Golden Cauliflower Dal with Spinach and Coconut

1 cup split red lentils (masoor dal) see notes on “timing”
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons ghee (or for vegan use coconut oil) ( ***see note at bottom!)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2–3 fat shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, grated or finely minced (or use ginger paste)
2–4 fresh or dried chilies (optional, for heat)
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into large florets (about 2 lbs), stems ok.
couple handfuls baby spinach

Cover the split lentils with 2 cups boiling water, set aside.

In an extra-large saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the ghee over medium heat, add the crushed coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and stir for one minute.

Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and optional chilies, and saute until fragrant and golden, lowering the heat to med-low, if need be, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir in the lentils along with the 2 cups of hot water. Add the salt and fenugreek. Give a good stir.

Add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate, then add the cauliflower florets, coating them well. Give the pan a shake to allow any lentils to slip back into the liquid. Increase heat, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer gently over med-low heat, until lentils are softened and cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove lid and let some of the liquid cook off, about 3-4 more minutes. Carefully stir in spinach. Taste, adjust seasonings. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.

Garnish with cilantro or scallions and if you made the extra tempering oil ( see notes), spoon this over top before serving.

Serve with naan bread or basmati rice, or on its own in a bowl like a stew.


***For extra flavor (as is, this is “gently” spiced) create a tempering oil. Double the ghee and double the whole seeds. After sauteing the seeds in the oil or ghee, spoon half of this into a small bowl and set aside -to drizzle over the finished dish (this is the “tempering oil”) super tasty!

Timing: If your lentils seem extra-large, or your cauliflower florets seem extra small, cook the lentils a few minutes before adding the cauliflower, so the cauliflower doesn’t get overcooked. ****I used tiny lentils and extra-large florets.

You could also, roast off the cauliflower separately (toss with oil, salt and pepper at 400F until tender) and stir into the cooked lentils.

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.

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.

Chili Pork

1 kg (2 pounds) pork belly or shoulder
20 g ginger (roughly chopped)
10 g garlic (sliced)
300 g onions (3-cm squares)
25 g green chillies (slit)
60 g tomatoes (diced)
20 g vegetable oil
2–3 pcs star anise
25 g soy sauce (½ light, ½ dark)
23 g salt

Place the pork in a pressure cooker, along with ginger, garlic, 50g onions, 2 green chillies, 2 star anise, 18 g salt, and 350 g water. Boil the pork in the pressure cooker on medium heat for 45 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate and chill it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, to enable clean slicing later on. Once chilled, slice the pork about 5 mm wide.
Heat vegetable oil in a wok on high heat. Add the star anise, sliced pork, and half the green chillies. Toss or stir until fat renders from the pork. This should take about 4 to 5 minutes.
Then add the onion squares and fry for about 6 minutes until they are softened. Add the tomatoes and green chillies and fry for another 2 minutes.
Finally, add the soy sauce and salt. Toss to combine. You may garnish with some green onions if you like, but this is optional.

Vermicelli Sweet Corn Usli (Upma)

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 cups wheat vermicelli noodles (see Tip)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal (optional)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
1 green chile, such as serrano, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
1 ear fresh corn, kernels cut off the cob
1/2 cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup frozen or fresh grated coconut, plus more for garnish
1 lime, halved

Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a medium pot with a fitted lid over medium heat. If the noodles are on the long side, break them up into roughly bite-size pieces. Add them to the pot, and use a wooden spoon to keep them moving so they get lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.

In the same pot, heat the remaining tablespoon oil over medium and fry the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the urad dal (if using), the onion, curry leaves, chile and salt. When the onion is completely softened, but not yet browned, add 1 cup water.
As soon as the water comes to a boil, add the toasted noodles, corn kernels, cashews, cilantro and coconut; stir well. Cover, and cook on low for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat, and let it rest for another 5 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and lime juice, then garnish with extra coconut and cilantro, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Look for very fine vermicelli noodles made from wheat, also called semiya or seviyan at South Asian and Middle Eastern grocery stores. The noodles come toasted and untoasted, short and long. If you buy toasted noodles, there’s no need to toast them in coconut oil (Step 1); simply add them to the boiling water (Step 3).

Coconut Milk Rice

2 cups rice (any fragrant rice)
1 1/2 cup coconut milk or (1 cup coconut chopped or grated + 1 ½ cup water)
2 cups Water (adjust as needed, you can use 1/4 cup more)
2 tsp ginger grated or crushed or paste or ginger garlic paste
1 to 2 green chili slit
1 medium carrots chopped (optional)
1 cup green peas frozen or fresh (optional)
6 beans chopped (optional)
2 tbsp oil , Ghee or butter
Salt as needed
Spices for coconut milk rice
1 bay leaf or tej patta
4 cardamoms or green cardamoms
6 cloves or laung
2 inch cinnamon piece or dalchini
1 tsp cumin or jeera
optional for garnish
10 cashews
4 tbsp Grated coconut or coconut flakes

Wash and soak rice for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Optional – Skip this step if you are using store bought coconut milk. Blend chopped coconut pieces with 1 1/2 cup water. Filter to extract the milk and use 1 1/2 coconut milk in the recipe.

Add ghee or butter to a cooker or pot. Fry cashews until golden. You can set aside if you like crunchy cashews.

To the same pan, add spices and fry till they turn fragrant. Add ginger paste and fry until it smells fragrant.

Add slit green chili, chopped vegetables and fry for 2 to 3 mins.
Pour the coconut milk along with the water and add salt. Taste and check the salt.

When the coconut milk begins to boil, add rice and mix well.

Cover and cook until fully done on a medium flame.

Little water can be sprinkled if rice is still not cooked well. If cooking in a pressure cooker, allow to whistle once.

Allow the coconut milk rice to rest for 15 mins then fluff it up with a fork.

Toast the coconut until golden and garnish it over the rice. You can also garnish with cashews.

South Indian Coconut Rice (Thengai Sadam)

1 cup uncooked rice (any kind, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice)
1 to 1 1/2 cup coconut grated (fresh or frozen) (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1 to 2 green chili (slit or chopped)
1 dried red chili (broken to 2 pieces) (optional)
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 tablespoon chana dal (bengal gram)
1/2 tablespoon urad dal (skinned split black lentils)
1 teaspoon ginger (fine chopped)
12 to 15 cashewnuts or peanuts

Wash rice at least thrice and drain the water. If using basmati rice, soak it for 20 to 30 mins.

To cook rice in pot, bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil and add the rice. Cook covered on a low heat until fully done but not mushy.

To pressure cook basmat rice, pour 1¾ cups water & pressure cook for 1 whistle. To pressure cook normal rice, pour 2 cups & pressure cook for 2 whistles. The rice must be grainy and not mushy. When the pressure releases, open the lid.

Fluff up the cooked rice with a fork and cool completely.

Slit the green chilies, fine chop ginger, and grate the coconut. If using frozen coconut, break up the lumps and loosen the coconut.

Making coconut rice:

Pour 2 tablespoons ghee or oil to a pan and heat it.

Fry cashews or peanuts until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilli, chana dal and urad dal. Saute them and fry until the dals turn golden and aromatic.
Then add ginger, slit green chilli & curry leaves. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until the curry leaves turn crisp. Add hing.

Optional – Quickly pour 2 to 3 tablespoons water to the pan. This will soften the dals and bring out the flavors of the ginger and curry leaves. If you want your dal to be very soft, then you can add little more water. Cook until all of the water evaporates.
Then add fresh coconut and sprinkle salt on it. Then add rice. Off the heat. If using frozen coconut, then saute the coconut a bit until it becomes hot. Then add the rice.

Mix well and taste test. Add more salt if needed. Serve coconut rice with a simple curry or plain yogurt.

Pressure Cooker Khichdi with Mixed Lentils and Vegetables

2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ginger
1 carrot peeled and sliced
1/4 cup green beans chopped
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1 red potato cubed
1 tomato diced
1 cup cauliflower chopped
1 cup cabbage chopped
1 cup spinach chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup white rice
1 cup mixed lentils moong, masoor, toor and chana daal
6 cups water
1/4 cup cilantro chopped, for garnish

Turn the Instant Pot to Saute Mode and heat ghee. Add cumin seeds and ginger.

Cook for 30 seconds. Add all the vegetables – carrots, beans, peas, tomato, potato, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach.

Add turmeric, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well.

Next add the rice and mixed lentils. Add 6 cups of water. Give a quick stir and close the Instant Pot lid with the pressure valve to Sealing.

Press the rice button followed by natural pressure release. (Note, for short-grained rice, I dropped the Breville rice pre-set to three minutes. This gave a nice mushy texture that could be thinned for a porridgy texture.

Open the Instant Pot and garnish with cilantro.

Serve hot with roasted papad and pickle.

Substitute the 4 different lentils with any lentils you may have on hand. It could be just 1 cup of moong daal or 1/2 cup of moong daal and 1/2 cup of chana daal. Just make sure you use 1 cup of lentils.

You can use any combination of vegetables. Just make sure to add about 4 cups of chopped veggies. Frozen mixed vegetables also work well in this recipe.

The water ratio in this recipe is 3 times the rice and lentils together which makes a soft, porridge-like consistency for the final dish. To make dry-ish khichdi reduce the water to 4 cups.

Pressure Cooker Chickpea Coconut Curry

1/4 cup water or broth or use 1 tsp oil
1/2 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 hot green chili ,chopped (such as serrano, jalapeno) or use mild chili or omit
1 tsp each ground cumin, , ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp each cinnamon , ground cardamom
1/3 tsp cayenne or to taste
1/4 tsp grouond sage or dried oregano
1 red bell pepper ,chopped or sliced
1 tbsp minced ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup dry uncooked chickpeas ,soaked for atleast 30 mins in boiling hot water (4 hours to overnight soaking works best)
13.5 oz can coconut milk , reserve 2 tbsp for garnishing
1 cups water ,depends on curry consistency preference., use 1/2 cup for thicker, 1.5 cups for soupier
lemon/lime juice , cilantro, pepper flakes for garnish

Press saute on the Instant Pot. Add onion, garlic, chili and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 mins until translucent. Deglaze with more broth if needed. (See notes for saucepan)

Add the spices and mix in. (You can add spice blends of choice here such as curry powder, garam masala, berbere or jamaican curry powder, or curry pastes instead of listed spices).

Add the bell pepper and ginger and mix in. Drain the chickpeas and add to the pot. Add salt, coconut milk and water and give it a good mix to pick up any stuck bits.

Cancel saute, Close the lid to sealing. Pressure cook at high pressure for 40 to 45 mins (30 mins for overnight soak)**. Let the pressure release naturally then open the lid.

Taste and adjust salt and flavor, add more spices if needed. If the mixture is thin, Mash some of the chickpeas to thicken or blend half cup of the curry and mix in, saute for a few mins if needed. (Fold in some baby spinach at this point while the chickpeas are still hot).

Garnish with lemon, pepper flakes, remaining coconut milk and cilantro and serve over rice or grains.

Saucepan (dried chickpeas): Soak the chickpeas overnight or atleast 4 hours and drain. Follow steps 1,2,3 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add only half the salt, add 1 to 1.5 cups water. Cook partially covered for 50 minutes. Then check the chickpeas for doneness. Add more salt, more water if needed and continue to cook for another 10-15 mins.

Saucepan(canned/pre-cooked) chickpeas: Follow steps 1,2,3 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add only 1/4 cup water and 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas. Partially cover and cook for 20 mins. Taste and adjust flavor, mash some chickpeas to thicken and serve.

Instant Pot (Canned Chickpeas): Follow steps 1,2.3. Use just 1/4 cup water, 2.5 to 3 cups cooked chickpeas and pressure cook for 5 mins.

Variations: Use other beans such as brown chickpeas (pressure cook 50 mins), black eyed peas(pressure cook 30 mins), kidney beans or white beans(pressure cook for 45 mins).
Add a cup of chopped tomatoes with the chickpeas.

** times are for creamy curry with soft chickpeas. Chickpeas that are just done have a bite and clash with the creamy profile i am going for. Adjust the times based on preference if needed.

Nepali Aloo

3 medium potatoes chopped this dish is usually made with baby potatoes
3 serano peppers chillies sliced into thin long slices
2 inch ginger sliced into thin long slices
5 cloves garlic sliced into thin long slices
2 teaspoons vinegar or more for a more sour taste
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup oil to fry
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Chop the potatoes and shallow or deep fry them.

Fry the sliced chillies, ginger and garlic.

In a large pan with a little oil on medium heat, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Add the potatoes, chillies, ginger, garlic, turmeric and salt and mix well.

add in the vinegar and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Patta Gobi Chile (Cabbage and Chickpeas)

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
pinch of asofetida
1 bay leaf
1 dried red chilli
2 teaspoons oil
1 serrano pepper chopped thinly
1 inch ginger chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 green cabbage chopped
16 oz can garbanzo beans strained
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 cup cilantro leaves for garnish

In a large pan, heat the oil on medium heat till hot.

Add in the mustard seeds and let sputter.

Add in the cumin seeds, coriander powder, asofetida and turmeric and let roast for a minute.

Add in the red chilli, bay leaf, serano pepper, ginger and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add in the strained garbanzo beans and mix well.

Cook covered on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Mix well again and let cook for another 3 minutes.

Add in the chopped cabbage and salt and mix well.

Cook on medium low heat, covered for 10 minutes.

Stir it well and check after another 10 minutes if the cabbage is soft enough.

Cook for another 10 minutes.

Garnish it with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with rotis or naan and a Garlic Papad!

Adraki Gobi Aloo (Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger)

1/2 medium cauliflower 2+ cups
2 medium white potatoes chopped into small cubes
1 Serrano chili pepper or to taste
2 inch ginger chopped use less if you dont like ginger
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric haldi
pinch of asafetida hing
salt to taste 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1 Tablespoon oil

In a pan, add oil and heat it at medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add in cumin seeds and wait until they start sputtering.

Add in the asafetida(hing), coriander powder and turmeric and mix well.

Add in the chopped ginger, garlic and serrano pepper and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the potatoes chopped into small pieces and mix well and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.

Break the cauliflower into florets and chop some of the bigger florets to form smaller pieces.

Add in the cauliflower florets and salt and mix well.

Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 15-20 minutes stirring every 4-5 minutes.

Potatoes should be soft when done.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with rotis or Naan.

Imli Chile (Sweet and Sour Chickpeas with Tamarind)

15 oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas drained and washed or 1 cup dry chickpeas washed and soaked overnight
2 teaspoons oil
1 small onion chopped
1/4 teaspoon asofetida (hing – omit to make gluten-free)
1 teaspoon ginger paste or a Tablespoon chopped ginger
2 teaspoon garlic paste or 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or more for a spicier version
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cloves powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tamarind concentrate or 2 teaspoon of tamarind pulp (less or more according to taste to adjust the sourness)
1.5-2 cups water
1/2 tsp chaat masala or amchur for garnish

In a pressure cooker or a deep pan, add the oil and keep it on medium heat.

Add in the onions and the asofetida(hing) and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (you can puree the onions after this and cook the puree for another 6-7 minutes and proceed with the next steps. This will help make a thicker curry).

Add in the spices, ginger garlic paste, red chili flakes and mix well. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Add in the washed chickpeas, salt, sugar, tamarind concentrate and water and mix well.

Pressure cook the beans for 10 minutes if using canned beans, and 20 minutes once the pressure has reached ( 3 to 4 whistles), if using dry beans that were soaked. (cook longer if you want softer beans).

If cooking in a deep pan, add another half cup water, cover and cook on low-medium heat until chickpeas are tender. about 30 minutes.

Wait for the pressure in the pressure cooker to release naturally before opening. Check and adjust salt and spice according to taste. Mash the beans a little bit. Sprinkle chaat masala or Amchur(dry mango) powder.

Serve hot with Naan or Rotis, or as topping for chaat snacks.

Edamame Kara Kuzambu (South Indian Edamame Curry)

2 teaspoons safflower or any neutral oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal split black gram, or use petite yellow lentils
10 curry leaves coarsely chopped
Pinch asafetida omit to make gluten-free
1/2 cup chopped red onion or pearl onions
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon sambhar powder or use 2 teaspoons ground coriander *
1 teaspoon tamarind paste concentrate
3/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
1 1/2 cups edamame fresh or thawed if frozen, or other fresh or cooked beans like fava beans, butter beans, or lima beans
3/4 cup coconut milk canned or culinary
1 cup or more water
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds, and the urad dal. Cook until the seeds start to sizzle and the urad dal changes color, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry leaves and asafetida.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomato, sambhar powder, tamarind, and cayenne, and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are saucy, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt. Cover and cook until the edamame are tender, about 25 minutes. Taster and adjust salt, heat (cayenne), tang (add lemon juice if needed). For thinner curry, add more water and bring to a boil. Serve hot with Dosa crepes, idli rice cakes or over rice.

Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot: Follow steps 1 to 3 on saute mode. Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt and cook for 6 to 8 minutes at high pressure. Natural release. Taste and adjust salt, tang and heat.

* Sambhar powder is a South Indian spice blend of coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, red chilies, urad dal and toor dal. It is easily available in Indian stores or online. Or find the recipe in my cookbook.

Kolhapuri Vegetables (Vegetables in Sesame Coconut Tomato Sauce)

Kolhapuri Masala:
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
2 tsp Sesame seeds
1/2 tsp Poppy seeds
1/2 tsp Black pepper corns
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 dried red chilies cayenne or arbol for hot and california red or 1-2 guajillo for mild
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp or more paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 medium onion roughly chopped
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
1 inch ginger
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups cauliflower
1.5 cups sweet potato
1.5 to 2 cups other veggies carrots green beans, green peas etc
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1.5 to 2 cups water
salt cayenne to preference

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add all ingredients coriander seeds through cumin and roast for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to change color. Add the chilies and coconut and continue to roast for a minute or until coconut starts to change color. Take off heat and mix in the nutmeg, paprika and cinnamon. Cool slightly and grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder or small blender.

Add the sauce ingredients to a blender along with the ground spice mixture from above. Add a tbsp or so water and blend until smooth.

Heat 1 tsp oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the blended sauce mixture and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the garlic doesnt smell raw and the sauce thickens and changes color. Stir occasionally. You can store this sauce to use later at this point(in the fridge for upto 3 days).

Meanwhile, combine the veggies except bell pepper, in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Add 1/2 tsp salt and cayenne to preference. Cover partially and Cook over medium hot until the veggies are al dente. (15 to 20 minutes). Fold in the bell pepper and peas in the last 5 mins. Add greens or cooked beans at this point if using.

Combine the cooked sauce mixture from Step 3 and cooked veggies and mix well. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until desired consistency. Mash some of the veggies. Taste and adjust slat and heat and mix in. Garnish with cilantro and lemon and serve with crackers, toasted dinner rolls, garlic bread or flatbread.

Instant Pot:
Make the sauce on saute mode or in a separate skillet (step 1 to 3 above). Once the sauce is cooked, combine the sauce, chopped veggies, 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt with 1 to 1.5 cups of water and Pressure cook for 14 to 15 minutes (manual) in an Instant pot or electric pressure cooker , Or 6 to 7 mins in a Stove top pressure cooker once the pressure has reached. Let the pressure release naturally, open, taste and adjust salt, garnish with cilantro and lemon. If there is too much liquid, cook on saute for a few mins to reduce.

For added protein, add cooked chickpeas or other beans along with the veggies when combining with the sauce.

For deeper flavor in the masala blend, add a generous pinch of ground cardamom and cloves as well.

Use 2 to 3 tbsp of premade Kolhapuri spice blend.

Make ahead: Make the sauce till step 3 and store refrigerated. Pre cook the veggies by blanching or roasting until al dente. To serving, toss the veggies into the sauce and simmer for 7 to 8 mins. Add a bit of water if needed. Or to serve, combine the stored cooked sauce, veggies, 1 cup water in an instant pot and cook for 14 mins on manual.

Charchari (Bengali Mixed Vegetables)

1.5 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp or more turmeric
1/4 cup or more water
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup chopped potato
1/2 to 1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup chopped pumpkin or squash or sweet potato
1/2 cup green peas fresh or thawed if frozen
1/2 tsp or more salt
1 tsp oil
1 tsp Panch Phoron Or use 1/4 tsp each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, and 1/8 tsp each of fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds
1/8 tsp asafetida omit to make gluten-free or use certified gluten-free asafetida
2 green chills chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sugar or other sweetener to taste

Mix the turmeric and mustard powder in 1/4 cup water and add to a skillet over medium heat. Add the veggies except peas to the skillet and mix. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Add peas, salt, mix, Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tempering. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add panch phoron spices and let the spices start to pop. 2 mins. (use a lid if the spices pop out too much).

Add asafetida and green chilies and cook for a minute or until the chilies are golden.

Add this tempering to the skillet with cooking veggies and mix in well. Add in sugar and mix. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Add some cayenne if needed for heat. Add a splash of water if the veggies are sticking. Cover and cook for another few minutes or until the veggies are done to preference. Cook uncovered if too wet.

Garnish with cilantro and lemon (optional). Serve as a side in Indian meal or in a bowl with Dal and rice or flatbread.

Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot: Add the first 7 ingredients and 1/4 tsp salt to a pressure cooker/IP and cook at manual low pressure for 4 mins. Meanwhile, make the tempering(steps 3 and 4). Quick release, add the tempering, 1/4 tsp salt and peas and saute for a few minutes. Taste and adjust salt and heat.

Basic Kachumber Salad

1 small onion finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped small
1 large cucumber chopped small
4-5 red radishes chopped small (optional)
1 green chili finely chopped
1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp or more salt
1/4 tsp or more freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp or more cayenne pure red chili powder
1 tsp or more freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

Chop the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, wash and drain well.

Add the veggies and the rest of the ingredients to a bowl. Taste and adjust salt and heat. Serve.


To reduce the strong sharp onion flavor, soak the chopped onion in water for 15 minutes. Drain and then use.

To reduce spiciness, seed peppers


Add 2 tbsp of chopped mint.

Add a generous pinch of kala namak (Indian Sulfur black salt) or 1/4 tsp or more chaat masala to taste.

Add vinegar to taste instead of lemon juice.

Add 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin or coriander powder.

Add 1/2 cup or more yogurt and 1/2 tsp ground cumin and mix in to make raita kind of yogurt dip.

8-Vegetable Masala Subzi

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powder powder the fenugreek seeds and use
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/3 tsp for less heat
1/2 tsp each ground cumin ,coriander, turmeric, mustard
1/3 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 to 1/2 tsp cayenne or use some paprika and some cayenne
1 tsp oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 cups of chopped veggies such as cauliflower carrots, green beans, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage etc
3/4 tsp salt less or more to taste
1/3 cup green peas thawed if frozen
cilantro and lemon for garnish

Mix the spices and bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden. Add the spice mix and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the veggies except peas, salt and toss well to coat. Add a splash of water. Cover and cook for 12 minutes.

Toss well, add peas and mix in. Taste and adjust salt and heat.

Cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender to preference.

Garnish with cilantro and lemon. Serve with dal and rice/flatbread

Variation: add a chopped tomato after Step 2 and cook for 2 minutes, then add veggies.

Add 1 to 1.5 cup of chickpeas or beans at step 3 along with the veggies. Double all the spices.

8 Spice Mix: Mix equal quantities( 1 Tbsp) of ground fenugreek, black pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne (or half paprika and half cayenne) and store for spicing up the veggies to make a stir fry or roasted veggies.

Add Chickpeas: Add 1 to 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas to the stir fry for filling meal. Double the spices.

Instant Pot: Follow Step 1 and 2 in saute mode, add veggies and splash of water and salt. Cook on Manual for 1 minute. Quick Release, fold in the peas, adjust salt. Close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. If the veggies are not cooked, ook on saute for a few minutes. Garnish and serve.

Pressure Cooker Vegetable Lentil Dhansak

Dal and Veggies:
3/4 cup total split dals combination of red lentils(masoor dal and yellow lentils(mung dal) or toor and moong dal)
2 cups chopped vegetables (heaped) such as cauliflower, eggplant, zuchhini, opo squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli etc)
1 cup packed chopped greens such as spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves, mustard leaves, chard or amaranth
1 tbsp minced ginger
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 hot green chile minced
1/2 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dhana jeera powder* or 1/2 tsp garam masala + 1/2 tsp coriander powder + a good pinch of ground cloves

1 tsp oil
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup chopped onion (heaped)
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt and garam masala or more as needed

Soak the dals for 15 mins to half hour. Drain and combine in a pressure cooker/Instant pot with the vegetables, and the rest of the ingredients under Dals and Veggies(ginger, garlic, spices)and 2.5 to 3 cups water. Cook for 3 minutes on manual (high pressure). Let the pressure release naturally.

Meanwhile, make the tempering. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add mustard and cumin seeds and let them start to pop. Add onion and garlic and cook until golden, stirring occasionally. (a heavy bottom pan, a pinch of salt and stirring at regular intervals gives an even golden onion).

Once the pressure has released, open the lid. At this point you can mash the veggies and lentils for a more traditional version..
Mix in half the tempering into the lentil vegetable mixture in the Instant Pot. Taste and adjust salt and heat(cayenne). Add more salt and garam masala if needed. Garnish with the remaining half tempering, cilantro and lemon juice and serve.

Serve with rice, flatbread, toasted bread or garlic bread, garlic naan and kachumbar salad (cucumber tomato onion salad).

*Dhana Jeera powder: Add 1 heaping tbsp coriander seeds, 1.5 tsp cumin seeds to a skillet over low heat. Slow roast for 6 to 8 minutes until they start to get fragrant. Cool and blend to a powder. Mix in a good dash of cinnamon, clove and black pepper and mix in. Use this mixture to garnish dals just before serving.
Saucepan: Combine all the ingredients for the dal and veggies in a saucepan. Partially cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the lentils and veggies are tender to preference. Proceed to make the tempering.

Pressure Cooker Black Eyed Pea Curry with Potato and Cauliflower (Gobi Aloo Lobia)

3/4 cup (129 g) black eyed peas soaked for atleast half an hour in warm water
1 tsp oil
1/2 a medium onion chopped
5 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
1/2 tsp garam masala or 1 tsp sambhar masala, or use 1/2 tsp cumin + 1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric use less if you are sensitive to the flavor
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp shredded coconut dried or fresh
2 juicy tomatoes pureed or 1¼ cup
1.5 cups or more veggies chopped small (small cauliflower florets and cubed potato or sweet potato)
3/4 tsp or more salt
2 cups water
lemon for garnish

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 curry leaves fresh are best

Press Saute on Instant Pot and let it get hot. Add oil and spread using a spatula. Add onion, garlic, ginger and cook for 5 mins.
Add the spices and coconut and mix in. Cook for a minute.

Add pureed tomato. Mix and bring to a good boil. Add the veggies and mix in.

Add drained black eyed peas, water and salt and mix in. Close the lid and cook on Manual for 12 to 15 minutes.

Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid, add a dash of lemon. Taste and adjust salt, spice and heat.

Make the tempering. Heat oil in a small skillet. When hot, add cumin seeds and let them change color. Add curry leaves carefully, (they will splutter) then take off heat. Add the tempering over the curry.

Serve as a soup in a bowl or over rice or other grains of choice, or with flatbread, Naan or pita bread.

Quick option: At Step 1, after the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and let them start to change color. Add the curry leaves carefully, if using and mix. then add the onion and continue.

Saucepan: Make sure to soak the black eyed peas for an hour.

Follow steps 1 to 3 in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the drained black eyed peas, salt and 3 cups of water.

Partially cover and cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until black eyed peas are tender to preference. (add veggies half way through to reduce chances of overcooking).

Garnish with tempering and serve.

Variation: Use other beans or chickpeas and other spices.Use cilantro to sub curry leaves in the tempering.