I got this recipe from CDAC website (CDAC – Chinese Development Assistance Council) some months ago.

In my voluntary work, I meet homemakers who require inexpensive easy recipes to cook for their families. Some of whom survive on fifty dollars a week to feed a family of five or a single mum who is still forever waiting for the estranged spouse to hand over his dutiful alimony.. And then there are other mums who are employed outside the home so they have to prepare all the meals before they leave for work-they might have hungry primary-school going children who will come back from school and will help themselves to a home-cooked meal prepared with love.

Another factor that has been influencing my choice of ‘frugal recipes’ to include on my blog is the multi-cultural multi-racial society of Singapore, the city I reside in. For example, in our community, Muslims do not eat pork and there are others for maybe religous reasons do not eat beef.

I think that is the primary reason why I like to scour the websites of **Community Self-Help Groups (CSHGs) in Singapore. (see below this blog article for a brief explanation of CSHGs) Their respective websites provide  the communities they assist with effective resources for example useful parenting tips and recipe ideas to live optimally within one’s means.

Without further ado, this is the recipe.

Claypot Vegetarian Brown Rice (adapted)
(4 servings)
Brown rice (uncooked) 2 cups^
Pumpkin, cut into cubes 200 g
Small carrot, cut into cubes 1
Long beans, cut into bite-sized pieces 3 stalks
Fresh mushrooms, cut into cubes 3
Garlic, minced 1 tsp
Spring onion, chopped finely 2 stalks
Vegetable stock 1 cube dissolved or broken up into water*
Oil 1 tbsp

Vegetarian oyster sauce 2 tbsp
Pepper A dash

^ I used the plastic cup provided with my rice cooker
* the amount of water I  used almost touched the ‘2 cups’ mark in the rice cooker

I have been cooking this alot, on a weekly basis at home,or for potlucks when we have other vegetarians or for Muslim friends.

It is a very frugal recipe. Assuming you have the brown rice, garlic, spring onion (you can substitute with any other onion), vegetable stock, oil, vegetarian oyster sauce and pepper already in your pantries, then the cost of each serving of this recipe is only S$0.60.

The breakdown of costs (I doubled the recipe)for the ingredients I have to buy is as follows:

Long Beans (200g) – $1.10
Pumpkin (780g) – $1.70
2 medium carrots – $1.20
Shitake mushrooms (chosen because of its high nutritional value but can replace with other mushrooms) – $2.00
TOTAL COST  – $6.00
Divide into 2 portions (each portion is $3)
Each portion to serve 4- 5 servings ($3 divide by 5 is $0.60 per serving)

Ingredients from our local supermarket for this dish (the costs will vary with each trip but very slight)

Do note that if  you follow the recipe to the letter, the above list of ingredients will cook double portions of the recipe.

To sidetrack a bit, I had no choice but to double the recipe because most long beans are not sold by three strands only and most pumpkins’ weight is 500 to 700 plus grams in our local supermarket.

So what I usually do is (might as well optimise time and energy!) I just doubled the recipe, chopped and cut all the ingredients one time and cooked half (the other half goes into the fridge to cook the next day)

Another best thing is I just place everything into the rice cooker to cook and just press ‘brown rice’ once and this dish will just cook ‘on its own’. (if you have no brown rice function on your rice cooker, then just press the rice cooker button twice if you think after one time cookng, your brown rice is not cooked through and through.

One-pot cooking at its best!

The current brand of brown rice I use conveniently obtained from the local supermarket

Other cook’s notes include :

1.I use this brown rice from NTUC supermarket (see picture above) – the cost is affordable and the taste is palatable (I just got feedback from a mum that she substituted brown rice with white rice and it was absolutely yummy! Her example is a good testimony of what it means to cook with whatever one has from the pantry first!)
2.I use one vegetarian stock cube for 2 cups of raw brown rice and I put water up to the ‘2 cups’ water level.
3.One can substitute pumpkin with sweet potato(more filling) and long bean with french bean too (according to your family’s preferences.)

The finished product looks like this:

Just scoop and makan ( in Malay it means ‘eat’)

Sometimes I scoop the rice into smaller bowls and keep them in the fridge : when one’s appetite is slightly ‘off’, just taking a smaller serving of brown rice to keep one continually nourished is very well received!

So to All Cooks out there – Happy Stress-free cooking!!



** In Singapore the CSHGs constitute the CDAC (Chinese Development Assistance Council, ECF (Eurasian Association), Mendaki (Yayasan Mendaki), AMP (Association Of Muslim Professionals) and SINDA (Singapore Indian Development Association)  And as seen on the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) website, CSHGs focus on helping the lower-income group within their own community though educational inititatives, social services as well as with worker trainer assistance.