clean eating

Meals for homeless – poached chicken with oyster sauce (FODMAP friendly)

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This is a simple and delicious meal with whole chicken(s) and a few other ingredients –  oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger, shallot and corn flour.  For a FODMAP friendly recipe, use only green part of the shallot.

Meal for homeless - slow poached chicken with oyster sauce and green shallot (FODMAP friendly)

Here are the easy steps:

Bacon and cucumber stir fry (gluten free, FODMAP friendly)

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I made a quick meal of cucumbers and bacon in 15 minutes.

I sliced the cucumbers and bacon. In a frying pan I drizzled a little oil and added the bacon pieces. I pan fried the bacon until nearly crispy, then added the cucumbers. A few stirs, added a little sugar and white pepper. And we have a big bowl of tasty veggie and yummy bacon for dinner.

Meals for homeless: turmeric eggs with chili tomato salsa

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This is a simple ‘please-all’ egg recipe with a tangy chili and tomato salsa.  It is often the first dish to be emptied at the street buffet for our homies.

Turmeric eggs with chili tomato salsa

Turmeric eggs with chili tomato salsa
Eggs pan fried with turmeric

Tangy capsicum, onion, tomato and chili salsa
Tangy capsicum, onion, tomato and chili salsa

Easy method is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Asian style ox tail Soup with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper (gluten free)

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When I attended university in the late 80s, I had the good fortune of studying alongside with a diverse group of Asian kids, many became my friends for life. They exposed me to a large range of comfort food from all over Asian, such as Malaysian hawker dishes and Indonesian desserts.

One of my favorite dishes I learned from my friends was the aromatic Indonesian ox tail soup – a scrumptious bone broth with vegetables, spiced with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Its flavors were enhanced by fried shallots and fresh herbs.  I often crave for it on rainy days. Unfortunately, we don’t have an Indonesian restaurant nearby.  So I have to cook my own.

We can use a pressure cooker for this soup (40 minutes) or a stock pot (slow cook for 5 hours). I like using the stock pot as I can make a huge pot to enjoy over a few days.

I love having this hot soup with some warm rice – really satisfying.

Asian style ox tail Soup with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and pepper (gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Simple Chinese mushrooms and cloud ear fungus, memories of Chinese New Year (vegan)

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Simple Chinese mushrooms and cloud ear fungus

Nearly 30 years had passed since I left China, but I still remember vividly the wonderful days around the Chinese New Years. Extended families gathered at the large dinner tables, briefly forgot about their quarrels throughout  the year. The wok chinked with an aroma of delicacies that we couldn’t afford as daily meals. The rolling pins were out for the wickedly delicious sweet peanut pastry.

The flower festival (‘huaJie’, 花街) was held about a week before the Chinese New Year. Families went to the street market packed of flower vendors to select their festival decorations. Kumquat 金橘 was an essential – ‘kum’ means gold and  ‘quat’ has a similar pronunciation as fortune. It is a plant that will bring good prosperity in the new year. A small blossoming  peach shrub was also an essential, s symbol of strength and vitality, with beautiful flowers emerged from the harshness of the winter. Also common were the chrysanthemum 菊花 and peony 牡丹, large and colorful, symbols of riches and honor.

Flower street
Memories of a street pack with people, flowers and green plants

When I was a little girl, my father worked in another city. So my second uncle took me to the flower festival each year. Our most memorable trips were the ones on the New Years Eves. We had loads of fun browsing the market and pushed through the crowd. There were so many people at the market, my uncle had to put me on his shoulders to be safe. When it was close to the midnight, we rushed home to light our fire crackers. There was one time that we were late and ran into the fire cracker storms at mid-night. The crackers and the odd firework were loud and smoky, with laughter of the children, so much joy and happiness.

Fire work
Memories of kids lighting fire crackers on the street

The next morning the streets were quiet with a red carpet of paper left behind by the fire crackers. Kids got up early to collect the odd fire crackers that did not go off the previous night, then ran around greeting their relatives ‘goon he fa choi’ 恭喜發財, in exchange for red envelopes with a little money, which they would use to buy lollies for months to come.

After the big feast on the New Year’s Eve, vegetarian meals were common on the first day of the new year.  My favorite dish was the stew Chinese mushrooms, a delicacy rarely consumed during the year. The mushrooms were cooked with different types of dry or fresh vegetables – lily buds, fungus, dry tofu sticks, hair vegetable 髮菜 and bamboo shoots. The aroma of the dish is still lingering in my mind.

Nowadays I cook Chinese mushrooms quite often – nearly everybody in our family and extended families love it.  In Sydney the Chinese mushrooms are inexpensive, a 250g bag of good quality mushrooms cost around $12. It makes a huge dish for 8-10 people to share. We are thankful for what we are able to enjoy today.

Here is a simple mushroom dish I’d like to share with you.

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Fresh cactus flower soup 曇花汤

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I had been waiting for my  cactus flowers ‘tanhua’  to bloom. Such beautiful dedicate living wonders, with flowers only open up for one precious night.

The unusual weeks of Sydney rain stopped briefly on Sunday afternoon. The flowers quietly bloomed during the night. I harvested 3 flowers,  but hesitated on the thoughts of making a soup,  Traditionally, the flowers are sun dried, then boiled with meat for hours, ending up all marshy and  grey like the rainy weather. What a depressing thought.

 

4S2B1972A #3

 

 

I gently washed and sliced the flowers into quarters. I dropped the flowers into a saucepan of water with thinly julienne chicken breast;  brought it to a boil, added a dash of sesame oil, a dash of dark soy sauce and a few pinches of white pepper. The soup was done in 3 minutes.

And here it was, a simple soup to show my appreciation of these natural beauties.

Fresh cactus flower soup

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Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子

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A school mum gave me some fresh fennel and taught me how to make pork and fennel dumplings,  a popular dish from Northern China.

Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子
Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子
Steamed pork and fennel dumplings 豬肉韭菜餃子

Recipe is as follows:

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Rice paper rolls of quinoa, coriander, alfalfa and sesame seeds (low FODMAP, vegan, gluten free)

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A few days ago I set off to create a few vegan FODMAP dishes with alfalfa. The schedule was ‘interrupted’ by Chinese New Year with wrapping dumplings with extended family, chatting with friends on how to make ‘yee sang’, handing out red envelopes and, work. We don’t get any national holidays for Chinese New Year in Australia.

Here is my alfalfa recipes installment #2 –  rice paper rolls of quinoa flavored with sesame oil and coriander, lettuce, carrot, capsicum, alfalfa, sesame seeds,  and a small squeeze of BBQ sauce.

Can’t find any rice paper? Don’t worry, the recipe also works as a salad.

Rice paper roll with quinoa, coriander, alfalfa, carrot, lettuce, capsicum, sesame seed and sesame oil, low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Asian inspired carrot, pumpkin and kumquat dip (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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A good friend is on a self diagnosed gluten free diet. She is addicted to vegetables and all things fashionably healthy. You will laugh if you see her feeding her kids with healthy food the good old Chinese way –  with great persistence.

We were over at their house for lunch last weekend. I made some tasty vegetable dips which was very appreciated. I served the dips with some plain rice crackers.

 

Asian inspired carrot, pumpkin and kumquat dip (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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Homemade ‘fun guo’ 粉果 – steamed dumplings with Chinese vegetables and peanuts

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My sister was over this afternoon with my niece who is the same age as my little boy. While the kids were playing, my sister helped me to make some ‘fun guo’, one of my favorite yum cha dish.

It is really simple to make.  I first stir fried the filling with diced chicken, leek, five spice tofu, Chinese mushroom, salted radish, wood ear fungus and bamboo shoot; then I made the wrappers with wheat starch and tapioca.  I have no talent using rolling pins, so I used  my pasta machine to roll out the dough. While I was rolling out the dough and cutting out the wrappers, my sister worked on wrapping the dumplings.

4S2B0044 #2
Homemade ‘fun guo’ 粉果 – steamed dumplings with Chinese vegetables and peanuts

Fun guo dumpling filling
Fun guo dumpling filling

Recipe is as follow:

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Homemade buckwheat noodles with soy sauce and sesame oil (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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A few weeks ago I made a really nice dashi soup base with shaved katsuobushi (preserved fermented skipjack tuna) and kombu (kelp). I looked in the cupboard for some soba noodles and noticed that they all contained wheat. That weekend I did a special trip to my favorite Asian supermarket at Chinatown to search for a gluten free soba, yet none could be found.

Never mind, I will just have to make my own buckwheat noodles. To make it light and bouncy, I used a combination of buckwheat (1/2), rice flour (1/4) and tapioca starch (1/4).

Homemade buckwheat noodles with soy sauce and sesame oil (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

Recipe is as follow:

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Rice paper rolls with tofu, bamboo shoot, bean sprout and sesame (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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FODMAP vegan can be delicious too – tofu recipe #5.

A couple weeks ago I set out to see how many tummy friendly tofu recipes I could made. So far I have a rice noodle soup, an entree (pan fried tofu with chili & tomato salsa), a main (tofu chop suey) and a dessert (with ginger, pumpkin & tapioca). Perhaps the next dish would be a healthy snack that can be packed into a lunch box?

Vegetables can be quite plain, so the bamboo shoot will give the dish a kick of flavor.

Rice paper rolls with tofu, bamboo shoot, bean sprout and sesame (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

The filling: tofu with bamboo shoot, bean sprout, potato, carrot, capsicum, sesame and coriander
The filling: tofu with bamboo shoot, bean sprout, potato, carrot, capsicum, sesame and coriander

Recipe is as follow:

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Steamed banana and pumpkin rice cake with coconut milk (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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When I was a little girl in China, I often had white steamed sugar sponge cakes for breakfast – the cakes were cheap, warm and comforting, although the the cakes had little nutrition value.

The steamed cakes in this recipe are also warm and comforting – and gentle for your tummy.

 

Steamed banana and pumpkin rice cake with coconut milk (low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)
Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Asian style omelette with cabbage and oyster sauce (low FODMAP)

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I lived in Melbourne some years ago for work, far away from friends and family. One of my favorite pass time was going to Daimaru Japanese department store. At the lower ground floor of the store there were fast food outlets. There was this particular one that sold Japanese cabbage omelettes and I was really fond of it. The omelettes were served with  a thick oyster sauce and mayonnaise.

Here is a tummy friendly version of a cabbage omelette – served with a lighter sauce.

Asian style omelette with cabbage and oyster sauce (low FODMAP)

 

Recipe is as follow:

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Beef and rice rissoles (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Sometime we crave for a tasty meal that is also gentle on our tummies. Rissoles are simple to make, satisfying and may offer many varieties. My rissoles today has beef, rice, potato, carrot, egg and cheddar cheese – just ‘glue’ everything together, dust with rice flour and pan fry, no recipe required 🙂

Beef rissoles with potato, rice and cheese, fodmap friendly, gluten free, IBS

Healing herbal soup QinBuLiang (清補涼)

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Feeling stressed and tired?

In China there was a popular style of living, called YangShen (養生), meaning to nurture life for health and happiness. Alongside with the concept of  peace and harmony, YangShen also promotes a healthy lifestyle which interpreted by many food-loving Cantonese as eating well, fine tea drinking and to enjoy a variety of healing herbal soups.

This herbal soup is called QinBuLiang (清補涼), meaning refreshing, nurturing and cooling. It is often served when a family member is stressed, anxious or with dry coughs.

The QinBuLiang soup base contains  pearl barley (YiMi 薏米), lotus seeds (LianZi 蓮子),  goji berries (GouQi 枸杞), fox nuts (Qianshi 芡實 ), Chinese yam (HuaiSan 淮山) and Solomon’s seal rhizome (YuZu 玉竹), each has commonly recognized healing benefits. The soup is cooked with pork meat and bones to enhance its flavor. I often add a couple tablespoons of dried longan fruit to give it a hint of sweetness to what otherwise quite a bland soup.

Healing herbal soup QinBuLiang (清補涼)

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Home made steamed buns ‘man tou’ (馒头)

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This is a heart warming plain steamed bun that is soft and fluffy when served warm or at room temperature. Great for sandwiching spicy twice cooked pork, or any meaty dishes with strong flavors.

Home made steamed buns 'man tou' (馒头)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Pork and leek pastry ‘cha siu su’ style

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I like the buttery ‘cha siu su’ at yum cha, but found them a bit too sweet for me. For the school fete, I made my own version of pork puffs inspired by ‘cha siu su’.

Pork and leek pastry 'cha siu su' style

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Crunchy lettuce wrap of pepper beef and pickled carrot, with Vietnamese style dipping sauce (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Some friends are over for lunch today. I made these tender pepper beef and pickled carrot wraps with a Vietnamese style dipping sauce. The wraps are crunchy,  juicy & satisfying.   Best of all, so very easy to make.

Crunchy lettuce wrap of pepper beef and pickled carrot, with Vietnamese style dipping sauce  (low FODMAP, gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Golden turmeric prawns (gluten free)

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If you have a spice collector like me, you may have turmeric & cumin in your pantry. I also keep ginger pieces and chilies in my freezer. With a onion, this prawn dish is 5 minutes away … no recipe required.

Golden turmeric prawns

Clean 12 prawns; dice the onion, slice 1 chili, mince a little ginger (optional); heat up a frying pan with some cooking oil; add the onion, ginger & chili; stir fry until onion  is coated with oil; add turmeric & cumin (I use about 1tsp each for a mild taste); stir for the spices to coat the onion; push the onion to the side; add prawns, 1-2 minutes each side until cooked through; stir through the onion; season with salt.

I serve this with an Indian inspired chickpea & bacon stew.

Steamed oysters with soy sauce, sesame oil, shallot, coriander and chilies

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My hubby & I always debate about natural oysters vs. cooked oysters. I love my oysters lightly steamed (30 seconds to 1 minute on hot steam), topped with sliced shallot^, coriander, chilies, white wine, soy sauce* and sesame oil;  then finish with a hot splash of cooking oil on top of the herbs to bring out the flavors & freshness. It is so simple and delicious, no recipe required.

* use gluten free soy sauce for an gluten free option.

 

Steamed oysters with soy sauce, sesame oil, shallot, coriander and chilies

Spiced potato and spinach

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A long day at the office, tired, hungry & craving for a quick meal. The local food store had a few packs of chicken sausages, and I made potatoes and spinach as a side dish – tasty & satisfying! The star of the dish was, of course, the potatoes with cumin & turmeric.

Spiced potato and spinach

No recipe required for this dish, here are a few simple steps:

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Chicken soup with ginger bok choy (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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On most Fridays I work from home. Some days there seems to be so much happening that I barely have time to make lunch. This is one of my Friday 10 minute meal – it is delicious and recharges me on cold winter days. No recipe required.

Chicken soup with ginger bok choy (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

I boil some water in the kettle while I thinly slice 2 chicken tight fillets, wash & slice some bok choy,  and slice up some ginger; Then I  heat up a little cooking oil in a pot, pan fry the ginger slightly, then fill the pot up with 2 cups of water and the chicken pieces; bring the water to boil, add the bok choy, bring it to boil again; check if the chicken is cooked through; and lunch is served with a pinch of salt and pepper.  If you like, you can add a dash of oyster sauce.

So simple and heart warming – the ginger brings out so much flavor.

Serves 2.

 

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Home style tomato and egg stir fry with oyster sauce 番茄炒蛋 (FODMAP friendly)

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This is one of my childhood favorite – a dish that can be cooked in 10 minutes. It is sweet, sour, juicy and tender. Best of all, no recipe required. Simply cut 2 tomatoes into pieces;heat up some cooking oil in a frying pan, lightly scramble the 2 eggs; add tomato pieces, oyster sauce, a little sugar, stir well; cook with lid closed for 5 minutes and its is ready to serve.

 

Home style tomato and egg stir fry with oyster sauce 番茄炒蛋 (FODMAP friendly)

White cooked chicken with a tangy soy and vinegar sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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When I got off the train from work this evening, I realized that we didn’t have any food in the fridge for dinner. I picked up some chicken thigh fillets and a bunch of shallot from a local grocery store, and walked home to make a quick meal.

When I got home, I first put on the kettle for some hot water; then put on some rice in the rice cooker. I placed the whole chicken fillets in a saucepan with a piece of ginger and a few pinch of salt, poured over the hot water to cover all the pieces, brought it to boil over the stove top, then put the lid on and turned the heat to very low. Off I went to get change out of my work clothes. When I was back in the kitchen, I chopped up some shallot and chili (note1). I heat up a frying pan with some oil, pan fry the shallot & chili with a little sugar & salt (1 minute) –  dinner’s nearly ready.

The chicken was just cooked (approx 15 minutes) – beautifully tender and juicy. I sliced the chicken and mixed the pieces with a dash of soy (use gluten free soy sauce for a gluten free option), a dash of sesame oil, a dash of rice wine vinegar, a dash of white wine. Add the pan fried shallot and chili, garnish with coriander, and dinner was served.

White cooked chicken with a tangy soy and vinegar sauce (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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Green beans and eggs, with oyster sauce (low FODMAP)

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When I was a child, this was a popular dish at our house  – grandmother raised a coup of egg-laying chickens at the roof top terrace, and green beans from the market were always fresh and cheap. The soft eggs compliments the crunchiness of bean; the oyster sauce enhances the freshness of the beans & eggs. So simple, quick & tasty – goes really well with a small bowl of hot rice.

Green beans and eggs, with oyster sauce (low FODMAP)

 

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Asian inspired seafood bisque (gluten free)

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I love bisque – I can’t think of another soup with so much flavors. My seafood bisque has added Asian flavors – lemongrass, chills, ginger, shallot & coriander. The flavor is intense & irresistible.

Asian inspired seafood bisque

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Chocolate, coconut, sesame and dates balls (gluten free, vegan)

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As a part time working mum dashing between workplace and school drop offs & pick ups, some days I don’t time for breakfast or lunch. This is a tasty treat that can really enhance energy level.

So simple – you can add your other favorite dried fruits; and make a large batch and freeze them.

Chocolate, coconut, sesame and dates balls   (gluten free, vegan)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Mango pudding with coconut kumquat (gluten free)

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The Kumquat shrub is bearing fruits in the garden – super juicy and adds lots of flavor to a mango & coconut pudding.  Mango pudding is one of my favorite dessert at yum cha.

Mango pudding with coconut kumquat (gluten free)

Recipe is as follow:  Read the rest of this entry »

Chinese traditional steamed pork ‘cake’ 蒸肉餅 (gluten free)

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My old aunt & my cousin are coming over for lunch today.  My aunt can’t cook much any more, so I am cooking them a traditional Chinese meal.  No other meat could be more traditional than pork. I remembered that my old aunt had a secret for all good Chinese pork dishes – ginger, shallot, soy & wine.

Chinese traditional steamed pork 'cake' 蒸肉餅 (gluten free)

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Hot and sour soup 酸辣湯

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When I first arrived in Australia in late 1980s, I studied full time & worked part time in an upmarket Chinese restaurant serving northern style cuisines. I was always amazed by the beautiful aroma from the hot and sour soup and its interesting taste – hot but not overwhelming, sour with a woody base,  sweet and crunchy, offering so much comfort on a winter’s night.

Hot and sour soup 酸辣湯

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Cucumber rolls with lamb, capsicum and eggs (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

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These gorgeous little rolls are so easy to make – scramble a egg with a pinch of salt; pan fry some lamb and red capsicum with a dash of gluten free soy sauce and sesame oil; boil  some rice and cool; slice some cucumber lengthwise (use a peeler);  roll some rice with the egg, lamb and capsicum in the middle very tightly with cling wrap then cut into portion with a sharp knife; wrap a piece of sliced cucumber around the rice roll – and there it goes, pretty and tasty.

Cucumber rolls with lamb, capsicum and eggs (FODMAP friendly, gluten free)

Golden coconut flan

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I learned about flan when I was working as a waitress in an Asian restaurant during my university days. I have to say, my flan is so much better than that restaurant’s.

 Coconut Flan

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Rare beef salad with Vietnamese slaw

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A simple and delicious beef salad – juicy aged rump pan seared 2-3 minutes on each side, on a bed of tasty Asian salad with mint and coriander.

Recipe is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Soy bok choy, memories of my grandmother’s chicken coop (Low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

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Vegetables & melons are popular food in China – bok choy, choy sum & cabbage are some of the most common vegetables.

While I was a little child, we lived in a terrace house with my extended family including uncles & aunties. My grandmother was responsible for cooking dinners for the whole family. To supplement the food coupons, my grandmother raised a coop of chickens on the roof top terrace. Before I was old enough to go to school, every afternoon I went to the market with my grandmother to collect left over green vegetables. We brought the vegetables home, chopped them up on a huge wooden chopping board, and fed to the chickens. While she was chopping, grandmother told me stories, so many stories. One of the stories was about me – while I was still a crawling baby, I crawled up to the roof top terrace, helped myself to the egg storage urn, cracked every single egg and smeared the eggs on the stairs.

That was not the only time that I was naughty – I remember when I was little, bored and feeling mischievous, I put some rice behind the door to the roof top terrace. I peeked through the gaps, waited till the chickens started pecking on the grains, suddenly opened the door – chickens were flying everywhere!  The naughty little girl laughed and laughed.  My grandmother was always very kind to me and never punished me.

Some days we were lucky enough to collect some good vegetables, and grandma cooked them for dinner with a little oil, a dash of soy sauce and nothing else. Soy sauce was always cheap and no coupon needed.

Here is my version of a simple soy bok choy, with fond memory of my wonderful grandmother.

Soy bok choy (Low FODMAP, gluten free, vegan)

Easy method is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Chicken stir fry with lemongrass and chili (low FODMAP, gluten free)

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Thai food always brings back memory of a pink restaurant where I worked for a few years during my university days.

The restaurant was owned by a kind Vietnamese couple – An the husband and Ly the wife.   Ly looked after 3 young children and worked in the tiny kitchen every night. An was a full time engineer who managed the dinning room and delivered takeaway food.

When they spoke about their past, I could see Ly’s eyes sparkled, and warm smiles on An’s face. In the old days back home, Ly was known as the ‘Saigon rose’ for her exceptional beauty, and An was a young, well educated officer working for the American army.

I learned to cook some wonderful dishes from Ly. One of my favourite was a ‘xa ot’ dish, meaning lemongrass and chili.

Here is my version of a xa ot chicken.

Chicken stir fry with lemongrass and chili

Easy method is as follow: Read the rest of this entry »