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September 2017 Archive

Flavoursome Asian-Inspired Meals on a Budget

Flavoursome Asian-Inspired Meals on a Budget

Image Credit: Asia Society

Sometimes good eats cost a fair chunk of change. For those who are looking for flavour on a budget, we've assembled a list of the best Asian dishes with the lowest price point. Spoiling yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank! Check out our Asian-inspired meals for foodies on a budget.


Szechuan Stir-Fry

Szechuan is a broad bean paste with a touch of chilli and sesame oil, often served as a dipping sauce or stir-fry base. To add new levels of flavour, you can take a simple dish of chicken/beef strips with beans and rice, and dress it with a sauce like Szechuan for an entirely different experience.

Serve with rice, green beans, baby corn, chilli, broccolini and mushroom, in any combination, for a fuller dish. Get started with our Szechuan Stir-Fry spice paste and recreate this delicious dish in the comfort of your own home! 

Butter Chicken

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Image Credit: The Kitchen Paper

Popularised in Northern Indian, Butter Chicken is a family favourite that any guest will enjoy. Butter Chicken is a mild tomato curry with a sweet spice, cloves and fenugreek base. It contains chunks of chicken, all blended together with coconut cream or full fat cream, and is often served alongside rice.

When served in large portions, Butter Chicken basically pays for itself, costing a lot less than you'd expect! Be sure to serve with naan, roti, paratha or simply plain rice.

To reduce costs, be sure to go to an Indian grocer to collect your spices and accompaniments, use full cream milk instead of coconut cream, and use a base to minimizes the cost of ingredients. Use our Indian Butter Chicken base to get the full range of Northern Indian flavours for only a fragment of the price.

San Choy Bow

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Image Credit: Gourmet Game

San choy bow, or Chinese lettuce wraps, are a classic when it comes to budget Asian meals. A splash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of minced garlic/ginger can take a simple dish like this to the next level. You can also add sesame oil or peanut oil for another layer of flavour.

Keeping it simple is key when making San choy bow - select a minced meat, two or three vegetables and your lettuce. We recommend pork mince with carrot, corn and cabbage, in iceberg lettuce, but any combination is possible. To minimise costs even further, reduce the amount of meat by combining it with rice. It will make the dish even more filling and cut costs in the meantime.

Vietnamese Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese broth containing a blend of ginger, coriander, star anise and cinnamon, served amid beef, chicken or pork, bean sprouts, basil leaves, lime and chillies. With so much in a single dish, you'd expect it to be expensive to prepare, but with little meat, it is actually one of the cheapest on this list! Most of the big flavours in this meal are coming from herbs and spices and, as a result, there isn't much to this dish outside of the broth base and added embellishments like bean sprouts and chilli.

To make it even simpler, our Vietnamese Pho Base provides the broth for you, meaning you only have to worry about meat, vegetables and herbs!

Japanese Miso Soup

A combination of dashi (a stock base), soybean paste and tofu, Japanese Miso Soup is simple to make, with three ingredients, in total. For additional flavour, you can add wakame seaweed, shallots, mushroom, onion, shrimp, fish, or even potatoes.

Miso soup is such a fantastic budget meal as it is also incredibly healthy with almost no calories!

Cut costs even further by using our Japanese Miso Soup that takes away the complexity of making Miso, entirely at home!

Gỏi cuốn

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Image Credit: What To Cook Today

Gỏi cuốn or Vietnamese spring rolls are small finger rolls, filled with meats and vegetable fillings, and wrapped in rice paper.

In its simplest form, you need some form of shredded meat/seafood, vermicelli rice noodles (for body), coriander, rice paper rounds, and sauce to dip, primarily sweet chili, fish sauce, or soy sauce. The vegetables and rice noodles are combined, dressed, and wrapped in softened rice paper to be consumed as a finger roll.

To take it up a notch, add additional meats/seafood, carrot, capsicum, wombok cabbage, lime, mint or beansprouts in any combination you fancy. What makes rice paper rolls so fantastic is their ability to be fully customizable depending on your needs and your weekly budget. 

Malaysian Dishes You Should Try

Malaysian Dishes You Should Try

Image Credit: American Botanical Council

With Malaysia Day on September 16th, we've decided to celebrate the amazing range of colourful, aromatic and flavoursome dishes. Be sure to celebrate Malaysia Day with friends and family this month by trying out some of our personal favourites!

Beef Rendang

Rendang is a soft, spicy curry that is traditionally served with steamed rice and a vegetable accompaniment, like cabbage or bamboo leaf.

Traditional Rendang is slow cooked on a small fire until all the liquid is gone and the meat is incredibly tender. This cooking style allowed you to preserve large amounts of meat at once, making it popular in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Egg Tarts

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Egg Tarts, although they did not originate from the region, have been popularised by the Chinese in Malaysia. Most commonly, egg tarts in Malaysia resemble a Hong Kong-style street tart, often including gingery notes and flaky, crisp pastry - very different from the sugary Portuguese tart, with a buttery biscuit base.

No larger than the palm of your hand, these desserts are often bite-sized and filled with a very creamy, silken custard, and baked to perfection. Very sweet and fragrant, egg tarts can be eaten hot or cold and are best served alongside coffee or milk tea.

Nasi Dagang

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Image Credit: Annielicious Food

A popular seafood fried rice, Nasi dagang consists of coconut milk, steamed fish and rice alongside vegetables and a curry. This dish is exceptionally creamy and fragrant, as a result of the fenugreek seeds and coconut milk cooked into the rice. Nasi dagang is served mostly for breakfast, however, with a Chicken curry, it makes for a fantastic dinner.

Make it at home with our Fish Sauce and Coconut Cream!

Bak-kut-teh

Despite the name, there is actually no tea in the dish; the 'teh' refers to the strong Oolong tea typically served to accompany the dish.

Often served with char kueh, which are strips of fried dough, similar to churros, but flat.

Bak-kut-teh has a number of variations depending on your region and the time of year. The Hoklo (or Hokkien) style is the most common in central Malaysia, and features soy sauce to create a darker, richer and more textured soup.

Roti canai 

Directly translates to 'Indian pancake', Roti canai is an Indian-inspired flatbread. It is also frequently referred to as 'Flying Bread', because of the throwing and spinning used when making it. It is a combination of ghee (clarified butter), flour and water. The amounts and type of flour influence the flavour and overall texture resulting in lots of 'types' of Roti canai.

It is typically served hot with a form of daal, however the versatility of the bread lends itself to all sorts of fillings. In the city centre, it is usually served with sweets like banana, condensed milk, jam, cream, and Nutella. For the sweeter serving, condensed milk is also added to the batter.

Sambal Udang

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Image Credit: Asian Food Channel

Usually served with prawns, Sambal Udang is a seafood curry with a punch. The chilli combined with the kaffir lime leaves gives it a zesty, complex flavour dissimilar to anything you've tried before. Incredibly popular within the both the main citadel and Little India, Sambal Udang and countless Sambal variation can be found practically everywhere in Malaysia.

Hokkien Mee

Hokkien mee is an egg noodle and rice noodle stir-fry. It contains pork, prawns and vegetables, among other seafoods, and is served with accompaniments of lard, sambal sauce and lime juice.

Penang Hokkien mee is a traditional variation originating in the north-western state of Penang and served throughout the Malaysian Peninsular. It consists of vermicelli rice noodles and larger yellow egg noodles. 


Ways to Grill BBQ Chicken

Ways to Grill BBQ Chicken

Image Credit: New York Times Cooking

With so many alternatives, grilling chicken can be a tedious and confusing task. Is it over done? Under done? Too crunchy? Really soft? Lacks oomph? We've complied a few options and tips for grilling chicken to get the best out of your meat. Here's the different 'Ways to Grill BBQ Chicken':

Tenderising

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Image Credit: SimplyScratch

When tenderising you break apart fatty complexes and strains of tissue - it takes away that tough, chewiness often encountered in steaks and chicken breasts. Not only does this make your meat softer and more likely to retain moisture, it ensures that it is flat and even, meaning, it will cook evenly. Tenderising is an often overlooked yet essential component of preparing any form of meat - it will contribute to your final dish, trust us!

Rubs and Glazes

A rub is typically a set of dry spices or ingredients that are 'rubbed' into the cut or chicken. For a rich flavour, rubs should be performed about 1 or 2 hours before you begin grilling. They can contain garlic and onion powder, paprika, black pepper, salt, thyme, oregano, sage, and a whole host of other ingredients. You can also prepare a wet rub, using, for example yogurt and lemon juice, along with the dry rub ingredients. This achieves a similar result but with a moister skin.

A glaze is similar to a wet rub but it usually contains butter or fat as the 'wet' ingredient, sugar or honey, and a spirit (often bourbon or rum), achieving a 'syrup' consistency. They add a different level of flavour and give a shiny, browned finish to the chicken.

Marinating and Brining

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Image Credit: Plate of the Day

Brining is allowing the meat to sit with salt to optimise the moisture of the meat. Salt alters the proteins within meat to assist it in maintaining moisture. Sprinkle salt over the meat and allow to sit or submerge the cuts/chicken in water and salt for anywhere from 2 to 18 hours (depending on the size). For a 200-400g boneless chicken breast, around 2 hours is great, and for a very large chicken, 15-18 is more appropriate.

Marinating is another option to ensure a moist and flavoursome chicken. Typical marinades include garlic, lemon, honey-lime, Caprese, Tandoori, Moroccan and Sriracha.

Lock in even more flavour with our Thai Aromatic Grill Paste. Before grilling, marinate for a full-flavour garlic, lemongrass and turmeric chicken. Best served with rice or on its own, it also works well with pork and fish for that Northern Thai taste and aroma.

Grilling

You should have a pre-heated, clean and well-oiled plate before you begin grilling. This ensures your meat cooks evenly and all-the way through, ensuring it doesn't stick or burn to the grill plate.

For more experienced grillers, using a two-zone grill (one hot and one cooler side), is perfect for cooking chicken. The hot side allows you to flash grill the outside and the cooler side provides a stable and consistent temperature to cook the inside. Transfer from one side to the other to ensure your chicken does not burn on the outside and cooks in its entirety.


Cooking Evenly

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Image Credit: Amazon

Much like flattening the chicken, cooking evenly by using a Cast-iron steak plate or even a brick wrapped in aluminium foil can greatly improve the quality of your chicken. It ensures the heat is reaching all parts of the meat at an equal rate. Cooking evenly and consistently will ensure the best qualities of your meat are emphasised and aren't lost within the grilling process.

No Grill?

Don't have a grill? Not a problem! You can achieve a similar effect with a combination of smoky spices, a griddled pan and the oven. By coating with smoking spices, you achieve that charcoal flavour, but without the grill. Be careful not to overdo it; you could take away from the dishes original flavour palate. Start by flash frying in a griddled pan to achieve the crunchy and lined look you are going for, and then cook in the oven until white all the way through. This gives you the desired 'grilled' look to accompany your charcoal flavour.

Singapore Bucket List

Singapore Bucket List

Image Credit: Kadıköy Belediyesi Akademi

With so much to offer, too many sights to see, places to visit and foods to try, visiting Singapore can feel a bit overwhelming - where should you even start?! We've compiled an extensive bucket list of everything from culture and sightseeing, to must-try foods, so you don't miss a thing during your stay in Singapore.


Marina Bay

The S$5.5 billion Marina Bay Sands site has more than enough to entertain families, couples, or solo travellers for the entirety of your trip. Home to the casino, Science Museum, and an immeasurable number of shops, cafes, restaurants and vendors - there is plenty to do and see inside. Be sure to get a good look of the outside too! A river Bumboat ride is perfect to catch every moment of the daily lightshow at 8pm. 

Grab some local take-away

Busy as Marina Bay is, it's home to the best take-away in Singapore. For a very satisfying dinner, be sure to pick-up some Fish Head Curry or Chilli Crab. With world-renowned seafood, Singapore won't let you down when it comes to fish and crab!


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Image Credit: LifestyleAsia

For those with a sweet tooth, Kaya toast is the greatest thing to ever happen to bread. This crunchy toast is coated in just the right amount of sugar crystals, leaving it with an almost pancake-syrup consistency. With a good cup of coffee, this is the best dessert around.

Gardens by the Bay

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Image Credit: Gardens by the Bay Singapore

The Gardens of the Bay are a 101-hectare ecological and sustainability initiative containing more than 1 million plants. The site is unbelievable and features a ridiculous number of sights and entertainment activities.

The Supertree Grove is perhaps one of the most interesting locations in Singapore. They house over 160,000 plants, more than 200 species, mostly rare or endangered. They feature different planting schemes and different climates based on their colour, reflecting different climates and locations around the world! And if that's not enough, the trees are fully-sustainable. They produce their own irrigation, and water (yes, they have their own water-cycles!), as well as harnessing solar energy in excess to power, not only themselves, but the city too.

From September to the end of October, the 'Autumn Harvest' events are a must-see; with traditional crop harvesting, blooming season, and fruit and vegetable celebrations, the events are varying day by day.

Hire a Trishaw

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Image Credit: Lucky Plaza Singapore

Although it might be a bit daunting, hiring a Trishaw and attempting to travel through Singapore traffic is undeniably fun. For the inexperienced, it may be a bit difficult to travel from place to place, but, it is an ideal way to cruise to your favourite local hotspots. The best places to hit up include Chinatown, Dempsey Hill and Tiong Bahru.

Indulge in Local Delicacies

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Image Credit: Season with Spice

Laksa, a spicy coconut-based soup, can be found almost anywhere in Singapore. Nasi Lemak, a creamy Sambal curry, is a local favourite and easily our winner. The dish has a distinct zing that is just unparalleled.

With Asian Home Gourmet spice paste, you can replicate any of these amazing dishes in the comfort of your own home. Impress your family, partner, kids, or even yourself with our Singaporean range which adds the finishing touches to a Singaporean meal at home. 

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Flavoursome Asian-Inspired Meals on a Budget

Flavoursome Asian-Inspired Meals on a Budget

Image Credit: Asia Society Sometimes good eats cost a fair chunk of change. For those who are looking for flavour on a budget, we've assembled a list of the best Asian dishes with the lowest price point. Spoiling yourself doesn't...

» Read more

Malaysian Dishes You Should Try

Malaysian Dishes You Should Try

Image Credit: American Botanical Council With Malaysia Day on September 16th, we've decided to celebrate the amazing range of colourful, aromatic and flavoursome dishes. Be sure to celebrate Malaysia Day with friends and family this month by trying out some...

» Read more

Ways to Grill BBQ Chicken

Ways to Grill BBQ Chicken

Image Credit: New York Times Cooking With so many alternatives, grilling chicken can be a tedious and confusing task. Is it over done? Under done? Too crunchy? Really soft? Lacks oomph? We've complied a few options and tips for grilling...

» Read more

Singapore Bucket List

Singapore Bucket List

Image Credit: Kadıköy Belediyesi Akademi With so much to offer, too many sights to see, places to visit and foods to try, visiting Singapore can feel a bit overwhelming - where should you even start?! We've compiled an extensive bucket...

» Read more