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COOKING

Making Your First Sourdough Loaf, Part Two

In the second of our two-part series, Love Wholesome’s resident recipe tester Jo-ann Huang tells you how to turn a yeast starter into a delicious loaf of sourdough. In our last post, we established beyond a reasonable doubt that sourdough is the king of bread. Wild yeast; a complex, tangy taste; a golden-to-dark-brown crust – what more could you want? Well, for starters, maybe a cheaper option than buying sourdough at an artisanal bakery. So here we are, a handy …

Making Your First Sourdough Loaf, Part One

In this two-part series, Love Wholesome’s resident recipe tester Jo-ann Huang walks you through making a yeast starter for a delicious sourdough loaf. Sourdough bread is probably the ultimate form of bread making. First of all, it uses wild yeast, which takes at least a week to make. And then there is its trademark chewy, golden-brown-to-dark-brown crust, as well as its soft, open crumb. Anyone who tries real sourdough is likely to swear off the store-bought stuff for good. With …

Why a Food Processor Beats a Blender in Your Kitchen

Bright fluorescent lights, an expansive floor of kitchen appliances large enough to confuse even Gordon Ramsey, and salespeople who promise the world – visiting an appliance store can be an assault on your senses. Sometimes it’s better to stop and take a time out. When it comes to furnishing that kitchen of yours, it’s wise to consider what all these appliances can do for you, which of them you really need, and how you can get the most bang for your …

The Best Oil for Cooking, and the Worst

Each variety of oil has its own flavours and properties and can add to a dish in its own special way. Sounds great, right? Perhaps not. If you lack a little confidence in the kitchen or are new to this cooking caper, the world of oil can seem like a confusing slippery slope. This simple list will help you find your feet, but first a little oil 101. Oil is a fat, like butter, but fat is good: it protects …

Make Your Own Kimchi? Yes You Can!

Love Wholesome contributor Jo-ann Huang tries her hand at making the national side dish of Korea. With a complex blend of spice, tang and sweetness, and an unforgettable bright red hue, kimchi has become Korea’s biggest cultural export along with K-pop. And while many people around the world have probably only discovered kimchi in recent decades, its origins date back more than 2,000 years to the Three Kingdoms era. Every Korean family has its own kimchi recipe, refined through several …

Cooking with White Radish

The white radish is commonly mistaken for a paler cousin of the carrot, but they are not even from the same family – the white radish belongs to the cabbage family or Brassicaceae and is related to kale, broccoli and cauliflower. And you can taste the difference: the white radish – also known as the daikon – has a pungent and pepperish, sometimes even sour, flavour. Popularly used in Southeast Asian and East Asian dishes, the white radish is packed with …

EATING

Dispelling Five Myths of the Keto Diet

If you haven’t heard of the keto diet – the hyper low-carb dietary craze of celebrities and bloggers – you may have been living under a block of cheese. In fact, it has entered that phase in the lifecycle of a fad diet where it strays from its original meaning and people use it to describe all sorts of pseudo-dietary choices. These are a few common mis-keto-ceptions about the keto diet. Myth 5: The keto diet works like Atkins, only more extreme …

DNA and Nutrition – What Your Genes Tell You to Eat

  You are what you eat, it’s true. But you also eat what you are, in the sense that your DNA determines – to an extent – what you like, what you need, and how your body reacts to food. This is why the same diets and dieting tricks don’t work for everyone. Sometimes people are simply going to be fatter, slimmer, more muscular or skinnier than other people. Based on this logic, two dietary theories have arisen. The first is that …

Does Burnt Food Really Cause Cancer?

Who doesn’t love a good grilled asparagus, blackened tilapia or seared chicken? But not too seared – after all, burnt food gives you cancer, right? Well, not exactly. The idea that burnt food contains toxic, cancer-causing carcinogens has been floating around for about 20 years, fuelled time and again by headline-hungry news coverage that sometimes seems to misunderstand the research. Let’s start with the science. There are three chemicals that have raised nutritional eyebrows when it comes to cooked food …

Cooking With ‘Stinky’ Tofu

Fermented tofu has been called the “blue cheese of Asia”, and it’s not hard to see – or rather, smell – why. This pungent ingredient has earned a reputation as an acquired taste, but if used effectively it can dress up otherwise ordinary dishes. First, a little fermented tofu 101. The most common type consists of tofu cubes in mould. Fermentation breaks down the protein of the bean curd, leaving it with a softer, creamier and smoother texture. The cubes are soft …

Is Dim Sum Actually Healthy?

Nothing fills out a big night like a thousand tiny dim sums – it may just be the ultimate Asian comfort food. And with its bite-sized portions, high protein, low-carb ingredients and reliance on steam cooking, dim sum certainly seems healthier than other comfort foods like fried chicken and ramen. But are you really making a healthier choice if you opt for a night at your favourite dim sum joint over Pizza Hut or KFC? First off, the question, “Is …

One-Pot Meals for Every Day of the Week

Let’s face it, your dear old grandmother might have slaved away in the kitchen every night, but this is the Moon Age, and you’ve got things to do and places to be! Fear not, we’ve selected five of the best one-pot recipes for quick and healthy weeknight dinners. Monday: Chicken, Kale and Mushroom Pot Pie It’s Monday. You’ve got a long week ahead, and you already feel spent. Time for some hardy comfort food. This stick-to-your-ribs veggie pot pie from BBC …

INGREDIENTS

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 …

The Sweetest of Rivals

Palm sugar is a unique and versatile ingredient. While often found in Asian desserts, it’s increasingly a popular choice for savoury dishes or as an addition to broths in main courses. This natural sweetener is derived from palm trees and is sometimes known as coconut palm sugar. Different varieties of palms can be used to create palm sugar of varying textures but all go through similar extraction processes. Manufacturers usually process the sugar palm juice into three types of sugar: …

Artisanal Sausages

If it wasn’t for her son’s autism, Stephanie Siow would probably never have become a food entrepreneur. His condition meant Siow had to give up full-time work so she could care for him. Needing a new income stream to support the family, the 48-year-old decided to start a home business, and she launched Stephanie Siow’s Artisanal Sausages last year. But it wasn’t just about making extra money. Siow wanted to teach her 17-year-old son life and work skills so that he …

Star Anise Secrets

If you’re familiar with Chinese cuisine, then star anise, with its distinctive, eight-pointed shape, will be no stranger to your kitchen. Its distinctive taste – with even more of the same compound that gives ordinary anise and liquorice their unique flavour – packs a huge punch in that small, pointy package and represents one of the five major spices in Chinese cooking. Those less accustomed to cooking Chinese dishes might not consider star anise a very versatile spice. How could …

Stop Using Boring Regular Butter

By Jimmy Sizzle Yo! This is Jimmy Sizzle, the coolest cook in the kitchen (you can tell from my shades, biker jacket and studded leather toque). You know what’s lame? Butter. You know what’s awesome? Compound butter. Compound butter is like ordinary butter, except where ordinary butter (like the dean of my culinary school) is soft, plain and boring, compound butter is mixed with herbs, spices, nuts, vinegar or other ingredients. It’s easy to make yourself and totally rad. Garlic …

Cooking with Red Dates

The Cantonese call them hong zhou, but to many of us, they are red dates and they are quickly earning another title: superfood. The red date is not just full of nutrients, though; it also has a rich history and cultural significance within the Chinese community. This plump, deep red fruit is popularly called a “date” because of its similar texture and size to the Middle Eastern brown date. The red date comes from a buckthorn shrub or tree that …