Fried Green Tomatoes

3 fresh green tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch slices
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/8-1/4 teaspoon paprika optional- go up to 1/4 teaspoon if you like spicy foods
oil for frying

Liberally season green tomato slices with salt and pepper on both sides.
Add flour and eggs to two separate small bowls.

Combine cornmeal, panko crumbs and paprika into another small bowl and whisk together.
Begin by dipping each seasoned tomato slice into flour coating on both sides.
Next add floured tomato slice to eggs coating on both sides.

Lastly dip into cornmeal and crumb mixture and set aside finished slice on baking sheet.
Repeat dredging process, starting with flour, until all slices are coated.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.

Fry tomato slices on both sides until golden brown and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm.

Tom Yum Gai

2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon Thai red chile paste (nam prik pao; see headnote; may substitute other chile paste such as sambal oelek)
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2-inch sections and crushed (see headnote)
6 thin slices (about 3/4 ounce) galangal (see headnote; may substitute fresh ginger root)
2 makrut lime leaves, torn into small pieces (see headnote; may substitute a few wide strips of lime peel)
3 cups water or chicken broth
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch slices (see headnote)
1/2 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
1 scallion, white and light-green parts, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Leaves from 1 stem cilantro

Whisk together the fish sauce, lime or lemon juice and chile paste in a small bowl.

Combine the lemongrass, galangal, makrut lime leaves and water or broth in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to discard the solids.

Add the chicken to the pan, making sure the pieces don’t stick together (they will begin to cook as soon as they hit the liquid). Once the liquid returns to a boil, add the mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the chicken has cooked through and the tomatoes have softened, reducing the heat as needed to keep the soup from boiling over.

Remove from the heat; stir in the fish sauce mixture, scallion and cilantro. Serve hot.

Tamarind-Glazed Shrimp

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
2 tablespoons store-bought tamarind-date chutney
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2-inch peeled ginger root, grated
1 pound uncooked medium (41 to 50 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine the lemon juice, salt, crushed red pepper flakes (if using), coriander seeds, chutney, honey and ginger in a resealable plastic food storage bag.

Add the shrimp and seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage to coat the shrimp evenly. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.

Add the shrimp and all of the marinade, being mindful of the splatters.

Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are no longer translucent.

Transfer to a bowl and pour any pan juices over the shrimp. If serving as hors d’oeuvres, place 2 or 3 shrimp on long skewers.

Bhindi Do Pyaza

400 grams okra/bhindi cut into rounds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
2 large red onion cubed
1.5 teaspoons chopped ginger
2 dried red chili broken
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon amchur also known as dried mango powder
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice optional
whole spices
2 cloves
2 green cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
2 black cardamom
6-7 peppercorns

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the chopped bhindi. Saute at medium heat for 10 mins, then lower the heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes. Remove bhindi from pan and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan. Add cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, black cardamom and peppercorns. Saute the whole spices till fragrant. Then add cumin seeds and fennel seeds and let them sizzle. Add chopped ginger and broken dried red chili. Saute till ginger starts turning golden in color.

Add cubed onions and mix. Also add turmeric powder and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes or till onions turn translucent.

Add the cooked bhindi and mix. Add garam masala, amchur and stir to combine. Lower the flame to low cook the sabzi on low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add lemon juice (optional) and mix. Serve bhindi do pyaza with roti or any bread of choice.

Bhindi Masala

2.5 tablespoon oil divided
500 grams bhindi okra, chopped into rounds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion chopped
1 inch ginger chopped
1 green chili chopped, or more to taste
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon amchur dried mango powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder or to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
garam masala to sprinkle
ginger julienne to garnish

Wash and pat dry each bhindi with a paper towel and then chop it into rounds (remove the head and little bit from the tail before chopping). Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped bhindi to the pan. Let is cook on medium heat for 10 mins, then lower the heat to low and cook 5 more minutes. Stir often.

The bhindi is mostly cooked by now (after 15 mins) and there should be very little sliminess left. Remove pan from heat.

To another pan (or use the same pan after transferring bhindi to a bowl), now add the remaining 1.5 tablespoons oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for few seconds.

Add chopped onion and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until soft. Then add the ginger and green chili and cook for 1 more minute.

Add chopped tomatoes and cook for around 4 minutes until soft and mushy.

Then add the spices – coriander powder, turmeric, amchur, red chili powder and salt. Mix the spices well with the masala.

Add a tablespoon of water at this point so that the spices do not burn. Stir well.

Add the cooked bhindi to the pan and mix well. Set heat to low-medium and cook for 5 minutes without covering the pan.

Sprinkle with garam masala. Garnish with ginger julienne if needed. Serve bhindi masala with rotis/paratha/rice.

Koshimbir

FOR THE SALAD

1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) medium-diced cucumber
1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) medium-diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup (2 ounces) coarsely grated carrot, about 1 medium
1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) finely chopped green or napa cabbage
1 cup (4 ounces) sprouted mung beans (see NOTE)
1/4 cup roasted peanut powder (see NOTE)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red chile (optional)
3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon table salt or 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

FOR THE TADKA

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or another neutral oil
1/4 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Make the salad: In a large bowl, toss together the cucumber, tomatoes, carrot, cabbage, mung beans, peanut powder, cumin, chile (if using), lime juice and salt until combined. Set aside or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Make the tadka: When ready to serve, in a small heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add the oil and heat until shimmering. Drop a mustard seed in the oil; if it starts to pop and crackle immediately, the oil is ready. If not, wait and repeat until one does. Add the remaining mustard seeds, the cumin seeds and turmeric, then turn the heat off. Be careful, as the seeds can land on you while they are “dancing” and burn the skin.

Once the seeds stop popping, pour the tadka over the salad and gently toss to combine. Garnish with cilantro, gently toss again and serve.

NOTES
To make peanut powder: Put a rack in the center position of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spread 1/2 cup raw, shelled, unsalted peanuts on a medium rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 5 to 6 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back halfway through, until the peanuts are dark brown. Transfer the peanuts to a food processor or coffee grinder and grind them to a coarse powder. Storage: If you make additional peanut powder, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. If using salted store-bought roasted peanuts, adjust the salt in the recipe. Ready-made peanut powder is available at international markets and online.

To make sprouted mung beans: To get 1 cup of sprouted beans, soak 1/4 cup (2 ounces) of whole green mung beans in 2 cups of water for at least 6 hours and up to overnight. The beans should sink. Skim off and discard any that are still floating, then drain and spread the rest on a flat plate. Transfer the beans to a wet cheesecloth, twist the ends together into a loose knot, and set it, twisted end down, in a colander over a large bowl or tray. Let sit on the counter for 24 hours, checking every few hours to ensure the cheesecloth remains moist, remoistening as needed. After 24 hours, your sprouts should be about 1-inch long. Rinse the sprouts under running water and use in salads, soups, stir-fries or wraps. Consider sprouting other beans, such as brown lentils, black garbanzo beans and moth beans. Sprouting jars, available online, make sprouting easy. Keep in mind: Warm weather will hasten the sprouting.

Cold Tahini Noodles

Kosher salt
1 pound dried udon noodles (may substitute Chinese egg noodles or whole-wheat linguine)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger root, finely grated
2 to 3 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 large carrot, scrubbed well and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1/2 English cucumber, seeded and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin 2-inch-long strips
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped roasted unsalted peanuts (or 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook for 8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain the noodles, rinse with cold water, drain again and transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil and toss to coat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the rice vinegar, tahini, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, ginger and chili-garlic sauce.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to coat. Add the carrot, cucumber and bell pepper and toss to mix it together.

Sprinkle the scallions and peanuts (or toasted sesame seeds) on top before serving.

Zha Cai Rousi Mian (Shredded Pork Noodle Soup)

For the pork:
4-6 ounces pork shoulder or pork loin (cut into thin strips)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
For the rest of the soup:
8 ounces fresh white noodles (use half this weight if using dried noodles)
4 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
7 ounces pickled mustard stems (may also be labeled “pickled radish” – look for ?? – Zha Cai on the label)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 scallion (chopped)

In a small bowl, combine the pork, cornstarch, oil, wine, oyster sauce, and salt. Set aside to marinate while preparing the other ingredients.

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles, and cook according to package instructions. Drain and distribute between two bowls.

Meanwhile, in another pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil and keep warm on the stove. Taste for seasoning and season with salt to taste if desired.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Add a tablespoon of oil, and stir-fry the pork until browned. Add the Zha Cai and sugar, and stir-fry for 2 minutes.

Ladle hot broth over the noodles, and top with the pork and Zha Cai mixture. Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and scallions. Serve.