Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cleansing meal - The Star


A totally vegetarian meal sometimes works wonders for the system.

WE HAVE always been threatening our children that we would not give them even a morsel of meat one day and see how they’d survive.

Despite the constant threats, we have not carried out any of them only because we know the conclusion.

Most times, because they have friends with wheels, they would just nonchalantly tell us they are going out with friends, so “don’t wait up for us” or “go ahead and have your meals; don’t keep any for us”.

It is rather unfortunate that they don’t understand how good at least one vegetarian meal a month is good for the system.

In recent months, vegetarian meals have actually become more expensive rather than a cost saver for most as the cost of vegetables have skyrocketed, only because not much land is currently available for the planting of vegetables but also because of the use of many fruit vegetables for biofuel.

It became a cause for concern personally when the Malaysian Government had had to put RM4bil for food stockpile, especially for rice, in fear of citizens not being able to enjoy their staple.

I have, for a long time, educated my family on the need to reduce dependence on rice simply because it is carbohydrates that we don’t really need much of and that there are more nutritious food available to be put on the table.

In fact, I am currently making it a habit to put rice only once on the table daily and for the other meals, I tend to make other food that can satisfy hunger just as well if not better.

Especially for dinner, I tend to favour bread with a stew or a chicken roasted with vegetables, meatloaf, noodles and even roast beef on weekends.

It may be a lot of work for the cook of the house, having to plan different dishes for every meal, but if health is at stake and with the high cost of food, one cannot but be a little more conscientious in tightening the belt.

Of course, the other good investment that most of us can make is getting a bread machine to make our own bread.

I got mine through the credit card redemption and it has served me well, with great smells of baking bread in the morning and being able to tweak recipes to suit my personal taste and that of the family.

It is also healthier and additive-free as you bake bread for how much you and your family can consume and not waste.

I will in the coming months include a few bread recipes for you to try out and see the results for yourself.

For this week, at the request of friends and readers, I am giving recipes for a totally vegetarian meal, which you can actually enjoy and appreciate going meatless. Of course, for those who are really into proteins, the bean curd serves that area while the vegetables are calming and packing loads of minerals and vitamins.

Enjoy the meal for a total cleansing experience and work it into your diet for as often as possible.
Faridah Begum is passionate about cooking and stuffing family and friends with food, whether tasty or not.

Vegetable SoupIngredients

3 leaves cabbage, cut into 3cm squares
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 carrot, sliced round
1 onion, sliced
1 potato, cut into 8
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
A little light soy sauce

Boil the water and when it is rolling, add all the vegetables together, simmer on a small fire for about half an hour and when the vegetables are soft, add your seasoning and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.

Bean Curd on the DoubleIngredients

I piece of soft bean curd, either steamed for about 3 minutes or just immerse it in hot water for about 5 minutes
5 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2cm ginger, minced
1 stalk spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil

Pat-dry the bean curd and cut to desired pieces and arrange on a platter. If you are serving for a dinner, then leave the bean curd whole. In a wok, heat up the sesame oil and sauté the minced ingredients for about 2 minutes over high heat. When slightly soft, add the sauce, fry for another minute and pour over the bean curd. Add a dash of pepper, if desired, and sprinkle with the spring onions. Serve hot.

Stir-Fried Red SpinachIngredients

500g red spinach, take the leaves and young stalks
3 shallots, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tsp soy sauce

Heat the oil in the wok and sauté the minced ingredients until they are aromatic. Add the spinach and stir-fry until the vegetable sweats. (If you wish, cover the wok with a wok cover that has ventilation holes for the steam to escape). Add the sauces and pepper and serve.

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