Sunday Rice

3 tablespoons canola oil
One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 cup finely chopped white onion
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 bay leaves 2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed, soaked, and drained (see here)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 small or 1 large chicken bouillon cube, preferably Maggi brand
3 cups boiling water
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a 4-quart stew pot over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion and scallions and cook, stirring, until softened (don’t let them color), about 3 minutes.

Add the bay leaves and drained rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube, and water, taste, and add salt as necessary.

Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently stir the rice with a silicone spatula a couple of times and cover the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pilaf stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Paneer and Cauliflower Makhani

Ingredients send grocery list
3 quarts fresh tomatoes
1 serrano chilli
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon chili powder (he uses Kashmiri chilies)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup honey
2 cups water, plus more according to preference
1 dash salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 piece 2-inch ginger knob, cut in 1/2-inch long julienne strips
1/4 cup toasted fenugreek leaves, crushed
4 cups roasted cauliflower florets
3 cups soft paneer, cut into cubes
2 handfuls cilantro, to stir in and for garnish
8 servings steamed long grain basmati rice
8 servings Indian flatbread like naan

In a large blender, puree tomatoes, garlic, and chili. If your blender won’t accommodate all the tomatoes at once, work in batches.

Add the ground spices and honey to the pureed tomato, garlic, and chili mixture.

Place a large pot on moderate heat. Add the puree, along with the water, and bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

After an hour, strain the mixture into a pot. Season and add the heavy cream, butter, julienned ginger, and crushed fenugreek. (This sauce can be prepped a couple of days in advance. At this point, store in the refrigerator until ready, or proceed to next steps for serving).

For serving: Add the cauliflower to sauce and bring the sauce up to a boil. Lower the heat, add the paneer and continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the cilantro (and garnish on top), and serve with Indian flatbread and/or long grain basmati rice.

Scrambled Eggs Patia

For the spice paste:
1 jalapeño (less spicy) or serrano (more spicy), stem and seeds removed
2 garlic cloves
1-inch piece peeled ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For the finished dish:
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil, divided
one 15-ounce canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar or jaggery
12 eggs
Black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing

Combine all ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor or mini blender with 1/4 cup water.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the onions. Cook until deeply golden but not yet brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, then add the spices and the rest of the oil and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt and cook for another 8 minutes, until the tomatoes juices are a bit reduced and thickened. Then add the tamarind paste, vinegar, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl just to break up the whites and yolks.

Reduce the heat to the lowest possible sitting, add the eggs, salt, and pepper, and cilantro, and cook gently, stirring constantly with a Silicone spatula in a figure-8 motion, until the eggs thicken and are soft and silky, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with more cilantro.

Note: Feel free to halve the recipe, but keep a close eye on the eggs, which will (obviously) cook in less time.

Bien Cuit’s Masala Pecan Sandies

150 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
125 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
90 grams (scant 1 cup) toasted, ground pecans (see Notes)
25 grams (1 1/2) egg yolks
5 grams (1 teaspoon) masala (see Notes)
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until a dough just begins to form.

Transfer to a work surface and form into a rectangle, wrap with plastic or a reusable alternative, and refrigerate until chilled but still pliable enough to impress a dent when poked. (Alternatively, at this point you can refrigerate for up to a couple days, then let temp up on the counter until soft enough to roll.)

Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into squares (figure 2×2-inch, or smaller if you’d like). Transfer to lined baking pans, evenly spaced out by a couple inches, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown all over. Let cool completely until firm before digging in and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you want.

Notes:

Bien Cuit chef and owner Zachary Golper uses the sweet masala (with cardamon, fennel, cinnamon, dates and vanilla) from Moji Masala, which sells small-batch Indian spice blends. You can either order it directly from their website, or go off-road with your own mix of two parts warming ground cardamom to two parts ground cozy cinnamon and one part earthy ground ginger. For even more flavor, try adding some smashed fennel seeds or freshly cracked black pepper or both. With all the butter, lots of spice blends will work beautifully here.

With respect to the pecans, put them on a sheet pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned and fragrant (just check on them frequently toward the end, because nuts can burn quickly). Let them cool completely before grinding in a food processor, or mincing with a knife by hand; if you’re working with a food processor, opt for short bursts, so you don’t accidentally end up with nut butter. If you want to underscore the sweetness even more, Chef Golper likes to sift a little confectioners’ sugar on top of the cookies; you could even upgrade that dusting sugar with some of the masala spices, too.

Paneer (or Chicken) Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka:

250 gms paneer (or chicken… see note)
3 tablespoons yogurt, preferably thick curd
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

Masala/Curry:
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 inch ginger, cut into small pieces
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, and some more to garnish
1 cup water, or as required
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
salt, to taste

Paneer Tikka:
Cut the paneer into small cubes, add in the chopped ginger, garlic, coriander powder, garam masala powder, paprika powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Add in the yogurt and mix till all the paneer pieces are well coated with the spices and yogurt.

Cover and keep this marinated paneer in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.

Masala/Curry:

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once hot add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds.

Once the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic pods and chopped ginger. Fry till onions turn golden brown in color.

Once onions are done, add the tomatoes and the curry powder and mix. Also add the the salt and sugar.

Cook the tomatoes on medium flame till they are soft, around 6-7 minutes.

Once the mixture is cooked, switch off the flame and allow it to cool a bit.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree it. Set aside.

Roast (or grill… see note) the marinated paneer till golden brown in color from both sides.

Pour the pureed masala in a wok/kadhai and add water to it. Stir and add cream and chopped coriander leaves.

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium-low flame.

Add the roasted paneer pieces, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and cream.
Serve hot with butter naan or any bread of your choice.

Recipe Notes:

Use 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder in the curry for a deep red/orange color.

The quantity of butter and cream in the recipe depends on your taste and preference.

The paneer should ideally by grilled so in case you have a griller use that to make the tikka.

You can also drizzle around 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice on the curry once it’s done.

If you want, you can strain the pureed mixture before putting it back in the pan. This will just make the curry totally smooth.

You can make this recipe exactly the same, but with chicken.

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Masala:

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
4 green cardamom
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cloves

Kadai Paneer:

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, I used avocado oil
1 medium red onion, 150 grams, finely chopped
1 green chili, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
3-4 medium tomatoes, 450 grams, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1 inch ginger, julienned, divided
1/2 cup water, 4 oz/120 ml
2 tablespoons heavy cream, 30 ml
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large green bell pepper (capsicum), cut into 1-inch pieces
225 grams paneer, cubed, if using store-bought paneer soak it in warm water for 20-25 minutes before using
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
cilantro, to garnish

Make the Kadai Masala:

To a small kadai or pan, dry roast the spices for kadai masala for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until fragrant. Add more red chilies for a spicier masala.

Remove kadai from heat and transfer the roasted spices to a spice grinder.
Let it cool down a bit and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You can also make this kadai masala in advance and store it.

Make the Kadai Paneer:

In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.

Add the chopped onion and saute for 3 minutes until softened. Then add the sliced green chili and ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.

Then add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the kadai masala that you prepared earlier (or add the whole thing if you like it spicy). Also add the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder.

Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.

Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.

Add in the paneer and bell peppers (capsicum) and mix. Cover the pan or kadai with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat until bell peppers are slightly softened. You only want them half cooked here.

Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.

Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro. Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

To make this Kadai Paneer spicier:
• use double the amount of red chilies while making the kadai masala.
• use the entire kadai masala in the recipe. I have used 3 to 4 teaspoons of the masala and was left with some.
• use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of 1/4.

Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)

2 teaspoons oil, 10 ml, divided, (use any flavorless oil)
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
6-7 large garlic cloves, 25 grams, roughly chopped
1.5 inch ginger, 15 grams, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, 180 grams, roughly chopped
3-4 large tomatoes, 460 grams, roughly chopped
10-15 whole cashews, raw
1 cup water, 8 oz
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala, + 1/4 teaspoon, if needed
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
3-4 tablespoons cream, 45-60 ml
250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
chopped cilantro, to garnish

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and saute for few seconds.

Then add the the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cashews and mix. Then add 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Let the mixture cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender. It’s important to let it cool down a bit else it will all blow up from the mixer. Grind the masala to a smooth paste and set aside.

To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons butter along with remaining 1 teaspoon oil on medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the red chili powder and the Kashmiri red chili powder and fry for few seconds. This will give the curry a nice orange-red color.

Then add the ground paste back into the pan along with the garam masala (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon at the end only if you feel like the curry needs that extra bit of garam masala), cardamom powder, sugar, salt and tomato paste (if using). Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the cream and mix.

Add in the paneer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Finally add crushed kasuri methi.

Garnish paneer butter masala with cilantro and serve hot with naan or rice!

Chana Masala

1 cup white chickpeas, raw, 200 grams, soaked overnight or use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas
3/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt, or as needed, divided
2.5 cups water, to boil the chickpeas, skip if using canned chickpeas
1 inch ginger
3-4 large garlic cloves
1 green chili, or more to taste
2 tablespoons oil, 30 ml, I use avocado oil
1 bay leaf
4 whole green cardamoms
3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
7-8 whole black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes, pureed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, crushed, dried fenugreek leaves
1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak 1 cup raw white chickpeas (200 grams) overnight in 3 cups (24 oz) water. In the morning, drain the water and transfer the soaked chickpeas to a pressure cooker along with 1/2 teaspoon salt. After soaking overnight, the volume of chickpeas increased to 2.5 cups (425 grams)!

Instant Pot: Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes with natural pressure release.

Stove-top pressure cooker: cook on high heat for 2 whistles, them lower heat to medium and cook for additional 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.
Once pressure cooked, the chickpeas will break easily when pressed between your thumb and index finger.

If using canned chickpeas, you can skip these steps, use 2.5 cups canned chickpeas and directly move to cooking the chana masala in the pot.

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the ginger, garlic and green chili. Set it aside.

Heat a pot/pan over medium heat on stove-top. Once hot, add the oil and then add the whole spices- bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns and cumin seeds.

Let the spices sizzle for 30 seconds and become fragrant.

Add the finely chopped onion and stir. Cook for 3 minutes until the onions soften. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt here so that onions cook a little faster. Meanwhile puree 2 tomatoes using a blender and set aside.

Add the crushed ginger-garlic and green chili. Stir and cook for a minute or two until the raw smell of the ginger-garlic goes away.

Add the pureed tomatoes along with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring often.

Then add the ground spices- coriander powder, cumin powder, paprika, turmeric and garam masala. Cook the spices for 30 seconds. The oil should ooze out of the sides of the masala at this point.

Stir in the boiled chickpeas and mix. Also add 2 cups of water and stir. I used the same water in which the chickpeas were boiled. You can add more water here if you prefer more gravy in your chana masala.

Taste test and adjust the salt at this point, I added 1/8 teaspoon more salt here.

Cover the pot with a lid, set heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to mix-in together.

Stir in crushed kasuri methi and chopped cilantro.

Garnish with more cilantro and serve Chana Masala with rice or naan! You may also squeeze some fresh lemon juice if desired (see notes).

Recipe Notes:

You can use a can of diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh tomatoes. Just cook the tomatoes for 2 minutes only then compared to 5 minutes with fresh pureed tomatoes. If your tomatoes aren’t that tangy, squeeze some lemon juice before serving.

If you prefer spicy food, add 1/4 teaspoon (or even more) of red chili powder for that extra-kick. You can even increase the green chilies in the recipe.

I haven’t done this in the recipe, but to elevate the flavors, you can do that extra-step of frying ginger julienne in ghee and adding it to the chana masala. Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a small pan on medium heat. Once hot, add sliced ginger julienne (from 1-inch ginger) to it. Fry until the ginger julienne starts changing color, then add this to the chana masala.

Chole

To pressure cook:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons raw chickpeas
5-6 green cardamom pods
4-5 black peppercorn
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tea bags
salt, to taste
5 cups water

For the chole masala:
1 tablespoon oil
3-4 cloves
3/4 cup pureed onion , from 2 small onions
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
2.5 cups pureed tomatoes , from 4 medium tomatoes
3 teaspoons chole masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
salt, to taste

To garnish:
1 tablespoon ghee
1 inch ginger, cut into julienne
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi, also known as dried fenugreek leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. In the morning, drain the water.

In a pressure cooker add the soaked and drained chickpeas, 2 tea bags, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and 4 to 5 cups water. Pressure cook at high flame till you get 1-2 whistles. After that lower the flame to medium and let the chickpeas cook for another 10-12 minutes.

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add cloves and grated onions. Fry the onions till the raw smell goes away and they are light golden brown in color.

Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes till the smell of ginger-garlic goes away.

Now add the tomato puree , stir and let it cook for 12-15 minutes on medium-low flame. Cover the pan to prevent the splash all around.

Add the chole masala, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and mix for a 1-2 minutes.

Add the chickpeas next and stir will all the chickpeas are coated with the spices, around 2 minutes.

Add water (which was used for boiling the chickpeas), cover the pan and let it simmer at medium-low flame for around 30 minutes. The gravy will thicken after 30 minutes so add water accordingly.

To temper, heat 1 tbsp of ghee in a pan and the ginger julienne to it.
Fry till the juliennes are golden brown in color but do not burn them. Add to the chole curry, mix and switch off the flame.

Sprinkle some garam masala, kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice.

Notes: freezes well.

Gobi Matar Masala

1 cauliflower head, small
1/3 cup green peas
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon paprika powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar [i used vegan granulated white sugar]
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
cilantro leaves, chopped
garam masala powder, to sprinkle [optional]
salt, to taste

To be roasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 cloves
2 green cardamom
1 black cardamom
3 peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, small
1 whole dry red chili
1/3 teaspoon ginger powder
Instructions

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cauliflower florets.

Cook the florets till they start turning very light golden brown in color. Remove from pan and set aside.

In another pan, dry roast all the spices listed under “To be roasted and ground”. Roast for 2-3 minutes till you start getting a nice aroma of all the spices.

Once the spices are roasted transfer the mixture to a spice grinder, add ground ginger and grind to a fine powder and set aside.

In the same pan heat 2 teaspoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add sliced onions.

Saute till raw smell goes away and onions become translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste.

Cook the ginger garlic paste for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes away.
Add in the sliced tomatoes, mix and cover and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium flame till tomatoes are cooked and mushy.

Add the ground spices that we had kept aside +turmeric powder +paprika powder and mix.

Cover and cook again for 3-4 minutes. [Tip: Overall you should cook the tomatoes on medium heat for 10-15 minutes for best flavor]

After the spices are cooked, add the tomato ketchup, sugar and mix.

At this point add 1/2 cup of water and the half cooked cauliflower and blanched green peas and mix.

Cook the veggies on medium-flame for 5-8 minutes without covering it till cauliflower is cooked and soft but not mushy. You should still be able to bite it.

Add the salt now and mix. Also add in the fresh lemon juice and sprinkle some garam masala on top [optional].

Garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves and serve hot with naan or roti.

Aloo Matar

2 medium boiled potatoes, cut into cubes
3 medium tomatoes, pureed
1/2 cup green peas, I used frozen green peas
2 teaspoons oil, use any oil of choice
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or adjust to taste
1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
1.5 teaspoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 cups water
salt, to taste

Heat oil in pan on medium heat. Add cumin seeds and let them crackle.

Then add ginger garlic paste and cook for 1-2 minute till the raw smell goes away.

Add the pureed tomatoes. Add little salt, give a stir and cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Remove cover and add turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, red chili powder. Adjust spice levels to taste.

Add more salt as required at this point. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
After the tomatoes have cooked for more than 10 minutes, add 2 cups water.

Let it all come to a boil and then add cubed boiled potatoes and green peas to it.

Cover the pan and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add chopped cilantro and mix.
Serve aloo matar with any bread of your choice. It’s also great with plain rice.

Chana Aloo

Ingredients

2 tablespoons oil, I used avocado oil
1 bay leaf
3 green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 large onion, 200 grams, finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
30 oz can chickpeas, 850 grams/2 x 15 oz
1 large potato, 320 grams, cut into 1/2″ cubes, around 1.5 cups cubed potatoes
1.5-2 cups water
2 tablespoons cilantro, plus more to garnish
juice of 1/2 lime

Heat oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cardamom pods, cloves and cumin seeds. Saute for few seconds until the cumin seeds sizzle and the spices are fragrant.

Add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions turn light golden brown in color.

Then add in a can of diced tomatoes and stir well.

Add the spices- coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, ground cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and stir. Also add the salt, mix well and let it all cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add in the chickpeas and cubed potatoes. Mix well until the chickpeas and the potatoes are coated with the masala.

Add 1.5 to 2 cups of water to the pan and stir.

Close the pan with its lid and let the curry cook on medium heat for around 12 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and the curry thickens up.

Once the curry is done, add in the cilantro and the lime juice and mix.
Serve chana aloo over rice for a comforting meal!

Jeera Aloo

3 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1.5 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
generous pinch hing, optional, also known as asafoetida
2 green chilies, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or adjust to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
Juice of half a lemon

Boil the potatoes until done – 7 to 8 whistles on high heat on regular pressure cooker or 10 mins on high pressure in Instant Pot with natural pressure release. You can also boil them on stove-top pan until done. They shouldn’t crumble once boiled and should still be able to hold their shape.

Once boiled, peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes. Set it aside.

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds, let them sizzle. Immediately lower the heat so that cumin seeds don’t burn.

Then add the crushed coriander seeds and hing (if using) and saute for few seconds.

Add the green chili and ginger and saute for a minute until the ginger starts changing color.

Add in the boiled and cubed potatoes to the pan and toss with the spices.
Add turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Toss to combine potatoes with all the spices.

Let the potatoes cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, then add the chopped cilantro.

Squeeze in fresh lemon juice to finish it off.

Garnish with more cilantro and serve jeera aloo with paratha or as a side dish with dal and rice.

Dal Tadka

1 cup toor dal, 200 grams, also known as arhar dal/split pigeon peas lentil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 teaspoon salt, divided, adjust to taste
3.5 cups water, divided
4 large garlic cloves, divided
1 inch ginger
1 green chili
1.5 tablespoons ghee, 22 ml, also known as clarified butter or use oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed in mortar pestle
2 cloves
1 medium red onion, 150 grams, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1/8 teaspoon red chili powder, or adjust to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, crushed, dried fenugreek leaves

Tempering/Tadka
2 teaspoons ghee , 10 ml
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon hing, also known as asafoetida
2 dried red chilies
1/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder, optional

To a pressure cooker add toor dal along with turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 3 cups water.

Pressure cook for 4 whistle on high heat then lower the heat and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. If using an Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for 8 minutes with natural pressure release. Set it aside.

Meanwhile crush 4 large garlic cloves, 1-inch ginger and green chili in a mortar pestle and set it aside.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat ghee on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds, crushed coriander seeds and cloves. Saute for few seconds until fragrant.

Then add onions, cook for around 3 to 4 minutes until they are soft and start changing color.

Add the crushed garlic-ginger-green chili. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the raw smell goes away.

Add the chopped tomatoes along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix. Cover and cook for 7 to 8 minutes until tomatoes are very soft and cooked.

Then add the coriander powder, garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder, red chili powder, cilantro and kasuri methi. Stir the spices with the masala for few 30 seconds.

Add the boiled dal to the pan and mix. I also added 1/2 cup water here as dal looked very thick to me. Let the dal simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

For the tempering/tadka, heat 2 teaspoons ghee in a small pan. Once the ghee is hot, add 2 chopped garlic cloves. Also add hing and dried red chilies.

Cook for one minute until the garlic starts changing color. Add kashmiri red chili powder remove pan from heat.

Pour tempering over the dal and mix.

Garnish dal tadka with more cilantro and serve!

Recipe Note: You may use a combination of lentils to make dal tadka. Commonly used- toor dal + moong dal or toor dal + masoor dal (red lentils).

Moong Dal Tadka

1 cup moong dal dhuli, 200 grams, also known as split petite yellow lentils
3 cups water, 24 oz
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt, or adjust to taste

Tempering/Tadka
1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, or you can also use ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon hing, asafoetida
5-6 large garlic cloves, sliced
1-2 dried red chilies
6-7 curry leaves
Juice of half a lemon
chopped cilantro

To you Instant Pot or regular stove top pressure cooker, add the dal, 3 cups water, chopped tomato, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/4 teaspoon red chili powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.

If using Instant pot, cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then do a quick release.

If using traditional pressure cooker, cook for 2-3 whistles on high heat. Let the pressure release naturally.

Once the pressure is released, open the lid of the cooker and give the dal a stir. Adjust the consistency of dal at this point to your preference.

To make the tempering, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and the mustard seeds.

Let the seeds sizzle, wait until the mustard seeds pop. Then add the hing.

Add the sliced garlic and dried red chilies and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until garlic become light brown in color.

Then add the curry leaves and saute for few seconds.

Transfer tempering to the cooked dal and stir.

Add in the lemon juice, chopped cilantro and mix. Serve moong dal over rice for a comforting meal!

Dal Fry

3/4 cup toor dal, pigeon pea lentil, 150 grams
1/4 cup masoor dal, red lentil, 50 grams
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon oil, or can use ghee
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 whole dried red chili, broken
1/4 teaspoon hing, asafoetida
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
7-8 large garlic cloves, crushed using mortar & pestle
1.5 inch ginger, crushed using mortar & pestle
1 green chili, sliced, or more to taste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/8 teaspoon garam masala
1/8 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, + more to garnish

Rinse the dal and transfer to an instant pot or pressure cooker. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3 cups water. Stir.

Boil the dal using either-
Instant Pot: cook on high pressure for 8 minutes with natural pressure release.
Stove-top pressure cooker: cook for 4 to 5 whistles on high then lower the heat and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.

Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Then add dried red chili and hing and saute for few seconds.

Add onions (also add 1/4 teaspoon salt for the onions to cook faster) and cook for around 4 minutes until soft and light golden brown in color.

Add crushed garlic-ginger and sliced green chili. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell goes away.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir.

Then add the garam masala, red chili powder and mix. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until tomatoes are very soft and cooked and oil oozes from the side of the masala. This step is important, don’t rush it. Stir in between (can also add around 2 tablespoon water so that the masala doesn’t burn).

Now add the boiled dal to the pan and mix. Add water to thin out the dal to your taste.

Add kasuri methi, chopped cilantro. Also add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix.

Let the dal simmer for 3 to 4 minutes on low-medium heat.

Note: You can use toor dal only or use a combination of toor, moong and masoor dal too.

Gobi Manchurian

1 tablespoon avocado oil, or any oil of choice
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1-2 green chilies, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2-3 stalks scallions , chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce, I used 1 tablespoon regular and 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha or any hot sauce, adjust to taste
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder
salt, to taste, if needed

For the cauliflower florets
1 small head cauliflower, cut into medium size florets, around 2.5 cups cut cauliflower florets
6 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder
water, to form a flowing batter, around 1/2 cup + 2-3 tablespoons
oil, for frying, I used avocado oil

To make the sauce, heat the oil in a skillet on high heat. Once hot, add the grated garlic, ginger, green chili and chopped celery.

Saute for 1 minute until ginger-garlic start changing color.

Then add the chopped onion, green pepper and scallions. Cook for high heat for around 3 minutes.

Then add the soy sauce, ketchup, vinegar, hot sauce (like sriracha), sugar and white pepper powder. Taste test and add salt if needed. Set aside.

Meanwhile cut and clean cauliflower florets and drop them in hot salted water. Simmer on medium heat for around 4 minutes.

Drain water and place florets on a paper tissue. Pat dry each individually.
To a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, ginger-garlic paste, salt and pepper. Whisk and start adding water, little by little.

Form a smooth, free-flowing batter. It should not be too thick or thin.

Heat oil for frying on medium heat in a kadai or pan. Once oil is hot, dip the florets into the batter. Make sure they are well coated with the batter.

Drain off the excess batter and carefully drop florets into the hot oil.
Fry on medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes, until crispy and browned.

Transfer the fried cauliflower florets into the sauce (sauce should be warm when you do this).

Toss to combine until all the florets are well coated with the sauce.

Garnish with scallions and serve gobi manchurian with hakka noodles or enjoy as it is!

If you want to make Gobi Manchurian with gravy: add 1 cup water to the sauce. after adding all the sauces (soy sauce, ketchup etc.). Then in a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water.
Add the cornstarch slurry to the gravy and stir. Let it simmer for a minute or two, the gravy will thicken. Add florets and serve.

Ginger-Garlic Spiced Cashew Rice

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 cup roasted cashews
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 white or green cardamom pods
3 bay leaves
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1-2 Fresno or serrano chilies, stemmed, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
5 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1/4+cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

In a large saucepan over medium, heat the butter until foaming. Add the cashews, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, bay and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the onion, chili(es), ginger, garlic and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Cook, stirring, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to coat the grains with butter.

Indian Vermicelli with Peas and Cilantro

3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced (1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 Fresno or jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped, stems and leaves reserved separately
12 ounces vermicelli pasta, broken into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and ground back pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

In a large pot over medium, heat the oil until shimmering.

Add the shallots and ginger, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cumin and turmeric, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the chili, cilantro stems and pasta.

Add 3 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and  teaspoon pepper, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cover, reduce to medium- low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente.

Off heat, add the cilantro leaves, peas, lemon zest and juice, and half the peanuts, then toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts.

Soba Noodles with Peanut Chutney

Peanut chutney:
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Indian peanutty noodles:
8 ounces udon or soba noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, divided
2 tablespoons peanut chutney, prepared above
1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, to taste

Optional: Feel free to substitute with vegetables of your choice as long as the vegetables retain some bite, shape and do not become mushy. Carrots, red onions, snap peas, zucchini, water chestnuts, baby corn, mushrooms, french beans are great substitutes.

Roast the peanuts in a 350°F oven (or toaster oven) for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the nuts have turned dark brown, a shade darker than golden brown. Keep an eye on them! (After 3 minutes, turn the pan in such a way that the peanuts in the back come to the front.) Turn the oven off, take the peanuts out, and let cool.

In a food processor or blender, blitz all of the chutney ingredients (cumin powder, red chile powder, and salt) along with the peanuts into a coarse powder. Keep in a zip-top bag or tightly sealed jar.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on their packet and set aside. Keep half a cup of water in which you boiled the noodles.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add broccoli and saute for 5 minutes. Feel free to add broccoli stems too.

Follow with red bell pepper for about 3 to 4 minutes. (We want both these vegetables to lose their raw flavor, yet still have a bite.)

Add half of the scallions and let cook for a minute.

Add peanut chutney and mix well, followed by the soy sauce, and sauté till the sauce coats all of the vegetables.

Add boiled noodles and mix till the noodles are coated evenly with the soy sauce/peanut chutney mixture. Pour some of the starchy noodle water if you like your noodles wetter.

Garnish with rest of the scallions and serve hot with fresh red pepper chile garlic sauce on the side.