SARDINE RICE BALLS | AYAM BRAND

In the seafood universe, sardines are surely not one of those popular ones to yearn for. If the idea of eating whole sardines make you gag and put down your fork immediately, try to think of ways to hide it. But where? In rice balls! No scary bones and skin are in sight, and people naturally pick up their chopsticks asking for more. Simply dress them up with a dollop of vegan mayonnaise and sprinkle bonito flakes for a classy, homely presentation with minimal effort.

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Ayam Brand’s Brisling Sardines in sunflower oil are soft tiny fishes caught in the icy waters of North Atlantic Ocean during prime winter catching season. Living in the extreme cold condition makes freshly caught sustainable sardines fattier, juicier and richer in Omega-3s. Out of all types of sardines under their range, I personally preferred this selection of sardines from Scottish Seas, they taste less fishy which is a perfect to create a delectable dish once synergised with other core ingredients. Check out my taste test on other selections right here on IGTV!

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This Sardine Rice Balls recipe I am sharing with you today is inspired by the Japanese “Mottainai" lifestyle, it can be translated as “Don’t Waste” and expressed when resources like food is being wasted. Instead of forcing yourself to finish a can of sardines to hit your recommended daily intake of omega-3s, empty the entire can of contents and mixed all the other Japanese elements together. Sardines will never be wasted anymore. Also, these flavourful rice balls are shaped precisely at the right size to pop them into your mouth.

Looking for something dead-simple to host a party, pack in a lunchbox for your dear ones, or to snack as your work? This is a game changer to how you look at sardines. Unbelievable.

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SARDINES RICE BALLS

Serves 16 balls

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Difficulty: 2/5

Diet Notes: Dairy-Free

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can Brisling Sardine in Sunflower Oil (Ayam Brand)

  • 240g natural mixed 18 grains (Green Farm)

  • 750 ml filtered water

  • 1 cup Japanese cucumber, diced

  • 1/2 cup Japanese pickled daikon (Jinan)

  • 2 Nori sheets (Kirei Temaki), cut into thin strips

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

  • 4 tbsp sesame oil

  • Pinch of cracked black pepper

Toppings

  • 5g shaved bonito flakes

  • Vegan Mayonnaise

    • 100g baked cashew nuts (soaked for at least 2 hours, or overnight)

    • 60ml avocado oil (Grove)

    • 50ml filtered water

    • 1tbsp lemon juice

    • 1tbsp organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg)

    • 1/2 garlic clove, grated

    • Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Kitchen accessories

  • Disposable kitchen gloves

  • Blender

DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak mixed grains in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse and gently scrub mix grains twice till water turns less murky. Pour 750ml water to the mix grains in a sauce pot, and cook for 30 minutes over medium high heat. Stir rice grains occasionally to prevent them from sticking to the base of the pot. Alternatively, you can use a rice cooker and follow its cooking settings.

  2. Use a pair of chopsticks to fluff cooked mixed grains and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

  3. To prepare vegan mayonnaise, drain water from soaking baked cashews. Add all ingredients into the blender. Start blending at medium speed to break up the ingredients. Switch to high speed for last 10 seconds to achieve a smooth, thick consistency. Add 1 tbsp of water each time and blend again for a desired thin consistency.

  4. In a large mixing bowl/salad bowl, empty the contents of Ayam Brand Brisling Sardine in Sunflower oil. Use the back of a fork to mince sardines.

  5. Scoop mixed grains into mixing bowl, and add in all ingredients. Wear a disposable glove on your dominant hand, while the other hand supports the mixing bowl. Scoop up sardines from the bottom and mix with the other ingredients until it is evenly combined.

  6. Use a tablespoon and take about 2 heaping scoops of rice mixture, roll into a rice ball and set on a serving platter. Repeat till entire rice mixture is used up. Take 1/2 teaspoon of vegan mayonnaise and gently drop on each rice ball, sprinkle with bonito flakes. Alternatively, you can sprinkle bonito flakes over rice balls, and serve mayonnaise aside as a dipping sauce for the rice balls.

NOTES

For any remaining vegan mayonnaise, store them in an air-tight glass jar, and refrigerate for later consumption. As it does not have a long shelf life, it is advisable to store up to 3 days. You can also enjoy this as a hummus dip for tortilla corn chips or pretzels.

MORE TO KNOW

Benefits of sardines:

  • A budget friendly protein source that is highly nutritious, packed with Omega-3s. 1 can of sardines equates to over half of the recommended intake of omega-3.

  • Sardines provide EPA and DHA fats which are brilliant for brain, heart function, and anti-inflammatory.

  • Soft edible sardine bones is a great dose of calcium in a highly absorbable form. It helps to strengthen our bones and lowers the risk of osteoporosis.

  • Sardines are considered one of the safest fishes with low mercury level, and sustainably farmed.

  • Helps to maintain healthy and radiant skin at the cellular level in skins cells.

Lots of love,

Ally

FAST COOK | OVEN BAKED HALIBUT FILLET

Yippee, I’ve got my "Off duty Tuesdays” again, that's seven weeks in a row already, heh! In case you’re wondering why I am always on leave, the truth is, I was excused from work to attend a photography workshop for the past six weeks. 

Within this time frame, Tom (my instructor) has given concise explanations from the technicality in operating my camera to the thought process of curating a photograph. My DSLR has became less of a stranger to me now:)

Throughout the entire workshop, I’ve earned friendships, different areas of knowledge and generous amount of encouragement from Tom and my classmates. With this pocketful of pleasant encounters, I felt a little boost in confidence and assurance in chasing my passion. Oh, and I am starting to love the idea of signing up for more workshops! Yet, there are so little time to spare from work...

Unlike my usual Tuesdays, I stayed home to nurse and cook for my ah poh (grandma) this week. She is living to a ripe age, and I can’t believe she is turning 99 this year! What’s her secret? 

Her high intake of fish in her diet.

So given the amount of time that I need to work from home and prepare lunch for both of us, this bright, bold and light oven baked halibut only took me 40 minutes (including preparation). Simply choose any white fillet of your choice. I suggest you can stroll along the supermarket and get any fillet on promotion!

Enjoy halibut fillet at its best when it's oven baked, grilled, but not fried. As it is rich in omega-3 acids, this oily fish is a perfect source of protein, it's not high in saturated fat, and a healthy addition to your carb free diet. That gives me a reason to gobble half a fillet down feeling full and satisfied^-^

Cooking fish for 10 minutes per inch of thickeness is an old rule of thumb that works perfectly on oven baked fish. The timing is just enough to cook the white flesh to opaque without reaching a point where it flakes. Having said that, the fillet is moist and gives a delicate flavour.  As the fillet has its own sweetness (even for the frozen ones), season lightly with your favourite sauce or herb to enhance its flavour. Now that we have a rich source of protein, don't forget to add some veggies to fill up your vitamin intake.

This oven baked Halibut recipe is a quick, and presentable dish for a group of people during parties and gatherings! Serve this straight-out from the oven, sit tight and prepare to feast on. 

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 350g Halibut fillet
  • 4 stalks asparagus
  • 500g baby radish
  • 250g Japanese sweet pumpkin
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil 

Kitchen Equipment

  • Vegetable Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Small pot
  • Baking Tray

Preparation

  • Remove vacuum packaged fillet from the packaging before thawing in cold water. It is important to remove the packaging when thawing the fillet as oxygen is present and the spores will not produce that can contaminate food. Seal it in a plastic bag, put on a plate and immerse it in cold water for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile,wash and slice up asparagus, pumpkin and baby radish.
  • Use the side of the vegetable knife and slam on the garlic. This helps to remove garlic skin easily.

Cooking

  • Drain cold water and remove the fillet from the plastic bag. When fillet is defrosted, add in garlic, oyster sauce, pepper, sesame oil on the fillet. Marinade it for 5 mins.
  • Fill up half a pot of boiling water, pour in asparagus and radish. Add one tablespoon of olive oil into the pot. This will enhance the vibrance of the vegetables. Let it boil for 5 mins then scoop them up. 
  • Transfer fillet and place it at the center of the baking tray.
  • Arrange the boiled vegetables and the sliced pumpkin around the fillet.
  • Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil on the vegetables. Put it in the oven for 10 mins till the fillet turns opaque, and tender when pierced with a toothpick.

Enjoy!Xx

 

GETTING STARTED | ROSEMARY PRAWNS

A little bit more about myself! I’m an educational media producer in a Singaporean university. My usual work routine involves storyboarding, shooting, and editing videos. The objective is to enhance students’ learning and understanding of any given subject matter through my educational videos. That, I find it meaningful and rewarding. Recently, I shot the production and operation flow of several catering organisations and restaurants as part of a module on food and beverage management. I loved capturing the details, movement, textures, colours of the food. It is honestly different if I see things with an naked eye and behind the lens. The mood and experience changes every single time.

I’m quite emotional when it comes to what I consume: a bad coffee in the morning can ruin my mood, and waiting too long for lunch to be served only to find it falling below my expectations keeps me pouting for several hours. Sounds like I'm always grumpy or picky eater? Haha but I'm not. Good food is important to me. I love the berry family! Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries.

They are giants of antioxidants (aka nutrients), and incorporating them in our diet will contribute to radiant skin, shiny hair, and protect us from high cholesterol and blood pressure etc 

Back to the blog, the first dish I’m kick-starting with is Rosemary Prawns with Turmeric Rice!

This is Ryan's and my favorite dish whenever we dine at DB Bistro & Oyster Bar (their prawns were the inspiration for this dish!) Achieving the aroma and flavors of the prawns soaked in rosemary and lemon butter sauce. Yum! Being economical, I thought we could try it out for ourselves, to save burning a huge hole in our wallets. This is what we concluded was the best combination. 

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 8 cherry tomatoes, into halves
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Lemon juice (¼ lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy chilli crisp (Lao Gan Ma brand)
  • ¼  cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup of water
  • 150g of butter
  • 10 tiger prawns
  • Fresh rosemary and thyme
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ loaf of focaccia bread in cubes (optional)

Kitchen equipment

  • Chopping board
  • Medium skillet
  • Rice cooker
  • Scissors
  • Knife

Preparation

  • Wash rice, rinse it twice and fill it up with 2 cups of water. Put into rice cooker. 
  • Pour in turmeric powder and coconut oil, give a good stir before putting it over medium heat.
  • Peel the garlic clove, gently slam it with the flat side of the knife
  • Using the scissors, trim off antennal and rostrum (to avoid fingers getting pricked) of the prawns.
  • To devein the prawns, use scissors to cut along the abdomen.

Cooking

  • Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a medium skillet over medium heat, place the prawns and flip them over after 1-2 minutes, or until they turn red.
  • Add chilli crisps and give it a quick stir-fry. Scoop them up and set aside.
  • Melt remaining butter on the skillet, add Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Fry till garlic turns golden brown, then add tomatoes, water and lemon juice.
  • When tomatoes are slightly soften, add 4-5 sprigs of rosemary and thyme each, let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat.
  • Pour in prawns and fry them thoroughly till they are finely coated.
  • Serve with turmeric rice, and dip focaccia bread cubes into sauce. 

Tip: Both rosemary and thyme tend to have strong dominating aromas. Try cutting down to 2-3 stalks if you prefer milder fragrance.

Enjoy!Xx