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COOKING

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 …

Malayalee Secrets – Kerala Red Fish Curry

Malaysia has always been a melting pot of cultures. It’s never more evident than when you get to enjoy dishes from a range of cultures in one sitting. This is what you can expect at Julia Ujud’s home. The 60-something is a Muslim from Malaysia’s Negri Sembilan state who married into a Malayalee family with strong Keralan roots. “I started cooking at a young age, getting roped in to help my mother in the kitchen. That’s always the job of …

Make Your Own Kombucha: Part 2

Now that you’ve mastered the art of basic brewing, let’s move on to the fun part of making kombucha – flavouring and carbonating. This process is called secondary fermentation because the cultures feed off the sugar in the things you’ve added – typically fruit – and in this way continue the fermentation process. We’ll also cover how to manage your SCOBIES, including how to store them for future use or split them to give away to another home brewer. Flavouring …

Make Your Own Kombucha: Part 1

Love Wholesome contributor Jo-ann Huang brews her own fermented tea and lives to tell the tale Kombucha, or fermented tea, is no longer just a trendy drink loved by rich and health-obsessed hipsters. Australian brands Remedy and Mojo now feature widely in chain supermarkets, and homegrown breweries Yocha and Craft & Culture have built up loyal followings. The 2,000-year-old elixir, which is said to have originated in China, has a long list of purported health benefits, including a calmer gut …

EATING

Hidden Sugars: What You Need to Know

A granola bar contains nearly as much sugar as a can of coke: welcome to the world of hidden sugars. It’s fair to say that Singaporeans enjoy eating more than just about anything else. But with one in nine people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, it’s clear that our love affair with food is not always healthy. But diabetes is entirely preventable through a good diet and exercise. There’s no reason we can’t have our chilli crab and eat it …

The six best grains for healthy carbs

Let’s get this straight: we need carbohydrates. In fact, they’re our body’s natural fuel source. The problem is that today we have more access to higher quantities of carbs, and more often in highly refined forms like sugar than nature ever intended. When not burned off, the excess is stored as fat. Cereal grains like wheat, rice and oats are our main carbohydrate sources. You’ve probably heard some are better than others. For example, rice is a bad carb. It’s basically pure …

SALTed: Where East Comes to the West

As I stir the tomato sauce gravy encircling a bed of crispy egg noodles, the distinctive aroma of Sarawak pepper swirls into the air, offering a delicious depth to the tangy flavours. Although tomato mee is a much-loved Sarawakian street dish, it’s rarely found in Kuala Lumpur so I was delighted to discover it recently on the menu of SALTed, a small café with a big message run by a Sarawakian couple, Sofya Yusof, 39, and her husband Karel Loong, 51. …

Eating Healthy with Asam Jawa (Tamarind)

When they need some zing or tang, most Southeast Asian curries turn to the tamarind – either the juice or the flesh itself. While the tamarind (asam jawa in Malay) is fairly ubiquitous in our cuisine, most of us don’t give it too much thought. Given how much we use it, the humble tamarind probably deserves a bit more attention. Tamarind 101 Let’s go back to basics. The tamarind tree, the Tamarindus indica, is a hardy tropical species typically found in arid …

Weaving More Fibre into your Diet

Do you need more fibre in your diet? If the statistics are anything to go by, then you probably do.  Nutritionists can’t seem to shut up about the importance of fibre, yet most of us don’t get enough. But what is fibre, anyway? What makes it so important, and how do you get more into your diet? Fibre is a structural component of plants and is found in vegetables, whole grains and other plant-based food. Although we don’t digest fibre, …

Are Vegan Burgers Worth the Hype?

Love Wholesome contributor Jo-ann Huang samples some popular vegan burger brands found in supermarkets. Consumers the world over are embracing a plant-based diet for a myriad of reasons, from health to animal welfare and environmentalism. But for Singapore’s savvy foodies, a life of boring salads is unlikely to appeal. Some meat-free alternatives have popped up in recent years, such as California’s Impossible Burger, which made its debut in some restaurants in Singapore in March. The Impossible Burger has won over …

INGREDIENTS

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 …

Cooking with Tea Leaves

Tea leaves aren’t just for brewing and drinking. Yep, that’s right, you can eat them too, and some cultures around the world have embraced tea leaves as a staple ingredient. The best known is Japan, where tea in the form of matcha (specially prepared and powdered green tea leaves that have a slew of health benefits) is common in ice cream, cakes, smoothies and other confections. But regular, old tea leaves, whether loose, powdered or even pickled, can add a distinctive, …

The Great Bay Leaf Conspiracy

Search Google for “bay leaf conspiracy” and the results might shock you: article after article wondering if bay leaves are a true herb, or merely a far-reaching scheme by the culinary industry to get you to put useless leaves into your food. One author, writing for The Awl, wonders: “What does a bay leaf taste like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf smell like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf look like? A leaf.” They’re crazy, right? Bay leaves are a …

Breakfast of Champions? Try Oatmeal

January is Oatmeal Month, celebrating the warm, soft porridge made from (you guessed it) oats. Now, let’s get this out of the way. Oatmeal does sometimes get a bad rap. It’s viewed as the celery of the breakfast world: a healthy but ultimately boring mushy mass next to your granola parfaits and poached eggs. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret: oatmeal might actually be the best breakfast dish in the whole world – and here’s …

Truffles: How to Buy, Prepare and Eat the Ultimate Delicacy

Yes, pigs really do hunt truffles. Yes, they really can cost US$50 each. And yes, they are worth it. French connoisseur Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin dubbed the rough, clumpy little tuber the “diamond of the kitchen”, and foodies since antiquity have struggled to cultivate enough of them. Although in modern times truffles have become easier to grow and harvest, they remain a true culinary delicacy with gourmet chefs (and ambitious blog readers!) around the world vying for the finest specimens to …