There are very few things in life that are as satisfying as the annual Easter long weekend, and nothing so sad as the last few hours of the said long weekend. I did a fair bit of cooking and other domestic duties during the last couple of days and stocking my fridge until it fits to bursting. One of the dishes being this cheese, leek and herb souffle casserole from Martha Stewart. Read More…
Sometimes it’s all about how the cookie crumbles, or in this case how the bread crumb crunches. In the spirit of crunchy zen coupled with the autumn breeze sweeping through Sydney’s evening sky I hunted for this old fashioned Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Read More…
I decided to blog about this particular recipe in the mistaken belief that this was a childhood dish. Turned out that Okra is not an ingredient I grew up with in Indonesia, and this was further confirmed when Mum gave me a puzzled look when I asked how often we ate okra when I was growing up.
Turned out that this particular plant is more common in Singapore, Malaysia and India dishes. Sambal Belachan, the base sauce of this recipe and its variations can be found in South East Asia. The regional difference depends on how sweet or sour you make this sambal. So to my Malaysian and Singaporean friend this is probably something that you grow up with.
That false sense of nostalgia did not stop me from trying to grow the plant last year. First rule of growing okra, make sure you grow it when it’s warm, otherwise it does not thrive. Miraculously the plant hibernated through winter and to my utter shock started growing fruit this summer. I harvested my first batch a couple of days ago and the second rule of growing okra is to pick them when they are still tender and about 2 inches in length. The longer they grow the more likely you are to chew on bristle rather than pod.
This recipe was taken and adopted from SBS’s Food Safari website. It is a very mild, tomatoey sambal and is great eaten as a relish or as a base for stiry fry for seafood or other vegetables. I’ve adapted this recipe to make it vegetarian friendly with my notes in italics below.
- 500g Okra sliced to 1 cm in lenght
- 80 ml(¼ cup) peanut oil (20ml for the okra)
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp crushed ginger
- 3–4 red bird’s eye chillies (or to taste), finely chopped
- 1 tbsp belacan (substitute with vegetarian shrimp paste)
- 3 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee’s vegetarian stir fry sauce is the veg substitute for this)
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce (you can find vegetarian fish sauce in most Thai grocery store)
- 2limes, juiced
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp pounded palm sugar
- Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan until hot.
- Pound the garlic, ginger and chilli with the belachan.
- Add the onion and cook for 5–6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
- Add the belacan mixture and cook for 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Stir in the tomato, until well combined.
- Add the sauces and lime juice and stir until well combined, then add the tamarind paste and palm sugar. Stir to combine, then remove heat and allow to cool.
- In a separate pan, stir fry the okra. Add the belachan paste slowly to the okra and continue frying until the okra softens.
- You may want to add extra salt as the vegetarian belachan is not as pungent as the non veg version, the tamarind can also be quite overpowering without the added salt.
• Belacan sambal will keep refrigerated in an airtight jar for two weeks.
Part of the fun of Meatless Monday is the quest to find a new recipe that is interesting enough to cook and photographic enough to share. This recipe was taken from Pushpesh-Pant’s India Cookbook, a large tome of over 1,000 Indian recipes. My criteria was pretty simple, an eggplant recipe that matched the ingredients I have on hand (eggplant, yoghurt, spices, a curry plant) and away I go. Read More…
I’ve been meaning to post on Mondays about Meatless Monday for a while, but so far a number of Mondays managed to slip by without a post.
The Meatless Monday campaign was and still is a non for profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal was to help meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet.
Why Monday, aside from the fact it’s the only day that starts with the letter M?
For most Americans the week begins on Monday. On Monday we move from the freedom of the weekend back to the structure of work or school. We set our intentions for the next six days. We plan ahead and evaluate progress.
From an early age we internalize this rhythm. And studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.
Monday is the call to action built in to every calendar each week. And if this Monday passes you by, next week is another chance to go meatless!
So much for Monday blues! Who would have thought starting anything on Monday is a great idea? Certainly not me! On a personal note, I have been cutting my meat intake due to the presence of a non meat eater in my life. That being said, I do believe that we all can afford to eat less meat. In general, our eating habit demands meat to be presence in any meal in order for it to be deemed satisfying. Whether this be McDonalds or sausage roll, it did bother me to realise how much meat I consume on a daily basis. I’m not sure I can turn completely vegetarian, but that’s another blog post for another time.
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup leeks, well washed and chopped
2/3 cup plain flour
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive oil
Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, chives/ herbs
Combine the cabbage, leeks, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the okonomiyaki, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side – another 3 -5 minutes.
When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges.
I like the overall taste, but find it a little dry. For added sauce taste add some Japanese mayo and Tonkatsu sauce as well as shredded seaweed. Itadakimasu…