Turkish Rice Pudding or Sakızlı Fırın Sütlaç

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I honestly do not know how to explain this pudding if you’ve never had it before. It is a rice pudding basically although it is still nothing like rice pudding you might be familiar with. On top of that, it is not traditional sütlaç either. It has been one of my husband’s favourite desserts. Every time I cook Turkish for guests, this is the dessert I serve because he asks for it. Well, I hope you enjoy it as much as my husband does.

Recipe Notes:
I use a kind of gum (damla sakızı) in this; not for binding but to add flavour. That’s what gives this pudding its unique flavour. If you can’t get the Turkish ones, use the Greek variety although the Greek one doesn’t melt well; it needs to be crushed (you could use mortar and pestle however, line your mortar with cling film first).

4 cups full-fat milk
½ cup medium-grain white rice, washed and drained
¾ cup castor sugar
1 tbsp corn flour
3 egg yolks (one separated)
1 tsp sugar vanilla
2 pieces damla sakızı

• Cook rice in a small pot with enough water.
• Meanwhile, place milk and sugar in a large pot and heat.
• When rice is done, drain and add to the pot of milk and sugar –it should be boiling at this stage. Add damla sakızı and make sure it melts.
• Mix corn flour with cold water. Add 2 egg yolks and whisk well with a fork. This will need to be added gradually in very small batches to the milky mixture. Cook for 2 minutes.
• Just before you remove the pot from heat, add sugar vanilla.
• Put aside 1 ladle of the pudding mixture making sure that you have more liquid and no rice. Add the remaining egg yolk to it and mix well.
• Pour the pudding into 4 heatproof ramekins and cool.
• Once you have a crusty layer formed, thinly cover the surface with egg yolk and pudding mixture.
• Place the ramekins under the grill and burn the top.
• Serve chilled.

Vegan Pepper Steak

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This is the classic pepper steak recipe veganised by me. Although I used Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks here, the pepper sauce goes nicely with Lamyong Vegetarian Chicken too. The recipe below serves 2.

Serving suggestions:
Mashed potatoes
Roast potatoes
Steamed vegetables

2 pieces Viana Cowgirl Veggie Steaks
Vegetable oil for frying the steaks

For the sauce:
1 tbsp light olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
150ml vegan mushroom stock
2 tsp green peppercorns in brine, drained
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbs (1/4 cup) soy cream

• Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the steaks according to packet instructions. Set aside and keep warm.
• Add the vinegar and light olive oil to the pan and heat gently.
• Reduce heat to medium, add the peppercorns, and then whisk in the mustard and soy cream. Continue to simmer for until the sauce is slightly thickened which doesn’t take long with soy cream.
• Spoon the sauce over sauce veggie steaks and serve immediately.

Nilgiri’s Masala Dosai

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Peoples, this is really cool: I have Nilgiri’s masala dosai recipe for you, with courtesy of Ajoy Joshi. Ajoy was kind enough to give me permission to publish his own recipe here. Although we tried dosais at other restaurants including some authentic ones both in Australia and in India, we still think that Nilgiri’s dosais are the BEST. We love them so much even Dad started making them at home after taking one of Ajoy’s cooking classes a few years ago.

But first things first, let me begin by telling you what dosais are: They are thin, crisp on the outside, moist on the inside crepes made out of rice and black lentil flour. Although, there are some plain varieties, these ones are rolled and stuffed with spiced potatoes with mustard seeds and fresh curry leaves and traditionally served with sambhar (lentil broth) and coconut chutney.

It’s a lot of work to make dosais but if you think it’s too much hassle to make your own, masala dosai is on both Nilgiri’s and Tellicherry’s menus. For those of you who would like a little bit of challenge, here’s the recipes:


3 parts medium to coarse rice flour
1 part split black lentil flour
Water for the batter
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil (for vegan version) or Ghee (clarified butter), to pan-fry the dosai

• Mix the rice and lentil flours with just enough cold water to form o thick fine paste.
• Add salt to taste and leave the batter in a warm place overnight to ferment.
• Mix the batter thoroughly the next morning.
• Heat the griddle till it is hot.
• Pour a ladle of the batter in the centre of the griddle and spread evenly in concentric circles till it reaches the edges of the griddle.
• Baste the dosai with ghee or oil and cook on medium heat till the dosai is golden brown.
• Place a filling of your choice in the centre of the dosai and roll or fold as desired.
• Serve hot with fresh coconut chutney and sambhar.

Potato Pallya (Masala for Dosai)

20-25 ml vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp split chickpea lentils
1 tbsp split black lentils
4-5 whole dry red chillies
¼ tsp asafoetida powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
2 medium-sized onions, sliced
Salt to taste
1 kg potatoes, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
½ bunch fresh coriander leaves, chopped

• Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan.
• Add the black mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
• Immediately add the two lentils and cook on a medium heat stirring constantly, till the lentils turn a light golden in colour.
• Add the whole dry chillies and the asafoetida powder and cook for a few moments.
• Add the turmeric powder and the fresh curry leaves and cook for a few moments.
• Add the sliced onions and salt and cook till the onions turn translucent.
• Add the roughly mashed potatoes and mix well.
• Cook on a medium heat for a few minutes and check the seasoning.
• Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and use as a filling in the ‘Masala Dosai’.


300 gr yellow lentils or toor dal
1 tsp turmeric
500 gr tomatoes, quartered
3 medium-sized onions, diced
2 tbsp Nilgiri’s Sambhar Powder
½ tbsp tamarind concentrate
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Salt to taste
½ bunch Fresh coriander leaves, chopped

• Cook the lentils with the turmeric in approximately 2 litres of water till soft and mushy.
• Add the tomatoes and the onions and cook further till they are soft.
• Add Nilgiri’s Sambhar Powder, tamarind concentrate, fresh curry leaves and salt to taste and bring to a boil.
• Check the seasoning, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

Wellbean Instant Soup Series

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During one of the Cruelty Free Festivals, someone from one of those stalls gave me a sachet of instant soup to try at home. It was Pumpkin Mushroom Soup. And I did try it; it wasn’t too bad. I thought I would mention the company here. Anything to make a vegetarian/vegan life easier is welcomed here.

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Apart from Pumpkin Mushroom Soup they have 3 more vegan varieties:
Instant Pumpkin Soy Milk
Instant Sweet Potato Soy Milk
Instant Pumpkin Mushroom Soup with Black Pepper

And Italian Style Tomato Soup is the only vegetarian one.

Instant soups are not my cup of soup but it might be yours and you can order online. They deliver too.

Nilgiri’s Sunday Buffet

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Let me tell you, Nilgiri’s Sunday Buffet is another kind of feast. Every Sunday this all-you-can-eat buffet serves an incredible variety of dishes. Some of the foods are like breads and masala dosai are even cooked in front of you. Especially those flying rotis are a must see when they happen.

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Menu for Sunday Buffet changes every month, focusing on a different region, community or different style of cooking. It is an incredible opportunity to try interesting dishes. However, sometimes the theme is based on a traditional festival, like Diwali (the festival of lights).

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Prices for Sunday Buffet:
$37.50 per adult
$3.00 per year of child for children between 3 & 11 years of age (both inclusive)
Children under three years are free.

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Diwali desserts from Nilgiri’s.

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Fully licenced and BYO (bottled wine only)
Address: 82 Christie Street St Leonards 2065 NSW
Website: www.nilgiris.com.au
Phone: (02) 9966 0636

Kinda Bacon

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Kinda Bacon is an Australian made vegan and gluten free product. It is made out of organic coconut with smoky and salty notes. As for the texture; crispy comes to mind. It kind of works as a flavour enhancer when added to dishes.

• Organic coconut flakes
• Tamari
• All natural liquid smoke (natural hickory smoke)
• Salt
• Pepper
• Spices

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Where to Use
• Sprinkle it on salads (potato salad is the best for this but any fresh salad would get the benefit too)
• Great as a pizza topping (just burry Kinda Bacon into your cheese and bake)
• Sprinkle on baked or jacket potatoes.
• Use it in savoury muffins.
• Great addition to any omelette mixture.

Price: A$ 12.75

Where to Buy
Full list of stockists can be found here.

Breaded Cauliflower with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Chilli Dressing

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Can deep fried food be light and fluffy? With the help of right ingredients, the answer is yes. The “right” ingredients here are lemon juice and Pellegrino. Somehow, they add this lightness to a breaded and deep fried cauliflower or any other vegetable without the unbearableness. I hope you know which book/movie I’m referring to…

This recipe is originally vegetarian and it has become one of Dad’s favourite dishes during his trip to Sydney. The trick here is adding lemon juice to boiling water to blanch the cauliflower. This way, you don’t stink up the kitchen with that sulphurous smell and you keep their white colour white, too.

Here’s the recipe:

Breaded Cauliflower with Garlic Yoghurt and Burnt Chilli Dressing

1 medium sized cauliflower, broken into florets
Juice of ½ lemon
Sunflower oil for deep-frying

2 eggs, beaten
½ cup Pellegrino
1 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup plain flour
Bread crumbs (I use a Jewish brand which is the best I’ve tried so far: Solomon)
Salt and pepper

Garlic Yoghurt:
250 grams plain yoghurt (Greek style)
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
A little water in case yoghurt is too thick

Burnt Chilli Dressing:
15 grams butter
1 tsp dried chilli flakes

• Wash the cauliflower and break it into florets.
• Boil enough water. Add juice of ½ lemon. Drop the cauliflowers into the water and blanch for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop them from further cooking. Drain again and set aside.
• Heat the oil to 180 degrees C.
• To make the batter: mix together the flour, beaten eggs, lemon juice and Pellegrino. Season with salt and pepper and whisk until it is smooth.
• To make garlic yoghurt: mix together crushed garlic and yoghurt and add water if necessary (it should be runny but not too watery). Set aside.
• Drop blanched florets into batter first. Allow any excess to drip off and then roll into bread crumbs.
• Deep fry all of the breaded cauliflower until golden brown and place on a large flat plate lined with kitchen paper. This’ll absorb excess oil.
• Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan and add the chilli flakes. Heat it until it is slightly smoky.
• Arrange deep-fried cauliflowers on a serving plate. Cover with garlic yoghurt and drizzle with burnt butter.
• Serve warm.

Tellicherry ‘Coastal Eats by Nilgiri’s’ Neutral Bay, Sydney


Named after famous Tellicherry pepper, this tiny little boutique place is actually Nilgiri’s sister restaurant. When Ajoy told us he was planning on opening a new, boutique restaurant in Sydney we were absolutely overjoyed. As we all know, if Ajoy does it, he does it spectacularly. What we didn’t know at the time, though, that it was going to be just around the corner from us!

This time around it’s coastal Indian food. Our first impression: all fish and seafood, not for us. But, that’s not the case at all. Especially, when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food. Tellicherry actually has some interesting and authentic dishes on their menu. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are marked with a V or a VG. Original names are used along with their descriptions in English. We so love the place, we bought the same plates for our home!

We were, of course, invited to Tellicherry’s opening night and here’s what we had:

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Cocktail Sanaas (above) steamed rice dumplings, coconut & coriander dust, tomato rasam.

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Kaaju Parippu Vade (above) cashew, ground chickpea, cumin and coriander fritters.

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Gobhi Kempe Bezule (above) batter fried cauliflower, black mustard tempered yoghurt.

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Brinjal Aviyal (above) stuffed baby eggplant in seasoned yoghurt with mustard and curryleaf ‘baghaar’

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Ladyfinger Ambotik (above) okra in a sweet, sour and hot ‘chutney’

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Sago Pradhaman with dryfruit (above)

Shop No 4, 260 Military Road, Neutral Bay 2089
Website: www.tellicherry.com.au
Phone: (02) 9953 7313
For bookings: bookings@tellicherry.com.au

Thai Chilli & Lime Cakes from Sanitarium


These have been sitting in my freezer for quite some time and I’ve almost forgotten about them until it was time to clean my freezer. As you may know, Sanitarium now has a bunch of new products along with revamped (new packaging) old time favourites. I was a bit reluctant to try Thai Chilli & Lime Cakes as we didn’t like Cajun Schnitzels from the “New” product line very much (they were incredibly dry) but these goodies turned out to be quite moist and flavoursome. They may be quite processed but they’re also fortified with B12, iron and zinc.

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Ingredients: Water, vegetable protein (16%) (soy protein, pea protein, soybean meal, wheat gluten), vegetables (potato, onion, shallots, red capsicum), vegetable oils (sunola, canola), breadcrumbs (wheat flour, salt, yeast, wheat gluten, sugar, canola oil), oats, Thai kaffir lime seasoning [dehydrated vegetables, hydrolysed vegetable protein, parsley, chilli, natural flavour, lime spice extract, natural colour (beetroot)], flavours, starch (potato, wheat), vegetable gum (carrageenan), reconstituted lime juice (0.4%), salt, mineral salt (potassium chloride), minerals (zinc, iron), vitamin B12.

How to cook
Pre heat oven to 180°C. Place Thai Chilli & Lime Cakes on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cook for 18 – 20 mins; turn them over mid-way through cooking.

Stove top: Place Thai Chilli & Lime Cakes in a shallow pan with vegetable oil and cook on the stove top until crisp and golden, turn and cook the other side until it is also golden.

Note: overcooking dries and toughens.

Here’s how I cooked them: Line them on a non-stick baking tray and cook them at 180 degrees with fan on for 20 minutes. Half-way through turn them over and serve them with Thai chilli sauce.

To Store: Keep frozen at or below -18°C. Do not refreeze.

Where to buy: Coles and IGA

Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin


I must admit, the title put me off all this time. I thought it was incredibly common, classless and inappropriate. However, at the end of the day, I’m a clinical nutritionist and I should be reading pretty much anything that is ever written on the subject of eating right. So I decided to read it regardless and here’s what I think:

The book has some solid information –an eye-opener for a lot people especially if they are new to the subject –and nutritional information is presented in an easy, digestible form that anyone can understand. Everything is well referenced which is very important especially if you want to be taken seriously within the field. However, the execution of it, the language the authors use is just foul. On the back cover they say they are your “smart-mothed girlfriends” I think what they should’ve said “foul-mouthed girlfriends” instead. Here’s an example from the book:

“Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that our government keeps food safe. News of the avian influenza epidemic came and went, but the disease is very real and can run rampant in poultry flocks. And according to a survey by the National Research Council, one chicken processing plant had 90 percent of its poultry contaminated with salmonellosis. Ninety fucking percent! Nasty.”

See what I mean?