Spanish White Bean Soup with Bacon and Herbs

1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
10 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.

Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.

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.

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.

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!

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.

Herbed White Bean Stew with Sausage

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, sliced 3/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high. Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans, 8 cups water, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged.

When beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with more vinegar and olive oil.

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.

Coconut Dal with Turmeric Rice

Coconut Dal:
1 cup red lentils
2 tablespoons ghee, or sunflower oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pinch asafetida
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups water
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch half discs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 can of coconut milk

Turmeric Rice:
1 cup basmati rice
1 3/4 cups water
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

Coconut Dal:
Wash the lentils thoroughly, using a fine-mesh colander.

Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add one cumin seed. When the seed sizzles, add the rest of the cumin seeds and asafetida.
Fry the onions until they are golden brown and fragrant. Stir in the turmeric powder. Next add in the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Next add in the tomato paste and a few tablespoons of water, mixing it in so it’s incorporated into the rest of the ingredients in the pan.

Add in the coriander powder and paprika and give the pan a good stir. Fry for a few seconds.

Add the carrots to the saucepan and sprinkle them with salt. Give them a good stir.

Next add in the washed and drained lentils with the water. Bring to a boil. Stay by the stove and monitor the foaming, as your pot could quickly boil over if you are not watching. Skim off the foam. Turn the heat down to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer until cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Add in the tamarind and boil for a few minutes. Next add in the coconut milk and heat through. Add salt to taste.

Garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve with turmeric rice and a dollop of yoghurt.

Turmeric Rice:
Wash the rice in several changes of water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water, generously covered, for at least 30 minutes. This is optional but results in softer, more evenly cooked rice. Drain thoroughly, using a fine-mesh sieve.

Place the rice, water and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cover the saucepan and turn the heat to the lowest setting on your stove.
Cook until the rice is tender and there is no water left in the pan, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave covered for 10 minutes, to allow the grains to separate. Fluff with a fork before serving.

Turmeric-Coconut Rice

1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, such as jasmine
1 3/4 cups coconut water
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh turmeric, or 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Wash the rice in several changes of water and drain well. An easy way to do this is to run water over the grains of rice in the medium saucepan you plan to use, swishing them in a circle with your hand, then pour off most of the water into the sink, holding the rice back with your hand. When the water is clearer after a few rinses (it will never be totally clear), drain the rice through a fine-mesh strainer and dump it back into the saucepan.

In your medium saucepan over high heat, combine the rice, coconut water, turmeric, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to loosen the grains. Lower the heat slightly and let bubble for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. When the rice is glossy on top, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes. Uncover, add the coconut oil, and fluff with chopsticks or a fork to combine and to circulate the grains. Re-cover and let rest for 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes to finish cooking. Before serving, fluff the rice again.

Transfer the rice to a serving bowl or platter and let diners help themselves.

Pasta e Ceci with Miso and Chili Oil

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons white miso
2 1/2 cups just-boiled water
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup ditalini
2 teaspoons chili crisp (such as Lao Gan Ma or Fly By Jing), with oil, adjusted to taste

Add the oil and miso to a large saucepan or small soup pot. Set on the stove over medium to medium-low heat and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the miso is threatening to burn, until the miso is very fragrant and a toasty, chestnutty brown.

Carefully pour off the oil into a small heatproof bowl (you don’t need to obsess over every last drop, just try to get most of it); discard this later on, whenever it’s cool.

Set the pan back on the stove and add about half the water, stirring until the miso is incorporated and all the bits on the bottom are scraped up.

Add the rest of the water, as well as the chickpeas and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the pasta is super-duper al dente (remember, it will continue to cook as it hangs out in the hot soup).

Divide into two soup bowls and top with however much chili crisp you want.

Tomato Rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup long grain brown rice

Heat the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and pepper and a large pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. (Do not let the vegetables brown — if necessary, add a splash of water to prevent this.)

Add the tomatoes and another large pinch of salt to the pan and stir to combine. Raise the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until you have what resembles a thick sauce.

Stir in the rice, 2 1/2 cups cold water and a couple more pinches of salt. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes without stirring, until the liquid on the surface is mostly gone. Stir the rice briefly, cover and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cook the rice, without removing the lid, for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Ham Fried Rice with Pineapple

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
3 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup leftover ham, diced
1/2 cup pineapple, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (yields about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked rice overnight long grain rice
3 eggs, beaten
Salt, to taste

Mix the soy sauce and pineapple juice together in a small bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large nonstick pan and heat it over medium-high heat until hot. Add the ham and pineapples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the bell peppers. Stir a few times to mix well, then transfer everything to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic into the skillet. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Add the rice and spread it out with your spatula. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is lightly toasted.

Move the rice to one side of the pan and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the other side of the skillet. Add the beaten eggs onto the oil. Let it cook until the bottom sets, 30 seconds. Scramble a few times until most of the eggs are cooked but some parts are still runny. Mix the rice into the egg, chopping and stirring to mix everything together.

Move the rice to the edge of the pan to make a well in the center. Pour the soy sauce and pineapple juice into the center. Let it cook for a few seconds to evaporate the liquid. Stir everything together until the rice is evenly coated with the seasonings. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture is cooked off.

Add the cooked ham mixture back into the pan. Stir everything together. Taste the rice. Add a pinch of salt and mix again, if needed.

Creamy White Beans With ‘Nduja, Kale, and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

For the Beans:
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots (4 1/2 ounces; 125g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup; 113g) ‘nduja (see note)
3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
1 quart (950ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 bunch (8 ounces; 225g) lacinato kale, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice (from one lemon; zest finely grated and set aside before juicing fruit)
For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: (optional)
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces; 35g) panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Finely grated zest from one lemon

For the Beans: In large, straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates, and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Add beans. Use wooden spoon to crush roughly 1/4 of the beans against sides and bottom of the pan. Stir until beans are fully incorporated and coated in ‘nduja-shallot mixture.

Add chicken stock, season lightly with salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a creamy, stew-like consistency, with some beans just poking out on the surface, about 15 minutes.

Add kale, and stir to incorporate and very lightly wilt the greens, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt.

For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: While the beans simmer, combine oil and breadcrumbs in medium skillet, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add parsley and lemon zest, season lightly with salt, stir to combine, and continue to cook until parsley begins to sizzle and mixture is very fragrant of citrus, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer breadcrumb mixture to small bowl and set aside until you are ready to serve.

For Serving: Divide beans between individual serving bowls and sprinkle with gremolata breadcrumbs. Serve immediately, passing more breadcrumbs at the table.

Mujaddara (Lebanese Lentils and Rice)

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

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

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

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

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

Mexican Rice

3 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice (450g)
3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or water + 1 bouillon cube (710 ml)
2 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 cup plain tomato sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

First, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a deep skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the rice and stir constantly until the rice begins to turn golden brown. The toastier your rice, the tastier it will be (information gleaned from my friend, via her grandma of course).

Next, add the chicken stock. The mixture will bubble up, and should be followed immediately by the tomato paste or tomato sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, and salt.

Bring to a boil, stirring the tomato paste to dissolve it if using, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Immediately turn the heat down to low and set a timer for 20 minutes.

During or when the rice is done cooking, you may want to check moisture levels. If you smell a hint of a burnt scent, your heat is too high! In this scenario, if the rice is cooked, remove from the heat. If it’s not cooked, lower the heat, and add water ½ cup at a time to continue the cooking process. If it’s too wet, leave the lid slightly ajar or off the pan entirely.

When the rice is done, fluff it with a fork and serve

Turmeric-Coconut Rice with Greens (or Vegetables)

2 cups long-grain rice, such as jasmine or basmati
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon white or black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more as needed
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
Pinch of saffron (optional)
Kosher salt
1 medium bunch kale, spinach or Swiss chard (or anything that steams in 10 minutes, such as frozen peas or edamame, green beans, broccoli, grated carrots or sliced fennel)
1 lime

While a meal all on its own, this rice would also be great accompanied by tofu, white fish, chicken thighs or stewed black beans. Prepared as written, this dish has a relatively pure, mild flavor, so if you want more oomph, add more turmeric and saffron and season with plenty of salt and pepper as you cook.

Pressure Cooker Khichuri

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
3/4 cup red split lentils (masuur dal)
1/2 cup Basmati or kalajeera rice
1 tsp powdered cumin
1 tsp powdered coriander
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp red cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 medium sized Yukon gold potato peeled and cubed
1/2 cup frozen green peas

For tempering
1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (optional)
2 whole dried red chillies
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Set the Instant Pot® on Sauté mode and heat the oil for about 1 minute, then add the onion and sauté until they turn golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the lentils, rice, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper powder, salt, and turmeric. Add the cauliflower, potato, and 4 cups of water and stir well.

Press Cancel to turn off Sauté mode, close the lid, and set the Instant Pot® on Manual Low Pressure mode for 4 minutes.
When cooking time is complete, allow for Natural Pressure Release for 10 to 15 minutes, then use Quick Release for any residual pressure.

Once pressure is released, open pot and stir rice mixture well. Set the Instant Pot® to Sauté mode and stir in the green peas and cook for 1 minute.

To finish, heat the ghee or coconut oil in a small pan, add the cumin seeds, crushed red pepper, if using, and whole dried red chilies and cook until the mixture crackles and is fragrant, being careful not to burn the crushed red pepper. Pour the fragrant mixture over the khichuri and gently stir. Sprinkle on the lime juice and garnish with cilantro before serving.

Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Pumpkin

3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as sunflower or canola
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded or not, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 knob ginger (about 1 inch), minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (do not use light coconut milk)
1 (13.5-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt, more as needed
3/4 cup chopped cilantro, more for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
Cooked rice or couscous, for serving (optional)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onion, jalapeño and bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden on the edges, about 8 minutes.

Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garam masala, cumin and turmeric; cook for an additional 30 seconds.

Stir in chickpeas, coconut milk, pumpkin, ½ cup water and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors meld. (Add more water if it starts to look too thick.) Stir in cilantro and lime juice to taste. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

Serve over rice or couscous if you like, and top with more cilantro and lime wedges on the side.