Cooking Tutorial: Baked Kale or Kai Lan Chips!

First of all, let me just tell you how sorry I am for not blogging for THREE whole weeks. T_T

WTF. I did not even realize that time passed so fast. I honestly just cannot grasp how fast 2013 has gone by. Life has never passed me by this quickly. I swear the last time I checked it was only a week since I last blogged…. I thought I’d make it up to you all by posting an extremely simple, healthy, and delicious recipe that even ultra kitchen goondu idiots could whip up in 15 minutes!!!!!

So here’s the deal.

I like chips. Unhealthy chips like the ones made from potato. I like them a lot. Here’s another thing for ya. I like seaweed. Probably more than I should because I can eat an alarming amount of seaweed at one go. And then here’s the last thing. I am on a diet…. of sorts. (No, not really actually.) I kind of eat whatever I want, however potato chips just seem to be far down my list of Food Eating Priorities considering it’s junk food but the calories are ridiculously high. What would be the most sensible thing to do?

Eat a carb-free, low-calorie VEGETABLE chip that tastes like seaweed, so that I can snack away without any guilt or repercussions whatsoever!!! In fact, I could eat this everyday and lose weight! This is the magic vegetable that makes it all happen.

Kale.

A dark green, leafy, curled at the edges sort of power vegetable.

Heard of it before? If you haven’t, that’s okay, you probably live in Asia where kale is pretty much non-existent. Probably something like 90% of Singaporeans have no idea what kale is. (Random statistic pulled out of my ass) What we have in everyone’s households instead, is a relative of Kale called the Kai Lan.

Let’s talk about Kale first. I have always seen fitness and “Real Food” enthusiasts talk about Kale like it’s the god of vegetables. About how it’s good for your body it is, and how incredibly yummy it tasted. So, naturally curiosity (or gluttony) got the better of me and I set out on a random hunt for the elusive Kale in Singapore, only to realize that absolutely NOWHERE has Kale in stock. I’ve been to Sheng Siong, NTUC, Cold Storage, etc….. couldn’t find any at any supermarket. Finally, sheer luck should have it that one fine day I chanced upon it at North Point’s Cold Storage when I wasn’t even looking out for it!!! Wooohooo!!!!! I was so excited to finally hold Kale in my arms. It was like holding my long lost lover or a twin sister I haven’t seen in 10 years. Never did a veg excite me so much before.

However….. I was mortified to realize that a small packet of Kale was 6 WHOLE DOLLARS. I’m assuming because it’s organic and, well, hard to find in Singapore.. maybe difficult to grow, as well? Cursing under my breath for buying a vegetable that is more expensive than a lot of cuts of meat, I bought the $6 Kale, thinking I’d just try baking kale chips once and get it over and done with to satisfy my curiosity. Little did I know that trying it once would only make me want to eat it again and again. I’m dumbfounded by how simple and brilliant this is, so I HAD to share it with y’all. I don’t often share recipes, but when I do… you know it’s going to be something worth waiting for ;)

YOU WILL NEED: (this recipe makes however much or little you want to make)

♥ — Kale, or Kai Lan for people who can’t find Kale (or do not want to pay $6 for it)
♥ — Olive Oil
♥ — Salt & Pepper 
♥ — Onion / Garlic Powder Seasoning (or your favorite bottled seasoning)
♥ — A large baking tray and baking paper

Step 1: Wash the vegetable, then remove the stems completely and dry thoroughly with a kitchen towel. It’s important to remove every last bit of stem and water, then tear the leaves into relatively large bite sized pieces while noting that the size will shrink more when baked.

Step 2: Line your baking tray with baking paper, arrange the vegetable pieces onto your tray, preferably not touching each other. Drizzle a litle bit of olive oil (I like using extra virgin), sprinkle salt, seasoning and black pepper over sparingly. A little goes a real long way with this recipe. Add just a bit, then you can taste test it after it’s been baked and add more if need be. You can refer to the picture above to see approximately how much seasoning and olive oil I added. Don’t mix the veg through with the oil, just bake it as is so that you get a slight variation of flavors and consistency through the pieces of vegetable. 

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And that’s all it for the preparation!!!! Pop it into a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees to bake and crisp up for 8 minutes, or until the veg has turned crispy and changed a bit of color. (By changed color I don’t mean brown – I mean patches of different green) The baking time will vary a LOT depending on 1) Amount of vegetable you’re using. 2) Whether you’re using kale or kai lan, I find kai lan takes longer to crisp up 3) Your oven’s settings and functionality…. So please monitor closely and judge for yourself.

But it’s not rocket science, people. keep an eye on your veg. It can change from ultra crispy to burnt pieces of crap in a matter of 2 minutes, so you don’t want to leave it unattended for too long. I would recommend checking the consistency after 5 minutes, then decide from there how much more time it needs in the oven. 


The result?





Delicious and CRAZILY addictive vegetable chips that will leave you popping them into your mouth so quick, you’ll wonder where your $6 went. I swear they’re better than the any sort of packeted potato chips to me. They also sorta taste like my favorite Korean seaweed sheets, but with more texture and bite, and minus the preservatives. They’re BLOODY AWESOME, in short. They may not LOOK all that crispy or appetizing to you but it has amazing sound effects when you chew on them like “grrncchhh kkrrtthhh” with every bite – you know, the sound that over-the-top crispy food makes. I liked them so much I put them on toasted buttered garlic ciabatta for an awesome lunch… yippeee!!!  

But my favorite way to eat this is by its own, using my hand. I can finish a whole plate of this within 5 minutes. 


Another meal idea for kale chips – eat it with grilled fish!!!  The flavors go together sooo well, what with the saltiness and texture of curly kale chips with mild, tender white fish. It’s so tasty while being as low carb as possible – perfectly delectable diet food! As you can see here, my kale chips are just a tad too brown. Like I said, goes from crispy to burnt very quickly, and that time I wasn’t giving it enough tender loving care.. :P





Oh yes – if you REALLY can’t find Kale, you are also welcome to try this recipe with your commonly found Kai Lan…. thanks to a follow on Instagram for this suggestion! 

It’s exactly the same recipe and preparation method as the kale version. This is what my kai lan chips that I made earlier looked like. Because Kai Lan isn’t as thick or curly (or yummy hahaha) as Kale, it turned out quite different. Not as much chewy texture and it’s not as epic as kale chips BUT still a decent fix if Kale has somehow eluded you once again. But the basic concept and idea is the same – crispy, addictive vegetable chips. Also, it’s a lot more affordable than Kale!!!! 

I served my kai lan chips with milky cheesy scrambled eggs for my quick fix of a lunch this afternoon!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Perfect combo that goes together like coke and fries. Strangely satisfying for a meal that is meat-free, low-carb and took 15 minutes to prepare and cook. While the chips were baking, I fried up my scrambled eggs!

You HAVE to try this if you love chips or seaweed!

 Or, if you just like trying new things in the kitchen in general. It’s a fun experiment for 15 minutes, even if you don’t end up making this a staple in your home cooked food menu like I did. :) And it’s perfect for all you health and diet watchers out there. There are few recipes in this world that are so fuss-free and good for you, so I’m happy that I can share this with you all. I think vegetable chips are still a relatively alien idea in Singapore (the closest I’ve seen to it were deep fried asparagus and kang kong, but fried stuff isn’t healthy and doesn’t count!) why don’t you guys try making this for your partner, friends or family one day, and see what they think of this innovative food idea? ;) Perfect for a mid noon snack! In fact I may just go make more to munch on tomorrow!!!