You may have heard of these latest food buzz words: ‘quinoa’, ‘super food’, ‘eat clean’, ‘organic’, ‘chia seeds’, ‘paleo’ and the list goes on. It’s flogging the internet and social media is feeding us with interesting photos and bizarre recipes. To some it may just be a passing trend but if you don’t know what it is, it’s simply recipes with unprocessed ingredients, involving raw organic living food packed with nutrients. Nope? Not sold with the idea yet? Well, imagine making a decadent cheesecake – it tastes great and the texture’s incredibly creamy but guess what, there’s no dairy and only healthy ingredients. The recipes vary from snacks to meals allowing you to eat like a champ without feeling bloated – no guilt here! The good news, if you’re lactose intolerant or a diabetic (like me), is you can really enjoy desserts because it cuts out dairy and uses little to no refined sugar. Sounds too good to be true right? It wasn’t long before I decided for myself to start this culinary adventure.
Natsuko, who carries the Instagram name “HighKickChick”, has been on this clean-eating diet for months. She’s so passionate about healthy eating that she was kind enough to exchange her cooking recipes. So we agreed on a day that it be filled with some serious chopping, slicing, and of course food tasting.
The cooking exchange took place in my humbly appointed kitchen. There were five intrepid foodies myself, Natsuko, Mandy, Ronnie and my husband who was corralled into it. With raised eye brows, exchanged incredulous looks and more than a few giggles, we were thrown into the world of clean eating.
Five hours later we have constructed an epic ten courses. It was mostly a variation of fermented vegetables preserved in tight jars. Hours later you can see their transformation: bright and colourful with a salty, sweet and sour taste all at once. The whole ‘preserves thing’ reminded me of the kinds of food that my grandparents used to have except they used animal parts such as liver and stomach. Anyhow, these vibrant veggies surely add variety to the everyday when you pair them up with your meals. It wasn’t long that the raised eye brows became ooh…and aah…
Just to give a better insight to the kinds of ingredients used, the recipes utilised amaranth seeds, LSA flour, buckwheat flour and chia seeds among other things. The secret to many of the dishes is finding replacements for the naughty things but retaining the texture and consistency. Here are my top two dishes from the day.
Sweet potato cacao mousse
What’s in it?:- sweet potatoes, quality raw cacao powder & coconut milk
Steamed sweet potatoes until very soft. Let cool completely. Mix sweet potato, and cacao powder in the food processor. Blend on a high speed until it becomes a smooth mousse. You might need to adjust coconut milk according to the thickness of the mousse. Pour in severing bowls and put in the fridge to chill. Garnish with fresh fruits, yoghurt and nuts, serve!
Chicken Kale Dumpling
What’s in it:- Chicken breast (mince), Grated ginger, Orange zest, Miso paste, Kale leaf (or cabbage)
Take the mince chicken and seasoning ingredients: (ginger, orange and miso paste) and let it rest for about 10mins. Then then roll up the meat in the kale leaf. Steam for about 10min.
So there you go! It’s all about finding healthy replacement for key ingredients and still maintaining the texture and taste. I’m hoping to delve more into this eat clean regime. I need to think fit and focus on my well-being by giving myself that TLC; do my husband a favour by not whining at him that I have tummy ache from eating crap food and most importantly winning my battle with fluctuating sugar levels. All the more reason to try this. Besides, there’s no harm on adding more veggies and fruits to your diet. They are real food!