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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Indian Cuisine - Hyderabadi Aloo Gobi Masala

For this weeks recipe, we go to Hyderabad.  This famous white coloured curry is notorious in the region of Hyderabad.  I have hybridized this dish somewhat, as usually it is a mutton or chicken masala curry.  Instead, I have turned this into an Hyderabadi Aloo Gobi Masala.

This is known as being an extremely mild curry, that has a creamy and nutty flavour.  So without further delay, lets cook!


·         Peanuts – ¼ cup
·         White Sesame Seeds – ½ cup
·         Freshly Grated Coconut – ½ cup
·         Cashew Nuts – ¼ cup
·         Oil – 4 TBS
·         Bay Leaf – 2 pieces
·         Cumin Seeds – 1 TBS
·         Diced Red Onion – 1 large onion
·         Salt – To taste
·         Garam Masala Powder – 1 TBS
·         Diced Green Chilli – 2 or 3 chillies, depending on how spicy you want it.
·         Chopped Fresh Coriander - Bunch
·         Chopped Fresh Mint - Bunch
·         Ginger & Garlic Paste – 2 TBS
·         Coriander Powder – 1 TBS
·         Cumin Powder – 1.5 TBS
·         Potato – 3 medium potatoes (cut into cubes)
·         Cauliflower – 1 small head


1.       As this is white coloured gravy, firstly you must make this white paste.  Take your coconut, cashew, peanuts and sesame seeds roast them until slightly golden.  Then place all these ingredients into a blender – Blend until you make a fine paste.  Then put to one side.
2.      For your potatoes and cauliflower, cook them prior to making this curry.  You can shallow fry, boil or air fry (like I did) them.  There is no right or wrong, and it is up to you.
3.      In a pan, add your oil.  Once the oil has heated, add cumin seeds.  When the cumin seeds splutter, add bay leaf and the finely chopped onion.
4.      Once onions start to sweat a little, then add salt and green chillies.
5.      After the onions are slightly golden in colour, add the freshly chopped mint and coriander.
6.      After 2-3 minutes of cooking the greens, add ginger garlic paste.  After the raw flavour of ginger and garlic is gone – Add coriander powder and cumin powder.
7.      After 5 minutes of cooking, add the white paste, which you made (see step 1) into the pan.  Then add about 2 cups of water and mix, so that the curry becomes thinner.
8.      This curry needs a lot of time cooking.  Once you add water, allow it to cook for around 30 minutes – Stirring occasionally.
9.      Once this time has elapsed, add your potato and cauliflower into the mixture.  Cook for a final 5 minutes, then serve.
10.  Done!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Loving Hut - Hong Kong

Living in Singapore, I have been familiar with the Loving Hut brand for many years.  But my recent trip to Hong Kong gave me an opportunity to test out a Loving Hut restaurant outside of Singapore.  Interestingly enough, the menu was vastly different to the Singapore outlets. The menu contained a variety of eyebrow-raising main meals, snacks and desserts.  If you are eating at Loving Hut between the times 2.00pm-5.30pm then you can enjoy a 30% on most items.  The entire Loving Hut menu is 100% vegan.

Loving Hut
Location: 2/F Luen Tai Building, 93-99, Wan Chai Road
Contact: (852) 2574-3248
Opening Hours: Daily 11am - 9.30pm
One of the key selling points of the Loving Hut menu is dishes with mock egg and cheese.  Being someone who adored dairy, in my dietary debaucherous vegetarian days - I promptly selected this Vegan Cheese & Vegan Egg Sandwich so that I could sample.  Unfortunately, this dish was quite a let down.  The mock cheese flavour was really quite awful.  It was a paste that was extremely sweet, almost like the flavour of mango.  Definitely no resemblance to real cheese.  The 'yolk' of the mock egg did have a somewhat dry and crumbly texture, but the tofu derived 'egg white' didn't.  In addition to this, the entire sandwich was extremely messy to eat, with the mock egg sliding around like an ice hockey puck every time the sandwich was touched.

Price: HK$38.00.     3/10

With Hong Kong being the dim sum capital of the world, it seemed fitting to order this BBQ Char Siew Bun.  There are a total of three medium sized pieces given.  Admittedly, I am not someone who particularly enjoys Chinese 'bao' (bread) in the first place, so this snack didn't really do much to impress me.  The real let down was the char siew filling, which I found was quite mushy and void of any depth in flavour.

Price: HK$20.00.     6/10

The best dish I tasted at Loving Hut (HK) was the Formosea Stew Style Noodle with Soya.  The highlight of this dish was the soup flavour.  It was jam-packed with a delicious beefy taste, whilst not being too salty (as soups are so often guilty of being).  The dish had a variety of ingredients inside - Such as carrot, turnip, mock meat, pea shoots and bok choy.  The carrot and turnip were particularly well equipped at absorbing the flavours of the soup, and becoming extremely juicy and delicious.  Definitely the soup-based dishes at Loving Hut were very impressive.  This is a dish I would certainly order again without hesitation.

Price: HK$45.00.     8/10

One of the many set meals available is the Vegan Eel Cutlet with Rice.  The rice stands out, due to its bright red colour, which is derived from red yeast - An ingredient supposedly very good for human health.  The salad next to the rice was topped with vegan thousand island dressing, which closely resembled the real thing.  The bowl of soup was packed with delicious flavour and complimented the other components perfectly.  Of course, the main feature of the dish is the mock eel - Which I must say was quite impressive.  I've never tasted real eel myself, so it is difficult to make a direct comparison.  But as mock meats go, this was an enjoyable rendition.  The sauce in particular was incredibly moreish.

Price: HK$55.00.     7/10

Anyone visiting Hong Kong will probably dash to the famous Tai Cheong Bakery to sample their world renowned egg tarts.  Therefore, life can be somewhat depressing for vegans visiting Hong Kong, who are deprived of this sweet snack.  Fear not, as Loving Hut is one of the few places that offer a Vegan Egg Tart.  This egg tart definitely doesn't have the delicious flaky pastry, nor the silky, smooth, and creamy yellow filling.  But considering this tart is void of any milk, butter or eggs, then this is understandable.  This dessert did help to quell my cravings for real egg tarts somewhat, and it made me happy to know Loving Hut added this to the menu, so vegans can enjoy egg tarts too.

Price: HK$16.00 (2 pieces).     7/10

With my sweet tooth still feeling unfulfilled, I picked out another dessert from the menu - This one being the Tiramisu.  The slice looked visually impressed upon arrival, and I simply couldn't wait to penetrate this cake with my spoon.  Unfortunately, the biggest issue with this dessert was, I simply couldn't penetrate it with my spoon!  Bizarrely enough, this dessert was frozen rock solid, and took about 30 minutes to thaw out enough that a spoon could be used.  This is incredibly frustrating for a customer, and eventually we just gave up, with the cake remaining only half eaten.  Bring a pick axe and drill if you want to eat this dessert in a hurry.

Price: HK$22.00.     4/10

Conclusion - Although I found that a few of the dishes were quite disastrous in quality, I still found myself going back to Loving Hut on a couple of occasions.  The key selling point to Loving Hut (HK) is the diverse and unique menu, which unquestionably tickled my curiosity.  However, the quality of most of the dishes left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

Overall Rating
Food - 5/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 8/10

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Indian Cuisine - Bengali Chingri Malai Fish

This weeks recipe is one of my most beloved Asian curries.  This mild, rich and delicious Bengali curry will have you licking the plate clean.  This dish is traditionally made with prawn.  However, I have subsituted the prawn with mock fish slices.  So without further delay, lets make Chingri Malai Fish!


·         Mustard Oil - 5 TBS
·         Mock Fish Slices – 1 Packet
·         Turmeric – 3 TBS
·         Cumin Seeds – 1 TBS
·         Diced  Red Onion (even shallots would be very nice) – 1 Medium Onion
·         Ginger & Garlic Paste – 1 TBS
·         Mustard Paste – 2 TBS
·         Tomato – 3 Medium Tomatoes
·         Salt – 1 TSP
·         Sugar – 1 TSP
·         Coconut Cream -200ml
·         Garam Masala Powder – 1 TBS


1.       First, defrost the mock fish and cover them with turmeric powder – Set it aside for around 2 hours, so the turmeric soaks into the mock meat.
2.       In a pan, add the mustard oil.  It is important to use mustard oil, as mustard flavour is the key to this curry.  Place the mock fish into the pan and shallow fry on both sides.
3.       Once the mock fish is golden brown, remove it from the pan, but keep the excess oil inside the pan.
4.       Into this oil, add cumin seeds.
5.       After a few seconds, add finely diced red onions.  Immediately after this, add salt to speed up the cooking of the onions.
6.       Once onions are transparent, add ginger garlic paste and cook until raw flavour is gone.
7.       Then add freshly blended tomato into the pan, and cook this paste further.
8.       Once this is cooked, then add the mustard paste inside.  I used the normal Coleman’s mustard, which can be found in all supermarkets – It is essential you add this ingredient, as this is what makes this curry unique.
9.       Add sugar, and cook this mixture for a further 5 minutes.  After this time, add the coconut cream.  Mix well, and allow it to cook for another 5 minutes.
10.   Add the mock fish slices back into the curry, and additionally add garam masala powder into the mixture.
11.   Done!

Indian Cuisine - Andhra Gongura Pickle 'Ambadi'

My most beloved Indian ingredient is without a doubt the sour leaves of gongura (also known as sorrel or roselle leaves).  So today I bring to you another gongura recipe called Ambadi.  This is none other than gongura pickle, which should be eaten with rice.


·         Gongura leaves – Bunch
·         Tamarind paste – 2 TBS (diluted with some water)
·         Curry leaves – 10 leaves
·         Mustard seeds – 2 TSP
·         Cumin seeds – 2 TSP
·         Coriander powder – 1 TBS
·         Fenugreek powder – 1 TSP
·         Red chilli powder – ½ TSP (depending on how strong the chilli powder is)
·         Hing - Pinch
·         Turmeric – ½ TSP
·         Salt – 1 TSP
·         Garlic – Half a head


1.       Add about 4-5 tablespoons of oil into a pan, and add the fresh gongura leaves into the pan.  Allow the leaves to cook for around 5 minutes, until the moisture has evaporated, and the mushy texture has gone.
2.       In another small pan, add 3 tablespoons of oil.  Then add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and wait until they splutter.  Add ¼ head of garlic and sauté.  Once cooked, add turmeric, hing and curry leaves.  Be careful when adding the curry leaves, as it will cause the oil to splutter a lot.
3.       Into this mixture, add fenugreek powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder and mix together.
4.       In a bowl, add tamarind paste and diced garlic (the other ¼) together, add a little water and mix together.
5.       Add this tamarind mixture into the gongura leaves.
6.       Then also add the oil tempering into the gongura leaves, so that all the three separate mixtures are now in one single vessel.
7.       Make sure to mix together nicely and then your pickle is all ready!
8.       Done

Cooking of the gongura leaves
After just a few minutes they will shrink to 1/5 of their original size

This gongura pickle is especially popular in the Andhra Pradesh state of India, and makes for a wonderful accompaniment to plain white rice.  This also goes well with a thali preparation.   

This is an especially sour pickle (due to both the tamarind and gongura), so only a small amount is needed when eating.

The pickle can be kept in the fridge for up to three months without spoiling.

Truly one of my most adored Indian foods, make it and enjoy it!
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