It is a widely held belief that vegetarian dishes are not as good as non-vegetarian dishes. Although vegetarian foods are already quite delectable, for people who still like the taste of non-vegetarian dishes better, there are a lot of vegetarian recipes that do taste almost exactly like a non-vegetarian dish. Look out for the five popular Singapore dishes which can be made vegetarian (Yay!) below for inspiration. Worry no more as to how you can enjoy your favourite dish in the vegetarian way!
1. Vegetarian & Vegan Hainanese Chicken rice
This popular dish can now be made without chicken! The super firm pressed tofu/ beans used gives a toothsome bite just like chicken so that part is taken care of. Not to worry, tofu is also packed with lots of protein so not much is lost because of the absence of chicken. Easy to make and delicious to eat. So, go ahead and try this one out yourself!
Vegetarian & Vegan Hainanese Chicken Rice
- 1 teaspoon cooking oil
- 3-4 teaspoons ginger minced
- 3-4 teaspoons garlic minced
- 3-4 tablespoon scallion white and light green parts only, chopped
- 2 heaping cups mushrooms thick sliced
- 3 cups vegan chicken-style prepared broth
- 1 cup cooked white beans or your choice
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
- chopped scallion dark green parts
- sliced cucumber
- scallion ginger sauce
- Hainan Chili Sauce
- Wash the rice. Place the rice in a bowl, add water and swish around. Drain the cloudy water. Repeat until the water runs clear. Drain the remaining water and set the rice aside.
- Heat a pot over high heat with a little vegetable oil. Add a teaspoon of garlic, a teaspoon of ginger, and a tablespoon of chopped scallion, white and light green parts only. Let them sizzle for a few seconds before adding the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium high and let the mushrooms cook until soft; about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add an additional teaspoon of garlic, a teaspoon of ginger, a tablespoon of scallions (again only white and light green parts), 3 cups of broth, and cooked beans. Turn the heat to high, let the broth come to a boil, then simmer on low for about 3 minutes.
- Turn the heat off. Remove the beans and mushrooms with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl to cool. Optionally, chill the beans and mushrooms in the fridge as the main protein in this dish is traditionally served cold over hot rice.
- You will have about 3 cups of broth remaining. Reserve one cup and set aside, checking that you have 2 cups left in the pot. Add the washed rice to the pot and turn the heat to high. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the broth; about 15 minutes. Do not stir the rice while simmering!
- Serve the hot rice with beans and mushrooms on top, along with Scallion Ginger Sauce, Hainan Chili Sauce, sliced cucumber, carrots, the chopped scallion (the dark green parts), cilantro, and the remaining broth.
2. Vegetarian Nasi Lemak
Loved by Malaysians and all alike, this is a dish you cannot refuse eating even if you are really full! It is a question on the minds of all who love it as to how this dish can be made vegetarian. So, the next time you are having a dinner party with vegetarian guests(or even non-vegetarian), try this quick recipe and impress them all! It’s that simple.
Vegetarian Nasi Lemak
- 1 cup Jasmine fragrant Rice washed and drained
- 1 cup undiluted Coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cup Water
- 3 to 4 Pandan screw-pine leaves slightly shredded and tied into a knot
- Ginger 1/2 inch piece chopped length wise
- Few strands of Lemongrass
- Salt to taste
- 8-10 dried red Chilies Cut each Chili into 2-3 pieces and soak in warm Water
- 3-4 Cloves of Garlic
- 5-6 Shallots
- Few strands of Lemongrass
- 1 Onion cut into slices or rings
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Tamarind juice
- Salt to taste
- 1 Cucumber cut into thin slices
- 3 -4 tbsp of Peanuts Pan fried with 1/2 tbsp of Oil until crisp and fragrant
- Spiced Veggies (Tossed french beans carrots sticks with some chili paste and Salt
- Place the rice in the rice cooker pot along with water, Coconut milk, Ginger, Lemongrass and tied Pandan leaves. Sprinkle salt and stir well. Cook the rice, fluff with a fork and keep warm until ready to serve.
- Drain the soaked chilies and grind it with shallots, Garlic and Chopped lemongrass strands to a paste. Use little water while grinding.
- Heat up cooking oil in a frying pan or a wok on medium heat and fry this blended paste for about 7-10 minutes. Add onion rings and fry for 2-3 minutes more. Add water to attain the desired consistency.
- Add the tamarind juice and season with salt and sugar. Stir well and turn off the flame.
- On a serving tray, place a clean Banana leaf lined with wax paper. Using a bowl, shape the rice and place on this leaf. Spoon Sambal on or at the side of the rice, place few slices of Cucumber, some pan fried peanuts and spiced veggies.
- Serve hot.
3.Vegetarian Singapore Chilli Crab
The national dish of Singapore can now be made in a vegetarian style. So, If you have been in Singapore for a while and have been asked by your friends and colleagues to try it but being vegetarian stopped you so far, fret not any more and rush to your kitchen to make it and taste the delicacy!
Vegetarian Singapore Chilli Crab
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 3 jars hearts of palm chopped
- 2 cans artichoke hearts chopped
- 8 sheets nori
- 2 shallots
- 1.5 inch ginger
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2-4 thai chilies
- 1/2 c sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 c tomato paste
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 cups no vegetable broth
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 jalapeno diced
- 1/2 cup scallions chopped
- Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and set aside.
- In a food processor combine nori, shallots, ginger, garlic, chilis, sweet chili sauce, and tomato paste, with enough water to make a paste.
- Heat peanut oil in a large saute pan or wok, and cook the paste for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Add the chopped hearts of palm and artichoke hearts and stir well to combine.
- Add broth and boil.
- Stir in cornstarch and boil to thicken.
- Combine cilantro, jalapeno, and scallions and use as garish
4. Veggie Mee Goreng( Fried Noodles)
Made with only vegetables and vegan ingredients. Easy veggie fried noodles recipe with ketchup, soy sauce, and lime. Originally made using prawn, chicken, beef and meat balls, this recipe focuses on cutting meat and increasing plant stuff! Finally, your favourite noodles can be had vegetarian. What are you waiting for? Hurry and surprise yourself with this delicious dish soon! What’s better, you can make it in less than half an hour!
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 3 pieces dried bean curd cut into small pieces
- 1 potato boiled, peeled, and sliced into wedges
- 1 big tomato cut into wedges
- 1 handful fresh bean sprouts
- 1 lb fresh yellow noodles rinsed and drained
- chopped scallions for garnishing
- red chili for garnishing
- fried shallots for garnishing
- 1 lime cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce or kecap manis
- 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
- sugar and salt to taste
- Heat up a wok and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and stir fry until aromatic then add the bean curd and potato and tomato wedges. Do a few quick stirs and then add the yellow noodles and the Sauce and continue stirring until everything is well combined. Add sugar and salt to taste.
- Add in the bean sprouts and quick stir for another 1 minute. Turn off the heat, dish out, garnish with the scallions, red chili, and fried shallots. Squeeze some lime juice over the noodles before eating.
5.Vegan Nyonya Otak-otak wrapped in banana leaves
Penang Nyonya otak-otak is a steamed fish custard wrapped with banana leave and it goes extremely well with a bowl of hot rice. This vegan otak-otak version is created by using momen tofu and grey oyster mushroom as the main ingredients. Although the time to make it is a little longer, it is definitely worth it! Go ahead and try it on one of your holidays or weekends when you want to make something new and yummy!
- 4 pcs momen tofu Blend in food processor until smooth paste
- 1 pack of grey oyster mushroom Use hand to shred the mushroom into long strip
- ¼ cup of coconut milk
- 10 pcs kaffir lime leaves Thinly slice the leaves
- A handful of Thai basil leaves depending on personal preference. May use kaduk leaves wild pepper leaves as substitute
- 12 to 14 banana leaves
- 4 tbsp of brown rice flour
- Salt and pepper
- Spice paste
- 4 tbsp of Nyonya curry paste
- 10 shallots
- 2 stalks of lemongrass
- 1 tbsp of vegan belacan
- Blend all the spice ingredients in food processor until fine.
- Scald banana leaf in boiling water to soften it and pat it dry. You may need to trim the leaf to square size. If you don’t know how to fold the leaf into a pouch shape, an easier alternative is to use a small metal bowl.
- In a bowl, pour in the blended spice paste and all other ingredients except Thai basil leaves. Mix well till smooth
- Place a few of Thai basil leaves on the prepared banana leaf and then lay the mixture on top. Around 2 tbsp depending on the size of the banana leaf used.
- Now fold the banana leaf carefully so that the mixture won’t spill over. Bring the shorter sides to the middle and then bring each end to the middle in turn. Fold the flaps outwards so the parcel is secured.
- Steam the parcel for 15 minutes, turn off the heat and rest without opening lid for half hour. Let the parcel to cool down for about 10 minutes before serving so that the otak-otak will firm up.