Shalu, although formally a lawyer, can now surprise you by what she can create with organic ingredients in her kitchen. While she conducts classes to teach others how to live a healthier lifestyle, she also isn’t afraid to step into events such as Earth Fest to promote a healthy, sustainable source of food by busting the myth of bland tasting vegan foods.
The Quinoa Porridge for example, is a rich, nutritious dish designed to give you the needed boost in the morning. Quinoa is an amazing to substitute other high carb content ingredient such as white rice, oats, and bread.
If you are looking for protein to give you that extra boost in your workout, look no further! The quinoa holds twice the protein content of rice or barley, and has a good source of macronutrients like calcium, magnesium and manganese.
Quinoa Porridge Recipe:
¼ cup quinoa
½ cup water
¼ cup almond milk
1 Tbsp coconut milk plus extra for drizzling on top
¼ tsp brown sugar
Small piece of cinnamon stick
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp dried sultanas
1 Tbsp fresh grated coconut, lightly toasted
1 Tbsp sliced nuts, lightly toasted
1 Tbsp honey
¼ cup seasonal fruit, diced (mango/banana/papaya etc)
- To make quinoa, first rinse under running water in a sieve.
- Transfer to a small saucepan, add ½ cup water and simmer on low heat, covered, until quinoa is soft and fluffy, about 7-10 minutes. Turn off heat and leave to stand with the lid on for 5 minutes.
(you can make the quinoa beforehand or even 1 day earlier)
- Remove lid and add low-fat milk, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon stick and vanilla.
- Simmer on low heat for approximately 5 minutes until some liquid has dried up and quinoa is soft.
- Add dried sultanas, half of the toasted coconut and sliced nuts and mix.
- Add some water if necessary to get desired consistency.
- Turn off heat and transfer quinoa to a bowl.
- Drizzle coconut milk and honey on top.
- Top with fresh fruit and garnish with remaining grated coconut and nuts.
- Serve warm.
After the shoot with Shalu, we sat down and had a short Q&A session to document her journey as a vegan chef in Singapore.
Q. You were previously a lawyer now-turned Chef. Were you passionate about law? What sparked the change in your career?
A: I am passionate about everything I do! During the time I was in practice, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Just felt it was time for a change. I moved to Beijing and it was hard to get work as a lawyer without the language skills. I decided to rediscover my other passion for cooking and eventually turned it into a career.
Q. Were your family and friends supportive of your decision?
A: Absolutely! In fact they were the ones who encouraged me after tasting my food.
Q. What are some of the challenges you faced while starting up The Little Green Kitchen? How did you overcome them?
A: In the beginning it was hard to establish myself as a vegetarian chef as veg food was perceived as boring or bland and even lacking in nutrition. It’s much more popular now as people are more health conscious and aware of the benefits of plant-based eating, and vegetarian food is even quite trendy!
Q: Were there any financial concerns about being a vegan chef in Singapore? Why did you choose to start up your own business than to join an organization?
A: I have always kept overheads low by being a home-based business. I want to start my own thing so I could do things exactly the way I wanted as I was very clear on what I wanted to offer and how to implement it.
Q. During those challenges, what motivated you to push yourself even further for the love of cooking?
A: I knew I had to give it time. As with any new business, it’s like growing bamboo…you have to nurture the roots for a long time and all of a sudden you are rewarded with a huge, lifelong plant!
Q: Are there challenges trying to come up with recipes that seem to have a lot of constraints?
A: Not at all. I have been vegetarian most of my life and am very familiar with this way of eating. I believe in conscious eating and am constantly striving to create healthy, flavourful vegetarian dishes that are very nutritionally-balanced.
Q: What was the most memorable experience with one of your readers/students who come by for cooking classes?
A: There are too many to list! I have had famous people who I cannot name, people from all corners of the world and all walks of life. Perhaps the one I remember most is a 45 year-old man who had been diagnosed with health problems from many years of bad eating and came to me for private lessons because ‘he wanted to live longer for his kids and inspire them by demonstrating it was never too late to make a change’.
Q: How do you think Chiobu Collective comes in to help artists continue to hone their craft?
A: Chiobu Collective is a platform that provides opportunities to showcase all forms of talent in a fun, energetic and accessible way so that it appeals to a diverse group of people.