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Five recipes for healthy festive feasts

Tan Hsueh Yun on 15 Dec 2018

The Straits Times


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Alexandra Hospital's principal dietitian Catherine Koh offers these healthy recipes for the festive season:



One 1kg chicken or 1kg chicken drumsticks or 4 whole chicken legs (legs and thighs)
salt and pepper



  • 1/2 brown onion or 5 small shallots, chopped
  • 2 Tbs ginger, chopped
  • 4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper or red chilli powder
  • 1 Tbs smoked paprika
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • One 170g tin tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil spray



1. Wash the chicken and using clean hands, remove the skin. Trim off any visible fat. Dry the chicken well. Place it on a chopping board and make deep slashes with a sharp knife on the thigh and drumstick area. Poke the chicken all over with a fork to allow the marinade to seep in. If using drumsticks or chicken legs, slash the thickest parts with a knife after removing the skin.


2. Rub salt and pepper all over the chicken. Set the chicken aside.


3. In a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, and whisk to mix. Coat the chicken with the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.


4. Preheat the oven to 200 deg C. Line a roasting tray with baking paper or tin foil.


5. Remove excess marinade from the chicken. Place the chicken in the tray, breast side down, spray with a little olive oil. Roast until the top of the chicken is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and roast another 15 to 20 minutes.


Serves four.


Each serving is about 280 calories, compared to traditional tandoori chicken made with full-fat yogurt, which has about 360 calories.




  • 2 cups red, green and yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 2 to 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried Italian herbs, basil or parsley
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (optional)



1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.


2. Place the chopped vegetables in a roasting tray. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, dried herbs and paprika. Toss to combine well.


3. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are well-cooked.


Serves four.


Each serving has about 150 calories.




For the topping:

  • 500g potatoes peeled and chopped into large 2cm chunks
  • 500g cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the filling:

  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek or 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 200ml reduced fat cooking cream, milk or unsweetened soy milk
  • English or Dijon mustard to taste
  • 40 g mature cheddar and/or parmesan cheese, grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 small bunch coriander or parsley, finely minced (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 400 to 500g skinless fish fillets (haddock, halibut, cod, salmon, sole or mixture) cut into chunks
  • 200g smoked haddock or kipper fillets, drained
  • 2 boiled eggs, quartered
  • 200g spinach leaves steamed or microwaved for 2 to 3 minutes, and drained



1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or a steamer and cook until soft. Steam or microwave the cauliflower Until soft. Mash both and combine with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.


2. Pre-heat oven to 200 deg C.


3. In a large, non-stick frying pan, sauté the onion, leek or celery, carrot and bay leaves with a drizzle of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.


4. Add the flour, stir in the cream (or milk or soya milk) to create a creamy white sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. If the sauce is too stiff, add some milk to thin it out. The sauce should be thick, not watery. Remove the bay leaves.


5. Add the mustard and half the cheese, lemon juice and stir to mix well. Season to taste. Add the chopped parsley or coriander (if using).


6. Assemble the pie: Place the fish, smoked haddock or kippers, boiled eggs and spinach evenly in an oven-proof dish so that each serving will have a mix of fish, eggs and spinach.


7. Pour the white sauce over the ingredients. Cover with the mashed potato and cauliflower. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pie.


8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and slices of lemon. Serve.


Serves six.


Each serving has about 450 calories compared to about 695 calories for a traditional fish pie.




  • Olive oil spray
  • Five 55g eggs, yolks and whites separated, room temperature
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 Tbs honey, mixed with 2 Tbs hot water
  • 1/2 tbsp matcha or cocoa powder mixed with 2 Tbs hot water



1. Preheat oven to 150 deg C. Line the bottom of a 20cm round or square cake tin with baking paper. Spray with olive oil to coat the bottom and the sides.


2. Beat the egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add sugar in 2 to 3 lots until soft peaks form. Do not beat until stiff.


3. Beat the egg yolks and strain them. Add the beaten yolks to the whites 2 Tbs at a time at medium speed, until well combined, about 1 minute. Add flour and mix well at low speed


4. Pour in the honey mixture and continue to beat for 1 minute.


5. Pour 120g of the batter into a bowl and stir in the matcha or cocoa mixture, blend well.


6. Spoon 4 to 5 tablespoons of the plain batter into the middle of the cake tin, add 1 Tbs of the coloured batter on top. Continue to alternate layers until there is no batter left. Lightly drop the cake tin from a height to remove any big air bubbles. Drag a wooden skewer through the batter to create a marble pattern.


7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Turn off?? the oven and leave the cake inside for 15 minutes. Peel off the baking paper and cool the cake on a rack.


8. Microwave dark chocolate chips for 2 minutes over medium heat, add rum essence and stir to make a smooth topping for the cake, if desired.


Serves six.


Each slice has about 150 calories without the chocolate topping.




  • 1 litre fruit juice, chilled
  • 300ml diet ginger ale
  • 500ml diet lemonade
  • Juice of 3 to 4 lemons, chilled
  • Juice of 3 to 4 large green limes, chilled
  • 4 sticks lemongrass, bulbous part smashed
  • 4 slices ginger
  • Blueberries and chopped strawberries



1. Mix the fruit juice, ginger ale and lemonade in a punch bowl. Add the lemon and lime juices to taste.


2. Add the lemongrass and ginger.


3. Serve in glasses, garnished with strawberries and blueberries.


Makes ten 200ml servings.


Each serving has about 200 calories.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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