Home-made Chai Masala

chai masala1
I am a coffee drinker first thing in the morning, otherwise enjoy herbal teas in the afternoon. This fragrant and spicy chai with a dash of milk and a tea spoon of honey is warm and delicious. Not only that, beautiful spices in the tea provide health benefits from their medicinal properties. Chai spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and ginger contains antioxidants and phytochemicals that prevent diabetes and cancers, support our immune system and boost metabolism. Chai tea also offsets sugar-cravings and relieve digestive problems which makes it perfect for an after-meal drink. If you’ve been having a chai tea from cafes, they either bring you one made from sugary powders or a teabag. But, trust me, making at home tastes heaps better, is healthier and is such a rewarding experience.
chai masalaIngredients

2 star anise powder
2 tsp ginger powder
1-2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove powder

1 black teabag
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp raw honey

Mix all spices together to make a chai mix. Brew black tea in 1/2 cup of hot water in a mug. Pour the black tea and 1/2 cup of milk into a small saucepan or milk pan. Gently heat the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tsp of chai mix and 1 tsp of honey. When the milk comes to boil, turn off the heat and allow to steep for a few minutes. Strain into a cup and enjoy whilst hot. You can store the rest of chai mix in an air-tight container for later use. It is also wonderful adding into a plunger coffee or sprinkling over your coffee.

Grapefruit, Avocado and Grilled Halloumi Salad

Grapefruit saladGood thing about a cold season is the abundance of citrus fruits. Oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons…among them I adore this beautiful pink grapefruit. Grapefruit can add a healthy and refreshing flavor to entrees, desserts and drinks. They are high in vitamin C and a half of a medium grapefruit has only 60 calories. It is well known fruit for weight loss because grapefruit is high in enzymes that burn fats, has high water content and has less sodium. A combination of these three characteristics make grapefruit a perfect food for increasing your body’s metabolism. Not only that, lycopene, a carotenoid pigment that is responsible for the red color, is a powerful anti-cancer agent. If one is worried about their body fat they could also opt for a painless cryoslimming technique. Other benefits of Grapefruit are fighting against common cold and fever, dissolving gallstones, boosting liver function, better digestion and enhancing immunity against infections.

This salad is embarrassingly so simple to make with only three ingredients – the salty flavor of halloumi cheese, creamy sliced avocado and sweet-tart ruby grapefruit. It is best to serve this salad when citrus is at its best and avocados are perfectly ripe. Perhaps serve with a beautiful fish? I like adding grilled halloumi cheese here, which has the different texture when cooked – brown and crispy outside, but still soft and gooey inside. Simple dressing made of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, olive oil and white wine vinegar brings all ingredients together. Sprinkle a good quality of sea salt on top to season.
GrapefruitAnother way of using grapefruits is preserving them in syrup. It can be used for grapefruit sweet tea, cakes, desserts such as adding on top of ice cream or panna cotta, etc. It is perfect for later use. I peeled and segmented about  5 grape fruits. As you do so, try to collect as much juice from the grapefruit into a cup as you can. Once all your fruits are segmented, place the grapefruit juice into a medium sauce pan along with maple syrup, grated ginger and a couple of sprigs of mint. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. Then, strain out the mint leaves. Pack sterilized jars with grapefruit segments and pour the boiling syrup into the jar leaving a inch space. Cool it down completely before you put it in the fridge. I like adding a teaspoon of this syrup into my green tea, full of vitamins! Maybe use it for happy hour in gin, vodka or margarita as well?

Pumpkin Wild Rice Salad with Miso Dressing

miso dressingHow much do you pay attention when you are eating? Thing is we have so much food around us these days. We eat while working, watching TV, driving, talking on the phone, walking on the street. We are so good at multitasking. Your brain is not engaged in eating. You don’t even know what is going into your mouth. Your arm just moves automatically from food to your mouth like a reflex. No signs of fullness. You need to eat more to feel satisfied. I’ve done that and been there and still do sometimes, unfortunately. I used to shovel down protein bars (evil to your body!) at work because I was “busy”. It was a pathetic excuse there is not even 10 minutes for myself, enjoying my food at work? I’m shaking my head right now. I love eating and I think it should be a healthy and pleasurable experience. Your food needs a full attention. I know it is extremely difficult to change your habit, but I’m sure you all agree with me here we need to eat “mindfully” for the sake of your own health.

miso dressing1Here are some mindful eating tips that I try to stick to. If you have any more helpful tips, feel free to add here 🙂

1. Listen to your stomach. You need to feel hungry before you are eating, but not starving otherwise you tend to overeat. Have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty, not hungry.
2. Choice of your food. Is this going to be good for my body and soul? If a piece of chocolate makes you happy, then go ahead. Enjoy it without feeling guilty.
3. No distractions. We have a house rule. No TV while eating. It should be a couple/family time without distractions.
4. Look, smell and taste your food.
5. Chew your food and put down your fork between bites.
6. Stop when you feel about 80% full. You are not wasting food on your plate though. Keep the leftovers for later or next day. If you are not good at this (me>.<), put less food on your plate or use a smaller plate to control your portion size.
7. This is a bit Korean way, but we say “thanks for the meal” before eating at the table. It is not like a religious thing. We thank for the soil, sun, rain, farmers, etc that brought that food to the table. Be grateful!

pumpkin wild riceIngredients

100g wild rice
2 cups pumpkin, cubed
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Himalayan salt
a bunch of coriander
1 tbsp sunflower seeds

For miso dressing
1 tsp miso paste (or less if you don’t like strong miso flavour)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sesame oil
pepper to taste

Put chopped pumpkin in a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil, cumin and salt into a bowl and toss to combine. Bake them in the preheated oven (180) for 20-30 minutes until cooked. Rinse wild rice and cover with a plenty of water in a saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and simmer on low heat for 40 or until cooked. Drain and let it cool. To assemble, combine cooked wild rice, pumpkin, chopped coriander and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Pour the miso dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving plate.

Spicy Cucumber Gazpacho

I know gazpacho is more summery soup, but I just felt like something refreshing and hydrating. This recipe makes the most of fresh, simple summer flavors, and a dollop of wasabi adds the right amount of heat. You can change ingredients depending on your taste. Normally, some recipes include white bread, sour cream or cream in it, which I’m not fancy. Onion or garlic? I didn’t want too much raw garlicky flavour, so skip that. As far as pairing goes, I think seafood like crab meat or prawns or white fish will be beautiful with it. Maybe serve with homemade flat bread or focaccia on the side? Yum. I cannot wait to try this (it is being chilled in the fridge now!).
Cucumber GazpachoIngredients

1 continental cucumber, chopped
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of coriander
1 cup of lemon ginger tea, brewed and cooled
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp of Himalayan salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of wasabi paste
a squeeze of lemon
olive oil

Add all ingredients except olive oil in a blender. Blend well until combined. Transfer to a glass jar or jug, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Just before serving, add olive oil and ice cubes if you like.

Healthy Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolateI have a long list of favorite comforting foods. Hot chocolate is one of them. Once you taste this healthy hot chocolate you won’t be able to order one at the cafe cause the cafe one is way too sweet. My version is made of raw cacao and almond milk, full of goodness and guilt-free. Raw cacao is full of antioxidants and happy hormone serotonin, boosting your immune system and mood. Almond milk has plant protein, healthy fats and vitamin E for healthy heart and glowing hair and skin. Trust me on this! It tastes incredible as good or even better than the conventional recipe.


1 cup of almond milk
1 tablespoon of coconut sugar (or any kind of sweetener you have)
2 tablespoons of raw cacao (not cocoa! don’t get confused >.<)
a pinch of sea salt
a pinch of cinnamon powder
a pinch of vanilla bean powder (paste or extract is fine)

Put all ingredients in a saucepan and heat gently. Stir and make sure all ingredients combine together. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy x