Yesterday afternoon was one of the best saturday we had in a long time simply because we met up with one of the cutest and most charming dog named TOFU. He is an adorable vegetarian dog and his owner is none other than Luke from Hungry Ang Mo. Together with his girlfriend Shanel who is an excellent self-taught baker, we spent the day learning Aloo Methi, a simple indian dish and hanging out with them. His website has always been ranked as the top site to visit for all the best vegetarian spots in town and he was recently nominated for the Singapore best food blog award 2013! (VOTE FOR HIM!) Recently, we had a chance to get to know them better and we are pretty sure you are as interested as us in the story behind Hungry Ang Mo.
Hi Luke and Shanel, Thank you for hosting us at your place! We loved the food and it was so yummy. Luke made a splendid spread of four indian dishes and Shanel made a vegan dark chocolate tart (recipe in the next post)!
The presentation and the colours of the food were so attractive. We heard Luke had to start preparation work the night before just to prepare this sumptuous meal!
How did both of you do it despite your busy schedule?
For myself, I don’t work office hours – So, it is not difficult to find the time to balance work, blogging and cooking. Having said that, most of the time we eat outside. We tend to cook at home for just a handful of meals per week. Everything seems to work just perfectly when we cook. Shanel is an expert in making desserts, which is something I am useless at. Whereas, I have a greater knowledge of Indian food. So, we can both learn a lot from each other, and take it in turns to cook.
Did you guys use any special equipment to make the dishes quicker or faster?
For Indian cuisine there is one essential piece of equipment you need – A blender. It is impossible to make a smooth curry sauce without one. Other than that, we recently bought an air fryer, which we use in a lot of our cooking now!
Luke, it seems to us that you like cooking Indian cuisine as found in your weekly recipe post. Is there a reason and why Indian food and not other cuisine?
I definitely find Indian food to be the most intriguing cuisine. As the country of Indian is so vast, and the population has such a high percentage of vegetarians, it means that there is a huge abundance of vegetarian dishes. I love the strong and rich flavours of Indian food, when Indian food is cooked well (and without lots of oil, spice and salt) it truly is the best food in the world!
I took a shot of his super neat menu scribbles as he worked his magic in the kitchen like a professional.
When and why did you set up a vegetarian blog in Singapore?
For hungryangmo.com, I set it up over three years ago. The reason for doing so was due to many people always claiming that they found it difficult to find any vegetarian food in Singapore. This seemed odd to me, as Singapore is one of the easiest countries in the world to grab vegetarian food outside. Therefore, I started this blog to help dispel this myth, and also as a place where people can easily navigate which locations have good vegetarian food.
Can you tell us a little more about the title of your blog?
My blog title is very simple. ‘Ang moh’ is the most nationally acknowledged slang/dialect term to describe Caucasians, so I thought it would be fitting to use this in the title, as my blog is almost entirely focused on Singaporean cuisine. Also the word ‘ang moh’ has a largely negative stigma attached to it. So, I thought by referencing it the way I do, it would transform a negative phrase into a positive one.
Any funny or memorable post/comment or incident ever since you have started your blog?
I’ve had a lot of weird and wonderful comments in the past. I remember when I first started my blog; just receiving one comment was unbelievable to me. Comments are always something I love to receive, as it lets me know what I am doing right and wrong on my site, so that I can improve for the future!
We understand you were once vegetarian and have now turned vegan? Was there an incident that sparked the change?
I had a really bad bout of food poisoning back in early 2012, and after overcoming this highly disagreeable period of my life, I decided to use this as inspiration to change my diet to being completely vegan. Actually, turning vegan was something I had been intending to do for years, but I was procrastinating due to lack of willpower and addiction to cheese.
Do you have any favourite vegan/vegetarian chef you guys are fans of?
My idol and inspiration for Indian cooking is former hotel chef turned YouTube star Sanjay Thumma. Most Indian recipes online are coming more from a ‘home cooking’ style methodology, usually just from one particular region of India. But, Sanjay (also known as the ‘Vah Chef’) shares recipes from all regions of India, both restaurant-style and home-style versions of dishes. Although he is not a vegetarian, I just simply convert his dishes into being vegan/vegetarian – But it is his foundations that I always use.
Is there anything you guys have gained or experienced after switching to a vegan diet?
I do feel healthier overall. As dairy is very bad for the skin, I have felt that my skin has become smoother, with less blemishes. Also I have noticed an improvement in my running distances.
Lastly, do you guys have any words of encouragement to people who are thinking of starting a vegan/vegetarian diet?
Don’t submit to peer/family pressure. The vegetarian/vegan diet is not that difficult, as long as you have mediocre self-discipline. But, facing constant pressure and scrutiny from friends and family can be the most difficult part. You may have to be willing to sacrifice toxic friendships or distance yourself from relatives. My advice would be to educate yourself on the scientific facts behind choosing a vegan/vegetarian diet, and stick to your principles.
We also jotted down the easy Aloo Methi recipe Luke cooked for us and we cannot wait to make them ourselves!
Potatoes – 1kg
Diced Onion – 1 large onion
Fresh Kastoori Methi/Fenugreek Leaves – Large bunch (chop off and discard the thicker stems)
Mustard Oil – 3 TBS
Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 TBS
Hing – Pinch
Turmeric – 1 TBS
Coriander Powder – 1 TBS
Cumin Powder – 1 TSP
Cumin Seeds – 1 TBS
Tamarind Paste – 1 TSP
Salt – To taste
1. This dish is incredibly simple, as long as you get the texture of the potatoes just right. Firstly, boil the potatoes until 70% cooked and then removed the skin of the potatoes.
2. Coat the potatoes with oil and cook them (you can use oven, air fryer, shallow fry, deep fry etc.) until the skin of the potatoes is slightly golden. Then set the potatoes to one side.
3. In a pan (a kadai/wok would be ideal) add the mustard oil. Once the oil has reached its boiling point, add the cumin seeds.
4. Shortly afterwards, add the diced onion and immediately after add salt. The salt helps to speed up the cooking process of the onions.
5. Once the onions become transparent, add turmeric powder and hing. Cook for a few minutes longer and then add ginger garlic paste. Be careful not to burn these spices – Add a little water if needed.
6. Then add the kastoori methi leaves and cook until the leaves have shrunk – This may take 4-5 minutes.
7. Add the tamarind paste, which will give this dish an undertone of sourness.
8. Add the cumin powder and coriander powder along with the potatoes. Toss and mix the potatoes, so that the methi leaves get evenly distributed.
9. Continue to cook for 4-5 more minutes and then serve.