New-Fashioned Corn Pudding

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1 large white or yellow onion, finely diced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the onions
2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and minced
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 cobs)
3/4 cup grated sharp-as-possible cheddar
6 tablespoons cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Set a medium skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When it’s melted, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Turn off the heat.

Add the garlic and mustard, and stir. Let cool while you tend to the rest of the recipe.

Heat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9×9 inch baking dish (or other 1 1/2 quart–sized baking dish).

Combine the cream, buttermilk, eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and hot sauce in a bowl or measuring cup. Whisk with a fork until smooth.

Combine the corn kernels, cheddar, cornmeal, and baking powder in another, larger bowl. Stir with a spoon or rubber spatula until combined.

Add the cooled onion mixture and stir. Add the liquid mixture and stir.

Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes until the casserole has puffed up, is deeply browned along the edges, and browning on top. Cool for a few minutes before serving.

Paneer Bhurjee with English Peas

For the onion masala with English peas:

4 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 tablespoon mustard seeds
3 cups freshly diced onions
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
1 tablespoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups blanched English peas
1 tablespoon fresh chilies, sliced

Homemade paneer (recipe below)
1/4 cup cilantro chiffonade
1/4 cup mint chiffonade

Place a large sauté pan over moderate heat and add the canola oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop like popcorn.

Add the onions and continue to cook over moderate heat until they cook down and start to caramelize.

Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, cooking for about 4 minutes.

Add the cumin, cayenne, and turmeric and cook for 2 minutes.

Then, add the tomatoes and cook until the entire mixture thickens.

Season with salt, to taste. (This mixture can be pre-made and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

Stir in the English peas and fresh chilies, combining until they heat up in the mixture.

Finally, stir in the homemade paneer, mint, and cilantro. Mix well and season with salt, to taste. Serve with crusty bread.

For the homemade paneer:

1 gallon organic whole fat milk
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice
3 cups ice

In a large pan, slow bring the milk to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Once the milk is boiling, stir in the salt.

Add the lime juice gradually, gently stirring to curdle the milk.

Once the curd separates, let cook for 1 minute.

Shock the mixture with ice, then drain into a single layer of cheese cloth. The paneer should be soft, moist, and creamy.

(For firmer paneer: Drain it for longer. For solid paneer: Place it into a muslin cloth and into a paneer mold; press it with a lid and put a water-filled jar or bowl on top to apply pressure; remove the paneer from the mold after 1-2 hours.) If you don’t plan on using the paneer right away, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Claypot Chicken and Rice

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 thumb ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
4 chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 6 pieces
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons basmati rice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
250ml chicken stock

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and gently soften the onion.

Add the ginger and garlic and cook for a minute.

Put the brown sugar, rice and fish sauce into the pan, give it all a good stir then add the chicken and the stock.

Simmer gently for 12-15 minutes until the chicken and the rice is cooked.

Serve with a little chilli sauce if desired.

Khao Suey (Burmese Curry Noodle Soup)

For the curry base

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken, cubed
2 teaspoons powdered coriander
1 teaspoon powdered cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1/2 cup puréed tomatoes (optional)
2 tablespoons tamari
3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup coconut milk
1 medium zucchini, halved and thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped cauliflower
6 ounces rice noodles (medium thickness), preferably fresh
1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

To garnish

1/4 cup oil for frying
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
Sliced jalapeno peppers
Sliced scallions
Thinly sliced carrots

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil, add the red onion, and cook for about five minutes, until soft and wilted. Keep stirring until the onion begins to turn pale golden at the edges.

Add the finely grated ginger and the garlic and mix well.

Add the chicken, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and red cayenne pepper and mix well. Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes, until no longer pink.

Add in the puréed tomatoes if using and the tamari or soy sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Mix in the broth and the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the zucchini, red bell pepper, and the cauliflower and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add in the noodles and cook until they’re al dente (if using fresh rice noodles, this will only take a couple of minutes).

While the soup is cooking, heat the oil and fry the garlic until crisp and golden. Lift out with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.

Add the thinly sliced shallots to the hot oil and fry until crisp and place in a bowl.

Arrange the remaining garnishes in individual bowls and serve with the noodle soup. Cut the lime, squeeze the juice into the soup, and add in the chopped cilantro. Serve with the garnishes.

Burmese Tomato Salad

250 grams tomatoes (approx. 2-3 medium), cut into bite size chunks
1 shallot, medium, thinly sliced
20 grams garlic, peeled
5 grams green chilis (Thai bird chilis), roughly chopped
15 grams roasted peanuts (Planters work just fine), coarsely crushed. Choose your weapon to crush: mortar and pestle, rolling pin, can of soup.
1-2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced into hair-like shreds
1 handful cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan), toasted. Easily found in Indian stores, Asian stores, or other specialty stores.
2 tablespoons “tep say an lien” or crisp-fried, seasoned tiny shrimp (easily found in Asian stores in the ready to eat snacks aisle)
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
pinches kosher salt to taste

Begin by toasting 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour in a cast iron pan or skillet set on medium heat. Keep stirring every 2 minutes or so. At the 7-8 minute mark, it’ll start to change color and your nose will start to pick up a wonderful, nutty aroma. At this point, stir every 30 seconds or so for an additional 3-4 minutes, until it resembles the color of finely powdered graham crackers. Remove pan off the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and use any extra in Burmese-style vegetable salads or as a thickener/base in soups and curries.

Next, put garlic and green chilis in a blender and pulse a couple of times to get a chunky mix with easily distinguishable pieces of garlic and chili; at no point should it become a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok and cook the garlic-chili blend in it until it turns an even golden brown.
Carefully remove the fried garlic-chili blend gently pressing against the side of the wok as you do, so as to leave most of the oil in the wok. Wait for the wok to cool down a bit.

Next, add a 1/2 tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour into the residual oil in the wok and stir it in to instantly form an emulsified dressing of sort. Follow with tomatoes, shallot, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro and give it a good mix. At this point, you can stick it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to eat.

This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Remember to salt only when ready to eat. After salting, garnish with fried garlic-chili blend, crushed peanuts, and crisp-fried dried shrimp.

Laotian Duck and Cucumber Stir-Fry

5 medium cucumbers or 2 telegraph cucumbers, washed (choose young ones with thin, edible skin and small seed core if possible)
1/2 duck breast with skin (or equivalent in thigh meat and skin)
1 T garlic, chopped
2 T fish sauce
2 T thin soy sauce
1 T chicken stock powder (optional)
3 T oyster sauce
1/2 t sugar
1 t chilli paste to taste (optional)
1/4 C spring onion greens, finely sliced

Method

Separate the duck skin from the flesh, reserving fat. Slice the fat into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces and the skin into 2 cm (1 in) slices. Set aside. Slice the duck meat finely across the grain. Set aside.

Toss the chopped fat and skin into a heated wok set over a medium flame. Allow the fat to render down and the skin to fry until golden brown and crisp. At this stage (there will be a change in the frying sound and a fragrance released), push the crisp skin to one side. While the skin and fat are cooking, prepare the cucumbers.

Peel the cucumbers if the skin is tough and bitter; cucumber is used in this dish to impart sweetness. Slice them in thin diagonal wedges, creating slices that taper off about two-thirds of the way through the cucumber.

Add the chopped garlic to the rendered fat and then the meat. Stir fry several minutes until the colour changes. Add the crisp duck skin and then the cucumber. Mix together and stir fry until all is heated through and starting to cook. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, stock powder, oyster sauce, optional chilli paste and sugar, briefly stirring between each addition to distribute the flavours evenly and merge them together.

Cover and let cook for a few more minutes. The moisture from the cucumbers should be released to form a tasty sauce with the other flavourings, but the vegetable must not be overcooked. It should remain crisp.

Taste for flavour and adjust. Stir in the spring onion greens. Transfer to a serving bow

Lao Soop Pak

1 C Chinese cabbage, cut in small, loose leaf pieces 7 cm (2 – 3in)
1 C cauliflower flowerets (or other white vegetable)
3 fingers sized amount of bamboo shoots, pre-cooked, finely sliced (optional)
3 long beans, cut into 4 cm (1½ in) pieces (or 10 green beans)
1 bunch sawtooth herb, three fingers-width, tailed and cut in half (or coriander leaves)
1/2 – 1 C collard greens (or bok choi ), cut in 4 cm (1½ in) pieces
2 – 3 stems dill, cut into 4 cm (1½ in) lengths
2 very large or 4 medium oyster mushrooms, torn in 1 – 2 cm (½ in) wide shreds
1 large bowlful water with 1 teaspoon of salt for refreshing vegetables
1/2 large head garlic, strung on toothpicks or satay sticks for grilling
3 or more red chillies (amount to taste or omit), strung on toothpicks for grilling
2 thin slices galangal or ginger
2 T to 1/3 C sesame seeds, dry roasted. A mixture of white and black seeds is desirable, although white alone is fine.
2 T soy sauce, padek or fish sauce (or to taste)
8 C water

Method

Prepare the vegetables as described, placing the readied ones in a large bowl. Add water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Rinse vegetables in the brine, picking off any wilting pieces. Let soak briefly.

Put fresh water into the bottom of a steamer or a sticky rice pot and bring to the boil.

Toast the sesame seeds. Place in a mortar. Pound until most of the seeds are broken. Remove and set aside.

When the water comes to the boil, tip the vegetables into the steamer, allow them to drain and then place the steamer over the boiling water. Steam for 10 – 15 minutes depending on preferred crispness.

Roast the garlic and chillies. Cool. Remove their charred skins. Add the peeled garlic, chillies and galangal/ ginger to the mortar. Pound until a paste forms. Adding a dash of salt helps the blending.

When the vegetables are ready, toss them briefly in the steamer to expel the steam. Invert the steamer over a low-sided, wide bowl. Let the vegetables cool. Sprinkle them with the pounded sesame seeds and the pounded galangal/ginger and garlic paste. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Gently use your hands to mix the ingredients together well. Taste and adjust with sauce if needed.

Turn into a serving bowl, garnish with coriander and serve as part of a Lao meal. This dish goes well with sticky rice or can be used as a picnic dish.

Luang Prabang Watercress Salad

Salad

1 large bunch watercress (or 1 cup Chinese or regular celery leaves or 1 cup rocket)
4 eggs, hard-boiled, whites only; reserve the yolks for the dressing
2 C mesclun using whatever greens are available
1/2 C coriander leaves
1/2 C mint leaves
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
10 cherry tomatoes or 2 medium tomatoes

Dressing

1/3 C light oil
4 T garlic, chopped
4 egg yolks, chopped
3 T sugar
2 T fish sauce
2 T soy sauce
4 T lime juice

To finish

1/4 C dry-fried peanuts, chopped

Method

Heat a wok or pan and dry fry the peanuts. Set the nuts aside to cool. When cool, chop.

Heat the oil on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and fry until golden brown, stirring frequently so it does not burn (about 2 minutes).

While the garlic is frying, mix together the chopped egg yolks, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce in a deep bowl or screw-top jar. When the garlic is ready, remove it from the heat and cool. Add the garlic and its cooking oil to the mixture. Whisk or shake to blend well.

Add the lime juice and mix. Taste and adjust the sugar and lime juice.

Wash the watercress thoroughly in clean water; drain and discard any thick stems. Cut cherry tomatoes in halves. If using larger tomatoes, cut into wedges about 1 cm (½ in) thick at the widest part.

Assemble the salad on a large, flat plate or in a bowl by forming a bed of watercress which is topped with the other herbs and leaves, tomatoes and sliced egg whites in a nice pattern. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and sprinkle the chopped peanuts over the whole. Serve the salad immediately, as it will quickly wilt.

Variations

For a sweeter version, reduce the lime juice; for a sourer version, increase the lime juice. Do not reduce the sugar amount. Equal or other sugar substitute may be used as a replacement sweetener.

The number of eggs can be reduced to 2 or 3. The dressing will be thinner.

Save any remaining dressing in a screw-top jar and refrigerate for later use.

Jeow Bong (Luang Prabang Chili Sauce)

3 large heads of garlic (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup shallots
1 thumb-size piece of galangal chopped into small pieces
1/2 – 1 teaspoon salt
1 – 2 tablespoons dark red, roasted chilli flakes
2 teaspoons palm sugar
Water or fish sauce to thin, if needed

Roast or grill the garlic and shallots until cooked through. Meanwhile, in a mortar pound the galangal.

Peel the garlic cloves and shallots, add to the mortar along with the salt and pound to a paste. Stir in the chilli flakes. Add the sugar and pound to mix. Taste and add water, fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarians) or more chilli flakes.

Transfer the mixture to a small frying pan and dry fry on a very low heat for 10 minutes until rich, dark and aromatic. The flavour develops over time.

Khao Soi Meat Sauce (Lao Pork Sauce) for Soup

4 big cloves garlic
1 cup fermented soybean paste (actually 3 heaped Chinese soup spoons)
3 – 4 tablespoons (actually 2 heaped Chinese soup spoons) mild chilli powder, brightly coloured – not from bird’s eye chillies
3 – 4 tablespoons (actually 2 heaped Chinese soup spoons) coarser dried chilli flakes
750 g fatty pork such as belly pork, minced (3 big handfuls when minced), or a mix of pork and beef which is evidently especially delicious.
1 cup palm oil (or other vegetable oil, but not coconut, mustard or olive oil)
Salt to taste
MSG to personal taste
2 tomatoes, sliced in small wedges

Put the garlic cloves and ½ teaspoon of salt in a mortar and pound for a minute.

In a hot wok or frying pan, add the cup of oil. When heated, slip in the garlic mixture and fry while moving it about until the garlic is browned. Before it burns (!!), add about 1 cup of tua nao paste and stir to mix. Continue to fry together until the oil returns.

Add the two types of chilli and keep on frying, while moving the sauce around the pan.

Add the tomato slices and stir fry until the moisture comes out. The paste is ready when it smells good and the tomato has started disintegrating.

Add the minced pork, 2 teaspoons more salt (or to taste) and 1 – 2 tablespoons of MSG. (Remember, this is a very concentrated sauce expected to last a few days refrigerated (hence the oil, salt and pork fat) and to serve many people).

Keep on frying until the meat is thoroughly cooked then thin with water to a thick Western savory mince consistency. Then, um, add another tablespoon of MSG and stir to mix in. Continue to cook until the oil returns again and then transfer to a deep bowl to cool. In the cold, the fat in the sauce will solidify. It is the oil, chilli and reduced water content that preserves the sauce.

For soup:

Rice noodles

250 g pork bits

Half a pot of water (2 – 4 litres depending on how many people you have to feed, ours fed four with plenty left over. Don’t worry about the quantity because all the flavour comes from the sauce and condiments added later. This bland soup is to heat the noodles and cook the pork which is added to the dish when serving.)

Bring the water to the boil. Add the slices of fatty pork. Simmer away while preparing the accompaniments until the meat is cooked.

Accompaniments and garnish:

Finely chopped or sliced spring onions and coriander leaves, 1 tablespoon for each bowl being served

Pea or soy bean tendrils (or Chinese flowering cabbage), raw or blanched, to your taste

Lettuce, fresh

Coriander (cilantro), smallest you can get, roots removed, fresh

MSG or Soy sauce

lime wedges or juice

crunchy and feather-light beef rinds

Put two thirds of a bowl of noodles in each bowl and top it up with the boiling stock.

Add the pork, a good hit of the meat sauce (1 very heaped Chinese spoonful, 3 – 4 level tablespoons) and sprinkle over the chopped spring onion and coriander.

Each bowl is served piping hot and ready to doctor with any or all of the condiments and additional spicy meat sauce.

Tai Neua Jaew (Laotian Ginger, Garlic, and Soybean Paste)

1 knob ginger, the size of three fingers
6 big garlic cloves
15 small dried chillies, not bird’s eye chillies
3 – 4 tablespoons (2 rounded Chinese soup spoons) fermented tua nao paste or substitute such as miso or Korean fermented bean paste
3 tablespoons raw cane sugar
1 tablespoon MSG
Salt, added depending on the saltiness of the khao soi paste

Pound the garlic in a mortar with half a teaspoon of salt for a minute and then add the ginger. When the paste is well integrated and squishy, remove it to a bowl and set aside.

String the chillies on a skewer and roast over the fire or gas flame or under an electric grill until semi blackened but not immolated. Deskewer into the empty mortar and pound until well mixed and broken up.

Then add thefermented bean paste and pound again. Put the ginger and the garlic paste back into mortar, pound a bit and add the sugar and MSG until all is well mixed. Taste and adjust the levels of salt, sugar and MSG to suit your own taste.

Burmese Butter and Lentil Rice

1 1/2 cups raw split-pea lentils
2 1/2 cups raw rice
2 large onions
4 T ghee
4 cardamom pods
2 cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tsp turmeric or 1/16 tsp saffron
1 cup shelled green peas
1 T salt

Wash and soak lentils ahead of time to shorten cooking time (if using corn, boil cobs, then cut off kernels). Boil lentils until halfway done. Wash and drain rice, slice onions.

Heat ghee, add spices and let aroma rise. Add half the sliced onion. When it begins to brown, add turmeric, remaining onion, green peas, lentils and salt. Stir well. If saffron is used, dissolve in 2 T hot water and add to the 4 1/2 cups of water for the rice.

Add rice, mix well, then add 4 1/2 cups water. Cover and cook over high heat. Stir once or twice before it comes to a boil. As water is absorbed, lower heat, shake pot with lid on. Continue to cook very slowly until rice is dry and fluffy, shaking pot once or twice more.

Jaew Mak Len (Lao Grilled Tomato Salsa)

Jaew Mak Len

For grilling:
10 medium tomatoes
1 head of garlic
1 large shallot
chiles (your preference)

For mixing:
1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 large handful of green onions, chopped
a glug of fish sauce
squeezed lime juice to taste
pinch of salt

First grill the vegetables, skins on, until blackened. (Laos traditionally cook over an open flame, not gas.) Peel off garlic and shallot skins, as well as the most blackened parts of tomato and chile skin.

Pound the vegetables in a mortar with a pinch of salt.

Add chopped cilantro, green onion and fish sauce; pound a bit more. Taste. Add more of anything needed. If it is too sour or bitter, add a pinch of sugar. Serve with sticky rice.

Hmong Chile-Peanut Dipping Sauce

2 T fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp MSG, optional
1-2 fresh red chile peppers, minced
1/4 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
4 green onions, white and green parts
1 small tomato, chopped (or 6 cherry tomatoes or 15 grape tomatoes)
2 T chopped raw peanuts
1 T peanut butter

In a small bowl, mix fish sauce, lime juice, salt, sugar and MSG if you are using it. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved.

Next, add the chile peppers, cilantro, green onions, tomatoes and peanuts. add the peanut butter and stir until the sauce is of uniform consistency.

Laotian Stir Fried Fish with Chili and Holy Basil

A healthy portion of white fish, thinly sliced in small pieces (anything that holds together well, without an overpowering fishy flavor)
Lots of garlic
Hot red chile, sliced thinly
Pinch of palm sugar
Pinch of bouillon or 1/4 cup soup stock
Drizzle of dark soy sauce
Heap of fresh holy basil

Heat the garlic and chile in a hot wok with oil. Stir. Toss in the fish and stir-fry quickly on high heat. Add a little water, sugar and soup or bouillon. Stir, then add basil and soy sauce, primarily for color. That’s it! It’s quick.

The dish should be hot, but not be overly sweet. It is similar to the Thai stir-fry with chile and basil, “but different cooking. In Thai, more oil, more sugar. In Lao, little oil, little sugar, more chile.”

Fiji Curry

8 cloves garlic
pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon cumin seed
2 teaspoons fenugreek
2 teaspoons coriander seed
2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
3 tablespoons curry powder (I used a Malaysian chicken curry powder)
hot red chilies to taste
chopped cilantro leaves
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
whatever meat or veggies you like, chopped (okra, purple eggplant, onion, yellow bell pepper and tomatoes)

Using a mortar and pestle (or food processor), mash garlic and salt. Add a bit of water to form a paste. Add cumin, fenugreek, coriander, mustard, curry and chilies. Pound until thoroughly mashed, adding water if necessary to form a paste.

Next, toss a sliced onion into a bit of olive oil and a pinch of the curry paste and cook until brown. Add the remaining paste, the cilantro leaves and enough water to cover the mixture; bring to a boil. Toss in your veggies and cook until tender, adding more water if necessary. Add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors. Just before removing from heat, stir in the yogurt. Top with additional cilantro leaves.

Mee Goreng

oil, for the pan
2 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon sesame or shallot oil
1-2 teaspoons chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 large boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 links Chinese sausage, sliced
1/2 lb shrimp
1 lb fresh egg noodles (or cooked dried noodles)
2 cups bean sprouts
green onions/chives, cut into 2 inch lengths
tofu puffs
crispy shallots
fresh cilantro
thai chili
lime

Start off by making the egg ribbons. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a small non-stick frying pan on medium low heat. Add a touch of oil and swirl to coat. Pour in a thin layer of egg and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan, much like a crepe. Cook, untouched over low heat until egg sets and releases. Use a rubber spatula to flip and cook for another 10-15 seconds. Remove from the pan and repeat until all the eggs are cooked. Let cool slightly, roll and slice into ribbons.

In a small bowl, mix together the kecap manis, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup, sesame oil, chili sauce and white pepper. Set aside.

Heat up a generous amount of oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until aromatic. Turn the heat up a bit and add the chicken and cook until lightly golden. Add the Chinese sausage and shrimp. Cook, stirring often, until the chicken is cooked through, the Chinese sausage is crispy, and the shrimp is cooked. Add the noodles, bean sprouts, tofu puffs, and the sauce and toss until everything is well coated and the noodles are heated through.

Enjoy immediately topped with crispy shallots and cilantro. Serve with lime for squeezing and chili for spice!

Herbed Anasazi Beans

2 cups dried Anasazi beans
olive oil
1 bunch fresh oregano, stems removed, leaves chopped
6 cloves minced garlic
sea salt
fresh lemon juice
white balsamic vinegar
chile powder to taste

Rinse beans, cover with water and soak over night. Add more water, bring to boil and simmer until beans are tender. (Time will vary depending on how long the beans soaked, how many beans you have and your elevation. But I found these beans to cook very quickly, in about 25 minutes.) When beans are the desired tenderness, remove from heat and rinse. Let cool.

Meanwhile, saute garlic in oil until golden. Add garlic to beans and mix with olive oil (enough to give the beans a luscious texture), oregano, salt, a twist of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of white balsamic vinegar. Add chile and mix again (I used hot Kashmiri, but any will do).

Feel free to use different herbs. Rosemary is a wonderful accompaniment to beans such as these. Dunk the sprigs into boiled water for a moment to release the herb’s aroma. Chop and add to beans as you would the oregano.

Serve at room temperature. And think of the ancient ones