Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Lunch Box Surprise- Vegetarian Nasi Briyani (Indian Malaysian Style Fried Rice with Mock Mutton): In Loving Memory of our Former President, Mr. S.R. Nathan (1924-2016)

A miracle occurred on 3rd July 1924, in the birth of one of our national heroes, our Former President, Mr. Sellapan Ramanathan, known for short as Mr. SR Nathan. All of us who have known of him must probably be aware that his life was never that easy in the start. But, he picked up the pieces and never gave up.

Mr. Nathan, like many other leaders of Singapore, always put "country before self". Singapore was his first love before his lovely wife, Mrs. Urmila (Umi) Nandey Nathan. With her, he had two children, a daughter, Ms. Juthika Ramanathan Cheong & Mr. Osith Ramanathan, and in due course, he was blessed with 3 grandchildren, a girl (Monisha Cheong) & 2 boys (Kiron & Kheshin Cheong).

Mr. Nathan was a hero to many of us. Those who know of the Laju incident, probably are aware that he risked his life for the hostages on board. He loved art and he loved people, often stopping to meet different people from various walks of life. I myself had the pleasure of hearing a story from my father.

My father once witnessed a boy who had fallen off his scooter and started crying. Many people stopped to see what happened. As soon as the boy's father helped him up, President Nathan himself walked up to the little boy and dusted his pant legs off the dust and sand that had collected. He did not worry whether he would get his hands dirty. After that, my respect, admiration and love for the man has not and will never be the same again.

Mr. Nathan was a foodie according to all his friends and family. His favourite was nasi briyani and he preferred simple local dishes like mee goreng (fried noodles), char kway teow (flat rice noodles with soy sauce) and nasi lemak (mixed rice).

Mr. Nathan passed away on 22nd August 2016 at Singapore General Hospital following a stroke at the age of 92.

In this episode of Lunch Box Surprise, I chose to do a vegetarian nasi briyani (Indian Malaysian rice with curried meat) in his memory. I opted to do a low fat version of this, as Mr. Nathan was like a grandfather to the youth and so, I chose to dedicate this healthier version also to our senior citizens, who are health conscious.

Here is the recipe for your viewing pleasure:


Nasi Minyak (Rice)
1/2 cup Basmati or any other Indian long grain rice, washed, soaked for 1/2 an hour and either parboiled or cooked
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Indian clarified butter (desi ghee)
1 small stick cinnamon (daalchini: Hindi, kayu manis: Malay)
4-5 pcs green cardamom (elaichi: Hindi, photo: Sindhi, buah pelaga: Malay)
3 pcs cloves (laung: Hindi, cengkih: Malay)
4-5 pcs black peppercorns (kaali mirch ka daana: Hindi, biji lada hitam: Indonesian)
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
1/2 small onion, blended or chopped finely
1/4 tsp saffron, mixed in 1 tbsp hot milk (optional)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder (dhania: Hindi, dhaana: Sindhi, serbuk ketumbar: Indonesian/Malay)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi: Hindi, serbuk kunyit: Indonesian/Malay)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 tsp (or 1 small drop) kewra essence* or rose essence
1/4 tsp (or 1 small drop) pandan essence (screwpine essence)

Mock Meat
100g mock mutton (vegetarian), defrosted and cut into chunks
Pinch of meat tenderiser or a little bit of raw papaya juice
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp Indian clarified butter (desi ghee)
1 small stick cinnamon (daalchini: Hindi, kayu manis: Malay)
2-3 pcs green cardamom (elaichi: Hindi, photo: Sindhi, buah pelaga: Malay)
3 pcs cloves (laung: Hindi, cengkih: Malay)
2-3 pcs black peppercorns (kaali mirch ka daana: Hindi, biji lada hitam: Indonesian)
2 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp garlic paste
1/2 small onion, blended or chopped finely
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder (dhania: Hindi, dhaana: Sindhi, serbuk ketumbar: Indonesian/Malay)
2 tsp biryani masala (can be found prepackaged at any Indian supermarket)
Little lemon juice

2 tbsp coriander leaves (dhania patta: Hindi, kotmir: Sindhi, daun ketumbar: Indonesian/Malay), finely chopped
2 tbsp cashew nuts, roasted
12 slices onion, air fried or sautéed

1. Prepare your mock meat first. In a bowl, mix mutton, tenderiser, ginger and garlic paste, as well as lemon juice. Stir well and let it sit for at least 1/2 an hour, to soak up the flavours.

Nasi Minyak (Rice)
1. Heat oil and ghee, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns. Add ginger, garlic and onion. Stir till onion is golden brown.
2. Add very little water, chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and cook for a little while. The water is only required so that the onions do not burn.
3.  Add artificial flavourings and rice; stir well. For best results, you can also add saffron milk as mentioned above.
4. Cook till water vanishes. Keep rice aside.

Mock Meat
1. Heat ghee, add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns.
2. Add ginger, garlic and onion. Mix well and add meat.
3. Add spices, salt and a little water. Mix well, and cover and cook for a little while, so that all the flavours are absorbed.
4. Add lemon juice and biryani masala, mix well and cover for a little while more.

1. Put some nasi minyak on one side of the plate.
2. Put some meat on the other side of the plate.
3. Garnish this with coriander, air fried onion and cashew nuts.
4. Serve and enjoy however you like. I served with curried potato, pickles (achar) and fresh homemade yoghurt.

Vegetarian Nasi Briyani
As prepared by myself (lilpanda108)
Our Former President of Singapore
Mr. Sellapan Ramanathan (SR Nathan)

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Recipe of The Week: Apple Spiced Crumble

Especially during these cold rainy days in tropical Singapore, what can be better than a hot and simple apple crumble? This dish can be looked upon as a British-Irish invention, grown to be loved by lots of people. This apple crumble is an original recipe, inspired by a friend, made of caramelised apples with a spicy flavour of ginger and cinnamon, with a sweet and crunchy topping, served with a creamy custard sauce to top it all ! Sounds really delicious, but as my beloved guru says, "If you are hungry, just sitting there is not going to satisfy you. You have actually got to gather all the ingredients and go about creating the dish you want." So, I am going to shut up now and give you the ACTUAL recipe:


1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 small packet, cornflakes
4 T walnuts

1 T butter
1 Granny Smith's green apple, peeled and chopped (not too small)
1 inch ginger, peeled
1/2 stick cinnamon
1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T honey or maple syrup
Pinch of allspice to taste
Cornstarch and water to thicken (optional)
Small twist of lemon

Custard Sauce
3 T custard powder
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cap full vanilla essence
2 T sugar

Maraschino (red) cherry, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit or Gas Mark 4).


1. To make the coating, mix the brown sugar and butter. Keep aside.
2. Place the cornflakes in a plastic bag and grind it with a rolling pin.
3. Pound the walnuts in a grinder, and mix both walnuts and cornflakes into the flour.
4. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and knead until it forms breadcrumbs. Keep aside.

1. Heat 1 tbsp butter.
2. Add apple, ginger, cinnamon etc. into pan and stir well till sauce is thick and apples are less watery.
3. Grease and line a baking dish with baking parchment, and add in the apple mixture. Top with the coating.
4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
5. Meanwhile, make the custard sauce (see below)
6. When cooled, garnish with maraschino cherry.

1. Heat the cream and custard powder together, to a low simmer. Keep stirring to prevent milk from curdling.
2. Add a little nestle cream or cornflour with water to thicken.
3. Add sugar and vanilla essence to taste and serve with crumble.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016


If you meet an Indian person on the roadside in India and you ask him what his favourite food is, if he is adventurous, chances are, that he will say "Chinese". Of course, this is not real Chinese cuisine, but it is Indian Chinese (otherwise known as Chindian or Indo-Chinese, by some) and is enjoyed tremendously with spices and more seasonings, along with American sweetness. Among those who love it are popular Indian actors such as Shahid Kapoor (who is also a vegetarian), Anushka Sharma and singer, Kumar Sanu. 

This dish is amazing because it features crunchy and crispy noodles, as well as lots of nutrition and vitamins from the vegetables all topped with a sweet-sour-spicy sauce, like an American chop-suey.

Noodles boiled: 1 cup (Maggi)
Oil: For pan frying + 2 tbsp for sauce
Capsicum: ¼ cup
Bean sprouts: 1/4 cup
French beans: 1/4 cup, parboiled
Carrot juliennes: ¼ cup, parboiled
White onion: 1/2 (cut into cubes)
Spring onions: 2 tbsp
White onions: ½
Garlic: 1 tbsp
Soy sauce: ¼ cup
Tomato ketchup: ¼ cup
2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
2 tbsp sweet Thai chilli sauce
Salt to taste
Dash of mushroom seasoning
Dash of crushed black pepper
Corn starch or arrowroot powder to thicken

1. Prepare sauce first. Heat oil and add garlic and onion. Cook till garlic turns brown. Add vegetables and cook for a little more time.

2. Mix in all the sauces with a bit of water and cook well. Season with mushroom seasoning, salt and pepper. Use corn starch if needed to thicken.

3. In a pan, heat more oil and pour in noodles. Cook on one side till brown and crispy and then flip over like a pancake to cook on the other side. This is what gives the noodles its crispiness.

4. Transfer noodles into a bowl and top with sauce and vegetables. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Eggless Doughnuts (can be spelled as 'donuts')

Donuts are really fun to make, and are really popular in the USA, for kids and even older people. Some donut recipes contain egg, but what's really good about some, is like egg is optional and ones without egg turn out great, for example, Donut Empire, J Co etc.


1/2 packet instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 tsp baking powder
5-6 cups white flour
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of cinnamon powder (optional- note: I did not use, except for cinnamon twists)
Oil for frying

1. Put the yeast and 2 tbsp of the sugar into the milk and leave till the yeast activates and froths up

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, except for sugar. Later, make a well in the centre and add in the milk mixture, butter and sugar.

3. Knead the dough till it becomes soft and pliable. Leave it in a well oiled bowl for 2 hours to rise.

4. (IF NOT MAKING CINNAMON TWISTS) Dust a flat surface with white flour and roll out the dough into a 1/2 cm thickness. Using a drinking glass, cut out circles of the dough. In the centre of each circle, cut out another smaller hole using a bottle cap.

5. Heat oil and fry the donuts till they become golden brown.

6. Leave to cool before decorating and serving.

NOTE: In this recipe, I am going to make 3 different types of donuts.

A. Cinnamon twists:
(For this, I separated about one-third of the dough)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp black raisins
Melted butter and brown sugar for dusting

Mix cinnamon powder into the dough. Then, cut the dough into large strips. Cut each large strip into 3 parts. Plait it up and top with raisins before topping with melted butter and sugar.

B. Chocolate Rainbow Donuts
1 bar semisweet baking chocolate (Hershey's)
Enough water to make the icing spreadable
Chocolate rainbow rice or hundreds and thousands

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan directly (if using Hershey's only, otherwise, follow package directions). Add water to make icing spreadable. Spread on top of donut and sprinkle rainbow rice.

C. All American Jelly Donuts
2 tbsp custard powder
1 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
Strawberry jam for centre

Make the custard according to the directions of the custard powder packet. Cut the donut lengthwise in half and spread the custard generously in one half. Close with other half and keep it on foil. Put some strawberry jam in the centre.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Dear Viewers,

This video would be the first OFFICIAL video where I actually select my clients randomly to have their favourite recipe featured up on this blog! In this case, my first lucky client turns out to be my lovely grand-aunt, Mrs. Sheetal (Sheetu) Tulsiani. She is mostly vegetarian, but enjoys chicken and seafood from time to time. 

She is a great cook herself and also supports this blog a lot. Her favourite food is Thai and Burmese cuisine. Hence, I decided to prepare a Thai mango salad. Here's how I do it!

Please watch this video and give your views:
Transcript of the recipe is available here. 

Serves: 2-3 people

1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1/4-1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 small (1/4 cup) tomatoes,
1/2 unripe mango (you can use
mango if you like-sweetness)
3 slices red cabbage or Napa

1/4 cup chilli garlic sauce
2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce (or
1-2 tsp palm sugar, grated
1-2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup peanuts, roasted and
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds, roasted
 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely
1 tbsp spring onions, finely

1. In a bowl, mix chilli garlic sauce and oyster sauce. Add lemon juice, palm sugar and water. Blend together well till everything comes together. Add sesame oil if you wish.

2. Add all the salad ingredients, except cabbage. Toss well.

3. Arrange cabbage slices on a plate and scoop salad into the cabbage. Top generously with peanuts and sesame seeds, and garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions. Serve chilled. 

Bajri Jo Dodo (Millet Flour Flatbread)

Hi guys, this is a recipe for a popular Sindhi breakfast item... If you are looking for a different breakfast, please try this. It's nutritious (millet flour is a great replacement for white flour, and is protein-rich and fibrous), and really delicious and spicy.

This recipe is dedicated to the loving memory of my grandfather, who loved to eat this with yoghurt. He was born on 16th October 1934, and passed away on 7th December 2000.

2 cups bajri (millet) flour (OR 1 1/2 cups bajri-Sindhi/bajra- Hindi or millet flour, and 1/2 cup atta or whole wheat flour)
1 tsp small cumin seeds (jeeri- Sindhi)
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup chives, chopped finely
1/2 cup coriander leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp amchur (mango powder)
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter) as required

1. In a hand blender, add onion,  chives, coriander leaves, amchur and coriander seeds.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix flours, cumin seeds and salt. Knead with ghee and water.
3. Add the paste and make a thick dough.
4. Separate into balls and roll out into 1/4 inch thickness.
5. Heat griddle and cook one side. Prick holes into the other side and pour a little ghee into it.
6. Cook on other side till whole bread is golden brown.
7. Serve hot with yoghurt.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Heavenly Chocolate Birthday Cake

Hi guys, I have finally come up with my own original cake recipe. This is my special dedication to Vivek, my male cousin who turned 6 years old this year. Earlier, I couldn't make up my own recipe so I just had to do SOMETHING for the timebeing, which is why I copied my aunt's recipe. I still believe that one is better, to be honest with you guys. Hence, I have saved that recipe as 'My Aunt's Original Chocolate Cake'. You can use that recipe if you wish. It is also eggless. It is similar to this one.

1 1/4 cup self raising flour (2 tbsp cornstarch + remaining amount all purpose flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Grease a small cake tin and line with greaseproof paper.
2. Sift together the self raising flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and sugar.
3. In a separate dish, mix the oil and vanilla essence. Add to dry ingredients, and beat till well combined.
4. Add vinegar and mix well again. Alternately, add milk until you get a creamy, easy to pour consistency for your batter.
5. Pour your mixture into your cake tin (make sure it is filled only half way or slightly more only, do not fill to the brim).
6. Bake the cake for about 15-25 mins. Test with a toothpick at the centre. If it comes out clean, your cake is done.
7. Let the cake cool and decorate it however you like. A suggestion would be to use the chocolate icing recipe below and top with your choice of fruit or chocolate candy (e.g. M&M's or Smarties)

Chocolate icing: 
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 block semisweet cooking chocolate (Hershey's- 112g)
3/4-1 cup President whipping cream

1. Whip cream till thick
2. Melt chocolate in butter in a saucepan. Be careful butter does not burn. 
3. Put enough water to make it thick and mix. 
4. Add chocolate into cream when cool. 
5. Spread icing generously on the cake
6. Top with any topping you like