Sunday, November 11, 2012

Simple Veg-enabling Tips (4)

The first time I came across Avocado in my life
was when I was studying in Adelaide
some 16 years ago.

When avocado season came,
avocado was basically ubiquitious
all over the Central Market (a wet market).

That time, the only way I learnt how to eat avocado
was to eat it on its own (probably the best way)
as taught by the fruit grocers!

I didn't have problem choosing the "right" avocado then
as they were so abundant,
and the grocers were always kind enough to pick the
ripen and nice ones for me..hehe..

However, when I relocated to Singapore
after my studies in Adelaide,
choosing a nice avocado became a challege!

Many would feel the same:
often, when we cut open an avocado,
it's either not ripen enough
or over ripen to the extent of having black bruises all over
or already infected by mould...

Due to my crave for avocado,
I gradually learn a way to guarantee a perfect avocado ;)

(D) How to choose a perfect avocado?

## a perfect avocado actually cannot be chosen,
but the good news is, it can be "nutured"! (LOL)

- firstly, get a totally green and hard avocado
(prefer the Hass species, with coarse skin, as they are creamier)

- when you get home,
quickly take the avocado out of your shopping bag
and wipe off all the moisture
(usually avocado are stored in fridge in the supermarket,
hence there are always condensation.
This condesation if sieve through the pedicel 
or the interface between fruit and stalk,
mould will grow)   <= critical step

- leave the avocado in airy corner of the kitchen,
away from direct sunlight, at room temperature.
(do not put in the fridge, as the ripening will slow;
and mould may grow.) <= critical step

- wait for a few days, and observe the colour change daily.

- when the skin turns completely black
(totally black, without any green patches or green tone),
leave it in room temperature for another 2 days. <= critical step

- lightly press the upper part of the avocado,
if it's soft, then it's ready to eat. Otherwise, wait for 1 more day.

- The next day, the avocado should be ready to eat.
If you can't finish all the avocado on the ripen day,
store them in the fridge up to 5 days.
Do not squeeze, otherwise bruise will form easily.

* extra tips: avoid getting non-green and non-hard avocado from the market,
as you do not know whether the storage has been properly done
to avoid moisture that may lead to internal moulding.
Also, many buyers may have been squeezing the semi-soft ones, creating a lot of bruises.

^ suggestion: blend 1/2 avocado, with 1 cup of coconut water + coconut flesh
to make vegan coconut milk.. It's very yummy!!
-- Don't worry about the fats, as they are all good fats when consumed raw.
In fact this drink will rejuvenate your skin and balance your hormones :D

That's all for this series, hope those simple tips will improve your quality of life :)

Happy experimenting,
Kee Yew

. Veg-enabling Tips
{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Simple Veg-enabling Tips (3)

Food blending is becoming a trend nowadays,
as it's an effective way to provide wholesome nutrition
be it raw or cooked,
as blended foods are like pre-digested food
which promote more complete absorption of nutritions
including parts which are usually hard to chew
e.g. seeds, roots and the rinds of a fruit.

However, blending require some tricks too,
there are situations, even with a super blender,
the outcome can still be a bit coarse
depending what ingredients are put into the blender.

(C) How to do blend up a smooth smoothie

- chuck in all the ingredients (chopped into smaller pieces) into a blender

- pour in water gradually to submerge the ingredients just below water level

- blend with slow speed until the blending motion harmonise (ie no big hard chunkies)

- increase the speed gradually to high and blend

- add in the remainder of the water to desired volume and quickly homogenise

# note: the reason to add in less water in the beginning
is to increase the friction among the ingredients
to allow speedy grinding/blending

* extra tips: when blending small seeds,
it's important to blend along with chunkier ingredients.
If there isn't chunky ingredients, add in some ice cubes,
to increase friction for fine blending

** extra extra tips: put the juicier ingredients at the bottom
followed by less juicier ones, so as to minimise water usage
in the beginning to facilitate smoother blending.

*** extra extra extra tips: add in 1 tablet of GrapeSeed Extract or
Vitamin C (natural ones, as antioxidant) into smoothies
if you are packing it in a thermo flask to bring to work,
to slow down oxidation process.

^Suggestion: mix 20 soaked almonds, 1 pitted medjool with half a dragon fruit
and blend into 400mL smoothie with adequate amount of filtered water.
-- this smoothie will brighten you up!

Happy blending,
Kee Yew

.Veg-enabling Tips

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Friday, November 9, 2012

Simple Veg-enabling Tips (2)

Unlike mung bean,
cooking red beans to soft texture could be a challege for many,
despite the long hour of cooking
altho' some people tend to mask the problem by using a pressure cooker.

Here is a combo of tricks that I learnt from
the lady boss of Ci Hang Vegetarian Restaurant
as well as a relative of mine,
ensuring your red bean soup will always soft and slurpy!! ^^

(B) How to cook red bean soup to soft-creamy texture

- soak red beans in filtered water for 8-10hours
(summerging beans 1 inch below water level)
[again, this is not only to soften the beans,
but also to remove acidity and increase nutritional values]

- discard away soaking water, rinse quickly with filtered water
and drain away the water

- steam the red beans in a steamer for 15min
(1st critical stage of softening the beans)

- add water at 2 times the volume of the steamed red beans
and boil on a stove for 15min
(2nd critical stage, boiling the beans with less water in the beginning
will increase the friction among the beans, hence speeding up the softening process)

- add more water (another 1-2 times the volume of the steamed red beans),
bring to boil, then simmer for 1 hour
(option: transfer to a slow cooker to save hassle)

- add molasses sugar crystal to give it a rich flavour when ready to serve

*extra tips: add 2 tablespoons of pre-soaked lily bulb and some pandan leaves
to make the dessert creamier and more fragrant during the simmering stage.

Kee Yew
. Veg-enablingTips

.Veg-enabling tips

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simple Veg-enabling Tips (1)

From time to time,
when I teach vegetarian cooking,
some feedback from students
indicated that many a time,
it's not the lack of recipes
nor it's the lack of ingredients that
hinder them in cooking a yummy vegetarian meal for their families.

In many instances, students would complain
that their brown rice are either too hard/chewy or too soft/mushy;
their red beans are never soft,
their smoothies are never smooth,
their avocados are always bruised!!

I later found out that it's due to some subtle, yet critical tricks
which are often not mentioned/detailed in recipes,
that compromise the perfection of their dishes in the kitchen.

Hence in this series of blog postings to come,
I hope to share a few tricks
to enable one to cook confidently in the kitchen =)

(A) How to cook brown rice to al dente (or QQ) texture:

- pre-soak brown rice with filtered water for 8-10 hours,
by summerging the rice 1 inch below water level
(this is not just to soften the grains, 
but also to remove acidity and to increase nutritional value)

- pour away soaking water, do a quick rinse with filtered water,
and drained off any excess water

- measure the soaked rice grains with a 160mL measuring cup,
and count the number of cups of soaked grains

- add in the amount of filtered water equivalent to the volume of the soaked grains
and cook in an electrical rice cooker (i.e. soaked grains: water = 1: 1)  <= this is critical!

* extra tips: consider adding one or two teaspoon of dried herbs
(e.g. basil, dill, cumin) to make the rice more fragrant!

More tips to come, please tune in :D

Buon apetito!
Kee Yew

.Veg Enabling-tips

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Understanding Life from the Ayurvedic Perspective

Bamboo House held its 5th Holistic Wellness meetup last Monday evening,
and I was very delighted to have some time to sit in
for an enriching session conducted by
Ms Vasanthi Pillay (Founder of Ayurveda Association of Singapore)

Vasanthi is a yogist and naturopath
passionate about Ayurveda which can be translated as
"Life Science" (Ayu = Life; Veda = knowledge)
-- from the ancient Indian perspective.

Vasanthi pointed out in the beginning of the lecture,
Ayurveda is the science of how to live well
starting as early from the conception in mother's womb
to the end journey of a person.

Ayurveda covers not only the dietetic segment of one's life,
but also lifestyle, environment, seasons/climate, mind and soul.
A truly holistic life science.

A few important remarks that I picked up in the lecture:

1. Before healing our body, we should first understand our soul and mind.
It's not possible to heal properly without knowing who we ourselves are.

2. Like the Yin-Yang and the 5-Element theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Ayurveda also segregates all universal elements into 5 groups
Space+Air      (with Vata function);
Fire                (with Pitta function);
Earth+Water (with Kapha function)

3. The way we live should pacify (or harmonise) with the 3 functions
by keeping  Vata/Pitta/Kapha in balance
through what we eat, the timing we eat, the lifestyle we lead, the region we live in etc,
in regards of our own body types and personality.

- This is why without knowing our own body type/personality, it's difficult to eat right and live right.

In a macro sense,
knowing our own body type/personality can be interpreted as
the pursuance of awareness.

If we would like to solve a problem (be it health, social, financial or environmental)
it's natural that we should first be aware of
the situation, our positioning, the system and the big picture,
before taking any action.

During the meetup,
Vasanthi also introduced to participants
a very tasty herbal drink
which pacifies all 3 Vata/Pitta/Kapha
(ie suitable for all body types in general):

Pegaga - Red Date Beverage

*benefits: good for memory, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral/bacterial


Pegaga ...................... 100g (ground/blended without water into paste)
Dried Red Dates ....... 500g (or to taste)
Water ........................ 2L


- boil red dates in water till the volume reduce by half, mix in pegaga paste, stir and boil for another 5 min. Sieve and serve immediately.

Hope you enjoy both food for thought and gut =)

With metta,
Kee Yew

. Ayurveda-Pegaga

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}
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