Is Rendang Healthy? With This Recipe, It Can Be!

Warm, rich and bursting with spicy flavour, rendang is a hallmark of Southeast Asian cuisine. Is rendang healthy? Generally, no. But can it be healthy? Yes!

Want to know how? Read on!

Is Rendang Healthy - Wooden plate of mutton rendang on banana leaf with fresh cihillies and garlic in the background

Image source: Fashionably Foody

Rendang is a spicy gravy dish that is rooted in Indonesia’s history. Originally served only at special or festive occasions, it has grown in popularity and now can be found in many Southeast Asian countries, especially Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines at any time of the year.

Original recipes for rendang call for an abundance of spices, meat, and coconut to be simmered for hours to achieve the desired flavour and texture. Of course, in the modern world, many ready-made shortcuts exist. However, those who stay true to their original recipes usually limit cooking rendang to festive occasions only. Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which is celebrated after the month-long fasting period of Ramadan, is one such special occasion on which rendang can be found in abundance.

Is Rendang Healthy - Platter of mutton rendang, lemang pieces, peanut sauce, and sliced cucumbers

Image source: The Singapore Women’s Weekly

So, is rendang healthy? No, not really. Rendang’s main nutrition issue comes from its high saturated fat content. Saturated fat can be found in animal fat, as well as tropical oils like coconut or palm oil. Experts suggest limiting saturated fat intake as it has been linked to heart disease.

Rendang is typically made with fatty cuts of beef or chicken to keep the meat tender. Additionally, an abundance of oil and coconut (in the form of coconut milk and dessicated coconut) is added in the cooking process to add flavour. Combined, this results in a high fat content in general, and an especially high saturated fat content.

Is Rendang Healthy - Wok of rendang with coconut milk being poured in

Image source: Puur Eten

So, how do we make rendang healthy?

This recipe cuts the fat content of rendang by using lean meat (you can also use a vegetarian protein, like tempeh, to reduce the fat content even further). It also omits the coconut milk and relies on dessicated coconut (kerisik) for flavour. Lastly, the recipe uses no additional oil at all, using liquid to braise the meat and spices rather than fry them.

The result? A rendang dish that is 43% lower in fat and 40% lower in calories than original rendang! You could also take it a step further and adjust the amounts of salt and palm sugar used to make it even healthier.

Are you ready to make your healthy rendang? Here’s the recipe!

Is Rendang Healthy - Beef rendang in a white bowl on a pile of fresh ingredients: shallots, garlic, chillies, lemongrass, and ginger

Image source: Daily Cooking Quest

Healthy Rendang

Spice Blend:

2-3 tbsp chili paste
8 shallots
3 tbsp fresh ginger
4 stalks lemongrass
2 tbsp galangal
1.5 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground fennel
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tbsp black pepper
2 star anise
3 cloves

Blend all ingredients above in a blender until smooth.

Rendang:

1 kg lean beef/chicken, sliced
Spice blend (see above)
½ cup dessicated coconut (kerisik)
3 tbsp Gula Melaka or palm sugar
2 assam seeds
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, pounded
2 tbsp sliced ginger
Salt to taste

Method:

Place the meat and spice blend into a wok and add just enough water to cover. Cook slowly on low heat until the meat gets tender (the leaner the meat, the longer it will take to become tender).

Add all remaining ingredients and continue to cook, stirring every few minutes to avoid burning on the bottom.

The rendang is ready when almost all the liquid has evaporated and the meat is tender and well-flavoured.

Is Rendang Healthy - Plate of brown rice, rendang, and cooked vegetables on wooden table

Image source: Dah Makan

And that’s it! Healthy, warm, and oh-so-delicious rendang that you can enjoy guilt-free (with a heaping serving of vegetables!). Finally, the answer to the question “Is rendang healthy?” can be a resounding “YES”!

Want another option for guilt-free rendang? How about trying our Rendang Spice Nut Mix – a brand NEW flavour that you’re sure to love! Packed with protein and healthy fat, with all that fragrant rendang flavour – delicious! Find it under the “Shop” tab above!

Amazin' Graze Rendang Spice Nut Mix in a bowl with fresh coconut, lemongrass, chilli, turmeric, peanuts, and almonds

Sticky
May 25, 2017

The 3 Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting

As we gear up towards Ramadan, our thoughts turn towards keeping healthy throughout the fasting month, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We’re excited to have a guest post from Dr Ng KC bringing us the 3 most common mistakes people make while fasting – and how to correct them!

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting - Dates, arabian lantern and rosary on wooden backgrounf. Islamic holidays concept. Ramadan decoration

Image source: Yourtravelshop.com

Fasting during the hours of daylight (or sawm) is practiced by Muslims worldwide throughout the month of Ramadan, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. With most only taking two meals in a day, the fast can be challenging, and even dangerous when practiced wrongly. Since the fasting month is almost upon us, it seemed like a good time for me to draw on my medical experience to share three of most the common mistakes people make while fasting, and how to correct them.

Taking excessively sweet food during sahur

Image source: Pinterest

Sahur is the first meal of the day, taken before sunrise and the first prayer of the day. In some ways, this is the most crucial meal of the day for working Muslims, as they will be subsisting on the nutrition from this meal for the rest of the day. As a result, some choose to consume very sweet food for this meal (such as dates or traditional kuih), intended to provide energy for the day.

Although it seems to be a good idea on the surface, these foods actually make the challenge of fasting even more difficult. Excessive sugar is absorbed, processed and used quickly by the body. This means high blood sugar levels in the morning, followed by a rapid drop and hunger pangs for the rest of the day.

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting - Man in suit looking tired in front of computer

Image source: Daily Mail

Instead, the best food for sahur would consist of food items with complex carbohydrates and fiber, along with some protein and fats. The digestion of complex carbohydrates (like brown rice, oats, and wholemeal bread) takes a longer time and results in a slow release of sugar over the course of a few hours. The fiber, protein, and fat all help to stave off hunger pangs, and are essential parts of any balanced meal.

Overeating during iftar

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting: Table covered in Ramadan food

Image source: SingSaver

Iftar, or the breaking of the fast at sunset, is an eagerly awaited moment for many Muslims. After a long and difficult day of work, they are able to break their fast and relieve their hunger and thirst. Understandably, many prepare food in advance, only waiting for the sun to set to begin the feast. As a result, it is very common for them to consume a large amount of food very quickly and end up overeating.

Not only does this result in discomfort after the meal, nutritionally it is very unhealthy as well. After a day of starvation, the body is suddenly presented with an excess amount of food and struggles to cope with the sudden change. This results in a feeling of lethargy, making the exhaustion from the day’s work even worse.

A better way to handle this is to have a small snack (such as the traditional dates and milk) and a drink of water to break the fast, then wait until the evening prayers are complete to have a full meal.  This allows the body to begin the process of digestion gradually and also reduces the feeling of hunger, making overeating less likely.

Rehydrating with sugary drinks

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting: 5 clear glasses filled with ice and coloured drinks

Image source: Diariodegastronomia.com

As practicing Muslims don’t consume any food or drink during the fast, dehydration is another problem that commonly occurs during the fasting month. Especially in warmer climates, an entire day of work without a drink of water often means a feeling of great thirst by the end of the day.

Many people then turn to carbonated drinks, fruit juices, cordials or isotonic drinks for refreshment, soothing their thirst with the sweet and cold drinks. As you might imagine, this is not the best way to rehydrate the body, as the rapidly absorbed sugars tend to make people even thirstier.

Instead, the best way to rehydrate is simply with plain water. Ordinary water is rapidly absorbed by the body and will quickly relieve any feelings of thirst. And worries about electrolytes tend to be overblown; there is no need to take any electrolytes with your drinks as you will get most of the electrolytes you need from your meals.

Most Common Mistakes People Make While Fasting - Chopping board with fresh vegetables, garlic, chili, and person slicing vegetables in the background

Image source: Malay Mail Online

Those are some pointers that I have learned from my time counselling people on their diets during the fasting month. But perhaps the most important advice is the simplest and yet most difficult principle to achieve: moderation. As the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has said: “Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: “One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.”

I hope that with the help of these pointers, you will be able to have a healthier and more fulfilling fast!

Are you gearing up for a healthy fast? Be sure to check out our brand NEW range of healthy snacks under the “Shop” tab above!

Sticky
May 22, 2017

Can Vegetables Make You Taller? Mom’s Nutrition Advice Proven True!

Can vegetables make you taller? Has Mom been right all along? Read on to find out!

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Mother feeding young girl at dinner table

Image source: Sarah Remmer

It’s mealtime and Mom is eyeing you and your plate of food. You can tell she’s bursting to say something – and you know it’s going to be advice. You sigh, because you’ve heard it all before – and it may have worked when you were a kid, but you’re an adult now. And you don’t buy it.

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young girl with hands over ears and mother speaking in the background

Image source: Yummy Mummy Club

But what if Mom’s advice (dare I say nagging) has been true all along? Here are some things that Mom might have told you growing up – that science now says is true!

“Eating your vegetables will make you grow taller”

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young boy putting his head down on the dinner table with a plate of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots holding a fork with a piece of broccoli

Image source: Mother Jones

Of course, we know that a person’s height has a lot to do with genetics. But science also has shown that nutrient intake, especially of protein, calcium, and Vitamin K, can also influence growth during childhood and adolescence.

Vegetables do contain some protein (not a whole lot), but they also contain lots of calcium and Vitamin K (especially the dark green leafy veggies). This calcium and Vitamin K are essential for the growth of your bones..and growing bones = more height!

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Two young girls comparing heights with each other

Image source: ABC

“Don’t eat in front of the TV”

Okay, so if you’re over 18 years old it may be too late to grow any more. Not vertically, anyway – our waistlines are easily expandable! That’s when this next piece of advice may come in handy.

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young woman sitting on white couch in front of television eating a meal

Image source: Foodbeast

In this generation of short attention spans, most of us use mealtimes to multitask by watching TV, using our phones, or reading a book while shoveling food in absent-mindedly. However, research has shown that eating with distractions causes us to consume more than we mean to, during that meal AND later in the day. This happens because your mind is simply not processing what you are eating. And unconsciously eating more = unwanted weight gain.

So listen to Mom and focus on your food while eating!

 “Don’t snack too close to dinner – you’ll ruin your appetite!”

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young boy reaching over counter to take cookies from a plate with a jar of cookies nearby

Image source: Scary Mommy

We’ve all snuck into the kitchen to steal a snack, only to be scolded with a “You’ll ruin your appetite for dinner!” And we probably snacked anyway, because how can a snack ruin your appetite? Turns out, it can!

You may still be able to eat your main meal, but it’s likely that you’ll consume less than you normally would minus the snack. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re going into a meal you know is going to be unhealthy (an overindulgent birthday party, for example) then planning a healthy snack right before can limit the damage.

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Table filled with party food of candied apples, pastries, doughnuts, strawberries, and a pitcher of punch

Image source: bicycling.com

However, regularly snacking before your healthy home cooked meals can mean more calories going to ‘junk’ food, instead of to the nutritious food that makes up your meal. If you find yourself excessively hungry before your main meals, try planning a snack about 2-3 hours beforehand, instead of letting yourself go hungry and reaching for anything on hand too close to your mealtime.

“If you don’t finish all your food, you’ll have acne when you’re older”

Can Vegetables Make You Taller - Young woman with manicured hands over her face looking shocked

Image source: Mirror

Okay, so maybe not everything Mom told you when you were younger was true. But it was all done from a heart of concern for your wellbeing. Our moms put so much of themselves into feeding us well when we were younger – and it’s about time we repay them in any way we can.

Top view of Lavender Honey Granola in a bowl with kraft packaging and gift jar packaging nearby

This Mother’s Day, we’ve decided that it’s our turn to feed Mom! We’re #feedingmom our Limited Edition Lavender Honey Granola, infused with real lavender flowers and lightly sweetened with honey. We’ve also thrown in crunchy pistachios, sunflower seeds, wild blueberries and sweet mulberries so you’ll be #feedingmom the BEST that nature has to offer!

For all the nagging advice, care, and mostly love that our Moms have given us over the years, let’s take the time to care for them too!

Sticky
May 05, 2017