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Smothered Purple Cauliflower

Purple cauliflower gets its beautiful colour from a natural pigment called anthocyanin. Though its taste is similar to white cauliflower, the pigment increases its nutrition value and makes it a healthier option. When cooked, it takes on a deeper hue. Here is a simple way to cook this vegetable to enjoy its natural flavours.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

3-4 dried red chilli peppers, cut into 2-3 pieces

500g purple cauliflower, washed and cut into medium florets

Salt to taste

Method

  1. Place a medium pan on medium-low heat. Add the oil.
  2. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds before adding the red chilli peppers. Stir until the red chilli turns a shade darker in colour.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets and salt. Mix. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and cook until the florets are tender. Stir occasionally, and add a splash of water, if required, to prevent burning.
  4. Remove from the heat and serve hot.

Sweet-and-Sour Gobhi (Cauliflower)

This is a lovely dish that can be served as an appetiser or side-dish. Though it does take some time to make, it is worth your effort. If you want to make this crispier, increase the corn flour and reduce all-purpose flour proportionally.

ghobi_sweet_and_sour

Serves 4
Ingredients
500g cauliflower, washed and cut into medium florets
1½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste if required
2 teaspoons red chilli powder, plus more to taste if required
1 teaspoon powdered black peppercorns
2 teaspoons coriander seeds powder
2 teaspoons cumin seeds powder
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons corn flour
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for deep-frying
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, pureed
1½ teaspoons powdered jaggery, or to taste
Coriander leaves or spring onions, finely chopped to garnish (optional)

Method
1. Place the cauliflower florets in a medium bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon red chilli powder, ½ teaspoon black peppercorn powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder and 1 teaspoon cumin powder. Mix well. Cover and keep for at least 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile make the batter and sauce:
For making the batter, place the all-purpose and corn flour in a medium bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoons red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste. Add water, a little at a time, and mix to make a smooth batter of medium consistency.
For the sauce, place a large pan on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn golden brown. Add the remaining ginger-garlic paste and cook until the paste becomes slightly brownish in colour, stirring frequently. Add the remaining coriander, cumin, black peppercorns and red chilli powder. Stir for a minute before adding the tomato puree. Mix well. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let cook for another 5-8 minutes, until almost all the water evaporates. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pan. Add the jaggery and mix. Taste and adjust the salt and chilli powder if required. Turn off the heat.
3. Deep-fry the cauliflower florets :
Heat the oil for deep-frying. When the oil is hot, working with few florets at a time, dip the florets in the batter and drop them in the oil. Do not crowd the pan. Deep-fry on both sides until crisp and golden. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
4. When ready to eat, add the deep-fried florets to the sauce. Mix gently and place the pan on medium-low heat. Let cook until hot, stirring occasionally.
5. Sprinkle with coriander leaves or spring onions, if using. Serve immediately.

Crispy, Crunchy Fox Nuts

A delicious guilt-free snack, reminiscent of popcorn!!

Crispy_Crunchy_FoxNuts

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

4 cups/130g fox nuts (Phool Makhana)

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

10-15 fresh curry leaves

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

¼ teaspoon asafoetida

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder to taste

Amchur powder to taste

Method

  1. Place the fox nuts in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Stir until crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the oil to the same heated pan. Add the curry leaves and stir until crisp. Add the powders and the fox nuts and toss to combine. Remove from the heat.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature. Any leftovers can be stored it in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.

Turmeric Milk

This beverage gets its beautiful hue from turmeric, an everyday Indian spice known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This drink is traditionally considered to be a natural remedy for chronic cough.

turmeric_milk

SERVES 1

Ingredients

½ cup/125ml milk

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon black peppercorns, slightly crushed

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

Honey or rock-sugar to taste

Method

  1. Bring ¾ cup/190ml water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the coriander seeds, peppercorns and turmeric powder and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and bring to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat.
  3. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a cup. Discard the residue.
  4. Stir in the honey or sugar to taste.
  5. Serve hot.

Indianised Polvoron

Polvoron is a type of soft-and-crumbly Filipino sweet-treat made from plain flour, powdered milk, sugar and butter.

In this version, I have used the healthier Chapathi flour instead of plain flour and Ghee instead of butter. I have also included green cardamoms, the signature spice in many Indian desserts. Instead of moulding the mixture with the traditional moulders, I have shaped it into round balls. Nevertheless, the end result is as delicious and addictive as the original!

polvoron

MAKES 25

Ingredients
1 cup/130g Chapathi flour
4 tablespoons liquid Ghee, plus more if needed
1 cup/120g powdered milk
½ cup//110g granulated sugar, ground to a fine powder
¼ teaspoon ground green cardamoms

Method
1. Place the Chapathi flour in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons Ghee and stir until the flour is toasted and begins to emit a pleasant aroma, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

2. Add the remaining Ghee, powdered milk, ground sugar and cardamoms. Mix well.

3. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, work with 1 teaspoon of the mixture at a time and shape it into round ball. If the mixture crumbles while shaping, add some liquid Ghee to the mixture and mix before trying again.

4. When completely cool (and if there are any leftovers), store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

This makes a great breakfast or brunch. Instead of peanut butter, you may try this with some fruit jam or cheese spread.

french_toast

SERVES 4

Ingredients

3 medium eggs

½ cup/125ml milk

½ cup/125ml cream

1 tablespoon sugar

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 bread slices, edges trimmed

Peanut butter to spread

Butter to cook

Method

  1. Place the eggs, milk, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a shallow, wide bowl. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated into the liquid.
  2. Work with two bread slices at a time. Apply peanut butter evenly on a slice and cover it with the other slice. Press the edges lightly so that they stick together. Place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining bread slices.
  3. Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Lightly grease the pan with butter.
  4. Working with one sandwich at a time, dip it in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides evenly. Lift the sandwich, allowing any excess liquid to drip into the bowl, and place it on the pan. Cook until both sides are golden, flipping once halfway through. Transfer to a serving plate, halve into triangles if you wish, and serve immediately. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Michael Jackson Drink

Nicknamed “Michael Jackson”, this innocent concoction of soy milk and grass jelly is a popular drink sold in coffee shops throughout Singapore and Malaysia.

Grass jelly is made from the leaves and stalks of the mesona chinensis herb. It is supposed to be cooling to the body and to offer a multitude of health benefits when consumed. Though often added to desserts and drinks, it can be eaten by itself as a snack. It is available in cans or packets in South-East Asian supermarkets.

Michael_Jackson_drink

SERVES 4

Ingredients

4 cups/1L sweetened soy milk, refrigerated

250g grass jelly, cut into smallish cubes

Ice cubes to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Divide and put the grass jelly into 4 tall glasses.
  2. Pour the soy milk over the grass jelly.
  3. Add ice cubes if using and serve.

Rice Fritters

This recipe transforms leftover rice into a tasty snack. Serve these fritters with a cup of tea or coffee.

rice_fritters

SERVES 4

Ingredients

1 cup/215g plain boiled/steamed rice, at room temperature

½ cup/50g grated fresh coconut

4 tablespoons small pieces of jaggery, or more to taste

1 medium banana, mashed

6 tablespoons plain flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

A pinch of ground green cardamoms

1 medium egg

Vegetable oil to deep-fry

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Method

  1. Blend the rice, coconut and jaggery to a slightly coarse paste using an electric blender. Transfer the paste to a bowl.
  2. Add the mashed banana, plain flour, baking powder and ground cardamoms. Mix well.
  3. Add the egg and mix to form a thick, sticky batter.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan for deep-frying. Working in batches, gently drop walnut-sized lumps of the batter into the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar if using and serve hot.

Pasta Salad

This salad is made with Orecchiette, small ear-shaped pasta. If this is not available, you may make this with any short pasta.  This salad tastes great and children simply love it.

pasta_salad_2

SERVES 4

Ingredients

2 cups/250g Orecchiette or any short pasta

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

1 medium beetroot, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch/1-cm cubes and steamed until tender

1 small carrot, peeled and grated

1 small cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

1 small onion, finely sliced

Salt to taste

Ground black peppercorns to taste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Finely chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Grated mozzarella cheese to garnish (optional)

 

Method

  1. Cook the pasta following the instructions on the packet. Drain the water. Add the oil and toss to combine. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. When ready to serve, combine the pasta with the remaining ingredients except the garnishes.
  3. Serve garnished with the coriander leaves and mozzarella if using.

Hot chocolate (Dairy-free)

Here I have used coconut milk as an alternative to milk. The result is creamy and smooth and, despite having a noticeable coconut flavour, it is delicious!

hot_chocolate

SERVES 3

Ingredients
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
Jaggery to taste
1 cup/250ml coconut milk
½ teaspoon ground green cardamoms

Method
1. Place the cocoa powder, jaggery and 1 cup/250ml water in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Let simmer until the jaggery dissolves.

2. Reduce the heat and stir in the coconut milk.

3. Once the mixture is hot, stir in the cardamoms and remove from the heat.

4. Pour into cups and serve hot.

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