Friday, January 20, 2012


Living in Southeast Asia, makes any sort of diet regime becomes a mission. Why? Because everything just taste SO good here. The staple food in this region are carbohydrate based - from rice, to roti and noodles. Also, we do prefer eating our Southeast Asian delicacies rather than eating raw carrots and a thin slice of grilled chicken as a diet menu. So, how do can you keep to your diet but still eat good Asian meals? Here's how...

Everywhere you go here in Southeast Asia, you are bound to find either rice, noodles or bread options as a spread of choices. So, you're thinking - are the only options you have is to eat less of everything and keep to boiled, steamed or raw vegetables?  

Here's a recipe you can use as an option and see if it works for you. Lets just try and skip all the carbohydrate type food and keep to just protein as well as fibrous meals but using Southeast Asian flavours. You can watch your calories and at the same time, yet, still have your Asian style meals - provided you also add in exercise into the equation. You do not have to starve yourself during your diet, or even throw out the carbohydrates completely. The idea is to watch what you eat and keep to the routine, minimise is the keyword. First of all before you go on any diet regime, check with a nutritionist or doctor to talk about how you can adjust your calories and meals to a diet best suited for you.

On an average, if you 30 years old at 80kg in weight and about 170cm in height, you will need to keep between a 1300 to 1500 calories a day to lose 10 kilograms in 3 months. This is inclusive of regular exercise as well. So, in support of your efforts to shed some weight and live a healthier lifestyle, here is a recipe for you to start on. With this, you still get that Asian inspired meal yet still kick out all the fat and carbohydrates. Win!

For the fish – 1 fish fillet = 150 calories


1 fish fillet (Spanish mackerel or Red Snapper)
2 banana leaf cut into about A4 sized paper/optional foil
1 tbsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

  • Clean the fish. Washing it with a bit of tamarind juice and rinsing it with water.
  • Rub the fish all over with turmeric powder and salt.
  • Fold the banana leaf over the fish and grilled in oven or over a griller.
  • Cook it for about 20 minutes on 180C. At this rate the fish will be juicy. If you prefer it dry, leave it in a while longer. 

For Urap (Asian Greens with Grated Coconut Salad) – 1 serving cup = 240 calories

50 g bean sprouts
50 g cabbage, shredded
50 g long beans, cut
1 bundle of spinach, cut
2 cups of fresh grated coconut
Spice Paste
½ cup of pan roasted anchovies pounded to a powdered consistency
1 red chilli, seeded
2 bird's eyes chillies
2 garlic slivers
salt to taste
1 cup of grated coconut

1. Heat up a wok or a pan with just a enough oil to fry the achovies. Make sure the oil is hot but not smokey - then add the anchovies to the hot wok or pan till crispy. Drain excess oil using a kitchen towl then pound or blend the anchovies till it becomes a powdered form. Set aside.

2. Boil up a pot of water, once the water is boiling – blanch all the vegetables. Place cooked vegetables in a bowl and let cool.

3. Pound together the garlic, red chilli, birds eye chilli and salt.

4. To the bowl add the coconut, anchovies and chilli garlic paste mix well.

Serve the fish with a bed of urap. Enjoy with a glass of ice water with a few slices of cucumber. Enjoy.

as seen on 

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