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
- 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
- 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.
- Do not overfill the mould with the batter and leave some space in the mould pit for the batter to rise.
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
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 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.
Avocado’s Burger at €10
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.
Pimento at €3
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.
Om Shanti at €9
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Vegetarian and Vegan
|Nearest MRT: Syntagma
|Address: Nikis, 30 Syntagma, 105 57 Athens, Greece
|Timings: Mon-Fri: 12pm – 11pm ; Sat: 11am – 11pm ; Sun: 12pm – 7pm
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.
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.
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.
Japanese Gyoza 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.
Beet It at $4.90
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.
Potato and Lentil Burger at $10.90
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.
Buddha Bowl at $9.90
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Vegan
|Nearest MRT: Expo
|Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point #02-40, Singapore 486038
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 11.30am – 9.30pm
In Singapore’s burgeoning food scene, it is heartening to see the newly opened Hans Im Glück German Burgergrill on the busy Orchard Road. This international German chain has chosen Singapore to be its first outlet in Asia and its 50th outpost in the world. The cushy and green ambiance – in the form of a rainforest promptly catches your attention if you are walking past the Royal Thai Embassy in Orchard. Named after the famous German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Im Glück has a sprawling space that seats 180 covers and extends in a narrow and linear passage perpendicular to Orchard road.
Hans Im Glück
Their menu is modeled after a storybook and is well-made with great visual appeal. By practice, I opened the second last page of the menu hoping to find some vegetarian options mentioned there. To my pleasant surprise, vegetarian and vegan burgers lead the menu. Apart from that, there are a total of 11 vegetarian and vegan burgers on the menu that boasts of a variety that will make you squeal in delight. Kudos to that as the menu shows that it not only Portobello that can go into making a vegetarian burger.
To begin with, we ordered the ‘Beer-battered Onion Rings’ to start our meal. Cooked in a light and airy batter, these golden onion rings are perfect as a simple snack. An appetizer that’s ideal for rustling up and sharing with friends. It disappeared in no time and I wished for more rings for that price point. They have four sauces on every table: Sweet Chilli, Orange Mustard, BBQ Sauce and Vegan Mayo. The Orange Mustard and BBQ are a must-try and go very well with the onion rings. Highly recommended.
Hans Im Gluck vegetarian and vegan menu
Next on the side, we tried the ‘Sweet Potato Fries’ which were well-seasoned. These fries are loaded with salt, crispy on the exterior and quite addictive. A tasty nibble that goes well as a side along with the burgers.
Beer-battered Onion Rings at $10
After staring at their menu for 10 minutes and being spoiled for choice, we ordered the ‘Wolpertinger’ Burger. This contains a spicy corn patty with aged cheddar cheese and avocado cream. They offer 3 options for the burgers – Sourdough, Multigrain in buns and the Naked version – without a bun. We tried the Sourdough bun which is specially flown in from Germany and went well with this patty. Add in the BBQ sauce to elevate this combination on the whole. They also offer an option to double up your patty at an additional price of $4 as mentioned on their menu. But when I inquired, the option to double up on a vegetarian patty comes at an additional price of $8 which is not mentioned on the menu. I wish they sort this out soon and keep the price at $4 which is the same as the other burgers.
Sweet Potato fries at $6
The other burger we tried was the ‘KÄSEBOR’ which has a spinach and cheese patty, parmesan and pesto. The pesto is on the salty side and you’ll need to take one or two bites to get used to the overall taste. This burger was top-notch in its overall rendition – packed with flavor and texture. It paired very well with the multi-grain bun. Their burgers give the wholesome meal experience because of the quality ingredients used in their preparation. For those who work or are roaming in the Orchard area, their daily lunch set is available from 11am to 5pm.
Wolpertinger at $15
Apart from this, in their drinks, we tried the ‘Still Lemonade’ in the mango-ginger flavour. An apt thirst-quencher to to get your taste buds to a fruity fresh feel. I’m sure I’ll head back to this place soon to try the other vegetarian burgers and the desserts.
For their lush and green environment and a convenient location, for their ample options for vegetarians and vegans and for offering quality ingredients at a good price point, Hans Im Glück German Burgergrill is a must-visit.
KÄSEBOR at $16
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Burgers
|Nearest MRT: Orchard
|Address: 362 Orchard Road, Singapore 238887
|Timings: Mon-Thu: 11am – midnight ; Fri-Sun: 11am – 1am
As you explore a neighborhood, it’s always fun to find eating places that you haven’t visited before. And if that happens to be a fully vegetarian joint, then as a foodie, it adds to the joy of a food hunt for me. The Bukit Panjang area has developed quite a bit and the Hillion Mall is a new hangout place for people staying in and around the area. Further down from this mall, towards Phoneix LRT, is Green on Earth whose well-lit green signage cannot be missed from the road. The entrance to the restaurant is through a winding set of stairs that lead upward and take you to a white patio which seats the diners. Its a cozy little place serving simple Chinese vegetarian food.
Green on Earth cafe
Green on Earth seating area
We went there for dinner, so be prepared that all items mentioned on the menu need not necessarily be available. So it is better to enquire in advance if you are headed there for a specific dish. They do have daily, weekend and festive specials as part of their menu variations.
When I visit a place serving Chinese veg food, I’m always happy if the menu has ‘Vegetarian Laksa’ listed as one of the options. A good bowl of laksa with generous use of ingredients is always a welcome sight and their version was really good. The gravy was rich, not too spicy and does not disappoint. The tofu and noodles had embraced all the flavours of the gravy and it made for a delicious bowl of laksa. It is definitely one of the must-try items on their menu.
On the owner’s recommendation, we ordered the ‘Rendang Curry’ as we wanted a rice dish. The Rendang curry was a little too spicy for my liking and was made with mushrooms, vegetable oil and spices. I wished for the curry to have bit more gravy since that would have helped in eating it with the rice.
Since the owner is quite friendly, she insisted that we try the ‘Shirley Temple’ which she gets from Australia. The drink tasted like a mix of lemonade and grenadine and was quite refreshing. The contrast of the sparkle and acid of the lemonade base blended well with the sweetness of grenadine.
Overall, the service was friendly and the food is average with some hits and misses. It is a decent eating option if you are in area and are looking for vegetarian food.
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Chinese vegetarian
|Nearest MRT: Bukit Panjang / Phoneix LRT
|Address: 2 Phoenix Road, Singapore 668156
|Timings: Mon-Sun: 11am – 10pm
Poha is a very popular breakfast or tea-time dish in India. Due to the diversity in Indian cuisine, there are different variants of poha. Poha is basically a flattened rice flake and is available in different grades of thickness. Having grown up in Maharashtra, I have had the ‘Kande Pohe’ (uses medium poha) which is pretty awesome. This time I tried the ‘Indori Poha’ from the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. So, the first difference I noticed in the preparation method is that for this dish, I had to use thick poha. The second difference is in the ingredients used as the garnish. The presence of fennel seeds and a hint of sweetness in the form of sugar and pomegranate seeds are the prime differences in the two styles of poha. When you add all the flavorful components in this colorful dish, I can assure you that you won’t stop eating it. This dish is also perfect for a teatime party as poha with chai is a divine combination. For those staying in Singapore, I picked the nylon sev from Mustafa and thick poha from Sri Murugan stores.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 3 pax
Time: 20 mins
- 2 cups thick poha / flattened rice flakes
- 1 big potato cut in cubes
- 1 big onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (without skin)
- 10-12 cashews
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (optional)
- 5-6 curry leaves
- A handful of pomegranate seeds
- 2 green chillies, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp nylon sev (for garnish)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1 lemon
- Some cilantro leaves for garnish
- Soak the poha in water for 5 mins. Drain using a strainer and keep aside.
- Cut the veggies on the side so that the prep work is done.
Poha veggie preparation
- Heat oil in a pan on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves and wait till they splutter.
- Once you get the pronounced aroma of fennel seeds, add 75% of the chopped onions and some salt. If you don’t like raw onions as garnish, then add all the chopped onions at this stage.
- Once the onions turn translucent, add the peanuts, green chillies, cashews and saute them for around 2-3 mins.
- Next, add the potatoes along with salt and turmeric powder. Cover the pan with a lid so that the steam cooks the potatoes quickly.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, add the soaked poha and mix it well – such that all the rice flakes are coated with the yellow turmeric powder.
- Check the salt level at this stage and adjust only if required. If you like a bit of sugar, add at this time.
- Switch off the flame and keep the pan covered for around 7 mins so that the poha can cook a bit more in the steam.
- Finally garnish it rest of the chopped onions, cilantro leaves and grated coconut before serving. You can also add the pomegranate seeds and nylon sev (I forgot to take the pic with these toppings)
- Lemon goes great with poha, so squeeze it just before serving. Serve this dish hot / warm only!
- Do not over-soak the poha. If you do that, the flakes will not separate and the dish will become mushy.
It’s not a revelation that Fortune Centre is a vegetarian and vegan food paradise. Located in the bustling Rochor area, it acts as a dining hot spot for both locals and tourists. One of my favourite cafes in this building is Create Healthy Lifestyle , a nondescript cafe serving healthy and tasty vegetarian food with less oil and salt and no MSG. It is mostly filled with customers at any time of the day and it is likely that you will have to share your table if you plan to eat here. The cafe also sells organic produce and packaged organic goods in their retail section.
Create Healthy Lifestyle
Orders are placed at the counter and their menu, written on the big white board helps you make your choices quickly. Apart from the daily specials, there are other extra items on their menu (placed at your table). There are also a lot of vegan options on the menu. For the quantity and the quality of items served, the prices are friendly on the wallet.
One of my standard orders at this place is the ‘Vegetable Pancake’ which is made in the Korean style. It’s actually an appetizer but for me its filling enough to be called a meal. It resembles a flattened pizza and is filled with vegetables like carrots, bell peppers and spinach. It is extremely savory and delicious along with the sauce to dip on the side. Highly recommended.
Create Healthy Lifestyle menu
We also ordered the ‘Tom Yum Soup’ which, for me, is happiness in a bowl. A delicious, savory spicy-sour soup is perfectly complemented by the earthy vegetables. To complete the dish, I opted for thin noodles – but they have other noodle options as well. Highly recommended.
Vegetable Pancake at $5
A simple and satisfying dish to order would be the ‘Vegetable Fried Brown Rice’ which is filled with a variety of veggies. Each component of the dish is cooked well and the rice is not mushy. Some could find the dish to be under salted but this cafe believes in doing their cooking in the healthy way.
Tom Yum Soup
There will always be a need for refreshing drinks in the Singapore weather. One of the popular drinks in the juice stalls is the ‘ABC’ juice. Made from the nutritious combination of apple, beetroot and carrot, this juice is healthy for the mind and body. Definitely give this juice a try!
Vegetable fried brown rice at $5
For their significant efforts to make healthy food with no compromise on taste, for their affordable prices and for their old-world charm, Create Healthy Lifestyle Cafe is a must-visit.
ABC (Apple, Beetroot and Carrot) Juice