Khichri (Buttery Lentils and Rice)

5 handfuls of basmati rice
2 handfuls of husked moong daal
Salt to taste
1 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 small red onion, cut into rings
1 tbsp butter mixed with a teaspoon of oil or 1/2 tbsp of ghee
1/ tsp cumin

Begin by mixing the lentil and rice and giving it a good rinse. Then soak for up to an hour (minimum 30 minutes)

Drain the rice and lentil. They should look like the photo below after being drained. Now pour into a saucepan and add enough tap water to cover it.

Bring to a boil then leave to simmer until cooked. This should take about 4-5 minutes. The rice shouldn’t be mushy and the lentil should still have bite. All the moisture should leave the pan. take of the heat.

In a small frying pan, heat the butter and oil or ghee, once piping hot add the cumin until they splutter, then the garlic until it’s slightly crisp and finally the onions and stir until soft.

Pour this flavoured butter/ghee over the rice and stir. Serve with some plain greek yoghurt, full fat natural yoghurt and if you’re lucky to find this; thick buffalos’ milk desi yoghurt!

Mujaddara (Rice and Lentils with Caramelized Onions)

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 5 cups water, the garlic, bay, cumin, allspice, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the lentils are softened but still quite firm at the center, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring only occasionally at the start then more frequently once browning begins at the edges of the pan, until the onions are deeply caramelized and crisped, 10 to 15 minutes; adjust the heat if the onions brown too quickly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside; the onions will crisp as they cool.

When the lentils and rice are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and lay a kitchen towel across the pan, then replace the lid and let stand for 10 minutes.

Using a fork, fluff the lentils and rice, removing and discarding the bay. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in half the scallions, then transfer to a serving bowl. Top with the fried onions and remaining scallions. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with yogurt on the side.

Cherry Almond Dutch Baby

3 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (more or less to taste)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, well-toasted
Powdered sugar
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 425°F.

Whisk egg, sugar, flour, milk, extract and salt together until the batter is blended but lumpy; you can also do this in a blender.

In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan, melt butter.

Add cherries and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes.

Pour in batter and transfer to heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and rumpled-looking. (Err on the side of more cooking time with these pancakes, because the longer, within a range, they cook, the more rumpled and golden they get.)

Remove pancake from oven and quickly scatter with toasted almonds, dust with powdered sugar and squeeze lemon juice over. Serve in wedges, piping hot.

Chocolate Dutch Baby

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
6 tablespoons (50 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons (15 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder, any variety, sifted if lumpy
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk (I use whole)
4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter
Shaved dark chocolate and powdered sugar (to finish)
Fresh berries and syrup (to serve, if desired)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F.

Whisk eggs, sugar and salt in the bottom of a medium bowl. Add flour and cocoa, whisking until mostly smooth (some tiny lumps are okay, but whisk out what you can). Drizzle in milk, whisking the whole time.

Heat a 12-inch ovenproof skillet on the stove over high heat. Add butter and melt, tipping the pan around so it butters the sides too. Turn heat off and scrape batter into pan. Transfer skillet to oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until pancake is billowy.

Remove from oven and grate chocolate over, to taste. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Cut in halves or quarters and eat with berries and syrup, if desired.

Extra Billowy Dutch Baby (Sweet or Savory)

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk (ideally whole milk but most varieties will work)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

If savory: Freshly ground black pepper, wilted spinach or sauteed greens, bacon or ham cheese, herbs or comte, herbs (shown here with ham, gruyere, and chives)

If sweet: Powdered sugar, lemon juice, syrup, fresh berries, shaved chocolate or chocolate sauce
1 tablespoon sugar both optional)

Sole Meunière

1/4 cup salt-packed capers, rinsed
Eight 5-ounce sole fillets
Kosher salt
Pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup clarified butter or ghee
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a small bowl, soak the capers in cold water for 45 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk the flour with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Dredge ?the fillets in flour and shake off any excess; transfer to a platter.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter over moderately high heat. Add 4 sole fillets to the skillet and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with the remaining clarified butter and sole fillets.

Add the capers to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the white wine and lemon juice and cook over moderately high heat until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking until the butter is melted before adding more. Add half of the parsley and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Pour the warm sauce over the sole and garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve immediately.

Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry

For the chicken and marinade:
12 oz. (340 g) boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the rest of the dish:
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
Fresh ground white pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1 pound string beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
Instructions
Add all the marinade ingredients to the chicken in a bowl, mix well with your hands so the chicken absorbs all the marinade liquid, and set aside.
Prepare the sauce by mixing together ½ cup stock or water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon sesame oil, a pinch of freshly ground white pepper, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
When ready to cook, preheat your wok over medium high heat until it’s almost smoking. Add 2 tablespoons oil to the wok and sear the chicken until it’s just browned. If your wok is as hot as it should be, the chicken should not stick. Turn off the heat while you transfer the chicken to a separate bowl. Leave any oil/fat in the wok.
Add 2 additional tablespoons oil to the wok, and add the string beans in a single layer. Sear the string beans on one side, about 1 minute. Stir-fry the beans for 30 seconds, and then add ¼ cup water to the wok. Cover the wok and allow the green beans to steam for 60-90 seconds (still on medium high heat).
Add the garlic and stir-fry for another 30 seconds. Spread the Shaoxing wine around the wok to deglaze it, stir-frying for 15 seconds. Then add the sauce mixture and bring it to a simmer.

Add the chicken back to the wok and stir-fry everything together for another 30 seconds. The cornstarch in the sauce mixture will thicken it. When the sauce is at the consistency you’d like, plate and serve immediately with rice.

Tiny Bok Choy in Vinegar and Oyster Sauce

1 1/2 pounds smallest baby bok choy
4 medium garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Totole chicken powder mixed with 4 tablespoons water or 4 tablespoons chicken broth
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Zhenjiang vinegar
1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce

Cut baby bok choy in half vertically, from top to bottom. Rinse and dry well (a salad spinner is good for this).

Heat wok over a high flame and add 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil. When the oil is hot, lower flame and add garlic slices. Stir-fry briefly to soften, but do not brown.

Add bok choy, increase flame, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add the salt and chicken broth and cover pan. Steam for about 1 minute and check doneness. When cooked through but still crisp, plate bok choy.

Mix oyster sauce, vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl or measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Drizzle sauce over the bok choy and serve.

Bourbon Barbecue Glaze

For the Bourbon BBQ Glaze:
1 cup BBQ sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey

Make the glaze while the meatloaf bakes: Add glaze ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until mixture forms big bubbles and is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula or spoon. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Notes: originally a glaze for meatloaf, but probably good on anything.

Zha Jiang Mian Fried Soy Noodles with Pork

1/2 carrot
1/2 cucumber
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
10.5 oz ground pork, 600g
1 tbsp Shao Hsing rice wine
3 tbsp soybean paste (ground bean or broad bean paste)
1 1/2 tbsp tianmianjiang paste (sweet bean or sweet wheat paste)
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 servings cooked wheat noodles tossed with sesame oil
1 tbsp spring onion, chopped to rounds
3 raw garlic cloves (optional)
3 tbsp roasted peanuts (optional)

Directions:
Wash and slice cucumber into 1/8″ thick matchsticks 2″ long. Wash and peel carrot, then slice into 1/8″ thick matchsticks 2″ long. Boil 3″ water in medium pot. When water boils blanch carrot for 1 min. Remove carrots and let cool. Keep the water in pot for use later to heat up noodles.

Heat wok over medium heat until hot, add 2 tbsp oil. Add in minced garlic and ginger, stir for a few seconds, then add in the pork. Use a spatula to stir, add in rice wine and break up the ground pork as it cooks. After 2 mins or when the pork is completely cooked add in soybean and tianmianjiang pastes, water, sugar, and dark soy sauce. Stir to mix, cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 mins or until the sauce thickens and is glossy.

If using fresh noodles warm by heating up the water in the pot again. When water boils add in the noodles for 1- 2 minutes or until warmed and loosened then pour noodles into a strainer. If using dried noodles cook according to the package instructions. Separate cooked noodles equally into noodle bowls. For each bowl of noodles scoop 1/2 cup fried sauce over then add a handful each of cucumber and carrots. Sprinkle spring onion over all. Add raw garlic and peanuts if using. Ready to serve!

Notes: You could add in or substitute the carrots and cucumber with any vegetable you think would tasty good, like mung bean sprouts, soybean sprouts, edamame, radish, or even toss on some thinly sliced dried tofu.