Prepared using red rice and healthier oil, this restaurant’s nasi padang contain at least 300 less calories than before.
The next time you tuck into a delicious meal of nasi padang at Rumah Makan Minang, you can choose a dish that has been made with healthier ingredients. Five menu options at the halal Indonesian restaurant on Kandahar Street in Kampong Glam – ayam gulai padang, rendang, fishball soup, assam pedas and sotong hitam – are now prepared using red rice and healthier oil.
Red rice, a type of wholegrain rice, contains a similar amount of fibre as brown rice, but has twice the amount of iron and six times the amount of zinc.
The restaurant is the first nasi padang outlet to join the Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) Healthier Dining Programme, a partnership with the food and beverage industry that aims to offer more lower-calorie meals, meals prepared with healthier ingredients, reduced-sugar beverages and water.
One serving of each of the new dishes contains 400 calories. A typical nasi padang dish contains 700 to 900 calories.
The restaurant’s director, Mr Hazmi Zin, said the healthier versions of the dishes cost 50 cents more and average $6, mainly because red rice is double the cost of white rice.
Three-fifths of Singaporeans eat out for lunch and/or dinner at least four times a week, according to the National Nutrition Survey 2010, and an eat-out meal usually contains an average of 700 to 800 calories.
Straits Times Food Editor Tan Hsueh Yun and food critic Wong Ah Yoke give their take after tasting the healthier nasi padang dishes.
“Lots of people will scoff at the healthier versions of these dishes and I must admit I was sceptical too. As much as I love the richness of the full-fat versions, I’m glad Rumah Makan Minang has replaced five of their 50 dishes with healthier versions. Scoffers have plenty of other choices.”
“The ayam padang gulai, sotong hitam and fishball soup are terrific, no compromise on the flavour. I like the lighter gravy for the ayam, although it is better with white rice than red. The assam pedas could be more tangy. I’m sitting on the fence about the rendang. Chilli dominates the dish and it almost blew my head off. But that robust gravy is perfect with the red rice.”
– Tan Hsueh Yun, Straits Times Food Editor
“You can taste that there is less coconut milk and oil used, especially in the beef rendang. But most of the dishes are still really tasty. I usually find many nasi padang dishes too oily, so these actually suit me better.”
“You don’t have to go with all healthy choices. I would eat these with a piece of regular ayam goreng, and still have a healthier and lighter meal.”
– Wong Ah Yoke, Straits Times food critic
A version of this article first appeared on www.straitstimes.com.