Category Archives: Healthy Recipes

CREAMY RICOTTA SPIRALS WITH MUSHROOMS

ricotta spirals with mushrooms

ricotta spirals with mushrooms

Creamy pasta can no doubt be fattening. I love creamy pasta once in a while but feel the guilt after having it since it is laden with heavy cream. I decided to go for the low fat version and prepared creamy ricotta spirals with mushrooms. Yes, you’ve got it. I’ve substituted cream with ricotta. The result is tasty, sans the richness of cream. Here’s how I did it: 

ricotta spiral with mushrooms

Ingredients

grape seed oil 

3/4 packet of spiral pasta 

salt for boiling pasta 

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

250 g mushrooms, sliced

8 cherry tomatoes, diced

1/2 anchovy cube

250 g ricotta cheese 

1 tbsp chili flakes

pepper to taste

handful of coriander, chopped

Shaved Parmesan for serving 

Method

1. Fill a pot with water and add salt. Boil it over medium heat. Once boiled, add spirals and cook for 8-10 mins or till al dente. Save 1 cup of pasta water, drain the rest of the water into a colander and set spirals aside.  

2. Add oil to a pan over medium heat. Once heated, add onions and cook till they are nearly caramelized. 

3. Add garlic and let it cook. Then add mushrooms and let them sweat, that is, juice oozes out. 

4. Next, add tomatoes and mix the ingredients well. 

5. Add anchovy cube and break it to form a paste. Stir the paste together with the ingredients. If you can’t find anchovy paste, you can add tinned anchovies but ensure that they are finely chopped. 

6. Add the ricotta and then add pasta water to dilute it. The consistency should not be thick. 

7. Add pepper to taste and as an option, as chili flakes. 

8. Stir the mixture and then add the cooked spirals. Blend the ingredients well. 

9. Add coriander for added taste. 

10. Serve on plate and finish with Parmesan shavings. 

This dish is easy and quick to prepare. Ensure that you use anchovy cubes or the ones in the tin for flavour. The pepper and chili flakes with lift the pasta dish to a new level. Alternatively, you can add prawns or shrimps. If you feel generous, use Shitake mushrooms instead. The result is light, satisfying, tasty pasta that keeps the whole family happy. 

SUMPTUOUS FISH CURRY NOODLES

fish curry noodles

fish curry noodles

I craved for fish curry noodles last week and prepared it using a variety of ingredients. Fish curry can be prepared many ways. This recipe is different from the curry noodle dish I shared many posts ago. For this dish, I decided to add a little variation, that is, pulping tomatoes and combing it with caramelized onions for an added sweetness. Use tasty, fleshy white fish like perch or snapper. The noodles used is based on preference. In this dish, I use vermicelli noodles instead of egg noodles. I suppose the latter is tastier and if you decide to use it, look for the one in the refrigerated section as it is preservative free.  

 fish curry in pan

Ingredients

1 large onion, sliced

3 large tomatoes, diced

250g snapper, cut in cubes 

3 small sweet potatoes, diced 

2 tbsp plain Greek yoghurt

1 tsbp tamarind paste 

3 sprigs curry leaves

coriander, chopped finely

cumin seeds

mustard seeds

1-2 green chili, sliced

a bunch of asparagus, slant sliced

1 can coconut milk 

1 cup water

1 tsp tumeric powder

2 tsp garam masala

3 tbsp curry powder

salt to taste 

1/2 packet vermicelli noodles 

Method

  1. Heat oil in a cooking skillet at medium heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them pop. Then add curry leaves. 
  2. Add onions and cook till they caramelize.  
  3. Add tomatoes and allow them to soften to near pulp. 
  4. Then add green chili and asparagus. 
  5. In the meantime, shallow fry fish in a separate pan and set aside once cooked. 
  6. Peel sweet potatoes, cut into cubes and cook in microwave for about 6 minutes. 
  7. Place vermicelli in a pot, heat water in a kettle and then pour boiling water over vermicelli to soften it. Leave it aside for 8-10 minutes before draining the noodles.
  8. Add garam masala, tumeric powder and curry powder to the onion and tomato mixture. Mix well.
  9. Add coconut milk and stir ingredients. Add water to slightly dilute the mixture.
  10. Add salt to taste and stir.
  11. Then, add yoghurt to add depth to the taste. 
  12. Add in fish together with the oil that it is cooked in. 
  13. Add tamarind paste and stir. 
  14. Add sweet potatoes and let the curry simmer. 
  15. Lastly, add coriander and stir the curry. 
  16. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes before serving with vermicelli. 

fish curry noodles

The ingredients can easily be found in any Asian supermarket. I like to use Ayam brand curry powder for its taste and texture and Chili brand vermicelli as it is less floury and odourless. Cook the fish curry for a day’s meal as fish leftover the next day will not taste good as it will lose its freshness. This is a delicious meal that can be enjoyed with you family or when you have guests at home. You can choose to add boiled eggs or substitute fish for chicken. Alternatively, serve with rice. 

SPECIAL HOMEMADE PESTO USING THE NUTRIBULLET

pesto 4

homemade pesto

Last Sunday, I prepared pesto using the Nutribullet in two goes. I harvested a bowlful of basil and half a bowl of parsley that grow thick and wild in the herb garden. Since the Nutriibullet is small, I split the ingredients into two and blended the first batch. After the first set of ingredients had been blended, I repeated the procedure with the second set of ingredients. This worked just fine.  The pesto easily filled up 3/4 of a bottle. 

homemade pesto

Ingredients

One bowl of basil

Half bowl of parsley

4 cloves of garlic

3/4 cup pine nuts

a handful of raw unsalted cashews

3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

extra virgin olive oil

Method 

  1. Grate cheese and set aside.
  2. Blend basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and cashews in Nutribullet. 
  3. Add olive oil every now and then, until all the ingredients turn into paste. 
  4. If paste is thick, dilute it further with more olive oil until it reaches desired consistency. 
  5. Transfer paste from Nutribullet capsule into a sterilized bottle.
  6. Store in fridge and use pesto when required. 

homemade pesto

Pesto is great for slathering on wraps and sandwiches as it adds depth to the taste. It can also be used as pasta base or as a dip.  

SHITAKE MUSHROOMS, BEANSPROUTS AND SPINACH FILLING

wrap shitake

shitake beansprout and spinach filling

Vegetables need not be boring. If you prepare it the right way using the right condiments, vegetables taste great. On most weekdays, I’d prepare a sandwich or wrap for lunch in the mornings using prepared filling. One of my favourite fillings is shitake mushroom, beansprout and spinach combo filling that can be stuffed in wraps or in sandwiches. This will be the base ingredients and I will add others that take my fancy such as sweet potatoes, avocadoes, tomatoes, cucumber, just to name a few.

 shitake beansprout and spinach filling 2 shitake beansprout and spinach filling 3

Ingredients 

2 packets of shitake mushrooms, sliced

half a packet of bean sprouts 

half a packet of spinach

3 tbsp oyster sauce

pepper to taste

fresh chilies, sliced or chili flakes

some butter or margarine

Method

  1. Add some butter or margarine to a hot pan over medium heat. Let the butter or margarine melt. 
  2. Add sliced shitake mushrooms to the melted butter or margarine, mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula and let it sweat and soften. 
  3. Next, add beansprouts and then spinach. Mix them thoroughly till the spinach wilts. 
  4. Add oyster sauce and mix the ingredients well. 
  5. Add pepper to taste and chili flakes. If you prefer to add fresh chilies, you should add them after the mushrooms have softened. 
  6. Remove ingredients, place them in a bowl and let them cool. 

This filling should be placed in the fridge. It lasts a week. While it is great to be used as fillings for wraps or sandwiches, it can also be served with rice. Enjoy!

 

SCRUMPTIOUS STIR FRY VEGETABLE VERMICELLI

stir fry vegetable vermicelli

fried vegetarian vermicelli

To prepare this stir fry vegetable vermicelli recipe, you need good vermicelli. I use chili brand for its quality. Some vermicelli gives off an awful after taste of flour but this brand is the perfect one for my noodle dishes. The trick to preparing this dish is to make use it is moist enough. This can be addressed by using vegetable stock. Another is to complement your cooking with that of the microwave to soften your hardy vegetables. This way, you don’t have to cook the vegetables for too long which takes the nutritious value away. 

Ingredients

1/2 packet of vermicelli 

1 large onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bak choy, chopped

1 broccoli, chopped

4 carrots, sliced

1 packet bean sprouts

2 tbsp oyster sauce 

4 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp kicap manis

2 tbsp Hoi Sin sauce

250g vegetable stock

pepper to taste 

some fried shallots for garnish

Method

  1. Pour boiling water over vermicelli in a pot till it softens. 
  2. Drain the vermicelli in a colander and leave aside. 
  3. Heat oil in a skillet. 
  4. Fry onions till caramelized.
  5. Lightly fry garlic. 
  6. Soften broccoli and carrots separately in microwave for 3-4 mins. 
  7. Then add them in the skillet. 
  8. Add oyster sauce and mix thoroughly. 
  9. Add bak choy and then the vermicelli. 
  10. Then add soy, kicap manis  and Hoi Sin sauce. Mix well. 
  11. Pour in vegetable stock to add moisture. Taste and add soy and kicap manis if needed. 
  12. Lastly, add bean sprouts for the crunch. 
  13. Add pepper to taste. 

Serve while it is piping hot. This is a great dish to serve to guests. For protein, you can choose to add fried tofu or even prawns or chicken if you’re a non-vegetarian. 

 

TASTY BROWN TOMATO RICE

brown tomato rice

brown tomato rice

 

This is the first time that I’ve prepared tomato rice using brown rice. I must declare that the brown tomato rice has been a success. It tasted just as delicious and for sure it is healthier than white rice. This rice can be eaten on its own with chicken or fish or with gravy. If you don’t already know, you should use 2 cups water to one cup brown rice ratio.

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

1 large onion, sliced

4 large tomatoes, diced

1/2 bottle of Provinicial Italian Tomatoes with Grilled Bell Peppers

pepper to taste

Method

  1. Fry sliced onions till caramelized.
  2. Add tomatoes till they soften.
  3. Add Provincial Italian Tomato sauce or any bottled sauce of preference
  4. Add a dash of pepper and mix thoroughly.
  5. Once the brown rice is cooked, pour in the mixture into the rice cooker and mix it thoroughly with the cooked rice.
  6. Serve with side dishes or with gravy.

 

This rice is packed with all the goodness of tomato and is undoubtedly delicious. Serve it with salad, fish or chicken or pour lentil-based gravy or tomato chicken gravy over it.

 

 

SPECIAL THAI PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE – IMPROVED VERSION

thai-pineapple-rice-1

Special Thai Pineapple Fried Rice - Improved Version

I posted a recipe entitled Special Thai Pineapple Fried Rice some time ago.This time I’d like to share the Special Thai Fried Rice – Improved version. Why the improved version? That’s because I’ve added a few ingredients and altered the cooking method to produce an even better tasting dish.

This dish was one of my favourites and I dare say, tastes better than the ones served in the restaurants I’ve dined in. If you’re entertaining, a fun way of serving is to load the rice up in half an empty pineapple. Your guests will appreciate the concept and enjoy the dish even more.

So, last night, I tried am improved version of the same dish, this time adding more Thai flavours to it. The result is phenomenal. The kaffir leaves added an extra kick and a delicate Thai flavour.

The additional ingredients are just kaffir lime leaves, 4-5 red chilies and kecup manis or sweet soy sauce.

So if you refer to this post showing the recipe, you need to blend the following instead of chopping and frying them in the wok:

6 cloves garlic

1 cm ginger,chopped

4-5 red chilies

2 tsp dried shrimp

4 kaffir lime leaves

Add a little water and blend to form a paste. 

After frying the sliced onions till transparent, add the above paste and fry for a a good 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients such as red capsicum, green peas and pineapple chunks. Then, add the rice and blend the ingredients and paste together with the rice. Now, add kecup manis or sweet soy to balance the heat from the red chilies. The rest remains the same. 

The flavour of the fried rice will transport you to Thailand. I got complements about this dish and am so pleased with my creation. The rice is moist in texture and the taste is a mixture of sweet, limey and spicy all rolled into one. 

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

If you have some potatoes in the pantry and are cracking your head about what to do about them aside from preparing the normal mash potatoes or wedges, try using it for your breakfast preparation. Hmm…what can it be, you may ask. Well, the dish I’d like to share is my Special Spanish Potato Omelette. It can be shared with 3 others and be enjoyed on toast. I gave this recipe a special twist and added some red chilies and Spanish onion for extra flavour. To make the omelette tastier, the diced potato should be lightly fried first and the onions caramelised. 

Ingredients

1 Spanish onion, diced

2 large potatoes, diced

2 large cayenne chilies, sliced

3 eggs, whisked

salt

pepper

oil

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

Method

  1.  Cook diced potatoes in the microwave for 7 minutes. Put some water in a bowl and cover it before cooking. (Check if the potatoes are cooked after 5 minutes and then increase cooking time to a few minutes more, depending on how much potatoes are used.)
  2.  Drain excess water from the bowl once the potatoes are cooked and set aside. 
  3.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a cooking pan under medium heat. 
  4. Add the potatoes and lightly fry them till brown. Set aside.
  5. Heat oil in a small pan. Fry onions and caramelised. 
  6. Add chilies and mix well. 
  7. Throw in the fried potatoes. 
  8. Crack eggs in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk.
  9. Add the whisked eggs to the ingredients in the pan. Swirl the pan to even out the egg. 
  10. Cook one side for two minutes. 
  11. Take a large plate and cover the pan. 
  12. Lift the pan and turn the plate over such that the omelette slides onto the plate. 
  13. Put the pan back over the heat and slide the omelette back onto the pan. 
  14. Cook the other side for another 2 minutes. 
  15. Remove the omelette and enjoy.

The omelette transferring process is tricky. The first time I used a big pan and found it hard to transfer to my big plate as it was a tad smaller than the pan. I used the fool proof method the second time: a small pan and a big plate. This worked out well. A thing to note is excess egg that does not cook off on the surface before transfer. The trick is to slightly tilt the pan to pour the excess egg into a small ramekin. Before you transfer the omelette back into the pan, pour the excess egg onto the pan to cook off. Then slowly slide the omelette over the cooked egg so that they stick together and gradually cook at the same time. The result is amazing and delicious at every bite.  

Special Spanish Potato Omelette

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY, NUTTY PESTO

creamy, nutty pesto

home made pesto

I’ve not craved for pesto in a long time but the sudden urge to make my own pesto was triggered by a humble sandwich I bought on Saturday. Yes! It’s funny how a sandwich can trigger such a yearning that propels me to create my own special creamy, nutty pesto. I wanted to recreate the pesto for the one that drove me to unleash my culinary talent tasted acidic and sweet. 

So off I went to my herb garden to gather some basil. Might as well put it to good use or else they will wither. Being adventurous I added some parsley and coriander to give the pesto an added hint of freshness. Cashews and pine nuts also came into play to add depth of flavour. The result is phenomenal! 

freshly gathered herbs

Ingredients

1 bunch of basil

handful of parsley

handful of coriander

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

1/4 cup roasted cashews

1/2 cup roasted pine nuts

1/2 juice of lemon

salt

olive oil

basil

Method

  1. Separate the basil leaves from the stalks and wash them.
  2. Do the same for the parsley and coriander.
  3. Roast pine nuts and cashews. Se aside.
  4. Blend basil leaves, parsley and coriander.
  5. Add some olive oil, lemon juice, cashews and pine nuts and blend them thoroughly till they form a creamy paste.
  6.  Add  shredded Parmigiano Reggiano. And continue to blend.
  7. Add salt to taste.
  8. Mix the paste to ensure that the ingredients blend well in between intervals.
  9. Spoon out the paste into a steralised bottle.
  10. Add olive oil on top to add moisture before closing the lid.

 

pesto in a bottle

 

I made the pesto in batches as my Nutribullet blender cup is small. I added half the basil, parsley and coriander, some Parmigiano Reggiano, some cashews and pine nuts and some live oil and blended till a paste is formed. Then, I added the remainder of the basil, along with what was left of the other herbs, Parmigiano Reggiano  nuts and repeated the process. Some olive oil will need to be added to this paste to add moisture. If the paste is too thick, I suggest adding a bit of water to facilitate the blending process. Finally, when the two batches of ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, add salt followed by lemon juice. Blend again till all ingredients form a well-mixed paste. Keep on tasting the paste after adding additional ingredients such as nuts and lemon juice till you’re satisfied with the flavour. Observe the consistency as well to discern whether you need to add extra water or olive oil. A substitute to water is vegetable stock.

There you have it! Your very own creamy, nutty pesto. Pesto is best used in pasta as well as sandwich spread. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados  and rocket leaves to your sandwich and enjoy. Seriously, pesto adds flavour to a plain sandwich. So instead of butter, think of pesto.

So my verdict….a creamy, nutty home-made pesto you wont ever get anywhere on the supermarket shelves. The freshness of the basil, parsley and coriander leaves a refreshing taste on the palate and the nuts provide depth of flavour. The Parmigiano Reggiano adds cheesy sharpness to the pesto while the lemon juice adds some sexy tang to it.

SPECIAL FRIED VEGETARIAN NOODLES

noodles

fried noodles_v2

Fried noodle dishes seem simple to prepare but a good memorable one involves thought and pre-preparation. The secret to preparing a tasty dish is to reuse oil that has been previously used to fry fish. This also works well with the juice of stir fry mushrooms. In this post, I will share with you the secret of preparing special fried vegetarian noodles. 

Ingredients

1 packet Hokkien/egg noodles

leftover oil used to fry fish

1 onion, sliced 

bak choy, chopped

spring onion, chopped

1 egg

baby corn, sliced into halves

puff tofu, cut into halves

juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

1 tbsp Hoisin sauce

1 tbsp kechup manis

fried shallots for garnishing

Method

  1. Put noodles in a pot and pour boiling water over it. Drain the noodles in a colander after 3 minutes.  Set aside. 
  2. Heat used oil previously fried in fish in a wok. 
  3.  Add onions and cook till transparent. 
  4. Add egg and break it up in the wok in the process of cooking, so it becomes scrambled in texture. 
  5. Add puff tofu, spring onions, bay corn and bak choy.  Mix the ingredients thoroughly. 
  6. Add soy sauce, lemon juice, Hoisin sauce and ketchup manis. Mix well.  
  7. Lastly, add the noodles and mix them thoroughly till all ingredients blend together.
  8. Serve noodles on a plate and garnish with fried shallots.  

The taste is simply delicious and texture of the noodles is moist and silky. You’d surely want to have a second helping. Don’t feel guilty about it. Bon appetite