Q for quinoa for #AtoZChallenge: warm nutty quinoa recipe with avocado and tomato

Quinoa is high in protein and lacks gluten, which makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians, vegans and people with gluten intolerance.

warm nutty quinoa recipe with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart

The quinoa that we eat are actually quinoa seeds. They appear in red, black or commonly yellowish white (ivory). They are also high in magnesium, iron, phosphorus & dietary fiber. Every 100 g of cooked quinoa contains relatively high amount of (0.24 g) of amino acid lysine (Lys / K), with positively charged (basic) side chain in its biochemical structure. Lys is essential for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa is also a source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B9 (folate). Riboflavin may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks through improving the cellular metabolism. Folate is essential for formation and development of new and normal body tissue.

Quinoa – affectionately referred to as the gold of Incas – originates from the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, in Latin America. The Incas referred to quinoa as mother of all grains.

In 2013 International Year of Quinoa, The United Nations General Assembly paid special recognition to Andean people of Peru who have prepared “a future sown thousands of years ago” through knowledge and practices of living in sync with mother nature. Harmonious living is one of our values, and I am happy to support such an ancient superfood. Yes, quinoa is listed as one of the superfoods for brains in the book 365 ways to boost your brain power by Carolyn Dean, Valentine Dmitriev, and Donna Raskin. It appears that quinoa is potentially good for our children to learn better, our parents and grandparents to minimize risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases, and ourselves to do better work.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 19 Sat, I lovingly present a recipe of warm nutty quinoa meal with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart. While you prepare this meal or enjoy it, listen to El Condor Pasa (If I could).
Our favorite versions include the one by Simon & Garfunkel.

Servings: 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

♥ 1 cup quinoa
♥ 2 cups water
♥ 1/4 tsp salt
♥ 1 avocado
♥ 2 ripe tomatoes
♥ 2 tbsp nuts (almond / pistachio / cashew / walnut)
♥ 2 tbsp fresh herbs of basil / parsley
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
♥ 1 tsp honey
♥ 1/2 tsp pepper
♥ 1 clove garlic, minced

1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly to remove any toxic saponin.
2. Boil quinoa in salted water over medium heat for  5 minutes. Lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, mince garlic, cut avocado and tomatoes into bite chunks. Quickly coat avocado chunks with balsamic vinegar to prevent them from turning dark.
4. After quinoa is cooked, fluff it.
5. Mix warm quinoa with sesame oil, honey, pepper, garlic.
6. Toss the mixture with avocado and tomatoes.
7. Garnish with nuts & herbs.

♥ For better flavor, (1) if you have extra time, before boiling, lightly toast quinoa and nuts separately, until fragrant and (2) boil quinoa in broth instead of water.
♥ Toast over medium or low heat and stir constantly.
♥ Besides using balsamic vinegar, you can also coat avocado chunks with lemon juice.
♥ To fluff quinoa, I prefer using chopsticks – delicate extensions of human fingers. Fork is okay to fluff them too.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Heidi Swanson’s warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa- for breakfast- at 101 Cookbooks
♥ Susan Voisin’s quinoa vegetable paella at FatFree Vegan Kitchen
♥ Lydia Walshin’s  quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta and parsley at Perfect Pantry
♥ Tara Austen Weaver’s China Forbes quinoa  at Tea and Cookies

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.
With love,

P for potato for #AtoZChallenge: potato salad with yogurt dressing recipe by ServicefromHeart

Potato is starchy tuberous food that we often enjoy, from french fries to potato soup. Being versatile, potatoes have been used in a wide variety of recipes worldwide. After maize, wheat and rice, potato comes forth as the world’s largest food crop.

P for potato for #AtoZChallenge: potato salad with yogurt dressing recipe by ServicefromHeart

The starch of potato is a source of carbohydrate, that fuels our body. For variations in rice-dominating Asian diets, consider serving potatoes as a meal. 

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 18 Fri, I lovingly present a recipe of potato salad with yogurt dressing by ServicefromHeart. Classic potato salad uses mayonnaise and herein we substitute the
mayonnaise with nutritious yogurt, especially good for growing

Serving: 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

♥ 500 g potatoes (土豆 / kentang)
♥ 1 egg (鸡蛋 / telor)
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (香醋 / cuka balsamic)
♥ 5 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt (酸奶)
♥ fresh chives (韭菜 / kucai), chopped
♥ 1 scallions (葱 / daun bawang), cut into thin rings

1. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Cook in boiling, salted water for 25-30 minutes or until tender when pierced.
2. Hard boil egg.
3. Meanwhile, wash and cut scallions and chives.
4. Mix vinegar, yogurt, pepper for dressing.
5. Drain cooked potatoes, leave to steam dry.
6. Peel dried cooked potatoes and egg. Cut into bite-size chunks.
7. Gently toss potatoes with dressing.
8. Garnish with scallions and chives.

♥ For variations, substitute scallion with parsley.
♥ Store potatoes in dry and dark place. Do not use the potatoes if sprouts have grown because the sprouts contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids.

If this recipe takes too long to prepare, how is about our other #5minutemeal recipes?

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Danielle Tsi’s scallop and potato salad at Beyond The Plate
♥ Luisa Weiss’s Ottolenghi’s potato salad with yogurt and horseradish at The Wednesday Chef based in Berlin; How is about substituting horseradish with wasabi?
♥  potato battercake of of Xiaomei Pig (小媚猪) at Weekjoy (in Chinese)

With love,

O for orange for #AtoZChallenge: orange olive recipe

Mandarin oranges (aka mandarines) are sweet, juicy and rich in Vitamin C. Often, during the period of Lunar New Year, we have given and received (exchanged sounds more appropriate here) pairs of Mandarin Oranges or tangerines. They are symbols of abundance and good fortune.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We love simply eating the Mandarin oranges by peeling its relatively easy-to-peel skin or squeezing them into thirst-quenching 100% orange juice. Besides these options, how to make the bright enthusiastically orange-colored Mandarin oranges more appealing to our taste buds?

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Black olives are pickled at full maturity. Since fresh olives are naturally very bitter and unpalatable to many people, olives are fermented with lye, brine or packed in salt to remove oleuropein.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

My first encounter with black olives was at Pizza Hut in Jakarta. In my childhood, pizza was considered as a treat in my family because it is relatively expensive. Our Daddy and Sister* who are meat lovers, loved our pizza to be topped with more meats, while I appreciated the extra flavors that sliced olives and pineapples added to our pizza.

* She shared some interesting recipes at her Youtube Channel: LukSunshine. When I miss her, I would enjoy watching her videos.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 17 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of orange olive, that can be served as a snack or a side dish, gently fusing the East and Mediterranean flavors.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Let our family member(s) or friend(s), who normally skip fruits, especially sour oranges, enjoy the nutritious and anti-oxidant-rich oranges.

Serving: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

♥ 2 oranges / Mandarin oranges, diced
♥ 4 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
♥ 2 stalks celery, sliced and diced
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 3 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt
♥ 1/4 tbsp pepper
♥ 2 tbsp nuts, finely chopped

1. Blanch celery in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Refresh in cold water. Drain.
2. Mix oil, yogurt, pepper in a bowl.
3. Peel,pith and dice Mandarin oranges.
4. Toss oranges and celery in yogurt mixture bowl.
5. Garnish with olives and nuts.
orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We can use a type or a variety of nuts for this recipe, and I recommend pistachio for the sweet memory of pistachio gelato in Italy!

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

N for noodle for #AtoZChallenge: quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast

Since Dear has to go to work in early mornings, our favorite noodles are those that are quick-to-cook, but not instant noodles – which were originally invented by Momofuku Ando (吴百福) of Nissin Foods in Japan.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 16 Wed, I lovingly introduce 3 favorite quick-to-cook noodles:
♥ misua
♥ kway teow  
♥ udon


Misua, also known as mee sua / 面线, is a variety of dried salted Chinese noodles that cooks in less than 2 minutes in boiling water.

A symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, misua – a thin wheat flour noodle, is a humble breakfast for a birthday celebration.

How is about a whole wheat misua for a quick yet filling breakfast?

quick-to-cook noodles misua for breakfast by ServicefromHeart


Kway teow /  粿条 is a flat rice noodle that is commonly used for stir-frying, affectionately known as char kway teow / stir-fried kway teow in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

We also love to cook a soup using chilled kway teow for breakfast, it is ready in less than 2 minutes!

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart


Udon / うどん / 烏冬 is thick wheat flour noodle in Japanese cuisine, that is often served in kakejiru broth with tempura. 

I also love stir-fried udon in soy-based sauce, known as yaki-udon.

How is about a plate of no-fry udon with vegetable soup? Enjoy its recipe & the udon!

I buy chilled udon without any pre-packed seasoning, as a homemade seasoning of sesame oil, honey, vinegar, finely chopped fresh cilantro can be easily made.

Add some quick-to-cook vegetables such as celery or bok choy.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart udon

Soup / juice / extract from steaming fish can be used as a seasoning for udon or some other types of noodles. Keep the soup in fridge for the next day / morning use. Without the need to warm the cold soup, add in hot boiled noodles and stir immediately.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart udon

The water used to boil noodles can be used for hard-boiled egg to save gas / electricity for us.

1. Once noodles are cooked, immediately drain the boiling water into a bowl containing a fresh egg. The temperature of the boiling water matters, it has to be high.
2. Cover the bowl to let the egg sits for at least 10 minutes*.
3. Serve the half-boiled egg with a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.

* I prefer my egg to be more cooked but not fully cooked.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ misua meat ball, known as almondigas / bola-bola in Philippines; bola means ball in Bahasa Indonesia. How is about trying a MSG-free version of misua meat ball @ Mga Luto Ni Lola (My Grandma’s Recipes) by GJ Coleco?
Singapore-style half-boiled egg by Jason Ng @ Feast To The World

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

M for matcha for #AtoZChallenge: matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

At a beautiful winter night in Seoul – a cosmopolitan capital of South Korea, the funny guy had a cup of coffee latte and I had a cup of green tea latte.

Allowing hot drinks warming both our palms and throats, while watching and admiring people – beautiful fashionable ladies, couples deeply in love, and young-at-heart elderlies – are indeed one of life’s simple pleasures.

Matcha, also known as 抹茶 / maccha / green tea in fine powder, has a history dated from the Tang Dynasty in China between 618-907, when people steamed tea leaves to form tea bricks for storage and trade.

Today, matcha has been used in numerous delicacies, including matcha bread, matcha tiramisu, matcha cupcakes, matcha chocolates, matcha ice cream, …, and the list goes on!

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 15 Tue, I lovingly present a recipe of matcha latte / 抹茶ラテ by ServicefromHeart.

This recipe is very easy and simple to prepare. Preparing this drink may be faster than stopping and queuing at Starbucks for its green tea latte in the morning rush hours.
green tea matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

The creamy, sweet and bitter combination of green tea latte is a favorite choice to kick start a day or to take a tea break.

green tea matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

Drinking tea without milk gives me the feeling of peace and
tranquility*; drinking tea with milk spreads me and others the warmth of our mother earth.

Have also some snacks. Alternatively, serve the latte with a choice of simple easy-to-prepare #5minutemeal recipes.

* Green tea contains theanine that possibly help to relax our minds & improve cognition.

green tea matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

Serving: 1

Preparation time: < 5 minutes

Ingredients for green tea latte that I love:

♥ 1 tsp green tea powder (绿茶粉)

♥ 1 tsp honey (蜜糖)

♥ 1/2 mug hot water (热水)

♥ 1/2 mug fresh milk (鲜奶)


1.Add green tea powder to hot water & stir thoroughly yet gently.

2. Add milk and honey. Stir. Enjoy ♥ !

When I run out of green tea powder, I use gren tea bag. Using matcha still gives the best taste.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Green tea latte with foam by
(1) Namiko Chen @ Just One Cookbook
(2) Stacie @ One Hungry Mama
Matcha vanilla banana smoothie by  Jeanine Donofrio & Jack Mathews @ Love and Lemons, Austin, Texas.

With love,

L for lemon for #AtoZChallenge: lemon-flavored tomato mozzarella salad recipe

Lemon is a versatile Citrus fruit, which is rich in vitamin C.

L for lemon for #AtoZChallenge: lemon-flavored tomato mozzarella salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) reminds me on Graduation & friends forever. I am very grateful for all the friendships with wonderful, lovely, inspiring people of diverse age and cultural background. You all have opened my eyes and heart to cherish a simply beautiful life.

“As we go on
We remember
All the times we
Had together
And as our lives change
Come whatever
We will still be
Friends Forever”

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 14 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of an Italian classic salad of tomato and mozzarella, dressed in lemon juice by ServicefromHeart.

We cherish savoring the wonderful combination of sweet red tomatoes, creamy white mozzarella, and fragrant green basil leaves in Italian restaurants. This classic salad originated from Campania in Italy – affectionately known as Insalata Caprese (Capri-style salad) – can be quickly and easily prepared at our home too.

Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese originally from Southern Italy. Fresh mozzarella is white and high in moisture, hence it is best consumed fast after it is made, preferably by the next day. If we need to buy an imported mozzarella, choose low-moisture mozzarella.

Servings: 2
Preparation time: ~ 5 minutes

♥ 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
♥ 250 g mozzarella cheese, sliced
♥ fresh basil leaves
♥ 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
♥ 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
♥ 1 tbsp lemon juice
♥ 1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground
♥ 1/4 tsp salt

1. To make salad dressing, mix oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
2. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella.
3. Arrange slices in small dishes.
4. Sprinkle with dressing.
5. Garnish with basil leaves.

♥ 1 ripe avocado makes a wonderful additional ingredient to this recipe.
♥ To enjoy this recipe as a main course instead of an appetizer, serve with garlic toasts.

Recipes that I also love:
Meyer lemon pudding @ The Galley Gormet by Nicole
Lemon Macaroon by my sister LukSunshine
Baked Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce @ Cooking Classy by Jaclyn
Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes @ A Night Owl by Kimberly

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipe, especially for salad!

With love,

K for kimchi for #AtoZChallenge: kimchi longan pancake recipe

Hello Korean food fan! Kimchi (김치 in Hangul) is a Korean national dish that has gone global. The most popular kimchi are fremented from napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient. My favorite kimchi includes sweet lotus root kimchi, what are yours?

In Singapore, I bought spicy & sour kimchi from NTUC Fairprice. Perhaps one day we can also try the special low-calorie and vitamin-rich version of Korean space kimchi, publicized as starship kimchi, that was designed for the astronauts Ko San / 고산 / 高山 & Yi So-Yeon / 이소연 / 李素妍, the first Korean and the second Asian woman (defined as a female resident of an Asian country) to fly in space.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 12 Sat, I lovingly present a kimchi longan pancake recipe by ServicefromHeart.

kimchi longan pancake recipe by ServicefromHeart

Thanks to Korean drama series & movies through Korean diaspora, we have been introduced to delicious Korean food.

You can refer to this recipe as partly accidental, yet it brought simple happiness to me and baby Ren who loves it too!

I was given lotus root powder, that I do not know what to do with it. How is about using it to make pancake?

Lotus root is cooling in nature, usually taken during the summer months. Therefore, it can balance the hot and spicy kimchi.

I also need to consume some items that have been residing in our fridge for some days. These include parsley and longan.

The combinations of sweet longan, spicy-tangy kimchi, salty anchovies, and fragrant parsley brings joyful treat to your taste buds.

The texture of longan is also slightly similar to some shrimps that I have eaten.

Parts of this recipe are also inspired by the recipe of green onion pancakes by Holly of BeyondKimchee. In particular, the tips to use cake flour instead of plain flour, so that you can obtain crispier texture of panckage. Later on, I decide to minimize the use of cake flour after realizing that it contains chlorine.

kimchi longan pancake recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


For pancake:

♥ 1/2 cup of plain flour

♥ 1/2 cup of water

♥ 1 tbsp of lotus root powder

♥ 1 egg

♥ kimchi (if you like spicy, add more; else use slight amount)

♥ longan

♥ anchovies (you can also use salt)

♥ pepper

♥ parsley (you can also use green onion / scallion)

For cooking:

♥ olive oil

♥ garlic

For sauce:

♥ 1 tbsp of Thai Fish Sauce

♥ 1/2 tbsp of vinegar

♥ 1 tsp white sesame seeds


1. Mix flour, lotus root powder, pepper, water, in a bowl. Add egg, and re-mix.

2. Add kimchi, anchovies, and peeled cut longan. Mix again.

3. Sautee chopped garlic with 1tbsp olive oil in high heat until fragrant. Cover the frying pan for a while.

4. Turn the heat to between medium and low, add the pancake mixture.

5. Add the pancake mixture onto the frying pan to form a circular or any shape that you want. If you have heart shape stainless steel, your kimchi pancake will look even more romantic!

If you need to prepare a meal faster, please check also our other #5minutemeal recipes, particularly the easy kimchi fried rice.

With love,