The Kechara Salad

I came across this recipe in my Flavours magazine sometime ago.

easy Asian style salad from Kechara
easy Asian style salad from Kechara

It sounded like a really great way to use purple (or is it called red) cabbage – I love purple coloured fruits and vegetables but I’ve never ever entertained the idea of stirfrying purple cabbage. It would certainly look quite weird!
So this Kechara salad was superbly simple and needed just a few ingredients – most of these you can find in your kitchen.
It’s not the heavy sort of Western salad (with creamy dressing). In fact this dressing will pique your taste buds. I figured it could be served as an appetizer or even with your heavier meat and sausage dishes as it cuts down the “jelak” factor due to its tangy-ness.
First, you need a cup of all these three vegetables:

  • shredded purple cabbage
  • shredded carrot
  • shredded lettuce or romaine

Put all of these into a large stainless steel mixing bowl.
Into another bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of Lee Kum Kee Plum Sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Combine well.  Pour this dressing over your gorgeous tri-coloured vegetables.
Just before serving, toss in a handful of roasted peanuts.
Top with roasted seaweed (the kind you find as a snack in supermarkets) – use scissors to cut into smaller pieces.
Serve immediately.
It’s the perfect salad for days when you’re sick and tired of those mayo-thousand-island salads but want something refreshing to tickle and uplift your palate. The plum sauce and lemon juice just give the salad this amazing Asian taste which goes very well with heavier stuff like pork sausages or roast chicken.
If you are wondering why it’s called the Kechara salad, this recipe originated from the kind folks over at Kechara, a Buddhist organization in KL, which is run superbly like a good business. They own a vegetarian restaurant called Kechara Oasis too. They do a host of interesting things from publishing to dining.

I'm A Religious Chameleon

I’ve wanted to update this blog with so many things but business gets in the way. (I can tell you, if you want to live a normal life, don’t wish to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur does not have an ordinary life.)
Anyway, this is not about business today. It’s about spirituality.
In the past 2 years, I’ve started to become a teeny weeny bit interested in Tibetan Buddhism. I’ve been a Buddhist all my life but I really started knowing Buddhism when I was an undergrad in USM. That opened my eyes to what real Buddhism is about. (What you think is Buddhism today is really Buddhism-Confucianism-Taosim all rolled up like some california roll.)
But Nic and I aren’t really the temple-going sort. I don’t think I’ll be a better Buddhist just going to the temple and looking as if I’m horribly pious.
Besides, most friends think I am a Christian.
Yes, I have a lot of Christian friends (and I have dinners with the clergy) but surprise, surprise, I am a Buddhist. I don’t advertise my religious leaning because let’s face it, it’s personal (just like your sex life. If you’re gay, it’s your choice). I don’t wear anything that puts me in a specific category of spiritual people either. And this neither-here-nor-there confuses lots of people. They’re not sure if I’m atheist, Christian, Buddhist, or what-have-you.
So it’s sometimes difficult to proselytize to me. I could be anything. As my best friend is Catholic and the other is Hindu, I am familiar with the festivals and practices of both. (In fact, I schooled in a missionary school and I remembered being a 10-year old and memorizing the Lord’s Prayer!). So you could call me a religious chameleon.
But yes, back to Tibetan Buddhism. What appeals is that the visiting monks or rinpoches can speak English. Their Dhamma talks are easy to understand. They’re less fussy about protocol and understand that everyday living makes keeping the precepts a challenge all the time.
If you’re keen to hear a real rinpoche speak, a few events are scheduled in Penang this week by His Holiness Phakchok Rinpoche.
Tonight’s talk is on Amitabha Buddha at Jalan Concordia (contact Andrew Ho 012 483 3212). There are 3 other events happening – 30 April (meditation class), 1 May (7 point mind training) and 2 May (puja). All are conducted by His Holiness who really, if he weren’t a monk, would be a truly fun guy, by the look of him.
(Another Tibetan monk has an even more amazing story. He used to be a male model! Tsem Tulku Rinpoche strikes me as an extremely good-looking man! I suppose therein lies the attractor factor why he has legions of fans besides the religion of course.)