Discover the secret formula

Whenever I set foot in the kitchen to create a meal or begin a cookup, I always apply a formula. That may sound a little weird, but it will make sense very shortly.


Colour = The more colour on your plate, the more potential you have for fat-burning. Try to “eat rainbows”. The brighter and deeper the colour, the more nutritious the plant food is for you.

Texture = Taste/Sight/Smell. Make sure there is sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and spiciness in each meal. Top it off with lots of crunch and you will have a very satisfying experience for your body. This week at our nutrition session, one of the ladies said, “You taste with your eyes!” How true! How often do we say, “Wow, that looks amazing.”

Variety = We have access to so much fresh fruit, vegetables and meats these days. There is no excuse for a lack of variety. However, most of us stick to the same 7 food selections on a daily basis. Get adventurous. Add some asparagus to your stir-fry. It will add colour, crunch and variety. Variety can also relate to how we cut up our food as well. Try slicing instead of dicing; julienne instead of grating.

Volume = This refers to the amount of food on your plate. Yes! Add more munch and crunch to fire up your metabolism, fill you with awesome fibre and get loads of nutrients. Volume also relates to the amount of food you cook. Never cook just one meal at a time. Make double so that you have leftovers for that busy night after kids’ activities or when you come home from work and can’t be bothered.

Here is a recipe that ticks all of the CTVV boxes. It certainly passed the taste test with our students this week.


Cooking & Prep time: 20 minutes

Serves 9-10


2 tbls sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 ts minced garlic

1 tbls freshly grated or minced ginger

1 tbls lemongrass paste

4 generous tbls red curry paste, (depending on strength). Ensure you read the label and choose one with low sugar and saturated fat. Some of them are wickedly high in both

1 brown onion, sliced

1kg chicken tenderloins

1 tbls kaffir lime leaves

5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped

500 mls Vitasoy unsweetened coconut milk

2 cups cauliflower, finely chopped

2 cups broccoli, finely chopped

2 large carrots, sliced on angle or diced

1 small red, yellow and green capsicum sliced into lengths

200 g fresh green beans, cut into 2 cm pieces

400g pumpkin, cubed and pre-cooked

1 can water chestnuts

1 medium eggplant, cubed and pre-cooked

1/2 cup fresh corriander

1 tbls fish sauce

1-2 ts brown sugar/natvia sweetener


* note – pre cook pumpkin and eggplant for 6 minutes in microwave to soften

* garnish – 2 green spring onions sliced diagonally, 1 small red chili sliced diagonally, light sprinkle of crushed nuts or seeds on top.


  1. Heat sesame oil in a large electric fry-pan over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and lemongrass paste. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the flavour is released. Add curry paste and let sizzle for a few seconds, stirring frequently.
  2. Add onions and cook for 1-2 minutes until they soften, stirring.
  3. Make a circle in the middle of the frypan, add chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes. Make sure chicken is evenly coated with the gorgeous spice mix.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, stirring well to blend. Cover with the lid, bringing to the boil. After 2-3 minutes, remove the lid, give the mix a good stir and reduce the temperature to medium heat.
  5. Add lime and basil leaves, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. Place lid on top and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and add beans, chestnuts and the pre-cooked pumpkin and eggplant. Stir well.
  7. Finally, add the fish sauce and sugar. Do a taste test and adjust flavours accordingly by adding a little more fish sauce for saltiness. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Spoon the curry onto a large platter or individual bowls and garnish. Remember to have your containers ready to place the leftovers in. This recipe is suitable to freeze.