Spicy Peanut Stew With Ginger and Tomato

1 medium-size eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup peanut oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 to 2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 small (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably roasted
4 cups vegetable stock or water
1/2 cup natural unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 medium-size zucchini, 6 to 8 ounces, cut in quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/2 -inch thick
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
Cooked rice, for serving
Chopped roasted salted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

In a colander, toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt; set aside for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain well and set aside. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric and cayenne; set aside.

In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and fry, stirring often, until soft, crisp and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer shallots to a large bowl, leaving oil in pot.

Raise heat to high and add eggplant. Cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with shallots.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot and heat over medium-high heat. Add ginger and chilies and cook, stirring for 30 seconds.

Add spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Add onion and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add diced tomatoes, stock or water, eggplant, shallots and a sprinkling of salt. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Place peanut butter in a medium bowl, add one or two ladlefuls of hot soup, and stir until emulsified, then pour mixture back into soup.

Reduce heat to a simmer, add zucchini, cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Turn off heat and stir in lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Let cool slightly and taste; add salt if necessary. Serve in bowls with rice, garnished with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts, if desired.

Eggplant Ravaiya

1 cup roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon jaggery (unrefined cane sugar), or cane or turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder or 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 teaspoon minced Serrano chile (if you like less heat, you can remove the seeds and pith)
Pinch asafetida (optional)
1 teaspoon chickpea flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 baby eggplants (see note)

Put all ingredients except for the olive oil and eggplants in a food processor, and pulse until the peanuts are ground. Add oil and pulse to combine; the mixture will resemble damp sand. Set aside.

Cut a crosshatch in the bottom of the eggplant about three-quarters of the way up the fruit, leaving the stem intact. (In other words, you’re making a deep plus-sign shape in the bulbous part of the fruit, so you can stuff it with the peanut filling.) Repeat with the remaining eggplants.

Stuff each eggplant with a little of the peanut mixture, just enough to fill the hole. You should have some peanut mixture left over.

Place the stuffed eggplants on their sides in a single layer on the bottom of a large pot or saucepan with a lid. The eggplants can overlap a little, but ideally they will all fit on the bottom of the pot. Dollop the leftover peanut mixture on top of and around the eggplants, and add 1 cup of water. Turn heat to medium and cover the pot. Let the eggplant cook at a simmer, adjusting the heat as necessary, for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the eggplants are just tender when you poke them at the stem end with the tip of a knife.

Taste the sauce for salt, and serve hot with basmati rice or Indian flatbreads.

Tip
It’s best to use baby eggplants (about 4 inches long) shaped like teardrops. The chef Niven Patel uses an Indian variety, but this shape is also grown in Italy and elsewhere, so you can find it at farmers’ markets and some supermarkets too. Or use long skinny Japanese eggplants, and cut them into about 4-inch pieces, then make two slits in each piece as you would for a whole teardrop eggplant. They will break down a bit more but will still taste good.

Sabudana Khichdi

1 cup medium tapioca pearls (look for sabudana at an Indian grocer)
3 or 4 small-medium yellow potatoes (about 8 ounces), such as Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn
Fine sea salt
1/2 cup raw peanuts
4 to 5 Thai chiles, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch coins
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro, for garnish

Place tapioca in a large bowl and cover with water. Swirl to release starch, then drain. Repeat a few times until water runs mostly clear, then drain well. Return tapioca to bowl, along with 3/4 cup water. Soak for 4 to 5 hours, or until water is mostly absorbed and tapioca pearls are easily squashed when pressed between your thumb and forefinger. Drain well, and place into a large microwave-safe bowl.

Place whole potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Season generously with salt and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until completely tender, about 25 to 35 minutes, depending on size. Remove potatoes from water, allow to cool, then peel, and dice into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to tapioca.

Set a frying pan over medium heat and add peanuts. Swirling constantly, toast them until shiny, aromatic and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour immediately onto a plate to prevent overcooking. Wipe pan, and return to stove.

In a food processor, pulse chiles and ginger together until finely minced, stopping to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula once or twice. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can do this step by hand.) Remove 1 tablespoon chile-ginger mixture, and set aside. Add cooled peanuts to food processor, and continue to pulse just long enough to roughly chop nuts. Scrape peanut-chile mixture into tapioca-potato mixture.

Heat frying pan over a medium flame and add oil. When oil shimmers, add cumin. When cumin begins to sizzle, stir in reserved chile-ginger mixture, and allow to sizzle but not brown, then immediately pour into tapioca mixture. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, toss and season with salt to taste.

Microwave tapioca mixture on high for 2 minutes, then stir. Continue cooking for another 2 minutes, then stir again. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes in 15-second increments, until tapioca is translucent and chewy, but not quite transparent and clumpy.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, sugar and lemon juice.
Garnish with cilantro, and serve hot.

Beef Lo Mein

8 oz (225 g) flank steak , cut against the grain into 1/4” (4 cm) thick slices
8 oz (225 g) fresh lo mein noodles (or 6 oz / 170 g dried lo mein / chow mein noodles)

Marinade:
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sauce:
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1/2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Stir Fry:
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced into 1” (2 cm) pieces, greens and whites separated
1/2 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
5 pieces napa cabbage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup bean sprouts

Combine the steak with the marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until well coated and marinate for 15 minutes.
Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under running cold water to stop cooking. Drain and toss with a drizzle of sesame oil to prevent sticking.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over high heat until hot. Spread the marinated steak without overlapping. Cook without disturbing until the bottom turns golden brown, 1 minute or so. Flip to cook the other side until browned but the inside is still a bit pink. Transfer the beef onto a big plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic. Stir a few times to release the fragrance, about 30 seconds.

Add the white part of the green onion, onions, carrots, and cabbage. Stir fry until the cabbage begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the noodles and drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon oil on top. Toss the noodles a few times to mix with the oil.
Pour in the sauce and toss together everything.

Add back the cooked steak and toss again, until the sauce is fully absorbed.

Add the bean sprouts and green onion greens. Stir a few times until the bean sprouts just wilted but remain crispy.

Transfer everything to serving plates and serve hot.