Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pink Power! Salmon Recipes for Breast Cancer Awareness

"Slurpy Salmon Noodles": Simple but delicious, but best of all, easy to make.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month!
October is Breast Cancer awareness month! Our beloved comedienne Koh Chieng Mun (best known to many as "Dolly" of Under One Roof) and chef Samia Ahad (she owns Coriander Leaf and the Screening Room) have come together to present some healthy recipes using Norwegian salmon.

I remember Chieng Mun as one of the four celebrity proponents of the pink ribbon movement and early detection via mammograms, but I did not know she herself was later diagnosed with breast and kidney cancer. Fortunately it was detected early and she is today a happy survivor.

Episodes like this of course will make you swear you'll overhaul your lifestyle, but I'd already been wanting to eat healthier way before this. I was lucky to meet the two celebrities at a cooking demo held by the Breast Cancer Foundation and Norwegian Salmon Export Council. These two are working together to help promote awareness of breast cancer, healthy eating and personal well-being.

It's Dolly! I mean Koh Chieng Mun
I paid great attention to Chieng Mun when she elaborated on what she ate when she was recovering. "Fresh food," she emphasised. "Nothing old...meaning nothing preserved." Everything fresh and unprocessed, as natural as possible. Of course, lots of fruit and vegetables. Basmati or brown rice is always better than refined white. She ate very little beef and stayed off chicken (hard to find hormone-free varieties, she said).

But hmm, "nothing old" caught my attention. My first thought - does that mean no cheese? Certainly no chye poh (preserved radish), no lap cheong (Chinese sausage) or bacon/ham/sausages/pepperoni/Spam/iberico/all those delightfully cured meats. No salted fish, ikan bilis, dried scallops? No pickles, dried mushrooms, salted vegetables or salted egg? No kiam sng tee (preserved fruits/snacks) for sure. Maybe no wines as well. There's a lot of "old stuff" out there and I'm only scratching the surface.

But back to salmon and what's good to eat. Salmon is hard to refute as a beneficial food. Heart-healthy omega 3 oils, good fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. We all know that. Singaporeans do eat a lot salmon and most of it is Norwegian salmon. So it's always nice to see new recipes for salmon. I admit I most often just lazily panfry mine in butter with salt and pepper. Like a steak.

The NSEC worked with the BCF to collaborate with Chieng Mun and Samia to come up with some recipes (three each). We got to try these at Samia's Coriander Leaf cooking studio.

Six different ways of enjoying salmon
I like the recipes. Chieng Mun's are simple, clean-tasting and satisfying. Samia's concoctions will delight those who prefer more complex and richer flavours. Above all, I was relieved that the recipes were easy and well-suited for busy households!

Let's go through each dish. I'll link to the recipe as well, and there is a physical booklet containing all six you can pick up at Cold Storage.

"Sichuan Crispies on a Bed of Greens" by Koh Chien Mun
"Sichuan Crispies on a Bed of Greens" by Koh Chieng Mun. This is the dish that she demonstrated.

"Steamy Norwegian Salmon with Chinese Wolfberries" by Koh Chieng Mun
"Steamy Norwegian Salmon with Chinese Wolfberries" by Koh Chieng Mun. Very light and healthy-tasting.

Chef Samia Ahad demonstrating molee molee, using salmon for curry!
Chef Samia demonstrated "Molee molee" - it's rare to see salmon used in curry, so she thought it would be interesting. Someone asked if olive oil was a healthier alternative to fry spices in. Well, Samia says heat destroys the benefits of olive oil, so you might as well use any neutral vegetable oil like canola or sunflower. Besides, olive oil and Asian flavors don't mix - and that I totally agree with.

And remember not to boil the coconut milk or it will curdle. Just a low simmer will do.

"Molee molee" by Samia Ahad
"Molee molee" by Samia Ahad. Rich and smooth. Topped with carrot relish.

"Salmon Tartare Sandwich" by Samia Ahad
"Salmon Tartare Sandwich" by Samia Ahad. Nicely savoury, real treat.

"Salmon & Spears" by Samia Ahad
"Salmon & Spears" by Samia Ahad.

The recipe booklet also contains other salmon cooking tips, as well as basic info about the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Chieng Mun and Samia are also conducting cooking classes at Tangs and Coriander Leaf respectively, where 50 per cent of proceeds will go to BCF to help breast cancer awareness campaigns. Click to see leaflet for more details.

OK, that's my bit for breast cancer awareness. Enjoy the power of pink! Stay healthy everyone!



  1. Yum yum yum! It looks so good.

  2. i must say.. now a days, it's extremely "HENG" to use Chinese Wolfberries in western cooking. Can't say I like it too much. pretty overpowering.
    However, i think it's great.. eating towards a healthier life.. I am totally for it. That and exercise! and the proceeds going towards helping breast cancer awareness campaigns is fantastic! u did a great job covering this story Camemberu:)

  3. Yah man, when I read no old stuff, I had the same thought as you. You mean no yummy stuff?!?! How lah like that right?

  4. Thanks, LJ, Ciki and Qwazymonkey! Yeah, healthier lifestyle means cultivating good habits, but the results can be addictive! No more old stuff...a lot of it is yummy but yeah you wonder what happens when after it goes into your system...

  5. Wow, I've been abroad for a few months now, unlike most locals I don't miss Sg food that much, but reading your blog I realise there're a lot more happening with the local food scene, then just chicken rice and chilli crab. Can't wait to be back to try them all!

    Thanks for the updates and for keeping me in touch with all things Singapore and all things food!

  6. Salmon is probably the best fish I have eaten. I support breast cancer campaigns. My mother died of cancer when I was 17 and is very hard to see family dieing. A part of me died with her in that moment.


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