An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Meatless Monday: Macaroni Soup

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Most families I know in Singapore have their own version of this dish. Like chicken soup or plain rice porridge, a shredded chicken macaroni in clear broth usually does the trick for a convalescing person. I have enjoyed many a bowl of this delicious and comforting pasta soup while growing up and while I no longer eat chicken, I still find it so good on its own. The best part is, you can make it in less than 30 minutes. I took about 20 minutes because that’s how long it took for my pasta to turn al dente.IMG_2483When I have children, this will be among the top 10 things I’d cook for them, especially since I can throw in any nutritious and seasonal vegetable for cheap. My favourites are still carrot (because it’s a bright orange and so sweet) and cabbage (cheap and long-lasting).

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Macaroni Soup

Serves 2 to 4. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes

2 cups macaroni (or any kind of pasta)

2 cups chopped vegetables (I used carrots & cabbage but frozen peas would do the trick too)

1 cube of vegetable stock

2 cloves of garlic (peeled and lightly smashed with a knife to release flavour)

5 cups of water

2 small shallots sliced thinly

4 tablespoons cooking oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Method:

1. Pour water into pot and throw in a stock cube. Turn heat on high till water boils.

2. Once stock cube has fully dissolved, throw in vegetables, macaroni and smashed garlic cloves. Turn heat down to medium.

3. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan or wok on high. Add thinly sliced shallots and turn heat down to medium low. (This is for the shallot oil used as a condiment but CLICK HERE for a proper recipe.)

4. Stir soup every so often and check to see if macaroni has turned al dente. Turn fire off.

5. When shallots start to brown at the edges, turn heat off as the shallots will continue turning into a crisp quickly.

6. Dish out macaroni and serve with 2 teaspoons of shallot oil as garnish.

OMG so yum! The dish is easy and versatile.

You can use any kind of pasta. Instead of macaroni, I used a mixture of mezzi rigatoni and tri-coloured penne because I had opened boxes. My favourite though, are elbow macaroni followed by farfalle. And you can also use any kind of veggies on hand – potato and carrots; cabbage and carrots; frozen mixed veggies; snow peas and corn etc. Also, add tofu cubes or any other ingredients on hand. So versatile!

The ratio I always use is 1 cup of uncooked pasta for 1 adult person (because it doubles in size) and 1 cup of chopped vegetables if it’s a side dish. So double or triple the recipe depending on how much you want to eat! This recipe is enough for T and I but would serve 4 if you eat like my mother and sisters – if you know what I mean.


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Meatless Monday: Cabbage & Potatoes Stir Fry

IMG_0558This is one of my favourite things to order at the Economy Rice stalls back in Singapore (otherwise known as point-point rice because you point at the side dishes you want to add to your plain steamed rice). This cabbage and potatoes stir-fry comes in different variations, most I’ve eaten have dried shrimp for flavouring and some have glass noodles for added texture. No matter how you do it, cabbage and potatoes are all you need. It’s also great that cabbage is really cheap (much cheaper than cauliflower and broccoli which T loves).

I’m sharing this recipe because T mentioned that he only liked cabbage “so-so” but he thought that I “managed to make cabbage really tasty”. To him, cabbage is usually a filler, something you add in food when you want to fill space and tummies without spending too much money. That made me happy because this dish is so good with plain steamed rice that I can eat a lot a lot a lot of it. Also, it makes good leftovers – just pop your leftover cabbage/potato stir-fry and steamed rice into a box, store it in the fridge together, and when you zap it in the microwave again, the flavours would have all mixed in. Mmmmm… I do love a good gravy over plain rice!

Cabbage & Potatoes Stir Fry

Serves 4. Prep Time: 3 mins. Cooking time: 15 mins.

1 large potato

8 cups of chopped cabbage (raw chopped up volume)

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

3 tablespoons of cooking oil

1 1/2 tablespoons of vegetarian oyster sauce (mushroom flavoured)

1 cup water

1/2 tablespoon corn starch

Method:

1. Pull out 5-6 cabbage leaves, roll them up to look like a burrito, then slice them vertically and then horizontally. Repeat until you have the desired amount of cabbage (2 cups worth of chopped cabbage leaves = 1 regular serving after cooking).

2. Scrub the potato and rinse before cutting them up into short, stubby french-fry looking strips. (Don’t make them too thick or it’ll take too long to cook)

3. Heat up cooking oil and put in the potato strips. Fry the potato on high heat for about 5 minutes till it starts changing colour (a little translucent).

4. Turn down to medium heat. Add all the minced garlic into the pan and continue stir-frying/tossing until slightly golden brown.

5. Add all the chopped cabbage into your pan (my 11-inch Jamie Oliver by T-fal stir-fry pan can just about hold everything and is filled to the brim.)

6. Carefully stir the cabbage, potato and garlic. (I use the fold and mix method.)

7. Once the contents of the pan is well mixed, add the vegetarian oyster sauce and stir-fry again. Turn up to high heat.

8. Mix 1/2 tablespoon corn starch with 1 cup water, then add to the vegetables. Stir-fry and mix again. The cabbage should have softened and be half its former volume by now.

9. Take a lid (doesn’t have to be a matching lid), cover the pan and let the veggies steam. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes. Lift the lid every 30 seconds to stir.

10. Remove from heat and serve with steaming hot plain rice.

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Tah dah! Cheap, easy and fast!!!