When you want to pack proteins in your diet, get going with chickpeas. North Indian style curries with chickpeas are perfect for lunchbox recipes. Methi Chole is a popular Punjabi dish that combines fenugreek leaves with chole in a spicy gravy. It’s also a convenient way to include greens in your meal in a tasty manner. The aroma of this curry is amazing and it’ll make you want to eat it as soon as you make it.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
- 2 cups methi leaves, chopped
- 1 cup chickpeas
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 big tomato, finely chopped
- 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste
- 3 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cardamom pods (break and finely powder)
- 2 green chillies, slit in half along the length
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 2 tsp aamchur / dry mango powder
- 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 3 tbsp oil
- Wash the fenugreek leaves and chop them roughly.
- Wash and soak the chole in water for 6 – 8 hours.
- Drain the water and add the chole in a pressure cooker along with 3 tsp of salt and 3 cups water. Pressure cook this for 6 whistles on a medium flame. Then switch off the cooker and let it cool till the pressure is naturally released.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaves, cloves, cardamom powder and let them crackle for a few seconds.
- Now add the chopped onion, a pinch of salt and saute them till they are translucent. Add ginger garlic paste to the onions and continue cooking till they are golden brown.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and green chillies at this stage and fry them for 2 mins.
- Then add the turmeric powder, garam masala powder, dry mango powder and coriander powder. Mix well to combine. Let this paste cook for 2-3 mins.
- Add the chole along with the cooking water. Taste and add more salt, if required.
- Cook the chole for around 10 mins on a low flame.
- Finally add the chopped fenugreek leaves and mix them well and cook them for another 3 mins. The aroma of the sabzi is amazing.
- Tastes good when served hot and best paired with roti or naan.
- Make sure the chole is well cooked before you add it to the gravy. You can cook it for some more time in the pressure cooker if needed.
- Ensure that the methi leaves are washed well. Rinse them multiple times before cutting.
A ‘Nukkad’ in Hindi is a street corner where people generally hang out and talk about their daily life. In the modern times, it also loosely and conveniently translates into a grab-on-the-go concept that is ideal for takeaways. At a stone’s throw from Mustafa, is the newly opened Nukkad, a flagship restaurant of the Panchtantra group, serving Indian drinks and desserts on Syed Alwi Road. Those of us who have grown up in India will identify with the fact that we typically have a craving for a late night dessert binge in the form of chuskis (golas), milkshakes and lassis. Now imagine finding all of them at a convenient location after the exhausting exercise of weekly grocery shopping at Mustafa! A quick glance at their menu will show that all the favourite flavours that go in these items are present to bring a wave of nostalgia. They have also launched a new breakfast menu in the main Panchtantra restaurant which will also be covered in the latter part of this blog post.
Nukkad – The Orders
As the days get hotter, it’s best to pamper yourself with a refreshing drink. With the season of mangoes around, we decided to try the milkshake made with the king of fruits – ‘Mango Magic’. Without an iota of doubt, I can say that Alphonso mangoes are superior in their sweetness, richness and flavour. They are best suited to be used as an ingredient in a milkshake that also acts as a filling dessert. This drink was filled with the creamy and slightly heavy texture of delicious mangoes. Interspersed in the shake were a small quantity of chocolate chips which act as a nice twist. Do not miss this if you are a fan of Indian mangoes.
Another drink absolutely worth trying is the ‘Badam Tutti Frutti Milkshake’. This delicious summer cooler is loaded with the goodness of almonds and pistachios. It acts as the perfect refreshment since it’s extremely light in texture which makes it as easy to drink as buttermilk. A single sip of this well-made drink and you don’t feel like keeping the glass down – highly recommended.
Chuski is an ice lolly made up of crushed ice and flavored with various syrups like rose, khus, orange, strawberry or the famous kala khatta. It is also known as gola and is a vivid memory of my childhood in India. Nukkad gives you the option to mix upto four flavours of these syrups and customize your chuski. We tried the recommended combination of ‘Rose and Khus’ which was topped off with a slight sprinkle of chaat masala and it was an enjoyable experience. Khus is a fragrant, cooling herb with a woody aroma but is not overpowering like sandalwood. It goes well in sherbets and ice lollies and quite interesting to try as an unique option.
Mango Magic and Badam Tutti Fruity
Two in one chuski at $4.5
Panchtantra Breakfast – The Orders
With an endeavor to make your mornings special, Panchtantra have launched their breakfast menu which will be available from 7.30-10.30 am everyday. These items will act as useful vegetarian options for Indian tourists who mostly stay in the area or seek to pack something and take while they are visiting attractions in Singapore. They have poha, upma, kachori, samosa and kulche as the main items in their breakfast menu.
We tried their ‘Chole Kulche’ which is a loved street food in North India. The chickpeas are made with an authentic Punjabi taste and traditional spices – and they are delicious! The kulche are made in a traditional oven, topped off with a generous amount of butter and best when eaten hot. You can opt for no butter, if you want. This item is extremely filling since two kulchas are served in one plate.
Kachoris are crusty, flaky deep-fried snacks that are popular as street food. We ordered the Aloo Kachori and this version had a spicy and tangy potato masala inside that will remind you of the aloo sabzi that you eat with pooris. The presentation of the dish was top-notch – spiralized onions, a sprig of coriander and the outer lining with dots of tamarind and dates chutney. Eat a little of everything in one bite to fully enjoy the dish.
For their new concept of a Indian drinks and desserts bar, for their chuskis and their convenient location, drop by this Nukkad and catch up on stories with your family and friends.
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Indian
|Nearest MRT: Farrer Park
|Address: 83 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207662
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 7.30am – 11.30pm
Gothsu is a traditional South Indian side dish mainly used as an accompaniment for idli, dosa, upma and Pongal. It is made with brinjals as the primary ingredient as the smoky aroma of the vegetable combines well with the tamarind and the tempering of lentils. The Indian spices are brought to the forefront in this tangy gravy.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 4 pax
Time: 30 mins
- 1 big eggplant/ brinjal [This is the big purple eggplant that is available in Indian stores. Some would identify it as bhartha baingan.]
- 2 small onions, finely chopped [If you use small onions / shallots, then take around 12 of them]
- 1/2 cup tamarind extract
- 1 tbsp chana dal/ bengal gram dal
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 dried red chillies
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp sambhar powder (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander for garnish
- A pinch of asafoetida
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp oil
- Roast the brinjal on an open and low flame after applying cooking oil on it. For ease of cooking, pierce the brinjal in multiple locations with a fork.
- After a few minutes, the brinjal will shrink in size – at this point switch off the flame. Wait for it to cool down and peel off the skin of the brinjal. Once the skin is peeled, rinse the brinjal in a bowl of water to prevent the smoky smell from overpowering the dish.
- Once the peeled brinjal has cooled down, mash the brinjal nicely by hand for at least 10 mins till you can feel a smooth texture. This can also be done in a mixer but I prefer doing it by hand. This also helps me to keep a check in case there are any insects in the brinjal.
- Now in a pan add a little oil and then add the chana dal. Once the dal turns golden brown, add in the coriander seeds and red chillies. Roast the mixture well and switch off the flame. Let it cool for around 10 mins. Then pulse them into a fine powder in a mixer.
- Take oil in a pan and wait for it to warm up a bit on a low flame. Add the chopped onions and saute them till they turn translucent.
- Once the onions turn into a light pink colour, add the tamarind extract, sambhar powder, asafoetida and salt. Add very little water at this stage. Stir them well and let this boil on a low flame for around 7 mins.
- Now add in the ground powder from the mixer along with a cup of water and allow this to boil for another 5 mins.
- Finally add in the mashed brinjals to this gravy and mix well. Add in another cup of water and salt at this stage. If the consistency is too thick, you can balance the water accordingly. Let this boil for another 5 mins. If you cover the vessel with a lid, it will cook and boil faster.
- Before serving, add the sesame oil and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Tastes good when served hot.
- Make sure you get the right brinjal for the recipe – do not use the smaller version.
- Use a low flame to roast the brinjal and keep turning it to make sure it’s roasted evenly.
What are the odds that you spot a newly opened food space serving Greek cuisine in a busy mall? I would say, very rare. A weekend outing had me visiting a week old ERGON Singapore in the sprawling Suntec City Mall . ERGON Foods has a global presence and is known for its branded products and deli-style restaurants. The warm-lit cafe with its aesthetically done interior is a welcome sight to sore eyes. There are tall shelves stocked with authentic Greek ingredients that almost seem like an introduction to a Greek food library. From marinated olives to feta spreads, from premium olive oil to Greek wines, from oat and barley rusks to bread sticks – there is an extensive variety of products pertaining to Greek cuisine that can be found here. The seating space is spread out well so that you can look at these ingredients as you wait for your order.
The menu was as interesting as the food items and desserts that could be seen on the display counter. Let me add that if you have a sweet tooth, you will love the desserts that this place has to offer. They have launched two menus: One for the brunch and daytime and the other is the dinner menu.
Ergon brunch menu
For us, it is almost mandatory to try a feta cheese dish when we eat Greek food. So we ordered the ‘Spinach and Feta Cheese Pie’ which is a classic combination. The phyllo pastry was perfectly flaky which was great to bite into and the non-soggy spinach cooked just right made it a good dish. The feta cheese balanced the salty component of the dish.
Ergon dinner menu
We also ordered the Koulouri which is Greek street food. The dish was presented as a crisp and chewy sesame bagel served on a bed of Greek yogurt and topped with two eggs. The yogurt seems like an unlikely addition – but it works wonderfully in the dish. The dish has great contrasting textures from the bread, egg and yogurt. There’s supposed to be a spicy oil but the dish isn’t spicy at all. Recommended.
Spinach and feta cheese pie at $9
There are some interesting beverages to be tried out at Ergon. Since I had never tried Greek coffee, I promptly ordered the ‘Freddo Cappuccino’ which falls under the iced coffee category. Its one cool coffee topped off with delicious cream and was visually appealing. Taste-wise, it will remind you of a milkshake and is not rich or heavy. Overall, highly recommended.
Koulouri at $22
In Greek culture, the desserts are as important as the meal. One of the best Greek desserts to try is Bougatsa , also known as the sweet milk cream pie. This dessert was made up of scrumptious pastry and filled with custard and topped off with icing sugar. The dish was served warm and that added to the taste and was very good. Since it was cut into small cubes, it also became very easy to eat with a fork. Forget the calories for a change and try it. Highly recommended.
Freddo cappuccino at $6.5
Baklava is a dessert of the Middle East and Mediterranean, and it has numerous variations depending on the country of origin. The ERGON version was sweet and nutty and the filling had a slightly chilled taste. The phyllo pastry was a bit difficult to cut into and hence would have been better to serve it in small cubes. The portion size is large enough for two people to share and is quite rich.
Sweet milk cream pie at $8.9
They also have a small bites counter which has delectable items in offering. The Chocolate with Tahini roll topped off with white sesame seeds is divine, do try it.
Baklava at $9
If you don’t mind eggs used in desserts or in flour, this place has quite a few vegetarian options. There are also quite a few vegetarian sandwiches on the menu. We’ll definitely be visiting again to try out the dinner menu. The service is quite friendly and the owners also take an effort to mingle with the crowd and get feedback since these are the initial days. The place has promise and we hope that the quality is maintained in the long run. For its authentic Greek cuisine offering, for its lovey ambiance, for its desserts and for its central location, ERGON Singapore is definitely worth a visit.
Ergon small bites counter
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Greek
|Nearest MRT: Promenade
|Address: Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard #01-365, Singapore 038983
|Timings: Mon-Fri: 8.30am – 10pm ; Sat-Sun: 10am – 10pm
When a sprawling dining space that resembles an indoor garden opens on Orchard Road, it is bound to attract attention. This garden themed cafe / communal dining spot, Picnic is filled with real potted plants and an AstroTurf covered garden area that will make you feel like you are having a picnic in the park. The outdoor element of a picnic is brought in with the usage of a lighting system that undergoes changes according to the time of the day. In terms of dining, the place has food trucks serving international cuisines, an illuminated bar and a dessert counter. The food ordering will remind you of Marché with the use of buzzers and for checkout, payment is made easy with the use of self-service kiosks.
Picnic dessert counter
Since we scouted for vegetarian options, I am sharing the stalls in which I managed to find them conveniently.
1. Basic Kneads
Basic Kneads is the stall serving soups and sandwiches. We noticed 3 vegetarian soup choices: Tomato, Mushroom, Potato and Leek. Soups act as a nice way to start a meal and we decided to try them instantly. We ordered the ‘Tomato Soup’ which was a rustic rendition of the dish. The bold red color coupled with the pulpy texture created a soup that was delicious and well-seasoned.
Next we ordered the ‘Mushroom Soup’ which was a visual delight. Once could stare at the contrast of the soup color with the well-drizzled cream pattern and almost feel like not spoiling the appeal. The soup was rich, indulgent and full of earthy flavours. It is a recommended dish if you are a fan of mushrooms.
Tomato Soup at $9
Mushroom Soup at $9
2. Rosti Haus
The Swiss potato dish, rosti, has an exclusive food truck serving the classic and other versions of the dish. It is an eternal favourite for most and the stall seemed to be quite popular. We ordered the ‘Plain Rosti’ which was the only vegetarian option. The shredded Idaho potato strands were nicely fried and crispy and was a good dish. But there was a clear disconnect in the quantity served to the price for this dish.
Plain Rosti at $11
3. Flour and Water
A popular stall that served classic Italian pastas and pizzas. Since we did not want to try the usual Margherita Pizza, we opted to try the pasta. We ordered the ‘Vodka Rigatoni’ which is one of the best pastas that I have eaten in Singapore.It was ridiculously flavorful – rich, spicy and delicious. For those who are apprehensive to try a bit of alcohol in their pasta can be rest assured that you can hardly taste it. It is flambéed in vodka in front of you just for the final touch. Every aspect was good about this pasta – highly recommended.
Vodka Rigatoni at $16
4. Tikka Taco
You hear food trucks and you instantly think of Tacos. Tikka Taco is one such attempt at offering unique combinations combining Indian and Mexican flavours in some and Korean flavours in others. We ordered the ‘Spinach Pesto’ taco which was different and tasted good. There were pine nuts in the filling which lent the crunch to the dish.
Spinach Pesto Taco
Their dessert counter offers everything from cupcakes to cheesecakes to pastries. They also have a crepe station and we tried the ‘Chocolate Crepe’ which made for a luscious dinner dessert.
Overall, Picnic is a fun themed addition to the multi-cuisine concept in Orchard. There are around 12-15 stalls, so there might be more vegetarian foods which we plan to check next time. Also to be noted is they have meal sets during lunch time and their dishes are priced lower by around $3-$4 even on an À la carte basis. They also offer sharing platters in which you can combine dishes from different trucks. Its a good place to chill along with a large group of friends. Definitely worth a visit to this picturesque place.
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: International cuisine (Food trucks)
|Nearest MRT: Orchard
|Address: Wisma Atria #03-15, 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm
There is a consistent eatery boom in Singapore. With addition of new stations and MRT lines, this trend is bound to continue. ‘Beauty World’ is one such MRT station on the Downtown Line which has a flock of eateries outside every exit. The hawker centers and the food stalls are brimming with hungry foodies. Having said that, it’s not everyday that you get to see a fully vegetarian restaurant at a stone’s throw from the MRT! I am glad that the new outlet of D’Life Bistro and Cafe has opened in this area. D’life serves lacto-ovo vegetarian food without onion, garlic, leek, chives and shallots. It is nice to see a spacious restaurant neatly done in an old school neighborhood and striving to achieve the balance by serving good food at decent prices.
They have a comprehensive menu with a lot of variety in dishes using Chinese vegetables – a lot of greens, yam, bitter gourd, broccoli, mushrooms, okra, eggplant, etc. They also have decent options for vegans. Overall, please note that the portion sizes are extremely generous at this restaurant.
For starters, we decided to try the ‘Vegetarian Satay’ thinking that it could be paired with the rice. From the taste, I think they had made firm tofu into thin, workable strips which were skewered and cooked to a gentle brown colour. The peanut satay sauce served alongside was good but the quantity was too much for the thin satay sticks. Overall, this was a decent offering.
Soups provide comfort in rainy weather and also if you are nursing the early stages of sore throat. So I ordered the ‘Tom Yam Soup’ and I must say I was not at all disappointed. The important part of a soup is the liquid base and this was a thin watery version filled with loads of veggies and had a sightly herbal flavour. All the veggies (including the okra) were fully cooked and well-seasoned and it pairs well with rice. For those who are familiar with South Indian cuisine, this broth reminded me of Rasam with a lot of veggies. The quantity can easily serve 3-4 pax.
I also tried the ‘Assam Laksa’. This version lacks coconut milk, and instead uses clear vegetable stock as the base. It comes with noodles, tofu, vegetables and pieces of pineapple. It’s quite different from the laksa I usually order, but no less tasty for that. If you are in the mood for a normal version, they have that on the menu as well.
tom yam soup
‘Veg Fried Rice’ is the most simple dish to cook but it is important not to make it mushy. The rice grains were separate and had appropriate amount of veggies making it a good dish. If you do not eat eggs, please ensure to tell that while ordering the dish (which I did). The rice tasted nice when paired with the Tom Yam broth along with the satay to munch.
Chun Tin Road has turned out to be a dining enclave with affordable eats and it is heartening to see that it hosts a vegetarian restaurant. Overall, the food is good – cooked in Chinese wok-style flavours. The restaurant is spacious and can accommodate large groups of people. But it would be great if the service staff understand dietary requirements and are aware of explaining the dish in case queries are asked.
Veg fried rice
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Chinese
|Nearest MRT: Beauty World (Exit B)
|Address: 6 Chun Tin Road, Singapore 599593
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm
Pizza fans can rejoice as Yellow Cab Pizza Co have opened their first outlet in Singapore. Situated in the busy Citylink Mall, this joint serves New York-style pizzas and is quite visible with a signature yellow and black colored board. The restaurant is styled in a quirky manner with metal furnishings and using black and white as the primary colors. The traffic signal wall seems to make a statement like ‘Your pizza will be worth your wait’. They have an interesting promo running on weekdays during lunch time. For 2 pax – any 10″ pizza + full pasta + 2 sodas at $25 which is steal deal.
Yellow Cab Pizza counter
Traffic signal decor
Their menu clearly states the standard vegetarian options as well as the dishes that can be customized to suit vegetarian dietary needs. I find this a good practice so that one does not need to separately inquire each time.
We were in the mood for pizza and promptly ordered the 10″ ‘Garden Special’ from the menu. The pizza is crisp and slightly charred in the bottom and with gooey cheese on the top. There are a generous amount of toppings of fresh ingredients and we really enjoyed the pizza. The Garden Special contains tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions as toppings. The pizza size is substantial, so if your ordering one 14″ pizza, it is more than sufficient for 2 pax else go for two 10″ pizzas to have some variety in the order. They have a pizza stand to place the pizza which makes it convenient for service.
Yellow Cab Pizza menu
In Italian food, the thrill is to get a perfect pasta. Even if it is a simple ‘Aglio Olio’. The pasta was well-done, drizzled with olive oil and topped off with basil and sundried tomatoes. To add to this, it was well-seasoned. This pasta bursts with flavor and I really enjoyed it.
Garden Special Pizza
They need to work on their service staff being more responsive and aware of the restaurant promos. If the common issues in the starting phase are smoothed and with good Italian casual dining ambiance and food in place, Yellow Cab Co. is a nice place to unwind and also works for takeaways. Wishing all the readers a very Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Veg Aglio Olio
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Italian
|Nearest MRT: Esplanade
|Address: B1-01/02 CityLink Mall, 1 Raffles Link, Singapore 039393
|Timings: Mon-Thu: 11am – 10pm ; Fri-Sun: 11am – 10.30pm