Bangkok-born food blogger shares her recipes for a healthy, hearty, heavenly meal at a recent Grand Hyatt Erawan event.
by Percy Roxas.
She loves food but fear excess flab. She admits to being overweight in her teens, but today, thanks to the blog she started in Dubai, where she lives with her husband, Bangkok-born Serina S. Bajaj has been creating waves for healthy, hearty, and heavenly vegetarian food recipes. Serina was in Bangkok recently as a special guest chef for the Grand Hyatt Erawan’s “Vegetarian Festival” promotion. She proved that wholesome food can be delicious, and that flavors and a feast full of fat need not go hand in hand.
Serina is not a vegetarian—although has never been a big meat-eater—but her husband is, so she became “herbivorous by default.” It was, as she puts it, “while on a quest to keep my husband’s belly full, mine flat—and both our taste buds happy” that her blog, A Skinny Dish, was born.
“My husband and I enjoy sharing food, so I look for new meat-free recipes constantly—and trust me, it’s not all about tofu and lentils,” Serina says. “You can still eat mouthwatering food and know that that it’s not going to give you bulge from your bikini. All you have to do is look for new recipes regularly, stay open-minded, be experimental, get your pantry organized, and start cooking.”
Here are some original recipes from Serina that you might want to try at home:
For the Portobello mushrooms + marinade:
- 3 portobello mushrooms (rinsed, stems removed)
- 3 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- generous sprinkle of dried parsley
- sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
For the marinara sauce
- 3 tomatoes (diced with skin and seeds)
- 1/4 onion (diced finely)
- 1 tbsp light olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- sea salt (according to taste)
- handful basil (roughly chopped)
- chili flakes (according to taste)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp coconut palm sugar
- fresh parsley (roughly chopped)
- shaved Parmesan cheese (omit if vegan/dairy free/low-fat)
- Marinate mushrooms for one hour with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Meanwhile, start making the marinara sauce by sautéing garlic and onion in a frying pan over medium/high heat until they’re very well browned. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Leave to simmer for about 8–10 minutes (or until tomatoes are cooked), stirring occasionally. Texture should become mushy.
- When done, reduce heat to low/medium. Add sea salt, chili flakes, coconut sugar, garlic powder, basil, and tomato paste. Stir for 1–2 minutes till basil is cooked. Set aside.
- Turn the oven heat to 180° Celsius. Squeeze excess marinade liquid from the mushroom caps gently with your fingers and place them, gills facing up, on a foil-lined baking tray brushed with some olive oil.
- Spoon the marinara sauce into the hollow space of each mushroom, dividing the sauce equally among the 3 caps.
- Sprinkle fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese (if using) on top of the sauce and bake the mushrooms for approximately 20–35 minutes (see note below). Serve immediately.
Notes: Baking time varies according to the size and thickness of the Portobello mushroom caps, so make sure to keep a watchful eye. The thicker and larger they are, the longer they’ll take. Remember to go organic as much as you can!
- 3/4 edamame kernels (see notes)
- 2 small radishes (sliced thinly in semicircles)
- 3 tbsp sweet corn kernels
- 3 tbsp pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cups nori sheets (lightly toasted in sesame oil and sea salt)
- 1 tsp white miso
- 1 tsp honey (maple syrup if vegan)
- 1/2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- a good squeeze of lemon
- 1 tsp tamari (gluten-free)
- Whisk all the ingredients for the lemon-miso dressing in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Place all the ingredients for the salad in a medium/large mixing bowl and pour the dressing over.
- Stir gently with a spoon so that all the salad ingredients are well coated.
- Transfer to serving bowl and serve immediately.
Notes: If you can’t find fresh edamame, frozen ones are often available in large supermarkets’ freezer sections. Remember to go organic as much as you can!
(Serves 4 to 6)
- 2 large ripe bananas (sliced)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder/ground vanilla
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp cacao chunks (roughly chopped to small pieces; see notes)
- 1/2 cups of rolled oats (gluten-free)
- 2 1/2 tbsp almond meal
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (virgin, cold pressed)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- a pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 175 ° Celsius.
- Place sliced bananas, vanilla powder, maple syrup and cacao chunks in a medium mixing bowl. Toss or use a spoon to combine the ingredients well but gently. Transfer to a round ovenproof baking dish.
- Combine all the ingredients for the crumble crust in a separate mixing bowl. Spoon the crumble mixture evenly over the banana-cacao filling, using a spoon to flatten out the surface.
- Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the crumble is firm and golden brown. You may need to up your oven temperature to 185 ° Celsius for the last 5–10 minutes.
- Serve immediately on its own or drizzled with custard or low fat yoghurt!
Notes: If you can’t find cacao chunks (or something similar), replace with good quality organic dairy-free dark chocolate chips/chunks. You can store the banana & cacao crumble leftover in the fridge for approximately three days and reheat before eating each time. Remember to go organic as much as you can!
For more of Serina’s healthy, hearty and heavenly dishes, visit www.askinnydish.com