27 Feb2009

Meatless Meals

by Marketman


It’s The Lenten Season and I have given up Diet Coke or Coke Light and other cola type products for the next 40 days. Not so much as a sacrifice, more because I got blood test results back the other day and if numbers are to be believed, I have managed to reduce my overall cholesterol WITHOUT medication for the past 3 months, but still have BAD cholesterol up the wazoo AND a liver that is not happy. So my latest self-diagnosis is that Coke Light is not doing my liver any good… And I will test that theory over the next 40-50 days and take yet another blood test at the end of that period and see if there is any change. If not, I will take a bath in Coke LIght at that point and hope it doesn’t act as a skin whitener. :) Meanwhile, I have started daily walks at a brisk pace for 30-40 minutes and am starting to watch what I eat in an effort to curb outrageous weight gain. Here is one of my “lighter” and “healthier” meals that also happen to be meat free.

First a bowl of Japanese buckwheat noodles. Just boil in water for 5+ minutes and cool under a running tap. Then chill in the fridge. A package that cost some PHP120 in the grocery could easily feed 3 people. Next, the classic soy/sweetish dipping sauce. I’m sure you could craft your own, but I just bought the bottled version. And with all of that, I did a veggie stir-fry with broccoli, beans, fennel and asparagus (all leftovers in the fridge) with some small shrimp and a touch of soy sauce and lemon. Didn’t feel like a diet meal. But probably contained 30-40% less calories than I usually consume for lunch. And yes, I made it through the afternoon to dinner, with only a TEENY TINY slice of Dayap and Coconut Cake with some tea. :)



  1. Margarette says:

    Wow, thanks for giving me an idea! I now know what to do with the box of noodles I have at home… I like keeping the wooden box cause its crafty nice! :D

    Thanks again Mr. MarketManila and by the way, all of us like your portion in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 6:52 am


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  3. Patrick says:

    MM that sounds good! I’m thinking of making Soba noodles in a fish/seafood broth with Enoki mushrooms with a side dish of tempura vegetables (green beans, sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant).

    Feb 27, 2009 | 6:56 am

  4. ykmd says:

    That you managed to lower your overall cholesterol count with all the pork love lately is a feat in itself :) That meal looks yummy!

    Feb 27, 2009 | 6:59 am

  5. steph says:

    MM that’s great!! you need to post more healthy food recipes. :) i love cold soba!!

    you can also use tokwa to your stir-fries. really nice.

    all the best to your health!!

    Feb 27, 2009 | 7:09 am

  6. elaine says:

    Thanks MM for this recipe…I’ve been a vegetarian for some time and this surely looks like a must try…as usual. :)

    Feb 27, 2009 | 7:23 am

  7. socky says:

    I love buckwheat noodles. For a truly vegetarian and healthy meal, I top it with lightly fried (or grilled) tofu and strips of nori or seaweed (also available in supermarkets.)


    Feb 27, 2009 | 7:40 am

  8. millet says:

    i love soba. i sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and strips of nori for added flavor and texture. MM, one TEENY-TINY slice, promise?

    Feb 27, 2009 | 8:14 am

  9. michelle o says:

    Soba is great. I also do something like this for my little boy. He loves it. Plus it’s so quick.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 8:23 am

  10. Jaja says:

    I love soba noodles. never fail to order that whenever we eat at a japanese restaurant. I have not tried to prepare it at home though. But with your post, it seems easy to prepare so I’m gonna try to do it at home =)Thanks MM for the idea!

    Feb 27, 2009 | 8:39 am

  11. APM says:

    Hi Marketman,

    Try to cut the shrimp out. They have a lot of cholesterol. Have you ever tried the Waton Pork at Hachin grocery. Great source of protein high in omega 3 with low cholesterol.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 9:50 am

  12. Marketman says:

    Hi APM, you may want to peruse this link, as it clears up some of the misconceptions about shrimp cholesterol, which is less bad than some might think. Besides, in the dish above, there is the equivalent of 2 prawns at most…

    Feb 27, 2009 | 10:14 am

  13. juli says:

    My boss had dangerously high cholesterol so he changed his eating habits. Only eat fish once a week at home and meat only when dining out. Only vegetarian food at home, fresh grapefruit juice in the morning and no eggs or butter. I’ve worked here for 7 years, his cholesterol level is now normal and he is 64 yrs old.

    Might want to try this.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 10:39 am

  14. Marketman says:

    juli et al, actually, in many folks, I think food only accounts for roughly 20-30% of one’s cholesterol levels… with exercise and most significantly, hereditary factors and one’s reaction to stress and creation of adrenalin that is not used up being the major factor for cholesterol. Yes, one needs to change diet as much as possible, but this might only help so much. Personally, if I were to look forward to a life of 40 more years but only eating oatmeal and such, I think I would rather live much shorter and eat everything in reasonable moderation… :)

    Feb 27, 2009 | 11:44 am

  15. zena says:

    As part of my work, I have done some reading (scientific journals) regarding the effects of regular exercise on cholesterol and blood pressure. Hands down, given the same diet, regular aerobic exercise, 5x/week was effective. Of course, with diet, the effect was very significant.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 12:57 pm

  16. bagito says:

    I can personally attest to exercise as a really good way to get the cholesterol level down. My cholesterol level was always 200+ but after exercising regularly for a few months and watching what I ate, my cholesterol went down to 179. Of course, I also lost 19 lbs in the process but to lose 30+ cholest pts w/o taking any medication was awesome in my book. But I haven’t gone to the gym in a while and dread to think what the next blood test results will be. (yikes)

    P.S. Love the psychedelic blue chopsticks!

    Feb 27, 2009 | 1:37 pm

  17. dizzy says:

    Hi Mr. MM, a study commissioned by the coca-cola company reveals that coke and other coke products are actually good for you. hehe.

    goodluck in finding the right balance for your improved health.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 2:16 pm

  18. ariel says:

    me too i have to stop drinking coke zero. i am starting to walk everyday about 1 cd worth of music (about an hour).
    that’s how i measure my exercise time by the length of music
    i listen to in my ipod. Walking outside is lot easier than walking in a treadmill. is the dipping sauce for the buckwheat noodles?

    Feb 27, 2009 | 3:04 pm

  19. Fabian M says:

    Thanks for the semi-vegetarian post MM. :)

    Will be checking out this place for recipes more often, as I’ve decided that it’s a good idea to cook. :D

    Feb 27, 2009 | 3:17 pm

  20. APM says:

    Thanks for the link Marketman! I stand corrected.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 4:44 pm

  21. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, do you know that fatty liver is an ideal condition for use in the preparation of foie gras……hehehehe.

    Anyway, I too had fatty liver and after a regiment of diet and medication am back to acceptable levels. The doctor said just to take everything in moderation.

    Coke as skin lightener?….maybe not. I do remember bathing in coke (maybe a myth) to get a darker tan while sunbathing.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 8:54 pm

  22. wahini says:

    MM, do you know where i can get my hands on some fennel in cebu? i’ve been in dire search of it here and can’t seem to track it down.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 9:56 pm

  23. Gina says:


    Hi MM. Yikes, one measly can of diet coke? The jury is still out on this one. The study’s results are puzzling and therefore deserve more investigation. One must also distinguish between a correlation (diet soda is associated with metabolic syndrome) and causality (the study does not say diet soda causes metabolic syndrome). I really suspect it is more the food one eats WITH the diet soda, rather than the beverage itself, that is contributing to the increased incidence of metabolic syndrome. I am intrigued by the caramel theory though; perhaps that’s the culprit.

    Here’s something to consider, MM. If you are going to boost your exercise regimen AND eat “lighter” meals AND abstain from diet coke in the next 40-50 days, you will not be able to attribute a lowering of your cholesterol levels to your diet coke abstinence alone. There are 3 factors at play here and, chances are, your cholesterol numbers after 40-50 days will reflect the combined (most likely good) effect of all three. If you really want to see the effect of coke deprivation alone, you have to isolate it. I would be very interested to know the result of this one.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 11:08 pm

  24. Jescel says:

    This meal looks soo good (and yeah, healthy). I love buckwheat noodles. You might want to start using olive oil in your cooking too (though I know it’s expensive), but it’s said to help increase our good cholesterol.

    Feb 27, 2009 | 11:13 pm

  25. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Wahini…I’ve seen them at Metro Ayala Supermarket and Tinderbox. Also on occassion at Island Market

    Feb 27, 2009 | 11:18 pm

  26. zarina says:

    I agree with going healthy but isn’t it expensive especially in the philippines to buy all those veggies let alone a crown of broccoli?

    I will try this recipe baka lang pumayat ako LOL!

    Thanks again MM!

    Feb 27, 2009 | 11:27 pm

  27. albenia says:

    Thank you for this recipe. Also would it be possible for you to tell me whether I need to boil the eggs before I immerse them on the salted water to make them itlog na maalat or do I wait till after 6 weeks before I boiled them. Mrs. Betty Q. is it possible for you to share the award winning chocolate cake recipe to me? If you cann’t I’ll understand.

    Feb 28, 2009 | 12:02 am

  28. albenia says:

    Thank you for this recipe. Also would it be possible for you to tell me whether I need to boil the eggs before I immerse them on the salted water to make them itlog na maalat or do I wait till after 6 weeks before I boiled them. Mrs. Betty Q. is it possible for you to share the award winning chocolate cake recipe to me? If you cann’t I’ll understand.

    Feb 28, 2009 | 12:02 am

  29. betty q. says:

    Ariel: Homemade version…I am not Japanese ..maybe those in Japan can give you a better version. What I do at home though is mix: TO TASTE: start with LIGHT SOY and add Mirin (Japanese sweetened rice wine) or you can sub using sherry and add TOUCH OF simple syrup or sugar or Splenda and a bit of DASHI (fish stock). Then grate some daikon and put in a small bowl. If too WINE-Y for you, let it (the soy and the sherry) come to a boil and let it cool.

    A small bottle of this if you buy can be quite pricey…not expensive at all if you have the ingredients already at home!

    To serve…buckwheat noodles in a bowl….then accompaniments in small bowls (you can use sake cups): the soy/mirin dressing…grated daikon….furikake (sweetened bonito flakes, sesame seeds, pinch of cayenne if you want zip, sesasoned salt, nori strips…scallions (sliced thinly diagonally).

    Feb 28, 2009 | 12:15 am

  30. Nina says:

    Sorry, it’s off the current subject, but does anybody know when the Bobby Chinn of World Café Asia featuring MM will show in the East Coast? Or, was it shown already and does anybody have it in youtubed it? Thanks.

    Feb 28, 2009 | 12:16 am

  31. Maria Clara says:

    Like soba salad with match sticks cut cucumber, carrots and my dressing is made out of rice vinegar, kikkoman soy sauce, mirin, grated ginger, smooth peanut butter and sesame oil. Toss and mix everything in a bowl and top it with toasted sesame seeds, toasted crumbled nori and sliced green onion. No exact measurement, my taste is my guide. BettyQ: your soba dressing sounds very good. Thanks for sharing. I will make it.

    Feb 28, 2009 | 2:35 am

  32. kim says:

    with veges, i sometimes just steam mine, especially asparagus & broccoli, then sprinkle some light soy, lemon, garlic powder & black pepper … healthy & yummy !

    cold sobas are really good esp if eaten like a real jap … slurp-it :)

    Feb 28, 2009 | 2:42 am

  33. betty q. says:

    Maria Clara: your dressing is really good…cold soba tossed withjustyour dressing just as it is…then have barbecued black cod with it…hay!!!!

    Oh, sorry, MM…off topic, too! just have to tell MC and Alilay!…in our household, when I make just enough food for four …ubos agad BUT when I make more than enough to feed aN ARMY, HINDI PINAPANSIN SA BAHAY…like I made Hainanese Chicken yesterday (Thursday)…my family’s favorite….hindi pinansin! So I recycled it for lunch TODAY nila by putting the rice, in a pot and added the liquid for the poached chicken and boiled it to death much like arroz caldo…Then I scooped it into a bowl, added thinly sliced HAINANESE chicken, topped it with sliced shitaki mushrooms, the ginger-scallion sauce, the 5 spiced dip …just a drop and also a drop of sesame oil…some saffron threads…HAY! UBOS Lahat! They asked me what it was….I said a GLORIFIED ARROZ CALDO!!!…You have to try it!!! Then just go to Chinese bakery and buy the CHINESE DOUGHNUT!!!

    Feb 28, 2009 | 3:18 am

  34. Maria Clara says:

    Thanks BettyQ and MM for the tip. Anything new in form even it is the same substance looks appetizing. I believe it is the curiosity factor that kicks in and brings up the appetite to high gear! All I can say BettyQ your innovative and ingenous talent shows up!

    Feb 28, 2009 | 3:25 am

  35. betty q. says:

    MM. what is the weather there like now? If it is summer, then have to eat something cold and refreshing…try a square of SMOOTH tofu, drained and top it with the Ginger-Sesame dressing that ZENA’s MOM likes, garnished with furikake and thinly sliced scallions. I make bottles of the GInger-Sesame dressing and give it to my neighbours so they can make their own Cold Tofu thingey!!! I think MC”S cold soba dressing would do wonders for this plain tofu as well!

    Try it,mga Mrs. IT is excellent and “heart” healthy!

    Feb 28, 2009 | 4:03 am

  36. Maria Clara says:

    BettyQ: furikake is this the shaved dried bonito that comes in a clear plastic packet at oriental market? Is it different from dashi? Thanks in advance.

    Feb 28, 2009 | 4:31 am

  37. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Cold soba is so good. I will try bettyq and Maria Clara’s sauces. Bettyq,read all the posts since the 24th and came across your cookie recipe. Will try that. I have been quiet as our SERVER went bonkers so we had no internet since the 24th. Gee,I had withdrawal symptoms…Marketman,will do the same to other veggies. I too have to watch my choles…..

    Feb 28, 2009 | 6:41 am

  38. betty q. says:

    MC: Furikake can come in pouches or small bottles. It has shaved bonito flakes, sesame seeds, nori strips and some more stuff. I’m out of it so i cannot list the other ingredients now. But the one in pouches I think says…RICE TOPPING as well. Dashi on the other hand is straight bonito I think mainly used for stock…like for miso soup.

    Feb 28, 2009 | 7:43 am

  39. kanela says:

    Another alternative would be sauteing the veggies with Japanese miso paste. Or using a peanut-sesame sauce.

    Mar 1, 2009 | 10:17 am

  40. chris says:

    hi mm community. kamusta na po mr.mm, bettyq, marissewalangkaparis, dadd-f, and others. been out of network for sometime and i missed lots of info. thanks for posting info relevant for the season. what other meatless dishes can we serve other than the usual guisadong gulay, pakbet, bulanglang, monggo guisado, paksiw, sarciado, etc? thanks a lot.

    bettyq, i like the way you recycled your hainanese chicken. this time its okay to make some more chicken because it will be ressurected into some form. thanks and keep it coming.

    marissewalangkaparis, yes… hope we get to have that mini-eb after march or the holyweek season…

    dadd-f: i made your version of the home-made yogurt. its superdali. parang sourdough, nagtatabi na ako ng starter for next batch.

    have a great march 2009 everyone!

    Mar 1, 2009 | 6:45 pm

  41. Maki says:

    The pasta looks like earthworms.. lovely though..and looks yummy.. ^___^

    Mar 2, 2009 | 6:55 pm

  42. jun says:

    The soba actuallty lowers cholersterol and high blood pressure. It is best eaten cold with ice….Also simmering it with green tea will elavate the taste further. There is an available dipping sauce in a bottle that you can buy in any supermarket or japanese specialty store and mix the dipping sauce with a bit of wasabi and spring onion. This is one of our quick 5 mins meal.

    Mar 3, 2009 | 7:12 am

  43. jun says:

    By the way MM and Readers start including gabi on your sinigang as it will help you to be healthy and mag mumukhang bata pa kayo minus all the wrinkles. You don’t need Vicky Belo.

    There is a village in Japan called Yuzuri Hara where the residents regularly live to over ninety or more – and are still amazingly fit and healthy, not to mention youthful – fewer wrinkles than the average 50-year old. Amazingly ‘The doctor is in danger of becoming redundant. Diseases such as cancer and Alzheimers are virtually unknown here, even among heavy smokers.

    Read on this link

    Mar 3, 2009 | 7:32 am

  44. Vicky Go says:

    I usually make myself a light lunch by cooking a bundle of soba noodles & cooling it off right away under cold running water. I add furikake (I keep a few different kinds in jars), S&P, sesame seeds & oil & then some Maggi original or calamansi flavored (I probably pay a premium for these at the Asian market I get it from in Bloomfield, NJ) & then some chopped scallions.

    Sometimes, instead of furikake, I add some bagged sea weeds or some preserved Chinese veggies (radishes and snow cabbage).

    Its simple & light & satisfying. and yes, meatless!

    Mar 5, 2009 | 4:49 am

  45. yhan says:

    hi MM, i really like your veggie dish above (the stir fried one) and im looking forward to make one for my husband, i just want to ask where can i buy bonito flakes, any familiar supermarket here in QC or manila, im a stay at home mom and i want to make miso soup and simmered dishes for my hubby since it’s his favorite..and can you send me some less cholesterol dishes because my in-laws and my husband are “high-blood people” and i want to serve them delicious yet healthy foods. thank you very much

    Apr 19, 2010 | 1:30 pm


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