Tatler Singapore

Nourish the Soul

Comfort food dishes boasting familiar flavours but made healthier

- By Dudi Aureus

Comfort food dishes boasting familiar flavours


A soothing soup warms the soul as much as the stomach—and this is the feeling you get when you tuck into Morsels chef-owner Petrina Loh’s timeless classic, steamed venus clams in dried fig chicken broth. “I wanted to create a dish that is both comforting and nourishing,” Loh explains, letting on that as a sickly child, she grew up drinking the broth, which is made of dried figs and Solomon’s seal rhizome (a Chinese herb), as it’s believed to nourish the lungs. The stock is further elevated by boiling it over low flame for 10 to 12 hours to achieve a rich and creamy consistenc­y before homemade kimchi and pickled wakame are added to balance out the sweetness of the clams and give the dish an umami boost.


Bhutanese executive chef Tshering Lhaden has brought momos, her country’s version of the popular dumplings, to Como Cuisine’s revamped menu. Her take on the all-time favourite snack “found in every corner of Bhutan” is healthier and more nutritious as it is prepared daily using only the freshest ingredient­s. Made with buckwheat and all-purpose flour, the dough is shaped into thin wonton wrappers to hold a filling of ground pork belly, red onions, crushed garlic, coriander leaf, ginger and chilli flakes. Even better, these tiny morsels are steamed for a soft and chewy bite, and served with a side of homemade hot pepper sauce for a fiery kick.


While Mexican cuisine is famous for comfort foods like burritos and enchiladas, Jason Jones, culinary director and co-owner of The Loco Group of Mexican restaurant­s and bars, is well aware that more people are becoming more cautious of what they eat. Thanks to the cuisine’s versatilit­y, “we’re able to employ new cooking styles while embracing the use of superfood ingredient­s from Central and South America”, he shares. The superfood bowl burrito, available at Lucha Loco and Super Loco, is a good example. Instead of white rice, the well-balanced bowl of goodness uses quinoa slow-cooked in lemongrass, which is high in fibre and also easier to digest. Mood-lifting and wholesome ingredient­s such as beetroot, avocado and pomegranat­e seeds lend the dish an extra crunch and a sweet-and-sour tang.


Fish such as salmon and tuna boast several health benefits including improving one’s immune system. Worth the indulgence is the awardwinni­ng oven-baked New Zealand cod fillet, created by Forest’s chef de cuisine Tony Foo who is presenting the dish as part of a four-hands menu with Marvas Huang, Ocean Restaurant’s chef de cuisine. Foo specifical­ly chooses a nice fatty cut and marinates the fish in a mixture of light soya sauce, onions, carrots, bay leaves, white peppercorn and celery, as well as a dash of Kubota Manju Junmai Daiginjo sake. Foo explains: “The baked cod fish has an unctuous and fork-tender texture that’s complement­ed with the light sweetness and umami flavour of the sake sauce.” The dish is served with assorted mushrooms and crispy burdock, both of which are well-known for their antioxidan­t properties.


“Chocolate is like ice cream—it is good for the soul,” enthuses Culina Bistro executive chef Timothy de Souza. This is why his version of the flourless chocolate cake, with its perfect balance of bitterswee­t and rich chocolate taste, makes for the ideal post-meal treat. He only uses the premium Michel Cluizel Kayambe Noir 72 per cent dark chocolate, mixing it with eggs, almond meal and sugar, before baking it in a water bath to achieve the desired moist texture and an evenly baked finish. De Souza then serves it simply with whipped cream and seasonal berries.

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