Indori Poha

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
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 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

Indori Poha

Indori Poha


Method:

  • 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

    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.
  • Indori Poha

    Indori Poha

  • 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!

Tips:

  • Do not over-soak the poha. If you do that, the flakes will not separate and the dish will become mushy.
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PocoLoco Pizzeria – Italian food at Golden Mile Tower

Breaking the clutter in what is known as Little Thailand or Golden Mile Tower is an Italian joint called PocoLoco Pizzeria. It is situated right in front of the escalator that goes down from the Rex Cinemas entrance. They have a long counter which enables you to see the chefs busy at work and the dining seats are spread out in the open. This fuss-free outlet serves quality Italian food at affordable prices. At a place that spoils you for choice in terms of Thai food, PocoLoco Pizzeria was a pleasant find. This Golden Mile Tower outlet essentially specializes in pizzas. They have other outlets in Ang Mo Kio and Jurong. Since this outlet has a limited number of seats, it is better to reserve in advance in case of a slightly larger group (more than 4 pax).

PocoLoco Pizzeria

PocoLoco Pizzeria

The Orders
The menu has the standard offerings but I missed the ‘V’ symbol clearly demarcating the vegetarian dishes. Having said that, there are quite a few options for vegetarians and they are open to a reasonable customization of pizza toppings which was nice. Apart from the standard menu, they also have daily specials mentioned on the blackboard placed at the front of the restaurant.

To begin the meal on a warm note, we tried the ‘Mushroom Soup’. It had an earthy flavour and was well-seasoned. It was a decent and simple dish.

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup at $4


Since we were informed that the main courses would take some time, we decided to try the ‘Garlic Bread Pomodoro’. The thing to note here is that this is served in the form of a pizza and is placed under the ‘Pizzas’ section on their menu. So you have to imagine this as bread that can be consumed with soup or a bruschetta serving that can be shared. It works as an appetizer and not as a pizza since it does not have toppings or cheese.
Garlic Bread Pomodoro

Garlic Bread Pomodoro at $5


The vegetarian pizza that we ordered was the ‘Ortolana Pizza’. I was able to customize the mixed vegetable toppings with some standard options like onions, bell peppers, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. When the pizza arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see a colored pizza dough base. We got a red color base which was from the usage of beetroot. Upon inquiring, I got to know that they serve different colors on other days of the week and that was quite whimsical. The quality of mozzarella cheese used was very good and the toppings were top-notch. The 10-inch pizza had a crisp crust and is worth ordering.
Ortolana Pizza

Ortolana Pizza at $12


If you are a cheese lover, try the ‘Bella Italian’ pizza. This pizza will tease you with a dual combination of melted mascarpone and mozzarella cheese. The easy to spread tomato sauce on the base was good and enhanced the overall taste of the pizza. The quality of cheese used in their pizzas is really good. For the fresh burrata cheese lovers, do not miss on the ‘Caprese’ pizza which is rightly marked as the chef’s recommendation on the menu.
Bella Italian

Bella Italian at $13


For the pasta dish, we tried the ‘Pesto Pasta’. The pasta was cooked al dente and the pesto was smooth and coated the pasta perfectly. Personally, I think the dish needed a touch more seasoning.
Pesto

Pesto at $9


It’s very tough for me not to order the ‘Tiramisu’ at a Italian joint. This Tiramisu had a smooth and soft texture and came garnished with cacao powder. The presence of Italian sweet liqueur in the bottom-most layer was distinct and the dessert was delicious on the whole.
Tiramisu

Tiramisu at $6


The ‘Crème brûlée’ had a layer of burnt caramel on the top that could be cut into easily. The egg custard was creamy and red vanilla beans were used for a fragrant taste. If you are not a fan of a strong taste of eggs when used in desserts, then it’s better not to order this dessert.
Crème brûlée

Crème brûlée at $5


For quality Italian food that is value for money, for friendly service and for their rainbow dough pizzas, PocoLoco Pizzeria is absolutely worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Italian ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Nicoll Highway
Address: 6001 Beach Road, #B1-65/66 Golden Mile Tower, Singapore 199589
Timings: Mon-Sun: 12pm – 3pm , 6pm – 10pm
Website: https://pocoloco.com.sg/

Create Healthy Lifestyle – Fortune Centre

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

Create Healthy Lifestyle

The Orders
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.

Create Healthy Lifestyle menu

Create Healthy Lifestyle menu


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.
Vegetable Pancake

Vegetable Pancake at $5


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.
Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum Soup


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.
Vegetable fried brown rice

Vegetable fried brown rice at $5


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!
ABC juice

ABC (Apple, Beetroot and Carrot) Juice


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.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Healthy vegetarian food ★★★★
Nearest MRT: Bugis/Rochor
Address: Fortune Centre #02-17, Middle Road, Singapore 188979
Timings: Mon-Sat: 10.30am – 8pm
Website: https://www.facebook.com/Create-Healthy-Lifestyle-289744384453193/

Flying Monkey – Indian Tapas at Bussorah Street

Bussorah Street is filled with restaurants offering a variety of cuisines and that’s the best part about the culturally rich Kampong Glam District. As you walk on the street, it is difficult to miss the Flying Monkey restaurant which exudes a happy vibe with its bright interiors and vibrant colors. As soon as I entered the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the extremely fascinating Kathakali painting on the wall. Kathakali is one of the major forms of classical dance from the state of Kerala and is based on the ‘story play’ genre of art. This is a full-fledged restaurant serving pan-Indian tapas and creative cocktails that are unique and with a twist. The fact that it is a sister concern of Pizza Fabbrica which is next door also guarantees a certain assurance of quality in the dishes.

Flying Monkey decor

Flying Monkey decor

The Orders
The food can be enjoyed in both small and big plates and has quite a few vegetarian options. The basic idea is to pair the food with an interesting cocktail from the bar and set the mood of the meal. The portion sizes of the items are just right for one person, hence it is better to go with a larger group of friends so that you get to taste more dishes in tapas style.

Flying Monkey menu

Flying Monkey menu


Regional food in India has been seeing its own renaissance. The most popular food from the Awadh region in India is the kebab. Over the years, this dish has undergone innovation and interpretation in myriad ways and hence we were eager to try the ‘Papaya Kebabs’ from the menu. Though papaya might be a questionable choice for some, it is a fruit that has seen usage in the Kakori style of kebabs with meat. Flying Monkey presents the vegetarian version with both style and taste. These kebabs were papaya fritters served with plum chutney and were delicately flavored with spices. This unique combination makes it a must-try.
Papaya Kebabs

Papaya Kebabs at $12


Next we ordered the ‘Chilli Poppers’ which are derived from the Mirchi Vada popular in the state of Rajasthan in India. They are chilli peppers stuffed with a spicy potato filling, then dipped in gram flour batter and deep-fried. The Flying Monkey version is not extremely spicy and makes you relish the poppers. I wished they were more hot in terms of the serving temperature and also that there were more pieces of the poppers.
Chilli Poppers

Chilli Poppers at $10


We also tried the ‘Paneer Shashlik’ which is usually served on a sizzler plate on skewers. The grilled paneer pieces were served with onions, tomatoes and capsicum and tasted good. The paneer was evenly marinated with the spices. Grab a bite with the chutney and salad served on the side to enjoy the combination.
Paneer Shashlik

Paneer Shashlik at $10


In the big plates section, we tried the ‘Lasooni Saag’ which is comfort food for most Indians. The green spinach mash with burnt garlic had a nice creamy texture and went well with the Tandoori Roti. The presentation reminded me of pita bread served with a dip. The thickness in the saag was impressive and I was able to experience the richness of the spinach.
Lasooni Saag

Lasooni Saag at $16


‘Baingan Salan’ pairs well with vegetable biryani but it also works as a great curry along with plain rice. This is a dish in which whole eggplants are braised in a cashew and peanut curry. The nuts add to the texture of the gravy but on the whole I would have preferred better balance and seasoning in this dish.
Baingan Salan

Baingan Salan at $16


The service staff were attentive and friendly and that’s always a bonus for a relatively newly opened restaurant. For their interesting cocktails, an evening out with friends or to experience unique Indian tapas in a relaxed atmosphere, Flying Monkey is worth a visit.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Indian Tapas ★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Bugis
Address: 67/68 Bussorah Street, Singapore 199480
Timings: Tue-Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm , 5.30pm – 11pm
Website: http://flyingmonkey.sg/

Dates and Coffee Milkshake

During summers, you crave cool and refreshing drinks. If that craving is satisfied with a feel-good ingredient combination like dates and coffee, it gives you an upbeat mood. The best part is that you can spin off a milkshake in less than 15 mins, and it does not feel like a lot of work. During one of my visits to Mustafa, I stopped at the dates section and was amazed at the variety they had in stock. I decided instantly that I wanted to use them in some form of drink or dessert. For this Dates and Coffee milkshake, I have used Khudary dates from Mustafa. They ended up being a perfect pick for this aromatic and amazingly refreshing drink.
Recipe Details :
Serves: 2 pax
Time: 15 mins
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients :

  • 12 de-seeded dates (6 dates per glass)
  • 1.5 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 330 ml milk

Dates and coffee milkshake

Dates and coffee milkshake


Method:

  • Split the cardamom pods and powder the seeds using a mortar and pestle. Freshly pounded cardamom is better since that imparts a pleasant aroma in the drink.
  • Put the cardamom seeds, de-seeded dates, coffee powder, milk and ice cubes into the blender and blend it till the dates and ice have broken down into a smooth drinkable texture. The blending process should take maximum 2 minutes.
  • Dates and coffee milkshake

    Dates and coffee milkshake

  • Serve immediately. This drink can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. In that case, before serving, stir the drink well to redistribute the dates.

Tips:

  • For those who don’t like caffeine, you can substitute coffee powder with hot chocolate powder. I have tried a version of this drink using Hershey’s Hot Chocolate and its equally amazing and refreshing.
  • You can also soak your dates in warm milk before you put them in the blender for 10-15 mins. This is an optional step in case you want a very soft texture.

Bakalaki Greek Taverna – Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru

Greek food is known for its rich culinary history and use of quality ingredients. Adding a sparkling blue and white banner to the Tiong Bahru neighborhood is Bakalaki Greek Taverna, a new restaurant serving authentic Greek food. This restaurant is an example on how spaces can be aesthetically designed to cast a lasting first impression. Full credit to the interior designer who has done the contemporary decor of the space. Some of the ideas worth mentioning are the barrels on the wall, zigzag wine bottles display, harbor paintings and the blue sofas that adorn the restaurant. There is a seating area in the verandah which would be ideal for brunch and the interior seating would be good for dinner to best enjoy the ambiance. The service was exemplary! We were given an explanation about the dishes, suggested the recommended items, always had the water or wine glasses refilled on time, and were told upfront about the wait time with respect to some items. Before I proceed to share my experience on the food we ordered, let me tell you right away that this place is a must-visit!

Bakalaki decor

Bakalaki decor

The Orders
I was really happy to see that Bakalaki had a lot of vegetarian options on their menu. They also have an elaborate drinks menu in which you can check out the Greek wines. They also sell some products in the retail section in case you are looking for their branded Greek olive oil. While we were in the process of placing our order, we were served complimentary bread which was warm and very good, especially those sea-salt flakes that were sprinkled on the top.

There are some dishes that we order by default at a Greek restaurant and one of them is the ‘Pita with Tzatziki’. The refreshing Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, garlic and extra virgin olive oil acted as a classic appetizer. The pita bread was top-notch and the saltiness enhanced the pairing with the Tzatziki.

Pita with Tzatziki

Pita ($2.90) with Tzatziki ($14.90)


Do not miss out on trying a cheese dish at a Greek restaurant – either the feta or the halloumi. We ordered the ‘Halloumi’ which was served with lemon and oregano. Grilled to perfection and with the right chewiness, this cheese was satisfying on many levels. But the ingredient that elevated this dish were the cherry tomatoes. Naturally sweet, take a bite of them paired with a small slab of cheese and you will feel an enhanced food experience. Highly recommended and do not miss this if you are a cheese lover.
Halloumi

Halloumi at $16.90


The next dish was recommended by the staff and we were glad that we tried the ‘Tomatokeftedes’ which will surely remind you of a Greek Holiday. These herbed patties were made with Santorini tomatoes which are full of nutrients and have an amazing texture. Even though the patties were charred black on one side, there was no burnt taste experienced while eating the dish. The dish is under the appetizer section but is as filling as an entrée and I would call them as little pillows of delight. Do not miss this dish!
Tomatokeftedes

Tomatokeftedes at $15.90


The dessert menu was interesting and we tried the authentic Greek dessert called ‘Rizogalo’. This dessert derives its name from the two main ingredients – rice and milk. It had a dense and creamy texture like a rice pudding and was sprinkled with a gentle dose of cinnamon. We wanted something mildly sweet and this served the purpose. It also helped that it was served in jar which made it extremely convenient to eat the dessert.
Rizogalo

Rizogalo at $11.90


The simplest of Greek desserts is the ‘Giaourti’ which can be had as a snack at any time of the day. It is basically Greek yogurt served with honey and walnuts and is a simple sweet treat. Since it is made with quality ingredients at Bakalaki with authentic Greek honey, this dish was delicious.
Giaourti

Giaourti at $12.90


The ‘Greek Frappe’ is the hallmark of coffee culture in Greece and is a cool refresher on a hot day. The foam is quite thick and does not mix completely with pure black coffee. Even if you don’t take sugar normally, you will need to add the sugar syrup that they provide to sip the drink. This is for people who really appreciate the caffeine kick.
greek frappe

Greek frappé at $4.90


To be honest, I found it difficult to pick out any flaws with respect to this meal. Some dishes may feel a bit overpriced but considering the quality of ingredients used in the dishes, we found the vegetarian dishes to be worth it. Overall, it has turned out to be my favourite Greek restaurant in Singapore. For their authentic Greek food, use of quality ingredients, lovely ambiance their exemplary service, Bakalaki Greek Taverna is highly recommended for an overall awesome dining experience.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Greek ★★★★1/2
Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru / Outram Park
Address: 3 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168891
Timings: Mon-Thu: 6pm – midnight ; Fri-Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm , 6pm – 1am
Website: https://bakalaki.com/

Time’s Vege – Near Bukit Batok Bus Interchange

The latest addition to the vegetarian scene in the west side of Singapore is Time’s Vege which is conveniently located near Bukit Batok bus interchange and MRT. It is heartening to see a restaurant with sprawling space that can easily seat 100-120 people. On the second floor of the restaurant, there is more seating with wooden tables, paintings and some interesting decor. Both, the decor and menu strikingly reminded me of D’life and later I got to know that Time’s Vege belongs to the same management. I visited the restaurant on a weekend at around 2 PM for lunch and it was quite empty and the service was fast. But I have heard from a few people that during peak hours, the restaurant is full and the waiting times are much longer.

The Orders
The menu is elaborate and has a lot of options in the form of soups, vegetables, noodles, greens and set meals. The two most important things to note while ordering here are – their portion sizes are huge and to specify ‘no eggs’ while placing the order in case you don’t consume eggs.

Times Vege menu

Times Vege menu page one


Times Vege menu

Times Vege menu page two


One of my favourite things to order at this restaurant is the ‘Tom Yam Soup’ which is a great start to the meal because it is extremely flavourful. The soup comes in 3 sizes – Small, Medium Large. We ordered the small version and found that the quantity can easily be shared by 2 pax. The soup was filled with veggies and the broth was delicious. It pairs well with plain rice.
Tom Yam Soup

Tom Yam Soup at $5


For an accompaniment in the form of a snack, we ordered the Longevity Veg Roll which added the necessary crunch to the meal. This dish is nicely crispy and reminded me of fritters and the dip served alongside aligns well with the overall taste. Highly recommended.
Longevity Veg Roll

Longevity Veg Roll at $7


We also tried the quintessential simple dish that pairs Rice with Gravy and Vegetables. It might taste a little under-salted and bland for some but with addition of some salt and chilli sauce, this dish got fixed for us. If you don’t consume eggs, ensure that you don’t notice crumbled eggs floating on the top in this dish. We noticed it and they readily exchanged it. (Hence better to mention before placing an order)
Rice with gravy and vegetables

Rice with gravy and vegetables at $4.5


To spin a refreshing twist to your meal, they have quite a few beverage options. We tried the Ice Lemon juice which served the purpose of gentle relief to beat the heat.
Ice lemon juice

Ice lemon juice at $3.9


On the whole, the restaurant offers decent and tasty vegetarian options at affordable prices. Its an useful option for those residing or visiting the area in the West side of Singapore. They only accept cash in terms of payment.

In a Nutshell Deelightful Rating
Cuisine Type: Chinese Vegetarian ★★★
Nearest MRT: Bukit Batok
Address: Blk 643 Bukit Batok Central, #01-44, Singapore 650643
Timings: Mon-Sun: 10am – 10pm