Thursday, May 9, 2024

Mochakottai Karuvadu Kulumbu (Field Beans Salted Fish Curry)


As I peer into the earthen pot, brimming with the flavorful Mochakottai Karuvadu Kulumbu, my appetite awakens. I must admit, I have a soft spot for this Indian-style salted fish curry. Salted fish has always held a special charm for me, with its salty goodness. It's no surprise that I could happily indulge in it every day. Yet, I'm mindful of the health implications of too much saltiness.

 

But amidst these considerations, there's something comforting about a touch of saltiness, like an old friend. Making this curry is simple, without any fuss. My goal is always to make cooking a joy, not a chore.

Rangoon Creeper: Cultivating Zen Blooming Bliss


Rangoon Creeper, also known as Combretum Indicum, goes by many names like Drunken Sailor, Akar Dani, Chinese Honeysuckle, and Red Jasmine. It's like a breath of fresh air in Nava's Zen. Can you believe it? Even at 60, I find myself climbing the ladder to prune and trail my Rangoon Creeper. This lovely plant is native to tropical Southeast Asia, especially Burma (now Myanmar), where it got its common name, "Rangoon Creeper," in honor of the former capital, Rangoon, now known as Yangon. I remember when I visited Myanmar about 8 years ago; I didn't even notice any Rangoon Creeper. Maybe I wasn't paying attention, who knows?

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Siamese Laksa Lemak

Not your usual Siamese Laksa Lemak here! I like to spice things up with my own twist in the kitchen. My culinary journey has taken me through Thailand, picking up flavors from all corners (BANGKOK). From cookbooks to online recipes, from chatting with locals to exploring Thai markets, I've soaked it all in. But one thing's for sure, I don't just copy and paste recipes (MEE REBUS VEGETARIAN).

 

So, what makes my Laksa Lemak stand out? It's all about the ingredients. Picture this: Nava’s Zen basil leaves, fragrant kaffir lime leaves, zesty lemongrass, vibrant turmeric, fiery bird's eye chilies, and the unique torch bud ginger, Bunga Kantan (Turmeric Leaf, Chillies & Torch Ginger Bud). Sure, the list may seem long, but trust me, you can find them all right where you are. And if not, don't sweat it; just swap in whatever feels right. That's the beauty of cooking - being curious, experimenting, and making it your own.

Mee Rebus (Vegetarian)

Mee rebus is a well-loved noodle dish originating from Malaysia and Singapore. Its name, derived from Malay, translates to "boiled noodles." This dish consists of yellow noodles drenched in a flavorful gravy that strikes a delicate balance between sweetness and spice. The gravy is crafted from a blend of ingredients such as sweet potatoes, shrimp paste, dried shrimp, and a medley of spices. 


Common toppings include hard-boiled egg, fried tofu, green onions, bean sprouts, and occasionally crispy shallots. I've had the pleasure of trying various renditions of mee rebus, both from restaurants and street vendors. Interestingly, some of the most satisfying versions I've encountered have been from street vendors, often at a more affordable price. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Effortless Malay Desserts: Sweet Creations Made Simple


Get ready to embark on a sweet journey through the heart of Malaysia's dessert scene! Among the myriad of tantalizing treats (Indulgent Cheesecake Recipes), Malay desserts stand out with their unique flavors and effortless charm. Forget complicated recipes (Easiest Banana Chocolate Cake), today we're diving into the world of easy-to-make Malay delights that will leave your taste buds tingling with joy.

Now, let's talk ingredients. When it comes to Malay desserts, simplicity is key. Here are some common local staples you'll need:

Monday, May 6, 2024

Bangkok, Thailand: Solo Adventures of a Lifetime

Returning to my cozy room at Pathumwan Princess Hotel after a day brimming with exploration in Ayutthaya, my craving for more of Bangkok led me to the doorstep of the travel agent's office (Chonburi to Pattaya). With eager anticipation, I decided for the world of entertainment with my first-ever Cabaret Show experience. Flashback to my youth, na├»ve and wide-eyed at 19, when I innocently tagged along with colleagues to witness a baffling Tiger Show during a trip to Hat Yai. Oh, the memories! But now, in my seasoned years, I was ready to embrace the sophistication of a Cabaret Show.

Before diving into the spectacle, I made a necessary pit stop at MBK Mall to satisfy my hunger. Laden with the quick bites, I returned to my room, relishing them before braving the infamous Bangkok traffic on our way to Calypso Cabaret Show. I traveled in a van alongside the other foreign tourists, as transportation was part of the package deal.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Ayutthaya, Thailand: An Escapade Through History and Grandeur

Bright and early at 6 a.m (Bangkok)., I'm buzzing with anticipation for the adventure ahead! The tour guide's scheduled to swing by at 7 a.m., marking the start of my jam-packed one-day tour to Ayutthaya, all neatly pre-booked the day before. Ayutthaya has held a top spot on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, so you can bet I'm practically bouncing with excitement (Chonburi to Pattaya). Surrounded by fellow travelers, all of them seasoned Westerners, I find myself as the lone Indian in the mix, yet surprisingly, it feels like the perfect fit.

The hour-long journey to Ayutthaya is a breathtaking sight to behold, like stepping into a real-life postcard, with lush paddy fields stretching as far as the eye can see. Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, whispers tales of its illustrious past, even as its ancient ruins stand as silent witnesses, drawing visitors from every corner of the globe.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Rasam Variations: Unique Twists on a Classic Dish

Step into the world of Rasam, also known as Indian Pepper Soup, where every sip is worthy for the taste buds. It's a dish we adore, so much so that Rasam could easily become a daily ritual, perfectly complementing any meal. Packed with spices that work wonders for our well-being, this soup isn't just delicious - it's a health boost in a bowl.

In my kitchen, Rasam is a staple, and I always make a generous batch. Once cooked, I portion it out into containers and pop them in the freezer for later. Surprisingly, freezing Rasam doesn't compromise its flavors or nutrients. Back in the day, when fridges were a luxury, Rasam was left out to age gracefully, its robust spices preserving it for days.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Zen Yoga Style: Elevate Your Yoga Outfits for Mindful Practice

Hey there, fellow yogis! Can we chat for a moment about something that's been on my mind lately? It's about outfits for our zen yoga sessions. At first, I'll admit, I found it a tad peculiar when clients asked about what to wear. I mean, shouldn't they already know, right? But then it hit me - as the founder of Nava's Zen, it's my job to provide guidance, not assumptions. So, let's dive into what to keep in mind when choosing your yoga outfits.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Bangkok, Thailand: A Journey of Temples and Wax Celebrities

Starting my Bangkok trip on a Monday morning without any prior room booking (Chonburi To Pattaya), I hitched a ride with my friend's colleague. Upon arrival, I attempted to secure a room at the lobby but was informed of no availability due to the year-end holiday season. Thankfully, the receptionist kindly recommended the Pathumwan Princess Hotel. Thankfully, I managed to book a room for 2 nights. The security measures at the hotel entrance put me at ease as I entered my room, greeted by comfort, and elegance.

After a brief respite, curiosity led me downstairs to stumble upon a travel agency nestled within the hotel lobby. Intrigued, I wandered in, only to be met with a curious question: why was I traveling solo? And thus, my journey truly commenced. Opting for a half-day tour of Bangkok's renowned temples, I followed the staff's suggestion to grab a quick lunch bite at the adjacent MBK Shopping Mall before being picked up by the tour guide.

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Indulgent Cheesecake Recipes: Sweet Delights Await

Are you ready to dive into the delicious world of cheesecakes? Well, buckle up because we've got you covered! Today, we're sharing five tantalizing cheesecake recipes that will make your taste buds sing. But before we dive into the recipes, let's debunk the myth that cheesecakes are complicated to make. Trust me, they're easier than you think. 

Bottom Layer Tips 
Classic Base Swaps 
Crushed digestive biscuits with melted butter are the traditional choice, but why not switch things up by using cream crackers for a unique twist?

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Corporate Yoga: Cultivating Mental Well-being


Welcome to the challenging world of corporate life, where meeting targets, handling stress, and navigating through daily pressures are part of the routine. As you progress in your career, stress tends to mount, compounded by the demands of work and the hassles of commuting. In such a fast-paced environment, finding time for self-care, like Zen yoga, may seem like a distant dream. Unexpected work changes, looming deadlines, or traffic snarls can easily disrupt your plans for relaxation.

But fret not. Organizations now recognize the significance of work-life balance and invest in activities to support their employees. This is where Corporate Yoga steps in. Unlike traditional yoga, Corporate Yoga adapts ancient practices to fit modern lifestyles. It's a crucial aspect of overall wellness, promoting a sustainable way of living (Beyond Yoga Poses).

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Malay Style Prawn Noodles/Mee Udang

Let's chat about food and how it fits into our busy lives. Nowadays, it's pretty common to eat out because, let's face it, everyone's hustling, especially women who are not just holding down jobs but climbing the career ladder too. Kudos to them! But here's the snag: there's hardly any time left for cooking at home. Some folks have helpers or live-in moms taking care of the kitchen duties, but for others, it's all about ordering in, which can get pricey. Even kiddos, as young as 10, are pros at hitting up food delivery apps. Weekends often mean dining out, and this lack of home-cooked meals might explain why health issues, like obesity, are creeping up among the young ones who just can't resist good grub.

Chonburi to Pattaya (Thailand): Ms. Nava's First Solo Travel and Beyond

Back from my very first trip abroad (Milan), can you believe it? Within just two months (Rome), I found myself on my first solo adventure. It wouldn't have happened without my girlfriend, who was at Amata Golf & Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand, organizing a golf tournament. She was amazing. Without her, I wouldn't have even considered traveling alone, especially for the first time. I owe her so much. But it's heartbreaking to think she's no longer here. She passed away a few years ago from breast cancer, in her early 50s. I miss her till this day. I was there for her through everything, from her chemotherapy to her funeral. It still brings tears to my eyes.

But let's put that aside for a moment. I booked my flight to Bangkok, and my hub saw me off at the check-in. I was shaking with nerves as I went through the procedures. Basically following others, and made it in one piece on board.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Easiest Banana Chocolate Cake: Simple and Delicious

We've got everyone covered - whether you bake for therapy, for your loved ones who prefer homemade cakes, or for entertaining guests at your home parties. Even if you're simply a cake enthusiast who enjoys admiring pictures and dreaming of indulging, we're here for you. And if you own a baking business and want to use our banana chocolate cake recipe as your secret weapon, feel free - we have no qualms. Perhaps you could even mention Nava's Zen to your clients?

Savouring Mutton: Spices and All Things Nice

I've cooked mutton countless times in all sorts of styles, many of which I've come up with myself. Mixing and matching ingredients ...