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Rainbow Meal

As promised, here’s the rainbow plate I made one to two weeks ago! I love everything on this plate, from the cabbage slaw to the crunchy anchovies, golden tofu pillows and medley of vegetables PLUS a gorgeous paprika salmon fillter topped with cilantro.

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I always start off with some of the benefits of key ingredients. Today is a little different, in that I cover the sustainability of farming and controversial topics associated with these foods too. It is going to be a longer than usual recipe post!

Tofu

Tofu is made from coagulation of soy milk and the curd collected is packed into masses. It is used widely in Asian cuisines - especially Chinese and Japanese. This ingredient is packed with protein and a very big part of vegan and vegetarian diets as a source of amino acids. I grew up eating lots of tofu in Singapore and love everything that involves soy.

A lot of men avoid tofu for the reason that it contains phytoestrogens - a plant based compound which mimics the human hormone estrogen. I have heard both propositions that this mean tofu can help aggravate prevalence of breast cancers and reduce loss of bone.

On the other side of the story, you must have heard that soy is actually really bad for you because it is a genetically modified food. Dr Axe claims that unfermented soy foods like edamame, soy milk and tofu do not have nutritional benefits unlike their fermented counterparts - tempeh, natto, tamari sauce, miso.

In USA, soybeans was introduced in 1994 under Monsanto and they have been genetically modified to resist their herbicide Roundup (the product which has been linked greatly to the cause of cancers and a lot of inflammatory conditions). GMO foods have been widely debated and it leaves me very frustrated, amongst everyone else, to try and decipher what is real and what is true. Basically, GMO involves politics because big powerful food companies play a big role in pushing for their agendas.

You must be thinking though, like me, that Asia has been using soy as a staple ingredient for thousands of years-dating back to China and Japan. There are other doctors who propose that we should actually be eating more of soy foods because the phytoestrogens can help to prevent breast cancer by reducing the proliferation of breast tissue cells.

Like all other food science topics including ketogenic diets, eating legumes due to the presence of lectins, staying away from grains or eliminating wheat completely etc. there are arguments on both sides that can really confuse the consumer (a.k.a you and me). For the purpose of this blog, I am stating both arguments and leave it to you to rely on your own intuition. Personally I love tofu but would like to try the fermented soy products more often (natto and tempeh) because anything fermented is definitely a bonus to our gut flora. As for tofu, I still love it and occasionally will still eat it.

*Discretion: I do not suggest the intake of tofu for anyone. This post merely presents both sides of the argument. Please be aware of your own hormone levels and thyroid health situation first and it is always best to consult your functional medicine doctor.

Salmon

We are no strangers to salmon! This fish contains plenty of protein and omega 3 fatty acids which are so important for our cells, biological processes and absorption of vitamins. Wild caught fish are bright red and they contain an antioxidant known as astaxanthin which helps improve blood flow and help energy production in your mitochondria (powerhouses located in every cell that contributes to energy production).

Just like tofu, the world has been overfishing and we are running out of fishes from the oceans and this leads to the rise of farmed fish. To be perfectly honest, the wild caught Salmon fillet in my meal is tremendously soft and a bright red but it said on the label - a dye has been used on this fish etc. I cannot remember the exact words and should have taken a photo but yep folks - the wild caught fish from Whole Foods also uses a dye. This led me to think that this is actually farmed and not wild caught at all.

Not all is lost. Again, there is a stance to farmed fish and having a sustainable process to produce these fish. I truly believe that Mt Cook Alpine Salmon (for those in Singapore) is a great source of salmon that you can get which is a legit food product.

In terms of finding sustainable seafood products and even dining out at seafood restaurants: I have heard of the Seafood Watch App , which gives recommendations of finding sushi and other dishes which do not harm our oceans, but have not used it yet. Has anyone used this?

Red Cabbage

Gut healing, fibrous and contains an amount of vitamin C that can fight citrus fruits!

Got your attention yet?

I love using red cabbage as an alternative to chinese cabbage and lettuce because of its red color pigment that comes from flavenoids. Red cabbage also contains vitamin A which helps with better eyesight and Vitamin K, a vitamin that is essential for blood clotting. Last but not least, it belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables! Same category as spinach, broccoli and brussels sprouts. All that glucosinates present in these vegetables help the body by acting as antioxidants (fighting free radicals). For red cabbage, I either stir fry them or they work great as sauerkrauts or soaked in apple cider vinegar and pepper. It is usually a cold addition to my meals and no different in this recipe.

Oyster Mushrooms

Mushrooms are powerful compounds to help with immunity and are anti-bacterial and anti-oxidant in their nature. Oyster mushrooms are found commonly and contain zinc, potassium, vitamins C and B1 etc. Ubiquitin present in oyster mushrooms is antiviral and can help against the virus HIV. I personally love all kinds of mushrooms and these ones do not have a strong taste so it could be good for people who do not usually like mushrooms in their diet.

Turmeric

I have covered the benefits of turmeric before - anti-inflammatory compound used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, and best used in conjunction with fat, black peppercorns and when heated. I use it all the time, especially in my turmeric tonic to fight colds. It is best to get the turmeric root itself and mince/slice it just like ginger. Some powders may contain other contaminants unfortunately.

Ingredients

1 pack of firm tofu, flattened with heavy weights to squeeze the excess moisture out, sliced into pillows

150g salmon fillet, skin on

1/5 of a red cabbage, chopped

2 cups vegetable medley (you can use frozen vegetables here, i used a mix of green beans, oyster mushrooms, romanesco and red pepper)

1 handful of cilantro, chopped roughly

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1 cup rice

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp paprika powder

Dashes of sea salt and black pepper

Handful of anchovies (you can substitute for furikake or roasted seaweed)

Recipe

Marinate the salmon with paprika, salt and black pepper.

Soak the red cabbage in apple cider vinegar, top with black pepper and set aside.

Cook the rice to desired consistency and set aside.

Start to stir fry the onions and garlic in a saucepan and add in the vegetable medley.

Coat the vegetables in fish and soy sauce (you can substitute for tamari or sesame oil here).

After 8 minutes at least, take out the vegetables and work on the tofu.

Heat your saucepan to a high heat with a little oil, then add the tofu and turmeric powder in batches.

The tofu will start to brown on the surfaces and gradually turn them over on all the other sides to fry evenly.

The golden pillows will start to form after a good ten minutes of high heat.

Heat a separate saucepan and work on frying the salmon. I usually turn on high heat to sear the sides before lowering the heat in order to cook the insides of the fillet. You can also cut the fillet into cubes in order to make sure they are fully cooked. I prefer them a little more medium cooked.

It's time to plate up!

Assemble your rice portion and salmon. Pile on as much vegetables as you want and finish off with the anchovies for extra crunch and deliciousness.

Let me know what you think about this post! Do you only want the recipe or did you find the above additional information useful?

Drop a comment below!

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some people just want simple recipes handed to them..

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