clean bowl. Set aside.


Dry-frying the salted fish 

I have bought an already fried salted fish from a local Asian store. All I did was to scrape the meat from the bones and head of the fish. I then dry-fry the fish and shred the meat. Set aside.


Chiffonaded Herbs

This was by far THE most time consuming part of ‘the making of’. 

Every single herb was chiffonaded evenly ( or almost 😉 ). I did not use my thermie for that because the herbs should end up in thin long strips and not chopped crazy or bruised too much. Patience is key here 😉


Assembling the Dish: Le Moment Suprême 

After all the chopping, slicing, toasting, shredding, blending, grinding etc, came the plain sailing and uncomplicated part: the assembling 🙂

From white boring rice, I transformed it to a golden colour with fresh turmeric. In went the spices one after another, completely coating the basmati rice. Then came the natural umami flavours in the form of dried shrimps, salted fish and kerisik. The greens were folded in last while going through the taste test before plating up.


By right the rice should be cooled down before the spicing and herbing, but there’s always a someone in the family who would freak out eating cold staples, so I microwaved his plate before serving 😬

Be warned! It’s a dry rice salad dish as there’s not a single drop of gravy or sauce in the fragrant herbed rice. With a stroke of genius, I made a palatable Tom Yum Goong to go with the rice. So no one’s choked at the dining table. Lol!


This is a great dish to bring at potluck. It’s hard work but with some help from my thermie, everything else was straightforward and plain sailing 😉


Have a blessed and smooth sailing week!
Cheers!

I have not been baking for a while. It’s at the back of my mind for weeks on end. If there was a ~ quick and scrummy ~ cake I’d bake, then it has got to be that almost effortless and idiot-proof Banana Loaf Cake. Ha ha ha …

I’m glad my boys share the same sentiment as I do.

3 weeks ago (or probably longer..) I bought a nice-looking bunch of Chiquita bananas in the hope of ripening some of them for my Banana Loaf Cake. I needed only 3 bananas, so we ate the rest of the bananas. 


 

While the 3 bananas were dangling on the banana hook to be ripened, my poor guys tried to brush their temptation away. With the cold weather outside, it’s warm inside the house with the heating on. And the result? 3 completely blackened and over-riped bananas with some mouldy white spots after more than 2 weeks of ‘crucifixion’. OH * MY * GOD!!


  

“What are you going to do with those bananas? To ‘hatch’ more black bananas?“My hubby asked (with a hint of sarcasm)

LOL!

There go the bananas … in the bin“, he said, pointing to the dustbin.

I replied with a classic feedback cheekily, “I’ll make Banana Cake*grinning with guilt big time*

Erm… by the way, did I use the ultra black, over-riped and limpy and almost fermented bananas in my cake? 

Uh-uh! Don’t think so … I needed ripe bananas but they were way, way too ripe! So I bought a new batch of bananas and made sure they ripened within a visually correct duration of time. Ha ha …

Here were the bananas that went in my Banana Loaf Cake I baked last night.


Not Once But Many A Time … And The FIRST Time, Though!

The first tutorial I’ve watched on YouTube in making a Banana Bread was the demo by Stephanie Jaworski of JoyOfBaking.com and I have baked Banana Bread or Cake as well as muffins many times since. It’s the easiest cake to bake. And I have done several tweaks and modifications to suit my family’s palates and they usually turned out great, me thinks …

Last night, however, was the first time I baked the Cake with the help of the Thermomix.

Here’s how I did it, by combining recipes of a cake and a muffin.

Sorry for the bad photos as the only lighting I had was my kitchen tungsten halogen lamps. No natural (sun)light. I did say I baked the cake last night, didn’t I? *wink*

Banana Bread or Banana Cake? It looked like Bread but it tasted like Cake, so I called it Banana Loaf Cake! It was super yummy and moist. I kid you not…


Ingredient A

  •  240 g ripe bananas

Ingredients B

  • 125 g butter
  • 110 g cassonade light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Vahiné natural vanilla powder

Ingredient C

  • ca 120 g eggs

Ingredient D

  • 60 g Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Ingredients E (dry ingredients)

  • 255 g APF
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • A pinch of sea salt

Steps 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  • Place A in TM bowl and blitz the bananas for 40 sec/ sp 5 until they form a creamy consistency. Set the mashed bananas aside in a separate bowl.

  • Add B and mix for 3 mins/ sp 5. Scrape down the sides of the inner bowl and continue mixing for another minute to form a light and creamy consistency. 
  • Add C one at a time. Beat for 10 sec/ sp 5 per egg. 
  • Add A and D to combine for 45 sec/ sp 5


  • Add E by weighing the dry ingredients, then tip the mixture into a clean bowl.  Fold in manually with a spatula until the mixture is combined.

  • Scoop the mixture into a greased loaf tin/ pan. Bake for 55 mins in a pre-heated oven. The cake is baked through if a skewer pricked in the middle of the cake comes out clean.



My Verdict?

I LURVE the smell of freshly-baked cakes and pastries, although I am not a sweet-tooth person. The smell that floated in my kitchen last night was heavenly. My boys were upstairs when I baked the Banana Loaf Cake and they could immediately smell baked bananas when they walked in the kitchen 🙂

While leaving the cake to cool on a wire rack, I just had to cut a generous slice of the cake (while still a bit warm). It was too tempting for me to let it sit until it’s cooled completely. And by the way, I’m a crust person, so the slice with the crusted end was mine! It may have appeared to look like it’s on the hard side but, surprisingly, tasting is believing and seeing is deceiving; it was actually quite soft and moist (crust et al).   I’m glad I added Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You could add Maple Syrup or Honey. The syrup gave the cake a nice tan colour and made it moistier and ‘stickier’ with a caramelised flavour. I left the Cake on the kitchen table overnight and had a slice for breakfast this morning. The softness and moistness of the cake remained.  Before I left for work, I placed the cake in the fridge. When I got home, I thought the cake would harden while being refrigerated, but no, it remained as soft and fresh. You know what?  This is by far, my favourite Banana Loaf Cake recipe sans nuts.  The next time, I will add some walnuts from my garden!
Have a great week!

Cheers!