Thursday, March 17, 2011

2) 两菜一汤: An Orange Food Menu

I did not especially plan for the orange food menu or a 2 plus 1 menu.  I just remember I have a big chunk of pumpkin sitting in my fridge, so out came the pumpkin, then followed by two carrots, one tomato and .... an orange would be nice too .... And slowly one by one, the picture of an orange menu came to my mind as I picked up the food items and started preparing my dinner. I'm usually very free and easy when I prepare my weekday dinner since I'm cooking small portions.

Ingredients & approximate cost:
(serves 3)

1 big chunk of pumpkin - $1.50
Carrot, tomato, orange, onion, lime - $1.00
2 tbsp dried cranberries, 1 tbsp cashew nuts - $1.00
2 pieces of oiled sun-dried tomatoes - $0.50
1 salmon steak - $5.00
2 tbsp butter, 50ml cream - $1.00
3 to 4 stalks spring onion - $0.50

Total: $10.50

I shall be submitting this post to Cuisine Paradise for the "2 Dishes, 1 soup $20 Budget meal" event. 

Here's a summary for my other 3-plus-1 meals

Yes, I added an orange into this soup.  No, I did not invent this soup.  I tried this pumpkin and orange soup while I was having a holiday in Perth, 10 years back.  The soup was so tasty and refreshing that it stayed on my mind.  The orange juice helps to lighten the heavy and creamy texture of the pumpkin, while its orange zest makes the soup really refreshing.  When you have the soup, it taste much like the pumpkin soup, but with a refreshing note.  If you have never tasted pumpkin with orange soup, TRY THIS, this is really delicious.

You will need:
Pumpkin (peeled, cut into small pieces)
Carrot (cut into small pieces)
Tomato (cut into small pieces)
Zest and juice of an orange
Chicken stock (I used a tub of fish bone stock that I cooked and stored in freezer)
3/4 onion (chopped)
1 small piece of ginger (crushed)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
Salt & pepper (to taste)
50ml cream

[Cost of pumpkin soup approximately $2.50, excluding fish bone stock which I earlier prepared using fish bones removed from smelt fish]

1) In a pot over medium heat, add a little oil.  Add the ginger, onion.  When onion turns translucent, add the garlic and stir for a minute.
2) Add the pumpkin, carrot and stir.  Cover to cook for a minute to two.
3) Add in the tomato, stock and enough water to cover all ingredients in pot.  Cook for 15 minutes.
4) Let the soup sit for 5 minutes, then blend the soup in a blender till smooth.
5) Return soup to pot, add orange juice and water (if necessary) to adjust to desired thickness.  Bring content to boil over medium-low heat.  
6) Add salt/pepper to taste.  Stir in cream (reserved a little for garnish) and remove from heat.
7) Add the orange zest (reserved 1 tsp orange zest for grilled salmon), stir to combine, cover and let it sit for 20 minutes before serving.

I reserved a handful of chopped pumpkin and "borrowed" about 1/2 cup of stock from the pumpkin soup (before pureed) for this pumpkin rice.  The other natural flavorings are dried cranberries and sun-dried tomatoes.  

You will need:
Rice (enough for 3 servings)
Chopped pumpkin
2 pieces of oiled sun-dried tomatoes (chopped)
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp butter
Chopped onion (the remaining 1/4; 3/4 for making soup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tbsp unsalted cashew nuts (roast lightly in pan)
1/2 cup chopped spring onion
Salt & pepper to taste

[Cost of pumpkin rice approximately $2.50]. 

1) In a pot or pan on medium heat, add butter.  Once butter starts to melt, add the chopped onion, followed by garlic and dried herbs.

2) Add the chopped pumpkin, stir fry and let it cook for a minute to two.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir.  Remove from heat.

3) Wash your rice grains, add sufficient water and/or stock for cooking rice in a rice-cooker.  Pour the cooked ingredients from (2) and dried cranberries into the rice cooker.  Add about 3/4 tsp salt.  Give it a stir to mix the ingredients and start cooking function.

4) Before serving, stir in the chopped spring onion, a dash of pepper and mix together with the rice.  Garnish with roasted cashew nuts.

I was reading Wokking Mum's grilled salmon with lime butter the other day and really like this quick and easy recipe.  I oven-grilled the salmon, but I think pan-frying it over high heat will be tastier (and faster too).  But since I just mopped the floor earlier in the day, I shall try to keep my kitchen as grease-free as possible.

You will need:
Salmon steak
Salt & pepper (a pinch will do)

Orange & Lime Butter - Mix together:
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp orange zest
Zest from 1 lime 
Juice from 1/2 lime (slice remaining lime for garnish)
1 clove garlic, minced
Pinch of salt/pepper

[Cost of grilled salmon approximately $5.50]


1) Prepare the seasoned butter and keep chill in fridge.

2) Rub the salmon steak with a pinch of salt/pepper and a small dot of seasoned butter (or a tsp of cooking oil) while preheating the grill to 200C.

3) Grill the salmon for 5 minutes, turn it over and grill for another 3 to 5 minutes, or till salmon is cooked.

4) Serve the salmon with seasoned butter and garnish with lime slices or wedges.

A wonderful home-cooked meal for about $10!  
Your love and effort in preparing the meal ... PRICELESS.

By the way, there's still budget for some yummy mango mousse cake to round up today's orange food menu  ^_^


  1. Amazing!!! All these wonderful dishes can be done at S$10!!!! Wow! Can you roughly list down the cost of the ingredients, or cost of 1 dish. Thanks.

  2. Such a balance & healthy meal ;)

  3. Hi Ellena - the total cost of ingredients is given at the beginning of post. I've just inserted the rough cost estimate for each dish, below the ingredients.

    Hi Cathy - and it's yummy and quick to prepare too, with the rice-cooker, oven and stove working all at the same time!


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