What is Nutrition?

What is Nutrition?
As a term, nutrition is derived from Latin ‘nutrire’ which means ‘to nourish’. According to Mosby’s Medical, Nursing & Allied Health Dictionary, the definition of nutrition is:

• Nourishment
• The sum of the processes involved in the taking in of nutrients, and in their assimilation and use for proper body functioning and maintenance of health. The successive stages include ingestion, digestion, absorption, assimilation and excretion.
• The study of food and drink as related to the growth and maintenance of living organisms.

In broad terms, nutrition is the science of foods and the nutrients and other substances they contain and of their actions within the body. These actions include ingestion, digestion, absorption, transport, metabolism, and excretion. The term also covers social, economic, cultural, and psychological implications of food and eating.

In this section of VegFusion, I will be sharing my knowledge and experience around the subject of nutrition, making right choices and eating well.

Photo: Local grocery store in Little India, Singapore. 
© A. Gulden

Lamyong Vegetarian Mushroom Nuggets

Lamyong Vegetarian Mushroom Nuggets are probably one of the most used Lamyong products in my kitchen. These versatile nuggets are made out of shitake mushrooms which makes them hearty and equally tasty.  These days they come in three different sizes: 300 gr (in a box), 600 gr (plastic bag) and 3 kg (plastic bag). Although the boxes stack up neatly in my freezer and can be easily identified when you open the door, I prefer 600 gr packs as they are more economical. I believe, the larger packs (3 kg ones) are designed for restaurants. Because they are so difficult to separate when you want take some of it out and put the rest back in the freezer. I’d say they’re not for home use.

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Ingredients:
Mushrooms (34%)
Textured soy protein (34%) –soy protein, starch, vegetable oil.
Vegetable gum
Soy flour
Vegetable oil
Vegetarian seasoning
Salt

Cooking instructions: Defrost the nuggets before use.

Where to use: Stir-frys, stews, kebabs.

Where to buy:
Lamyong Online
The Cruelty Free Shop (Glebe, Syndey)
Vegan’s Choice (Newtown, Sydney)

Tian Vegetarian Restaurant, Vienna

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Tian Vegetarian Restaurant in Vienna was one of the most unforgettable culinary experiences I have ever had in my life. Being a Michelin star restaurant, this is exactly what you’d expect. However, Tian has some extras.

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In French, Tian is the name of a vegetarian stew and in Chinese, it means heaven. So, it would be safe to call Tian “a vegetarian heaven” because it truly is a vegetarian heaven; a classy one.

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The Menu
Every night, there are two set menus. You can choose dishes from both.
4 course menu is €136 with wine pairing and €91 without
6 course menu is €171 with wine pairing and €106 without
8 course menu including 2 surprise courses is €204 with wine pairing and €120 without

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Tian is a vegetarian restaurant with vegan options. There are many items on their menu with “vegan possible” sign against them.

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Here, diverse flavours are well matched and the produce is sourced from local organic markets.

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Magnolia sorbet, served  as a palate cleanser (above).

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Complimentary butter, cress, three different kinds of oil and bread.

Oil in test tubes. Brilliant!

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The décor at Tian: sustainability and class come together in a sophisticated, stylish way.

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The service at Tian is quite elegant, too. It was paced well according to the number of courses. At the time of booking we had a chance to talk to Tian’s sommelier Christoph. Our waitress, Helene, was attentive without being intrusive.

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My desert (above).

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John’s desert (above).

Note: This is a belated post. I put off writing it and here’s why: When my husband and I were at Tian in June 2015, our lovely waitress Helene (I hope this is the right spelling of her name) gave me a copy of their menu, the exact one we had that night. I told her that I had a food blog and I would be writing a review for Tian, too. I wrote her name at the back of the menu and promised that I would mention her name in my review.

When we were in Berlin, we shipped two boxes of clothing, some souvenirs we picked up from other European places we visited and even some art pieces along with Tian’s menu. One of those boxes arrived two months later. However, the last box didn’t and Tian’s menu was in that box.

Yet, Tian deserves a good review. So I decided to write it anyway, without the menu. In case you’re wondering why I don’t have the names for the dishes or why this is a belated post, that’s why.

Tian can be found in this address:
Himmelpfortgasse 23,
1010 Wien
Phone: +43 (0)1 890 4665
Tian’s Website

The Malaya, Darling Harbour – Sydney

This year, my husband and I decided to do something different for New Year’s Eve and booked a table at The Malaya. We have always enjoyed their vegetarian banquet and because the restaurant is located at Darling Harbour, there is a good chance to watch 9 o’clock fireworks, too.

The food here at The Malaya is classic Malaysian food. However, the setting is quite contemporary with its large balcony overlooking Darling Harbour.

Our evening started off with a glass of bubbly each. NV Bailly Lapierre Cremant de Bourgogne from Burgundy, France to be precise. We immediately received New Year’s Eve Vegetarian Set Menu 2015 which stayed on the table all night long. I asked if I could keep the menu and I was told it would be just fine. That on its own made it easier to follow the courses during the night and of course it makes it easier for me to write the review which I am doing right now.

Here’s the menu they put together for the night:

Starters
Vegetable San Choy Bow
Salt and Pepper Cauliflower
Samosa
Sayor Otak

Mains
Szechuan Eggplant
Vegetable Singapore Noodles
Ma Po Tofu
Sayor Masak Lemak

Roti Canai (pan-fried Malay flat bread)
Steamed Rice

Dessert
Ice Cream Ball
Black rice Pudding
Tea or Coffee

Now, let’s get visual, shall we?

Starters

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Vegetable San Choy Bow (above)
Water chestnut, onion, mushroom, carrot and shallot stir-fried and served in a lettuce leaf. This may be the messiest thing to eat but it tastes sensational.
Matching Wine: Wagner-Stemple ‘Troken’ Silvaner, Rheinhessen Germany

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Salt and Pepper Cauliflower (above)
Floretts of cauliflower lightly battered, deep-fried and tossed in fresh chilli, salt, cracked black pepper and shallots. We’ve always liked this dish and it was even better this time around. Be careful with the chilli though; they bite.
Matching Wine: Frankland Estate ‘Poison Hill’ Reisling, Frankland River WA

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Samosa (above)
A mixture of potato, carrot, onion and spices wrapped in a light pastry skin and deep-fried. One of the nicest samosas we have ever had.
Matching Wine: Bruno Sorg Pinot Gris, Alsace France

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Sayor Otak (above)
Silken tofu topped with a blend of eggplant, mushroom, tomato, lemongrass and chilli paste, wrapped in a banana leaf and barbequed. This dish has layers and each layer is interesting once revealed.

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Sayor Otak, revealed (above)
Matching Wine: Clonakilla Viognier ‘Nouveau’, Canberra District ACT

Main Dishes
Main dishes are served with Roti Canai (pan-fried Malay flat bread) and Steamed Rice.

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Szechuan Eggplant (above)
Marinated eggplant stir-fried dry style with shallot, cashew nuts and dry chillies, served on a bed of Chinese water spinach. This is one stunning dish. It’s on the menu all year around.
Matching Wine: spinifex ‘Papillon’ Grenache Cinsault, Barossa Valley SA

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Vegetable Singapore Noodles (above)
Vermicelli rice noodles stir-fried dry style with Asian green vegetables, beansprouts, onion, shallot and chilli. I absolutely love my Singapore noodles and The Malaya version is a lot better than most. Those beansprouts you see in the photo? They are the crunchiest, freshest on the face of the earth. Not tinned or packaged. Absolutely fresh. I couldn’t stop picking.
Matching Wine: Bream Creak Schonburger, East Coast TAS

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Ma Po Tofu (above)
Silken tofu braised with mushrooms, garlic, chilli, black bean, shallots and peas. This is an incredibly balanced dish and one of the tastiest of the night, too.

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Sayor Masak Lemak (above)
Malay style vegetable curry cooked with fresh chilli, lemongrass and coconut milk. Medium hot. Fried tofu puffs used in this dish. Mop it up with Roti Canai which is pan-fried Malay flat bread.

Dessert

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Ice Cream Ball (Bite size ice cream ball dipped in chocolate) and Black Rice Pudding (Black glutinous rice cooked with Pandan leaves served with thick coconut cream, palm sugar and fresh fruit)
Tea or Coffee
Note: Although it wasn’t mentioned in the menu, we were served dessert wine too.

The Service
One thing I’d like to say about service –or maybe two—our waitress in the beginning of the night told us that the wines she was serving would go nicely both with scampi and crab, assuming we ordered the non-vegetarian menu. It would have been nicer if she checked first. At the end of the day, they have all-year-around vegetarian menu and it is quite popular. And based on our previous experiences at The Malaya, this wasn’t the first time she was working there.

The other thing was, although the wines were well-matched for the style of food at The Malaya, the ones which were served with our starters were served in pairs. As a result, it made it difficult for us to pace ourselves and identify each glass of wine as soon as the waiter left the table. Chilled wines also get warmer in Sydney weather.

The Malaya can be found at this address:
39 Lime St,
Sydney NSW 2000

Happy New Year, Peoples :)

Spicy Bean Dip

Summer is nearly here in Sydney. The days are quite pleasant at the moment; I even managed to spend some time outside during NaNoWriMo, writing my first draft at our front yard with my dog sitting beside me and doing his neighbourhood watch thing. When the weather is better I crave for dips and lighter, fresher foods in general. So this recipe below is the product of a hot day.

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Spicy Bean Dip
Ingredients:

1 tin (420 g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp (heaped) Turkish chilli paste (hot)
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt to taste

Crudités: Carrot and celery sticks

Method:
• Place the beans, water, chilli paste, crushed garlic, cumin, coriander in a food processor and whiz it up on high speed.
• Transfer the mixture in a small serving bowl and serve with crudités.

Note: For extra spiciness, sprinkle the dip with chilli flakes.

Red Lotus Vegan Fish Sauce

Vegan Fish Sauce, finally! I have learnt to substitute fish sauce in my Thai recipes with a mixture of light and dark soy sauce but having a bottle of vegan fish sauce in the fridge is more practical.

red lotus fish sauce

Ingredients: Australian soy beans, water, sugar, sea salt and vegetable seasoning.
Size: 375 ml
How to store: Once opened, it should be kept in the fridge.
Where to buy: The Cruelty Free Shop
Where to use: Vegan Fish Sauce can be used in every recipe calling for regular fish sauce like dipping sauces, stir-frys and curries.

Vegan Fish and Chips

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I have been wanting to add a vegan fish and chips recipe to my repertoire for a very long time. The recipe for the batter came from Dad and it’s the one Granddad had used at his own fish and chips shop. Surprisingly, it’s originally vegan. (Thanks Dad!)

I did have some challenges, though. Adjusting the amount of batter specifically for 4 pieces of Lamyong Soy Fillets was one and getting the right batter consistency was the other one. Well, it all worked well in the end.

Vegan Fish and Chips
Ingredients:
4 pieces Lamyong Vegetarian Soy Fillets (sliced variety), thawed
4 medium-sized potatoes, cut into chips
Sunflower oil, for deep frying
Tartare sauce for serving (Masterfoods’ tartare sauce is suitable for vegetarians and vegans)

For Batter:
2 tbsp (heaped) plain flour and some extra for dusting the soy fillets
1 tbsp (heaped) self-rising flour
1 tsp (heaped) baking soda
Water

Method:
• Preheat deep-fryer to 190 degrees C.
• Peel and slice the potatoes, pat dry and cut into chips 1.5 cm wide.
• Fry the chips until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel. Season with salt.
• Mix plain flour, self-rising flour, baking soda and very little water. The batter should be quite thick so add the water gradually. Whisk until all the flour and everything else is well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
• Dust the soy fillets with plain flower and lightly coat in batter. Add to the hot oil and cook until golden brown, turning regularly. Drain on paper towel, season with salt and serve with the chips and tartare sauce.

Note: Vegan Fish and Chips goes really well with Leffe Blond (Belgian beer).

Lamyong Vegetarian Soy Fillet

These Soy Fillets are a vegan product from Lamyong which are made from textured soy protein. The seaweed wrapping makes them look like fish fillets. They come in 500 gram packs and frozen. Because they are packed flat, it’s easy to separate the pieces if you’re not going to use the whole pack.

vegetarian soy fillet

Ingredients: Textured Soy protein, textured wheat protein, soy bean sheet, seaweed, salt, vegetable oil, vegetarian seasonings.

Where to buy: Lamyong Online

How to cook: I struggled to pan-fry the soy fillets as they don’t brown well however they are excellent fish and chips material.

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Vegan Fish and Chips recipe can be found here.

Purslane Salad with Yoghurt or Yoğurtlu Semizotu Salatası

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There are many Turkish ingredients I can easily get in Sydney but it means a long trip to a distant suburb called Auburn. Because of that, my husband and I don’t go there very often but when we do, we stock up well –sometimes way beyond our storage capacity. Mostly pantry items though as they don’t go bad in a hurry.

Last Thursday, we were going to be in the area so we thought it would be good to drop in and get some ingredients. After picking up our usual suspects, what did I find at the vegetable section? Fresh purslane! I immediately made my favourite Purslane Salad with Yoghurt and it was so delicious. Although I was so happy to be able to get purslane in Sydney, it is still a treat I enjoy alone because my husband doesn’t like it. Well, you can’t please everyone.

Purslane Salad with Yoghurt
Ingredients:

1 bunch purslane
1 cup Greek style yoghurt
1 clove garlic, crushed
A drizzle extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
1 tsp chilli flakes

Method:
• In a salad bowl, mix together the yoghurt, salt, crushed garlic and the olive oil. If the yoghurt is too thick add a little water.
• Wash the purslane and drain well. Remove leaves from the bunch and chop the stalks if they are not too thick. Add the purslane to the yoghurt mix and stir well.
• Place the salad onto a serving plate and sprinkle with chilli flakes and serve.

Variations:
• Try making this salad with the addition of cucumber and fresh dill.
• Or add some nuts like walnuts.

The Elephant Vegetarian Restaurant and Bar, Ubud – Bali

I discovered The Elephant during the last week of my stay in Ubud because we moved hotels for my friend’s yoga retreat. It was just down the road basically. One day I popped in to have pad thai and on one of the nights we, as a group, had dinner there.

The whole restaurant with its bar on one wall seem like it is a wide balcony overlooking a lush ravine with a river and a rice field in the vicinity. The view is spectacular.

Everything on the menu is either vegan or vegetarian although most of the vegetarian dishes can be made vegan if you ask. The style of food is somewhat international, including vegetarian versions of some local Indonesian dishes.

I personally picked Ottolenghi’s Sweet Potato Fritters which was served with a yoghurt sauce and mango and radicchio slaw. Yes, the name caught my eye. It was nice and I passed down the information to one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s waiters at his Islington restaurant in London that a vegetarian restaurant in Bali has Ottolenghi’s dish on their menu. Small world, right?

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The service is slow but not too slow and everything is fresh so you don’t mind waiting a bit. The staff is incredibly polite even if you have someone rude in your group like we did. I must say, they handled it really well and I am not friends with that person anymore for many other reasons.

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The Elephant has its website and related accounts like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. However, their Instagram account is the owner’s personal account and is sometimes full of personal stuff like the photo of his pregnant wife wearing a bikini. I personally think that it is not professional and totally irrelevant. Especially when most of the food photos –which is supposed to be their main focus—are blurry.

The Elephant can be found at this address:
Hotel Taman Indrakila
Jalan Raya Sanggingan
Ubud
Bali, Indonesia
Website