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COOKING

Celebrating the Year of the Rat the Vegan Way

Millions of people of Chinese descent unite with their friends and family every Lunar New Year to wish each other prosperity and good health. Yet, we pig out, feasting on Chinese delicacies chock full of fat, sugar and rich cuts of meat. We reason that it’s a once-a-year occasion, and we will take our new year resolution of eating clean and exercising regularly seriously this time around. Obviously, good health isn’t something that happens because your superstitious grand-aunt wished for …

DIY Vegan Snacks to Kick Off the Year of the Rat

Hot on the tails of overindulging on Christmas and New Year, the upcoming Chinese New Year brings yet another round of feasting. Celebrated by the Chinese community worldwide, the holiday brings with it mouth-watering small bites and pastries. Favourites include pineapple tarts, mini prawn rolls, almond cookies and other types of calorific treats. Unfortunately, most of these snacks are high in fat, cholesterol and sugar. The buttery pineapple tart contains 93 calories, 6.2 grams of sugar and 2.3 grams of …

How to Enjoy Christmas as a Vegan

When it comes to food, most of us probably associate Christmas with turkey, roast beef, glazed ham and creamy yuletide log cakes. While they are often responsible for much of that notorious festive season weight gain, these dishes are also typically the highlight of Christmas dinner – some might say the highlight of Christmas, period. Skipping them during the holiday would seem to be a cardinal sin. So how do vegans get through Christmas, then? Surely it’s the most vegan-unfriendly …

Healthy Hemp Hearts – Without a High

Looking for a new, offbeat vegan ingredient to experiment with, or to act as a conversation starter? Well, look no further than hemp hearts or hemp seeds. Often associated with the marijuana plant, they are now finding their way into vegan recipes as a rich source of protein and fibre. Hemp hearts are the edible interior of the seed from the hemp plant. The white, soft things you buy at the shop are actually the “heart” rather than the seed – that …

Cacao Nibs: A Better Way to Enjoy Chocolate?

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with chocolate: love the taste, hate our inability to consume it in healthy quantities. But go back a step in the chocolate-making process and you’ll find something that’s much healthier: cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are fast gaining popularity with health experts and vegan cooks, who tout them as a healthy (and crunchy) alternative to chocolate or cocoa in both savoury and sweet dishes. But first, a little about where cacao nibs come from. …

The Air-Fryer – Healthy or Just “Healthier”?

If you’ve never heard of the air fryer, you may not have realised you’ve been missing out on the must-have appliance of 2019. These high-tech cooking machines fry food to a crispy golden brown by swirling hot air around it rather than dousing it in hot oil. Oil is still involved – you coat the food with it – but the oil itself isn’t what’s cooking the food. You can fry up basically anything that you would normally plop into …

EATING

No Meat, No Problem! Best Protein Sources for Vegans.

Being vegan doesn’t mean that you lose out on protein – just ask vegan bodybuilders and athletes. The topic was even tackled in a recent Netflix documentary, The Gamechangers, in which host James Wilks travelled the world to show that a plant-based diet can elevate an athlete’s performance, and to debunk the myth that humans can’t get strong and fit without animal protein. There are actually plenty of plant-based protein sources to choose from. Some pack more protein than others, so …

Get Ready for These Food Trends in 2020

It’s almost a new year, and it’s the perfect time for a new you. You are what you eat, so your new self begins on the plate. But what will you be eating next year? These are some of the top food trends being cooked up for 2020. It will be the year of plants Based on its 2019 data, app-based food delivery service Uber Eats made its own prediction for the top ingredients of 2020. The top five were …

A Beer-y Merry Christmas

Santa’s guide to the perfect Christmas party beer By Kris Kringle Ho ho ho! Beer-y Christmas, boys and girls (of legal drinking age)! It’s me, Santa Claus, here to give you advice about my favourite drink. Milk? Ho ho no! That’s just what we tell the kids. It’s BEER. Trust me, after a long, freezing night in the workshop, nothing is better than throwing back a few with the elves. Let’s just say there’s a reason Rudolph’s nose glows. As …

Stop! Don’t Throw Out Those Christmas Leftovers

The festive season is well underway and you’ve already eaten enough to feed a small village. But well-meaning friends and family continue bringing dishes to Christmas gatherings. Meanwhile, your fridge has run out of space. What do you do? For starters, don’t throw anything away. You can make a tasty meal out of your Christmas leftovers, or freeze them and reuse them for new offerings for New Year’s parties. Here’s a list of simple and quick recipes you can make …

Ancient Grains Making a Comeback

If you’re a home cook looking for new ways to conjure up wholesome food for your family, you can always look back into the deep past for a few ideas. No, we don’t mean grandma’s recipe book. We’re going back even further, to ancient grains. These cereals have been given a new lease of life, as research shows that 40 percent of shoppers want a greater variety of wholesome grains in their diets, and some 20 percent are willing to pay …

Made with Love Cafe: A Personal Journey of Weight Loss

For most of their lives, couple Rena Ridzwan and Adlin Azman never gave much thought to healthy eating. Both loved nothing more than tucking into a large meal of rich, decadent food. Over the years though this lifestyle began to take a toll on their health. At one point Rena was nearly 90 kilograms, while Adlin hit a peak of 95kg. Adlin suffered from painful gout, while Rena had high cholesterol, pre-diabetic risks and high blood pressure. These pre-diabetic risks …

INGREDIENTS

Moringa: The Next Superfood in Vegan and Gluten-Free Kitchens

Traditional food turning trendy.  That seems to be way food is changing for the modern kitchen – and the moringa is no different as it takes the stage as a healthy and tasty choice for vegan and gluten-free recipes. The moringa tree, also known as the moringa oleifera is native to northern India and is typically found at the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. One of its biggest advantages is its ability to survive in dry and arid regions where rainfall is …

The Many Shades of Horchata Milk

Nut milk has long been a popular alternative to dairy milk for vegans and those suffering from lactose intolerance or dairy-related allergies. More recently, the list of dairy-free choices has expanded to include grain-based milk beverages, including one known as horchata. Horchata originates from a Mediterranean tradition of grinding grains to create drinks (the name comes from the Latin word hordeata, which in turn originates from hordeum or barley). These drinks have been an important alternative form of protein for people consuming plant-based …

Nuts! It’s Peanut Butter Month

Have you eaten peanut butter sometime in the last month? Yes? Then you’ve inadvertently celebrated Peanut Butter Month, in which we celebrate a globally enjoyed staple condiment that has stood the test of time. And for good reason: without exaggeration, peanut butter may be the greatest food spread in history. But before we make our case for peanut butter, let’s start with the peanut butter basics. Yes, any self-respecting human has eaten peanut butter on crackers and in sandwiches since …

Is MSG Really Bad for Your Health?

More dining establishments are going MSG-free these days, reflecting widespread consumer concerns about the consequences of eating too much of this commonly used flavour enhancer. Formally known as monosodium glutamate, MSG is usually found in Asian cooking, as well as in canned soups and sauces. Some people try to steer clear of MSG completely, claiming it gives them headaches and causes weight gain. It’s perhaps most synonymous with Chinese food, thanks to a 1968 opinion piece in the prestigious New …

Is Vegan-Friendly Coconut Nectar the New “Agave”?

Natural sweeteners are all the rage in vegan-friendly or vegetarian kitchens, with products like coconut nectar or agave syrup appearing in everything from desserts to baked goods and breakfasts. Vegetarian or vegan cooks are employing these naturally sourced sweeteners not only for their perceived health benefits but also due to the widespread use of bone char in sugar production. Many manufacturers use bone char to decolourise or bleach sugars through an absorption process. Bone char is a byproduct of slaughtered cattle …

Milk Your Almonds

Easy-to-make almond milk Almond milk has long been a popular alternative to dairy milk for the lactose-intolerant. It is lower in fat, a great source of protein and calcium and, for those who avoid dairy for ethical reasons it is cruelty-free. With its creamy texture and naturally sweet flavour, it is the most viable substitute to dairy milk available right now. But it’s also a rather expensive: expect to pay SG$24 for a 1-litre bottle of raw almond milk from …

Candlenuts: Fire and Flavour

The candlenut bears a striking similarity to its cousin, the macadamia nut – both have cream coloured skins and similar rough textures. But the candlenut is more popularly used as a spice in Asian dishes to flavour curries, condiments and marinades. The candlenut is also known as buah keras, which literally translates to hard fruit, and originates from the flowering species Aleurite moluccanus (commonly known as the moluccana tree) that is found in the tropics and other warm climates. The tree can …

Discovering the Torch Ginger Flower

If you stumble across a torch ginger plant, you’ll soon find yourself staring into an exotic and beautiful pink flower – one that is synonymous with Malay and Nyonya (Peranakan) dishes. The torch ginger can grow up to 20 feet in height, and the flowers (bunga kantan in Malay) are buds that appear at the end of tall, straight stalks that can be 5 feet long. The name derives from its appearance: when the plant or flower is young, it looks like a flaming …