Sambal Tempeh | VEGAN

I realised that I haven’t put up a recipe of my current favourite dish so here you go!

ingredients

2 cloves of garlic

3 cloves of shallot

1/2 of big onion

2 tbsp of blended red chilli

peanuts (optional but recommended)

tempeh (cut into small pieces)

salt

sugar

oil

method

  1. Blend the chillies (however much you want – you can keep the extra in the fridge). Alternatively, you can use chilli paste but I can’t guarantee it wil be as tasty.
  2. Crush the shallot and garlic using pestle and mortar.
  3. Add oil to the pan and heat it. Fry the tempeh until golden brown.
  4. Take out the tempeh and put it aside.
  5. Fry the crushed shallot and garlic.
  6. Add the blended chilli and continuously stir for a few minutes.
  7. Add the cut big onion.
  8. Add the cooked tempeh back in.
  9. Add peanuts if you want some crunch!
  10. Add salt & sugar to taste.

Because this is not baking, you can adjust the measurements according to your taste. That’s why I prefer cooking rather than baking – you can just throw in anything and however much you like! Except for salt, of course.

This is absolutely delicious and if you do try to make this, let me know!

PS: more tips in the caption underneath the pictures below!

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cut the onions and garlic into small pieces
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crush the shallots and garlic
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before blending the chillies, remember to remove the seeds unless you can stand the heat! Also, soak the chillies in water for about an hour so that it’s a bit creamier.
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remember to fry the tempeh first before frying everything else!
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fry the shallot and garlic
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add the blended chilli/paste
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add the cut big onion
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finally add the tempeh
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enjoy!
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steamy-licious!

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Vegan Meetup @ LN Fortunate Coffee

It had been months since the last meetup in October and I was starving! I mean, not only for delicious vegan food, but I was also starving for great company. And by great company, I mean those who share similar values of caring for the Earth and the animals, and who emanate good vibes and pure compassion.

I need more of that in my life and so when I found out about this meetup and knew that I’ll be free on the 25th of March for a wholesome lunch, I absolutely couldn’t resist.

This was my second time stepping into LN Fortunate Coffee. I loved the interior design. Parts of the walls were covered with wood and the rest were painted white. The tables were also made of wood with matching chairs. Overall, this cafe had a minimalist vibe, very neat and clean, and it felt homely.

This meetup (as well as other vegan meetups, I’m sure) was proof of how beneficial and great social media is. The event was created on Facebook and those who wished to go can mark themselves as “Going”. This would enable the event organiser to inform the cafe the attendance a couple of days prior to the event. Very useful and efficient.

The 30 or so people came. The atmosphere was abuzz with delightful chatter. I felt like I was meeting old friends although some of them I’ve known for only several months and the rest for the first time. I liked that I didn’t have to explain myself as a vegan and that the conversation could progress further than “where do you get your protein?”.

While waiting for our food (I ordered lasagna), Raw Chef Yin gave a presentation on raw vegan food. She teaches people on how to make those healthy meals. Her creations are ingenious and delicious — all without heating up food above 45 degrees C (I think). She even brought samples for us to try out like Vanilla Coconut Bites, Cucumber Cumin Crackers, Vegan Sambal Belacan, Chocolate Sauce, and different flavoured Water Keffir (Passionfruit, Jasmine, Chrysanthemum). All RAW and all SO DELICIOUS!

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picture by Raw Chef Yin

 

While devouring our delicious food, we had a good chat with each other. I got to hear more about Chef Yin’s experience with raw food and also Jeremy’s (the cafe owner) business on green energy. It’s really inspiring listening to other people’s stories and what amazing things they have done in their lives.

I also had waffles with matcha and coffee ice cream for dessert. I mean, who can resist this?

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I think I spent about 3 hours there and it was one of the best lunches (if not the best) I’ve had this year so far 🙂

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With Rina (left) and Chef Yin
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With Jeremy the cafe owner

At around half past three, a few of us decided to go to Publika to check out the Eco Festival. It consisted mostly of booths selling environmentally-friendly products and also some performances. There was a booth selling freshly made vegan wraps and cookies by the amazing Davina aka Davina Da Vegan. Very catchy name 😉 We tried her hummus wrap and also the tempeh roll. They were SO good!

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Davina Da Vegan

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So yeah that was a fun Saturday! It’s always so nice to meet up with fellow vegans and I always wish that I could see them more often. The time with them will always be cherished and I’m eternally grateful for their presence and positive energy.

Be kind and love one another. Embrace the vegan vibe!

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veganniversary

It has been a year since I had not consumed meat, dairy or eggs for environmental, health and ethical reasons. You can read all about veganism all over the internet. I shall list some good sources below. But today, as my “veganniversary” (not really a big deal), I thought it would be fun to do this Q&A thing.

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When did you become vegan?

A year ago. I think it was the 1st of October 2015, the day (or day after) I arrived in the UK.

Why did you become vegan?

I found out how animal agriculture (livestock and byproducts) contributes significantly to global warming. It is also one of the causes of numerous environmental issues like deforestation. I learnt how consumerism also plays a role and that the issue goes much deeper. I discovered that a plant-based diet may help reduce the chances of chronic diseases. Like they say, prevention is better than cure. After knowing about the existence of factory farms and understanding how far we have manipulated animals, I felt compelled to stand up against animal cruelty. I believe that compassion is key to achieve peace and so far this vegan diet upholds such value in every way. 

What was the hardest part about becoming vegan?

Receiving people’s various comments and opinions on minute details when all I am doing is striving to live compassionately and mindfully. Sure veganism is not perfect. Yes, you can’t get B12 on a plant-based diet unless it’s fortified or you take supplements (or perhaps there is a plant containing B12 that I don’t know about or I can just eat soil). But you can get enough and complete proteins from plants like soy, beans, legumes, chia seeds and even leafy vegetables and grains. You just need to be smart and have a good combination of them!

Is it difficult to be vegan?

Not for me. Not if you open your eyes to the horrors of human activities. It is difficult if you keep thinking on your perspective rather than the perspective of others (animals and the environment).

Do you let certain things “slide” from time to time? (for example, use/purchase non-vegan items. etc.)

In terms of animal products other than food, I no longer buy leather and the like. But I still do own such materials that were bought years ago. At restaurants that aren’t so vegan-friendly, I try my best to ask for a modified meal. I might have unknowingly slipped, but I wouldn’t let it be on purpose. Like that time when I accidentally bought a bolognese sauce instead of just tomato sauce for pasta…

Do you support vegetarianism and or “something’s better than nothing’s”?

Yes. Nobody’s perfect but if they are genuinely striving then it’s better than nothing.

What is your favourite speciality vegan item? (name as many as you’d like!)

Currently, all I can think of is sambal tempeh and bindi curry! 😀

What is your opinion of the meat and dairy alternatives?

I’m alright with them. Personally, I don’t eat meat alternatives regularly and I wouldn’t want to mainly because they are processed food. But it’s okay once in a while. Dairy alternatives like soy milk and almond milk are fine. It’s definitely better if I can make them from scratch.

Do you feel judged by other vegans sometimes? How do you deal with it?

I don’t think so. They have all been very supportive.

Do you enjoy being vegan?

Absolutely. Even though I stumble along the way and might have doubts here and there but so far the pros outweigh the cons so I believe that this has been great for me physically, mentally and spiritually. Plus, I get to learn new things and meet new people. And that is always great!


Useful resources:

  1. What is veganism?
  2. The Most Important Speech You Will Ever Hear
  3. Environmental issues from Cowspiracy
  4. Earthlings documentary
  5. We’ve Become Disconnected

FIVE PLANTS TO WATER

If I had learnt anything about entropy it is that any system will eventually go into disorder. It is inevitable. If I do nothing, my state of mind will break down and my health will deteriorate. Even without learning about entropy I would have figured that out by now through the mistakes I’ve made, most of them repeatedly. Therefore, I do have to do something to at least slow down such disorder, especially now that I am not tied to any institution. 

And so I faced yet another round of doubts, what ifs and instability. This was necessary, and I welcomed them with open arms. Instead of panicking, I sought my comfort zone, which was continuing and focusing on my daily habits — meditating, dancing, reading, eating — as if the insecurities were not troubling me. 

That helped calm me and bring me back to the centre. But all the while, the thought of creating my own structure kept lingering at the back of my mind. I acknowledged it and I kept asking myself how exactly do I want the bricks to be laid. I fervently asked God to show me the way. 

Inspiration came eventually in a form of an interview session with Pedram Shojai during this week-long ‘Soul of Healing Summit’. He talked about how the term multitasking is misconstrued and that the most effective way of getting many things done is to actually do things one at a time.

He then advised listeners to focus on only five major things that they need to improve on. He gave an analogy of having five types of plants to care for. I suppose this limit is set that way because realistically we can only care for a limited number of things at a time. And if we try to do many things at once, it may be that we won’t be able to care for them as efficiently, and so the weeds would eventually dominate.

With a bit of thinking and honesty, I’ve identified the five plants I need to nurture:

  1. HEALTH & FITNESS
    • eating well and avoiding as much processed food as possible.
    • increasing strength, flexibility and mobility by practising the arts of Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Dance and possibly the very basics of Parkour.
  2. SUSTAINABLE LIVING
    • reducing my waste to landfills by practising the 5R’s.
    • learn to DIY household products.
    • towards living a more meaningful life.
  3. PLANT KNOWLEDGE
    • this means planting a wide range of knowledge in my mind and,
    • learning more about plants for healing (herbs) and gardening (growing my own food).
    • this goes well with the concept of sustainability and personal growth.
  4. SELF-EXPRESSION & CREATIVITY
    • continue writing, if not more frequently, on this blog or anywhere else.
    • speak more often — the purpose of my posting videos on YouTube.
    • basically just about whatever way I can do to get my creative juices continuously flowing.
  5. CONNECTION
    • with people who will help me grow.
    • with Nature.
    • with God and my spirit — always.

These are my pillars and I hope to build great things around and on top of them. Wherever the course of life takes me, I will keep in mind to carry along these five plants. If what I’m doing takes my attention away from them, I would have to rectify the situation and get back to them no matter what. I shall hold myself accountable. If I allow the weeds to grow rampant, I would only have myself to feel sorry for. 

It’s going to be tough, yes. But I believe that if I keep firm and do what I need to do, these plants will blossom beautifully and I will become a better version of myself than I am now. I will only add more plants to my collection when I know that the care of at least one of them has become a habit rather than something I need to consciously work on. 

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FLEXIBILITY

I was performing a routine with four other girls (if I remember it correctly) in front of the whole school. We were the only gymnasts in the public primary school who had just recently participated in a regional competition. We did not win any prize because if we did my memory of it would have been a much more pleasant one. But it was not a bad experience either because I remember our teacher who accompanied us to the competition venue brought us to have ice cream after that.

Anyway.

There were two particular parts of the routine that I was always wishing would go smoothly. The first was to let the ball slide from the top of the head, along my back and catching it before it falls to the ground. In the gymnastics world, that is a simple routine. And yet the act of catching the ball was attributed to luck. But I suppose as we have practiced a lot, the routine went smoothly during that performance.

The second one was not so complicated. It was just doing splits from a standing position. During practice, I remember struggling to do the splits perfectly i.e. at a 180º angle. But that moment shocked me because I did it quite perfectly. It surprised me so much that I still remember the feeling  to this day. And of course, I felt happy and accomplished.

About a couple or so years later, I stopped doing gymnastics. I got really ill to the point that I was unable to do anything during practice sessions but lie on the floor helpless and squirming in pain. I think I quit mainly just to save myself from further embarrassment. And I think that my feeling embarrassed outweighed the regret of quitting such an enjoyable sport. But the regret caught up eventually and soon I begun wishing that I had not stopped practicing.

After dealing with and recovering from the seemingly perpetual illness, I have gained my strength back and the world seems to be full of endless possibilities. I googled whether other people have successfully become flexible in their 20’s when they have not before. I watched lots of ballet and gymnastics videos on YouTube. My admiration towards those sports increased and my wish to become flexible again became apparent.

So will my flexibility or range of motion improve? I shall have to find out and I will let you know if it does. I have been doing stretches every day based on the guidance from this fitness website. They encourage the understanding of your own body. The techniques that they provide are based on your own goals and the exercises are easy to do, focusing on gentle intensity and progression.

Basically, I have been stretching my hamstring by doing Downward Dog, and loosening my hips and spine with a Modified Pigeon stretch, Lunges and other variations. So far I think it is working for me. I am happy to say that I am able to do the bridge again!

Hopefully my body will acquire the broad range of movement that it is designed for. I don’t know when, but I estimate about at least in two years’ time if I keep this up every day alongside cardio. Once I have achieved a high level of flexibility — the ability to do the splits, proper squat, top-notch backbend, handstand and cartwheels — I would be able to express my physical self better, as well as pick up some martial arts skills perhaps.