Dum Arbi / Colocasia Curry

Arbi goes commonly by the name of taro root or colocasia. It is a starchy root vegetable and is high in fibre content. In South India, arbi is prepared in the traditional style with a bit of tempering and turmeric and letting it crisp in oil till it achieves a beautiful golden colour.
This time I decided to try the North Indian gravy based dish using colocasia called Dum Arbi. This is a delectable gravy dish cooked in a spicy yogurt base and goes well with rotis or dal and rice.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 45 mins
Difficulty: Medium
Ingredients : 

  • 500 gms of Arbi
  • 2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes puréed
  • 1 garlic pod, finely minced (optional)
  • 2 tsp ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi
  • A pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tbsp of oil
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt to taste
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnish

Dum Arbi
Method:

  • Wash the arbi nicely so that the mud is washed away. Add the arbi in a pressure cooker with lightly sated water (enough to cover) for 3 whistles on medium flame. Switch off the flame once the whistles are done.
  • Wait for the cooker to come to room temperature. Upon cooling, open the cooker and peel off the skin of the arbi.
  • Cut the arbi into equal cubes, it will be a bit slippery, so cut with a blunt knife if required.
  • Cool the vegetables for a few minutes.
  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Add the arbi cubes in this pan and fry them till golden brown outside and remove them on an absorbent paper and keep them aside.
  • Now in another pan, take 1 tbsp of oil and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and asafoetida.
  • Add chopped garlic, green chilli and onion and sauté it till the onions become translucent.
  • Add ginger and tomato purée and again sauté it for 3 minutes. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala and saute it till oil separates.
  • Add the yogurt now, mix it well and stir it continuously in the pan till it comes to boiling point. To balance consistency, add water (around 1/4 cup) to boil the gravy again – keep stirring it at this stage.
  • Now add the fried arbi cubes, salt and mix it well so that the cubes get coated uniformly with this gravy. Cover it with a lid and cook it for 5 minutes on low flame.
  • Dum Arbi
  • Switch off the flame, garnish with coriander leaves and serve it hot.

Tips:

  • Fry the arbi in batches – do not overcrowd the pan.
  • You can shallow fry too , as long as you cut the arbi into small cubes.

Carrot Paniyaram

Many thoughts fill my mind as I write my first post of the new decade. The year 2020 has brought in a lot of uncertainties with it but one thing that I have held on to is hope. The time at hand has allowed me to try quite a few recipes on the weekends and I decided to share them with each of you.
Paniyaram is a South Indian dish prepared by cooking the fermented idli or dosa batter in a mould. They are like dumplings and served during breakfast or as a tea-time snack. Usage of minimal oil with ability to stuff various vegetables as fillings makes this dish an instant hit with the kids. For this recipe, I have used carrots and onions to make this wholesome recipe. Typically, paniyarams are best paired with onion or mint chutney.
Paniyarams are made in a paniyaram maker which is a vessel made of steel or soapstone with mould pits of equal depth.

Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 40 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 2 cups of idli/dosa batter
  • 1/4 cup of finely grated carrot [use the smallest marker size of the grater]
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped or grated onion
  • 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • Salt to taste

 
Carrot Paniyaram

Method: 

  • Heat the oil in a cooking pan. Temper the urad dal and mustard seeds till they splutter and become slightly golden.
  • Now add in the finely chopped green chillies and onions and cook them till they become translucent.
  • The add in the grated carrots, ginger and salt and cook the veggies for five minutes.
  • Cool the vegetables for a few minutes and add them to the batter. Mix well to combine
  • Take the paniyaram maker and heat it on a low flame. Pour 1 tsp of oil into each pit of the pan. Once the pan is hot, pour the batter into each of the pits. While pouring, fill it to 3/4th of the capacity of each pit since the batter will rise once heated.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 4 minutes. Now turn over each paniyaram with the help of a chopstick and cook it till a toothpick inserted at the centre of the paniyaram comes out clean.
  • Serve and eat them while they are piping hot.

 
paniyaramtwo

Tips:

  • Do not overfill the mould with the batter and leave some space in the mould pit for the batter to rise.

Acapulco Mexican Bistro and Bar – Telok Ayer [Permanently Closed]

After office hours, the busy Robinson Road turns into a convenient spot to relax and unwind. Filled with watering holes and restaurants offering a variety of cuisines, people have umpteen options to head to for a nice meal and drinks. In this stretch is Acapulco Bistro and Bar, a restaurant which specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is small but has a festive atmosphere and an awesome live band that plays on Fridays. If you like good food along with classic English songs, head here right away!

The Orders
The menu is filled with handcrafted, traditional dishes from Mexico and the whole vibe of the restaurant lends itself to make it feel like a home-cooked meal. All the main Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos and quesadillas have vegetarian options, hence there is no hassle while placing the order. First, we ordered the ‘Burrito Bowl’ and directly sprung into the main course. Burritos are all well and good but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the messy and tearing sides of the tortilla wraps. This burrito bowl was served with Mexican rice accompanied by capsicum, tomato, onions, pico de gallo and melted cheddar cheese. This flavoursome bowl with well spiced veggies has you covered for a delicious meal.

Burrito bowl

Burrito bowl at $12.50


If you want to simplify your ordering process and not think too much, then most of the times you can rely on ‘Veg Fajitas’ for a quick and easy meal. They offer the Norteno Fajitas which is nothing but Tex-Mex, a blend of styles born from the Norteno border of Mexico and Southwestern border of the US. In this version, the veggies were seasoned to perfection and served along with a flour tortilla. The guacamole and sour cream on the side brought the whole dish together making it tasty mouthfuls of goodness for me.
Veg Fajitas

Veg Fajitas at $12.50


Since I was not in the mood for cocktails, I went for the ‘Apple Juice’. Refreshing, crisp, and light – a glass to enjoy while soaking in the music.
Apple Juice

Apple Juice at $6


I have tasted many veg quesadillas in Singapore at various restaurants. Most of them have stringy cheese oozing out of them along with some veggies as fillings. All you can taste in these is the cheese. In Acapulco’s ‘Veg Quesadillas’, you can actually taste the (generously filled) veggies which is such a welcome change for a vegetarian like me. The melted cheese, chopped jalapeno, sour cream, pico de gallo and guacamole made for perfect dipping for these absolutely well-made quesadillas. Highly recommended.
Veg Quesadillas

Veg Quesadillas at $12


A special mention to the live band – https://www.facebook.com/Clique-The-Groovy-People-369261880123695/ who were absolutely fabulous. For their authentic Mexican taste, use of loads of veggies in their dishes and friendly vibe, Acapulco Mexican Bistro and Bar is a must-visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Mexican ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer / Tanjong Pagar
Address: 138 Robinson Road, #01-03 Oxley Tower, Singapore 068906
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11am – 11pm
Website: https://www.acapulco.com.sg/

Avocado – Best Vegetarian restaurant in Athens, Greece

For a long time in Greece, decadence ruled the food options available in the country. But now the capital has quite a few healthy food options available across all neighborhoods. Leading this food trend is Avocado, a fully vegetarian restaurant that believes in serving healthy and delicious food. Its strategic location in the central Syntagma Square makes it extremely convenient for vegetarian tourists looking for a comfort meal after seeing the Acropolis. Avocado also serves a full vegan menu for those opting for cruelty free and plant-based food in Athens. The place is extremely popular, so expect a wait time of 10-15 mins. The good thing is that the queue moves fast, hence you can hope to get a table soon. This vegetarian restaurant is also a quick walk if you are staying in a hotel in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens.

Avocado - Athens Greece

Avocado – Athens Greece


Avocado - Athens Greece

Avocado – Athens Greece

The Orders
When a vegetarian burger is well-made, my taste buds jump with delight. After having heard so much about the famous ‘Signature Avocado Burger’, I decided to give it a try. This burger is made of sweet potatoes, ginger, chickpeas, coriander, basil and some more ingredients. This patty is then topped with cheese, onions, lettuce, tomato and a generous portion of avocado. Vegans can opt for the same burger without cheese. The moment you taste this dish, you know that this is not your average veggie burger – it is something much more with the flavours of more than ten ingredients coming together to make that first bite memorable! Do not miss the sweet potato flakes and the spicy tomato sauce on the side. They are there for the prime reason of enhancing the flavours of the ingredients in the burger.

Avocado Veg Burger

Avocado’s Burger at €10


Avocado is known for its smoothies and fresh juices. On that day, we were in a mood to try something different. We ordered the ‘Pimento Gingembre’ which is a refreshing, non-alcoholic ginger drink with a distinctive, chilli kick. The drink has a fiery smell of ginger with chili notes. Absolutely flavorsome and trust it to pack quite a kick! The mild fizz along with the lingering aftertaste of ginger makes it a refreshing drink.
Pimento

Pimento at €3


If you are looking for some Asian flavours, then try the ‘Om Shanti’ curry from Avocado’s menu. The mild yellow curry is served brimming with vegetables of various colours along with sautéed Basmati rice. It is made with coconut milk along with haricot beans, broccoli, bell peppers and carrots. The curry broth is delicious and the advantage is the spice level can be customized while placing the order. Highly recommended.
Om Shanti

Om Shanti at €9


To be honest, they have such an extensive menu and all the description of all items seemed so interesting that a one-time visit would not do justice to explore this place fully. If you have time, try some of their vegan desserts. Above all, their service is top-notch with friendly staff who have the patience to understand your dietary preferences and suggest the best options. If you visit Athens, do not miss Avocado which is indeed one of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Athens.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Vegetarian and Vegan ★★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Syntagma
Address: Nikis, 30 Syntagma, 105 57 Athens, Greece
Timings: Mon-Fri: 12pm – 11pm ; Sat: 11am – 11pm ; Sun: 12pm – 7pm
Website: http://www.avocadoathens.com/

Soul ALife – Vegan Cafe at Changi City Point

The Expo area is synonymous with exhibitions and events that happen in the huge halls near the MRT. During a recent visit to one such event, I spotted Soul ALife, a 100% vegan cafe situated at Changi City Point. This is a welcome addition to the area where vegetarian options in restaurants are a bit limited. Pretty decor with plants and a green theme added a nice vibe to the cafe. I have always maintained that a healthy and nutritious meal can be tasty and satisfying and its nice to see such cafes implementing that in their mission to serve good food.

Soul ALife

Soul ALife

The Orders
The menu has a variety of options. They have burgers, pastas and salads along with smoothies and desserts. The intention that is clearly driven across is their desire is to serve you wholesome food. It was a refreshing change to see dumplings mentioned in the starters section of the menu and we ordered the ‘Japanese Gyoza’. Gyoza is a popular appetizer at ramen noodle shops. Here, they served the Gyoza with ponzu sauce (a classic Japanese citrus sauce). They had a thin skin and slightly crisp texture. Overall, an above average offering but the flavours could have been more enhanced.

Japanese Gyoza

Japanese Gyoza at $4.90


To keep yourself hydrated in the Singapore weather, cold pressed juices generally come to the rescue. I got the ‘Beet It’ juice to pack some nutrients in my meal along with the refreshing feel that it provides. It is nothing but the ABC (Apple, Beetroot Carrot) juice and was really good with the proportions of the ingredients in right balance. Highly recommended.
Beet It

Beet It at $4.90


If you have been reading my blog regularly, you would know that I appreciate a good vegetarian burger made with ingredients other than the standard portobello mushroom. At Soul ALife, they have the ‘Potato and Lentil Burger’ which is a crisp patty housed in a bed of greens. The texture of the patty is good and it is well-seasoned. The only gripe is that the portion size was small for this burger to act as a standalone meal. The sweet potato wedges served on the side are just nice with a slight sprinkling of salt.
Potato and Lentil Burger

Potato and Lentil Burger at $10.90


At this cafe, you should not miss the ‘Buddha Bowl’ which is correctly indicated to be their recommended dish. The origin of the name “Buddha Bowl” comes more from being in state of bliss once you eat it. Well, the myriad colours from the variety of ingredients that pop out from the bowl makes it extremely appealing. It was full of vegetables, healthy grains and lean proteins that made for a perfectly balanced and a nourishing meal. The chickpeas, curried cauliflower and beetroot hummus were my favourites among the ingredients.
Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowl at $9.90


They have 2 outlets in Singapore – one at Pickering Street and the other at Changi City Point. For the fitness freaks and the healthy eaters, this cafe is absolutely recommended. This cafe would be an ideal place to visit for tourists who are looking for a 100% vegan or vegetarian joint near Changi airport since this is just one station away. Overall for their healthy menu, quality ingredients and affordable prices, Soul ALife is absolutely worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Vegan ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Expo
Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #02-40, Singapore 486038
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30am – 9.30pm
Website: https://www.soulalifesg.com/

Noodle Thai Thai Kitchen – Beach Road

During restaurant hunting, I have observed that unassuming restaurants with a simple vibe actually turn out to be hidden gems. Recently, one such find was Noodle Thai Thai Kitchen on Beach Road. From the exterior, it appeared to be a place serving communal-style Thai food at affordable rates. One glance at the menu made me apprehensive since there weren’t many vegetarian dishes. Since Thai cuisine can easily be customized, I asked the staff if they could make their curries vegetarian and without shrimp paste. They readily agreed and that’s how my meal experience began at this Thai joint.

The Orders
When you crave Thai food, ‘Spring Rolls’ become a default option to start the meal. The spring rolls here made the best appetizers as the vegetables were thinly sliced and were wrapped up well and had the perfect golden colour for the outer coating. They were crispy and went well with the chilli dip on the side.

Spring roll

Spring roll at $5.5


The ‘Thai Green Curry’ finds its place in the vegetarian palate because of its refreshing flavours. Loaded with the trimmings of lemongrass, galangal and coconut milk, this curry was tasty. It had less variety of vegetables in the broth but the taste was authentic. As mentioned earlier, they cooked it from scratch when I told them of my dietary requirements, hence it takes some time to be prepared. The portion size was significant enough to be shared by two pax.
Thai Veg Green Curry

Thai Veg Green Curry at $10


We also tried the ‘Thai Bandung’ as it was a warm evening. The drink was cold, not overly sweet and a good accompaniment to the food. You can also opt for some fresh coconut water if you don’t like Bandung.
Thai Bandung

Thai Bandung at $3.80


The quintessential Thai main dish would be the ‘Pad Thai’ with the aromas of fresh Thai ingredients and spices. The noodles were light and chewy and served with well seasoned veggies. It comes with with the standard toppings of peanuts, lime and chili flakes.
Pad Thai

Pad Thai at $7.90


I would suggest, if you are going as a large group with vegetarian requirements, then its better to give them a call and check in advance. But otherwise, on the whole, if you are in the area and are looking for a no-frills Thai dining experience with authentic taste, then Noodle Thai – Thai Kitchen is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Thai ★★★
Nearest MRT: Bugis / Nicoll Highway
Address: 327 Beach Road, Singapore 199560
Timings: Tue-Sun: 11.30am – 10.30pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/thaithainoodle/

KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar – Bukit Timah Road

Bukit Timah road has shophouses situated at frequent intervals along its length. One such pretty cafe is KARA Cafe and Dessert Bar, tucked away in the cluster near Coronation Plaza. The team behind Sogurt have opened this cafe and its all-day dining menu will appeal to visitors instantly. The warm hues of the interiors, wooden furniture, and long mirrors on the walls add to the aesthetic appeal of this quaint cafe. The cafe is perfect for a weekend brunch or a quick catch-up with a small group of friends. If you are alone and looking to grab some grub, you can settle in a cozy corner of the cafe with a novel and watch passers-by.

Kara Cafe

Kara Cafe


Kara Cafe

Kara Cafe

The Orders
The menu consists of grain bowls, toasties and snacks along with some desserts. The menu is focused on being health conscious with no compromise on taste. We ordered the Tomato Soup to begin our brunch. In a twist on the classic comforting soup, the tomatoes are smoked before being puréed. The soup has a thicker consistency and pairs well with cheese toasties. The Kara version was well-flavored and a befitting start to the meal.

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup at $5


As recommended by the staff, the signature Kara dish for vegetarians would be the ‘Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties’. The cheese blend and zesty sweet pickle relish are sandwiched in sourdough and grilled to perfection. The caramelized top with gooey cheese will pull the strings of your heart with ease. Dab the toast gently into your bowl of soup and you are bound to relish this combination. Highly recommended.
Grilled Cheese Toasties

Classic Grilled Cheese Toasties at $10


To have a substantial meal, we ordered the ‘Taco Mexx’ grain bowl. For the vegetarians, this offering can be made without chicken. For the choice of grain base, we opted for the garlic Japanese rice which is the default version. For a healthy recharge, you can go for the fluffy quinoa salad. The grain bowl comes with the creamy avocado, chipotle salsa, crema, jalapeno and crisp corn tortilla chips. The freshness of the ingredients came to the forefront in this Mexican-inspired grain bowl. Do not miss this if you like these flavours.
Taco Mexx

Taco Mexx Grain Bowl at $14


The service can be improved since the meal came in dribs and drabs even when the cafe was not crowded. We received our dishes with at least a lag of 25 mins between both the dishes and the sandwich was served much before the soup. On the whole, if you are looking for a relaxed outing along with healthy and simple food, head to KARA Cafe and Dessert bar if you are in the area.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: All-day dining ★★★
Nearest MRT: Tan Kah Kee
Address: 617 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 269718
Timings: Mon-Sun: 11am – 10pm
Website: https://www.karacafeanddessertbar.com/