Indian-Spiced Scrambled Eggs

1/2 medium onion, preferably red
1 medium ripe tomato
1 serrano chile pepper or 1/2 jalapeño (may substitute 2 green Thai chiles)
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Dash of tomato-chile ketchup
Pinch kashmiri chili powder
Kosher salt
A few fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Finely chop the onion and tomato; together is okay. Seed and mince the chile pepper. Whisk the eggs in a large liquid measuring cup, until evenly blended and a little frothy.

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, stir in the onion and tomato; cook for 4 or 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the fresh chile pepper and the cilantro, if using, the red chili powder and then season lightly with salt. Cook for a minute or two, then reduce the heat to medium-low.

Pour in the eggs, stirring gently to incorporate the other ingredients in the skillet.

Cook until just set, stirring just enough so the eggs stay moist and do not overcook.

Divide the scrambled eggs between plates. Scatter the cilantro on top and serve right away.

From chef Mohan Singh of Heritage India restaurant in Northwest Washington

Toor Dal with Tamarind

400g toor dal
3 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
1 tsp of fenugreek/methi seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
2 inches fresh ginger, finely grated/chopped
a good pinch asafoetida/hing powder
2 small chillies, chopped into three
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
100 mL water
2 tsp salt

Soak the toor dal in a bowl of water for 20 minutes or overnight if you are well organized. This simply makes the cooking time a little quicker but is not essential (unlike some lentils which you have to soak over night – red kidney beans and green mung beans for example). Make sure the water is sufficiently above the level of the dal. You rinse it through after so the exact amount is irrelevant.

Once the 20 minutes soaking are up, rinse the dal through a sieve and place in a large pan and cover with boiling water. This time the water should only be a little bit above the dal. Gently cook the dal so that it softens, this will take around 20-35minutes (more of you have not soaked). You may need to add more water if it gets soaked up whilst softening. It’s not an exact science so don’t worry too much on water amounts – sometimes I have it more ‘soupy’ in consistency than others. Remove the scum from the top of the pan, which occurs when cooking the dal. When it has softened, leave to rest whilst you finish off preparing the rest of the ingredients. To test it has softened squeeze a lentil between your thumb and forefinger. If it soft it is ready for the next stage, however, if the lentil remains hard you will need to boil it a little longer.

In a large karahi or frying pan heat up the oil and then add the fenugreek/methi, cumin and black mustard seeds. They will begin to pop so make sure you keep the heat low. Move them around the pan for 30 seconds before adding the curry leaves and give a good stir.

After three minutes cooking time add the chillies, fresh tomatoes and asafoetida/hing, fresh ginger, chilli powder and turmeric and mix in well together.

Once the tomatoes have softened – this will take a few minutes, add the tamarind concentrate and water and stir. You now want to deposit the pan with the toor dal into your karahi/frying pan with the other ingredients, or vice versa, depending on which pan is larger. Stir in well together and add a little extra boiling water to clean the pan and then turn that water into the main pan.

Add the salt to taste and leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or Indian bread or simply on its own. I often like to squeeze in a little fresh lemon or lime as well.

Punjabi Aloo Gobi

480 gms cauliflower cut into small florets
260 gms potatoes boiled, peeled and diced to bite size pieces
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of hing
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1/2 inch ginger blended to a paste with a splash of water
3 green chillies slit lengthwise
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
Salt to taste
Handful of coriander for garnish finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves/ kasoori methi (optional)
1/2 inch ginger slivers for garnish

In a non stick large heavy bottom saucepan heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the hing and cumin seeds. Fry for a minute followed by the ginger paste and slit green chillies. Fry for 20 seconds and add the turmeric and coriander powder frying for a few seconds.

Add the cauliflower florets and season to taste. Stir well over a medium heat for a minute making sure the florets are coated in the spices well.

Add 50mls water and stir. Turn the heat to a low setting and cook for 15-17 minutes with a lid on. Make sure to stir halfway through cooking.

Add the boiled potatoes and mix well. Garnish with coriander, lemon juice, kasoori methi and ginger slivers. Stir well and turn the heat off keep warm with a lid on for a few minutes. Serve warm with chapattis and raita.

Alison’s Edamame

1 bag frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Serve edamame with sauce on the side.

Alison’s Edamame and Rice

1 bag shelled frozen edamame

Sauce:
3 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Pinch of sugar to taste
Dash of black vinegar to taste
Dash of toasted sesame oil to taste

Cooked rice for serving

Steam or boil edamame until just done.

Mix sauce ingredients to taste.

Toss edamame with sauce.

Serve over rice.

Lomo Saltado

12 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks 3 inches long by 3/8 inch wide (about 2 cups)
12 ounces lean filet mignon
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges (about 1 cup)
1 medium ripe tomato, cut into thin wedges
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 to 3 teaspoons aji amarillo chili, seeded and cut into scant ¼-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels. Line two large plates with several sheets of paper towels. Cut the beef with the grain in half. Cut each half with the grain in half so that you have a total of 4 quarters. Cut each quarter section across the grain into ¼-inch-thick bite-sized slices. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce and vinegar.

In a 2-quart saucepan heat the 3 cups oil over medium-high heat until the oil registers 300°F on a deep-frying thermometer, making sure the tip of the thermometer does not touch the pan. Carefully add the potatoes and fry 3 minutes or until they are tender. Remove the pan from the heat. Carefully remove the potatoes with a metal skimmer and drain on one of the paper towel–lined plates. Then discard the oil-soaked paper towels (because the potatoes sometimes will stick to the towels).

Reheat the same oil in the saucepan over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 360°F. Carefully add the same potatoes to the oil and fry until light golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully remove the potatoes with a metal skimmer and drain on the second prepared plate. Then discard the oil-soaked paper towels. Let the hot oil cool before discarding.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, carefully add the beef, and spread it evenly in one layer in the wok. Cook undisturbed 1 minute, letting the beef begin to sear.

Sprinkle on the garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, using a metal spatula, stir-fry 30 seconds, until the beef is lightly browned but not cooked through.

Add the red onions and tomatoes and stir-fry 30 seconds or until the tomatoes begins to soften. Swirl the soy sauce mixture into thewok, sprinkle on the sugar and chilies, and stir-fry 30 seconds or until well combined.

Add the cilantro and fried potatoes and stir-fry several seconds until the ingredients are combined and the beef is just cooked.

Serves 2 to 3 as a main dish or 4 as part of a multicourse meal.

Crispy Rice and Egg Bowl with Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette

1 1/4 cups minced scallions, both green and white parts (from a 4-ounce bundle)
2 tablespoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
Neutral oil (such as grapeseed, safflower, or sunflower)
1/4 cup sherry or rice wine vinegar
Fine sea salt
About 1 heaped cup julienned or coarsely grated carrots (from about 8 ounces fresh)
8 ounces small (Persian-style, about 2) cucumbers, thinly sliced
3 cups cooked, cooled rice (my favorite here is short-grain brown or white)
4 eggs
Soy sauce or tamari (to serve)
Toasted sesame oil (to serve)
Sriracha, gochujang or another hot sauce of your choice (to serve)

Make the vinaigrette: Mix scallions, ginger, 1/4 cup oil and sherry or rice wine vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt (I use about 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt). Set aside.

Crisp your rice: Heat a large frying pan over medium high. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil; you’ll want to coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil all over. Nonstick pans are more forgiving here, so you can use the lower amount. Heat the oil until it’s hot, another minute, then scatter half the rice over the surface; it’s okay if small clusters remain. Season lightly with salt and do not touch it. In 3 to 5 minutes, the underside will become golden brown and crisp. Use a spatula to flip it in sections then fry on the other side until it is also crisp. Divide between two bowls and repeat with remaining rice, dividing it between two remaining bowls.

Crisp your egg: If there isn’t enough oil left in the pan (you want a thin layer), add another splash and heat this on high heat. Add eggs one at a time and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until brown, lacy, and crisp underneath, and the whites are opaque, bubbly and dramatic and the edges are brown. You can spoon some oil from the pan over the egg whites to help them cook faster. Place one egg on each bowl of rice.

Assemble bowls: Arrange some cucumbers and carrots to each bowl. Spoon 2 tablespoons vinaigrette onto each bowls. Drizzle each egg with a half-teaspoon of tamari and toasted sesame oil, letting it roll onto the other ingredients, plus hot sauce to taste. Eat immediately. Repeat frequently.

Do ahead: The dressing will keep for 5 to 6 days in the fridge; the chopped vegetables will keep for 3 to 4.

Notes: If you have extra time, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons each rice vinegar and water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt to coat the strands. They begin to marinate/gently pickle while you do everything else. But the dressing is sufficient to flavor them if you’re in more of a rush.

Argentine Beef and Potato Pie

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons pimentón dulce (sweet Spanish smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large Idaho (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Combine the olive oil, onions, and carrots in a large cast-iron skillet and sauté over
medium-high heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften and begin to
brown.

Crumble in the ground sirloin and cook for about 4 minutes, breaking up the
meat with a fork, until it loses its pink color.

Stir in the bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, cumin, pimentón, pepper flakes, and mustard.

Add the red wine and let it bubble gently for 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

Stir in the tomatoes and olives and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and the liquid is reduced but not totally evaporated. (It is important that the finished dish be moist.)

Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a medium pot with cold water to cover, add salt to
taste, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and boil for about 15
minutes, until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander, and pass through a food mill or a ricer back into the pot.

Bring the milk to a boil, and beat it into the potatoes with a wooden spoon.

One by one, beat in the egg yolks, and continue beating until well blended, fluffy, and yellow.

Heat an horno or home oven (with the rack positioned in the lower third of the
oven) to approximately 375°F.

Slice the hard-boiled eggs 1/3 inch thick and arrange them over the meat mixture.

Spoon the mashed potatoes on top and smooth the surface with a spatula. Use the tines
of a fork to press a pattern of fine decorative ridges over the entire surface of the
potatoes. Sprinkle with the sugar, if using.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned on top.

Burmese Beans

2 1/2 cups / 535 grams dried beans, such as pinto, navy, or cannellini
Salt
1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil, plus more for finishing
1 sliced yellow onion
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1/3 cup)
3 tomatoes, diced
Pinch of chile flakes
2 green onions, sliced (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

Rinse the beans well in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with 2 inches of cool water, and let soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Drain the beans, transfer to a 4- to 6-quart pot, and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.

Remove from the heat, stir in 2 teaspoons salt, and let the beans stand in their cooking liquid for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate them in their cooking liquid and finish the dish the next day). Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid (you’ll have about 4 cups).

In the same pot used to cook the beans, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and cook until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. While cooking, mash the garlic against the side of the pot to break it down.

Stir in the ginger and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and chile flakes and cook until the tomatoes have softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the beans, another teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of the saved cooking liquid. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. Taste, adding more salt as desired (beans do need a fair amount, so don’t shy away from the salt if they taste flat). If the beans are too thick, stir in a little more of the cooking water and continue to cook.

Remove from the heat. (At this point, the beans can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat gently before serving.) Drizzle peanut oil on top to serve, if desired. Serve with lime wedges if you want the beans to taste a bit brighter

Cilantro-Mint Chutney

2 cups loosely-packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup loosely-packed fresh mint leaves
1 jalapeno pepper seeded
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
3 to 4 cloves garlic peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 – 2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pureé until smooth. Taste for seasonings and add more salt if desired.

Sesame Ginger Pork Meatball Soup with Bok Choy

Meatballs:
1 egg
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs can use regular
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3/4-1 lb ground pork

Soup broth:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
4 small carrots diced
1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 tsp Asian Chili Garlic Sauce to taste

To finish soup:
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy leaves
2 green onions thinly sliced, divided

Preheat oven to 400F (205C). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or greased foil. Set aside.

Prepare meatballs: Beat egg in a large bowl. Stir in panko, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add ground pork and stir to incorporate seasonings into pork. Shape meatballs using a rounded 1 tsp measuring spoon. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until juices run clear and the meatballs are browned in spots. Remove from oven and set aside. *You can make ahead and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for longer.

Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add sesame oil and carrots and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until carrots are softened. Add ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, water, soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat, them reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Add meatballs, rice vinegar and 1/2 of the green onions to soup and allow to cook until meatballs are heated through. Turn off heat under soup. Stir in bok choy until just wilted. Serve garnished with remaining green onion.

Classic Pizzelles

3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter

Beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until well combined.

Stir in the flour and baking powder, mixing until smooth.

Add the melted butter, again mixing until smooth; the batter will be thick and soft.

Heat your pizzelle iron. Grease it as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions. As the iron heats, the batter will stiffen.

Cook the pizzelle according to the instructions that came with your iron. In general, they’ll take between 45 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes to brown.

Remove the pizzelle from the iron, and cool on a rack. If desired, use a pair of scissors to trim any ragged edges.

Dust cooled pizzelle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Basque Mixture

1/4 cup Armagnac
2 tablespoons orange flower water
2 tablespoons anisette
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 strip of lemon or orange zest, 1 inch long by 1/4 inche wide

Mix in a clean jar and keep in a cool cupboard or refrigerator.

Variation:

3 ounces orange flower water
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 tablespoon Armagnac
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon anise extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract

Perfect Carolina Gold Rice

4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Carolina Gold Rice
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the rice, stir once, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is al dente, about 15 minutes.

Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold water.

Spread the rice out on a rimmed baking sheet. Dry the rice in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

Scatter the butter evenly over the rice and continue to dry it, stirring every few minutes, for about 5 minutes longer. All excess moisture should have evaporated and the grains should be dry and separate.

Matt’s Yeast Rolls

4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm milk (about 100 F to 110 F)
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, about 19 ounces (plus more for kneading)
1 large egg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter (melted, cooled to lukewarm)
For the Topping:
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

Butter a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the yeast with the warm milk. Let stand for a minute or two.

Add the flour, 1 large egg, 2 teaspoons of salt, sugar, and melted butter. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed until combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium and continue to mix for 15 minutes, adding small amounts (a teaspoon or two at a time) of flour, as needed to encourage dough from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times to form a ball. Place the ball of dough in an oiled bowl. Turn to oil both sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Shape the dough into balls, about 1 1/4 ounces each. Place in large baking pan to make about five rows of four (20 rolls). Or, use a large buttered jelly roll pan or half sheet pan and make 1-ounce rolls, leaving a little space between rows to form a more rectangular roll (about 24 rolls).

Cover lightly with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 F.

For the egg wash topping, whisk an egg with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt until well blended. Gently brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash mixture.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and the rolls sound hollow when tapped. The internal temperature should be about 190 F on an instant-read food thermometer.

Serve the yeast rolls warm with butter.

To reheat, wrap the roll(s) in foil and heat in a preheated 325 F oven just until hot.

Matt’s Kimchi

2 large heads napa cabbage (3 1/4 pounds each)—halved, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 head bok choy or 2 heads of baby bok choy, cut into 2-inch pieces
2/3 cup kosher salt
10 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 small onion, chopped
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 pound daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 bunch carrots, cut into matchsticks
3/4 cup gochugaru (Korean coarse red pepper powder)

In each of 2 very large bowls, layer the cabbage and bok choy with the salt. Let stand for 45 minutes. Toss the cabbage well and let stand for 45 minutes longer.

Fill a sink with cold water. Swirl the cabbage and bok choy in it to remove the salt; drain and repeat. Drain well, lightly pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a very large bowl.

In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, onion, ginger and sugar and puree. Add the fish sauce and process until blended.

Add the daikon, scallions, and carrots to the cabbage and bok choy and toss.

Add the garlic mixture and the red pepper powder and toss thoroughly.

Pack the cabbage into three 1-quart jars. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the kimchi and put the caps on loosely.

Let stand at room temperature for 3 days, until the cabbage is tangy and bubbling.

Store in the refrigerator. The kimchi can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Braised Eggplant with Minced Pork

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 pounds eggplant, cubed
8 ounces ground pork
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 teaspoons, plus 1 tablespoon light soy sauce (divided)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
10 ounces dried spaghetti or noodles
1 tablespoon, plus 3 tablespoons oil (divided)
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 red chili, chopped
2 tablespoons ground bean sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt into 8 cups of water in a large bowl. Soak the cubed eggplant in the salt water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the eggplant, and use your hands or a clean dish towel to squeeze the water out of it. Set aside. This step helps the eggplant cook faster and absorb less oil later on.

In a separate bowl, mix the ground pork with 2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons water. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.
Next, cook the spaghetti (or noodles) according to the package instructions. Drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a clean wok over medium heat, and cook the bell pepper for about a minute. Transfer the peppers to a dish, and set aside.

Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the wok over low heat. Cook the ginger and garlic for about a minute. Add the chili, and cook for another minute. Add the ground bean sauce, and cook for another minute. Then add the pork, and turn up the heat. When the pork is browned, add the eggplant, and stir-fry everything together thoroughly.

Cook for a couple of minutes before adding 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, and 2 cups water. Mix everything together well, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes over medium heat, or until the eggplant is tender. At this point in the cooking process, there should be plenty of sauce in the wok. The starch from the spaghetti or noodles will help thicken it.

Lastly, add the bell pepper, cooked noodles, and chopped cilantro to the wok (if using). Mix everything well, add salt to taste, and serve immediately!

Cold Sesame Soba Noodles

1 package soba noodles
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons sambal olek
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 scallions

Treat your soba noodles as you would any pasta. Cook the noodles in a pot of salted, boiling water until tender, about five minutes. Strain noodles and transfer to medium-large bowl. Drizzle in about one tablespoon of sesame oil until you notice that the noodles give off an oily sheen from being well-coated. Pop that bowl in the refrigerator and forget about it until the noodles have chilled out.

While those soba noodles are chilling, combine about 1 tablespoon of ginger and 1 tablespoon of garlic in a small to medium-sized bowl. Add Indonesian hot sauce sambal oelek to that (about 1½ tablespoons) along with around two tablespoons soy sauce, two tablespoons mirin, two tablespoons lime juice, two tablespoons sesame oil, one tablespoon sesame seeds, and the sliced crunchy white-green bottoms of two or three scallions (save the green parts for the next step). Whisk to combine.

Remove the chilled soba noodles from the refrigerator and add half of the freshly whisked sauce and toss. Add the other half, along with the sliced green-only tops of two to three scallions. Make sure the noodles are generously coated in the spicy-sweet-salty-nutty dressing, and serve with sesame seeds and a sprinkle of whatever remaining scallion slices you have left.

Sichuan Cold Chicken with Two Sauces

About ¾ lb (300–350g) cold, cooked chicken, without bones
3 spring onions
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
For the sauce
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chicken stock
3–4 tbsp chilli oil with ½ tbsp of its sediment (or more, if you wish)
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground, roasted Sichuan pepper, to taste
1 tsp sesame oil

Cut or tear the chicken as evenly as possible into bite-sized strips or slivers and place them in a deep bowl. Cut the spring onions at a steep angle into thin slices. Mix them and the salt with the chicken. If using sesame seeds, toast them gently in a dry wok or frying pan for a few minutes, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden, then tip out into a small dish.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl.

When you are ready to eat, pour the sauce over the chicken, and mix well with chopsticks or salad servers. Arrange on a serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

VARIATION

Another sauce for cold chicken
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tsp finely chopped or crushed garlic
2 tbsp chicken stock
3 tbsp chilli oil (with or without its sediment)
½ tsp ground, roasted Sichuan pepper
½ tsp sesame oil