Nam Prik Ong (Pork, Tomato, and Chile Dip)

For the Paste:
10 to 15 dried spur chiles (15g) (see note)
2 plum tomatoes (about 100g)
1 disc (15g) tua nao (optional, see note)
1 stalk lemongrass, bottom 4 to 5 inches only, outer leaves discarded, tender core thinly sliced into rounds (about 10g sliced lemongrass)
10 small garlic cloves (30g)
5 small shallots (80g)
2 teaspoons (20g) Thai shrimp paste

For the Seasoning Sauce:
1/2 cup (120ml) water
2 tablespoons (30ml) fish sauce
1 tablespoon (15g) Thai fermented soybean paste
2 teaspoons (10ml) Thai thin soy sauce or light soy sauce
Pinch sugar

For the Pork:
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
1 pound (450g) ground pork
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups; 225g) cherry tomatoes

For Serving:
Assorted raw vegetables such as cucumbers, green cabbage, lettuce, Thai eggplant, long beans, and more, cut for dipping
Assorted steamed or blanched vegetables such as winter squash, okra, and more, cut for dipping (optional)
Hard-boiled eggs, halved (optional)
Unflavored pork rinds (optional)
Cooked jasmine or sticky rice

For the Paste: Place spur chiles in a dry wok or carbon steel or cast iron skillet, and toast over medium-low heat, turning occasionally, until chiles are fragrant and turn a deeper shade of dark red, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer chiles to a plate to cool slightly; wipe out wok or skillet and return to stovetop. Once cool enough to handle, remove stems from chiles and transfer to a granite mortar and pestle; set plate and mortar and pestle aside.

Meanwhile, place plum tomatoes in now-empty wok or skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until charred all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to now-empty plate and set aside to cool.

If using tua nao, use tongs to grab disc and hold about 2 inches above low flame on a gas burner. Flip disc every 5 seconds until tua nao is toasted to a hazelnut brown color, with little leopard spots all over on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer tua nao to plate with tomatoes to cool; set aside.

Pound chiles in mortar and pestle to a coarse powder, 3 to 5 minutes. Add lemongrass and pound fine, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and pound to a coarse paste with a few large pieces remaining, 3 to 5 minutes. Add shrimp paste and tua nao (if using) and pound until well-incorporated. Add charred plum tomatoes and gently pound until broken down and incorporated into paste, about 2 minutes. Transfer paste to a small bowl and set aside.

For the Seasoning Sauce: In a small bowl, stir together water, fish sauce, soybean paste, soy sauce, and sugar until well-combined and sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

For the Pork: In a wok or 3-quart saucier, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chile-tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until paste is aromatic and turns dark red, about 3 minutes. Add the pork, stir to combine, and cook, using a wok spatula or wooden spoon to break meat up and scrape up any bits that stick to the bottom of the pan, until cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Add cherry tomatoes, stir to combine, and continue to cook until tomatoes begin to burst, 3 to 5 minutes. You can coax the tomatoes into bursting by pressing down on them with a wok spatula or wooden spoon, and you can decide whether to lightly crush all of them or leave some whole for juicy pops of tomato flavor in the finished dip. Stir in seasoning sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced to a saucy consistency and oil begins to separate from emulsion, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature, at which point nam prik ong can be served or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or frozen for up to 1 month.

For Serving: Transfer nam prik ong to a serving bowl and serve with assorted raw and steamed vegetables, hard-boiled eggs (if using), pork rinds (if using), and rice.

Crispy Kung Pao Cauliflower

For the Baked Crispy Cauliflower
5 tbsp corn starch or other starch
6 tbsp bread crumbs use gluten-free crumbs to make gf
5 tbsp or more water
1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) cayenne use a 1/3 tsp for less heat
2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) salt
1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) roasted sesame oil
1 tsp oil
1 medium head of cauliflower chopped into florets

For the Kung Pao sauce:
1 tsp oil
8 to 10 (8 to 10 ) dried red chilies chinese red chilies, or arbol or cayenne, or use california red for less heat
1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) coarsely crushed sichuan peppercorns or use a mix of coarsely crushed black pepper and red pepper flakes
2 to 3 tbsp chopped cashews or peanuts
4 to 5 cloves of garlic minced
1 inch ginger minced
2 tbsp scallions chopped

Sauce mix
2.5 tbsp low sodium soy sauce/tamari use certified gluten-free sauce to make gf
1.5 to 2 tbsp (1.5 to 1 tbsp) rice vinegar
1 tsp chinese rice wine optional
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup (63 ml) + 2 tbsp water use 1/2 cup for more sauce
1 tsp cornstarch

Chop up the cauliflower and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F / 220ºc. Mix the cornstarch breadcrumbs, and the rest of the ingredients to make a batter. Let the batter sit for 10 seconds to thicken if it isn’t thick. The cornstarch continues to thicken the batter, so as soon as it is a good not too watery consistency, start dipping the cauliflower in the batter, tap to drop excess and place on parchment lined baking sheet. If the batter thickens too much while working, add a tsp or more water and mix in and continue.

Bake for 30 minutes or longer until the florets are cooked through. Check with a toothpick/knife
Meanwhile make the sauce. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the red chilies and peppercorns and cook until the red chilies are fragrant, but not overly brown, or someone starts sneezing. (For more heat, break some of the chilies into half and add to the skillet.)

Add the nuts and mix for a few seconds. Add the ginger, garlic, reduce heat to medium low and continue to cook until the garlic is golden. 4 to 5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add in the scallions, and 2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped green peppers or other veggies if using and mix in. Increase heat to medium. Cook for a minute.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and add to the skillet. Continue to cook until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens slightly. 2 mins. Carefully taste and adjust salt, sweet and spice. If the sauce is not hot enough, break a few of the chilies open or add in red pepper flakes to taste and mix in.
Arrange the baked cauliflower in a shallow bowl in one layer. When ready to serve, Drizzle the sauce over each floret. Serve.

To store, store the baked cauliflower and sauce separately. Heat the sauce, pour over the florets. To serve with rice/cooked grains, double the sauce mix and bring to a boil to thicken, toss in the cauliflower and serve immediately over rice.

Chicken Mei Fun

FOR THE RICE NOODLES:

7 ounces dried thin rice vermicelli noodles
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce

FOR THE CHICKEN:

7 ounces chicken breast (cut into strips)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 pinch five spice powder (optional)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

FOR THE REST OF THE DISH:

2 slices ginger (julienned)
4-5 small shallots (thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
5 oz. cabbage (shredded)
3 scallions (cut into 2-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
2 tablespoons water (optional)

Soak the dried rice noodles as per the instructions on the back of the package. To test whether or not they’ve been soaked enough, take a noodle and chew on it to make sure it’s no longer hard/dry. Drain thoroughly, shaking off the noodles to get rid of excess water.

In a large bowl, mix the rice noodles with 1 teaspoon of oil and 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce until evenly coated. Set aside.

Add the chicken to a medium bowl, along with the cornstarch, water, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper, five spice, and vegetable oil. Marinate for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the ginger, shallots, carrot, cabbage, and scallions. Have everything ready to go before you turn on the stove.

Heat your wok over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons oil, followed by the ginger and chicken. Stir-fry until the chicken is just cooked through. Add the shallots, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the cabbage and carrots, and stir-fry for another 30 seconds.

Season everything with 1 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Mix well.

Finally, add the prepared rice noodles along with the scallions. Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry everything together to heat the noodles through and distribute the chicken and vegetables. Salt to taste.

If you like more al dente noodles, you can serve immediately. If you like softer noodles, add 2 tablespoons of water to the wok, cover, and cook for a minute over low heat before serving.

Baked Aloo Gobi

1 small head of cauliflower , 2 heaping cups
2 medium potatoes (yukon gold or white), about 2 cups cubed

Spicing:
1 tsp turmeric , divided
1 tsp ground cumin (1/2 tsp if you dont like cumin)
1 tsp ground coriander , optional, but nice
1/3 tsp (0.33 tsp) cayenne or paprika
1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) garam masala or curry powder or berbere(1/2 to 1 tsp to preference), or use more of ground cumin and coriander
3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) salt
1 tbsp minced ginger , (1 inch ginger minced)
1 tbsp minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp water
1 tsp oil
cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Other flavor additions:
1/2 tsp amchur(dry mango powder)
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves(kasoori methi)
a good pinch of asafetida (hing)

Chop the cauliflower into small florets and put in a large bowl.

Chop the potatoes into small cubes (less than 1/2 inch) and add to the bowl.

In a small bowl. Mix the 1/2 tsp turmeric and the rest of the ingredients under spicing until well combined. Add the spice mixture to the large bowl and toss to coat.

Alternatively, Add the minced ginger, garlic, oil to the bowl and toss well. Combine the turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cayenne, salt in a small bowl, mix well. Sprinkle over the cauliflower, potatoes and toss well.

Let the cauliflower and potatoes sit for a minute.

Sprinkle some more turmeric and mix lightly (optional).

Spread the veggies in a stoneware or ceramic baking dish. Spray oil. See Tips above on how to spread the veggies and pan size to choose.

Bake at 400 deg F (204 C) for 20 mins, then cover with parchment and bake for another 15 mins or until tender to preference. Taste carefully and adjust salt and spice and mix in. garnish with cilantro and some lemon juice.

Variations: Add 1 hot green chili, finely chopped with the ginger and garlic.

Change up the spices, use panch phoron blend instead of garam masala for achari aloo gobi.

Add thawed peas in the last 10 minutes of baking for Aloo Gobi Matar.

Add 1 to 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas to amp up the protein. Increase the spices and salt to preference to accommodate the added chickpea volume.

Add 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds instead of ground cumin

Oilfree: Omit the oil. Cover the Veggies half way through(about 5 mins longer).

Aloo Gobi

2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 2″-long sticks
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced ginger
Pinch of asafetida (optional, but really great)
Pinch of red chili powder
1 tsp. (or more) kosher salt
1 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves with tender stems

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss potatoes and cauliflower with 3 Tbsp. oil on prepared sheet. Spread in an even layer and roast, tossing once halfway through, until cauliflower and potatoes are browned and slightly crisped, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high until it begins to shimmer. Add cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn a medium shade of brown, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and swirl in turmeric. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 4–6 minutes. Add ginger, asafetida (if using), and chili powder and cook, stirring, until heated through and well combined, about 1 minute longer.

Stir in roasted potatoes and cauliflower, including any charred bits from the foil, and gently mix (don’t overmix, or the cauliflower will fall apart). Add salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until potatoes and cauliflower are tender (but not soggy!), 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice or salt, if needed.

Transfer potatoes and cauliflower to a platter. Top with cilantro.

Chapli Burgers

FOR BURGERS:
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
Sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh or dried pomegranate seeds
1 pound ground beef
1/2 small yellow onion, minced
1/2 medium tomato, finely chopped and drained of juice
1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 egg
Neutral oil for cooking

TO SERVE:
Burger buns
Iceberg lettuce
Tamarind ketchup (see recipe)
Herbed yogurt (see recipe)
Sliced Persian cucumbers, red onions and tomatoes

Place coriander seeds in a small saucepan, and set over medium heat. Swirling pan, lightly toast seeds for 2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat, and finely pound in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt (alternatively, use a spice grinder or small food processor). Add pomegranate seeds, and coarsely pound (it’s fine if the inner seed does not break down). Scrape paste into a large mixing bowl.

Add beef, onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, 1/2 jalapeño, pepper flakes, garam masala, cumin, 1/4 cup cilantro, egg and 2 teaspoons salt. Use hands to knead mixture until combined.

Fry a quarter-size piece of the mixture, and taste. Adjust seasoning with salt and spices.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide meat mixture onto parchment into 6 balls, and flatten into thin, 4-inch-round patties.

Set a large cast-iron pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. When it shimmers, lay three patties into the pan, and cook for 2 minutes on each side until browned, then set aside on a plate. Drain grease from pan, and wipe with a paper towel, then cook remaining patties. (Alternatively, grill burgers over high heat for 2 minutes per side until browned.)

Serve immediately on toasted buns with tamarind ketchup, herbed yogurt and other garnishes.

Barbecue Cauliflower Salad Bowl

For the BBQ Cauliflower:
1 medium cauliflower head chopped into florets
2 tsp oil
1 tsp paprika half smoked, half sweet
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) or more bbq sauce
2 tsp or more hot sauce

For the Salad:
1 small head of iceberg lettuce chopped
1 apple peeled, and chopped small or sliced thin
1/3 cup (90 g) chopped pecans or use toasted sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds for nut free
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegan ranch dressing
1/3 cup (100 g) thinly sliced carrots
Chives for garnish

Chop your cauliflower, and set aside.

In a bowl, mix all your dry spices, and set aside.

Add the oil to the cauliflower, toss well, and rub in so that all the florets are coated well.

Add in the spice mixture and toss well to coat.

Transfer this to a greased or parchment lined baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees F ( C) for 17-18 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Let the cauliflower cool for a few minutes, then drizzle the bbq sauce and hot sauce, and mix well. If you’d like more bbq sauce coating the cauliflower, add some more, and toss within the baking dish, spread the cauliflower out again, and bake again at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked to preference.

Meanwhile, prep your salad by chopping up the lettuce, apples, and carrots. Add them to a bowl, and mix well.

Top the bowl with your baked cauliflower, and a generous drizzle of ranch, and some garnishes like chives or black pepper, and serve!

Khichdi

1/2 cup (92.5 g) long grain white basmati rice
1/2 cup (96 g) quick cooking lentils such as split Red lentils (masoor dal) or (petite yellow lentils) Mung Dal or both
1 tsp oil
1/3 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 inch (7 g) ginger finely chopped
1 green Chili, chopped serrano or birds eye, or use half a jalapeño
1 bay leaf or 6 curry leaves , optional
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala , optional
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne optional
1 tomato chopped
1 to 2 cups chopped vegetables
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (473.18 ml) water 2.5 for saucier

Wash the lentils and rice then soak in hot water for 15 minutes.

Heat the Instant Pot on saute. Add oil and let it heat up. Add cumin or mustard seeds and cook for half a minute.

Add the onion, chile, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt (and bay leaves or curry leaves) and cook for 2 mins.

Add ginger and spices and mix in.

Add tomato and cook for 3 mins. Mash the larger pieces. Add 2 tbsp water to deglaze mid way.
Drain and add the lentils and rice. Add water, salt, veggies and mix well to pick up any stuck bits.
Close the lid and pressure cook one of the following times. Low pressure for 3 mins for pictured version. High pressure for 3 to 6 minutes for a porridge and if using mung dal. Once the cooking cycle is done, quick release the pressure after 5 mins.

Fold in a few tbsp chopped cilantro and lemon juice to taste and fluff. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.

Store refrigerated for upto 3 days. For brown rice kitchari, try this.

Notes:
To make it in a saucepan: follow steps 1 to 5 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the lentils and rice and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low-medium and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency. You can add any blend of veggies! Think carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and spinach. Use any blend you like.

Make sure not to burn the spices or your kitchari will be bitter.

White basmati rice can be substituted for other quick cooking whole grains such as quinoa, and amaranth.

Feel free to play around with the spices and vegetables, according to what you enjoy and what’s in season.

Pan Seared Ranch Chicken

3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, or 1/2 teaspoon dried, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill or parsley (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus more for serving
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

In a measuring cup or small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, chives, dill and garlic powder; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Transfer half the ranch to a medium bowl.

Pat the chicken dry. If thickness varies greatly, pound to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then transfer the chicken to the medium bowl with the ranch and toss to coat. Let sit at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate overnight. (Let it come to room temperature before cooking.)

Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high. Working in batches if necessary, cook the chicken (with the marinade still on it) until deeply caramelized on the outside, chicken releases from the pan, and its juices run clear, 4 to 6 minutes per side.

If the ranch in the measuring cup is too thick, add a little bit of water to loosen it. (You should be able to drizzle it easily.) Serve chicken with the ranch passed at the table, and more herbs as desired.

Navratan Pulao

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 green cardamoms
4 cloves
1-inch stick cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes (cut into a fine dice)
2 medium carrots (cut into a fine dice)
2 cups green beans (chopped into small bits)
1/2 small head cauliflower (separated into small florets)
1 cup green peas (frozen)
16 oz baked tofu (use my recipe linked here or use storebought)
1/2 tsp saffron strands
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I use almond)
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp golden raisins

Bring a large pot of water to boil, lightly salt it, then add the rice and cook until the rice grains are almost tender but not fully cooked. Drain and set aside.

Mix the saffron with the nondairy milk and set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil. Add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Stir-fry until the spices release their fragrance and begin to turn color.

Add the potatoes, saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrots and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and green beans and saute for a couple of minutes. Add green peas, then add some salt, cover the pot and let the veggies cook over a medium-low flame for about five minutes. Stir a couple of times to ensure they do not stick. You don’t want the veggies to brown.

When the potatoes are almost cooked and the cauliflower is al dente, mix in the rice, tofu cubes and the saffron in milk. Cover and let the rice continue cooking over low heat for 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in a small saucepan. Add the cashews and raisins to it, and finally the blanched, sliced almonds. Cook until the nuts are a light gold, then pour over the rice and mix.

Serve hot.

NOTES
To make this recipe soy-free, leave out the tofu.

To make this recipe nut-free, leave out the nuts. You can use apricots or another dry fruit along with the raisins. Also use a nondairy milk that’s nut-free.

Vegetable Tehri

1 1/2 cups basmati rice (covered in water and soaked for at least 30 minutes. Drain before using)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods (whole)
1 bay leaf
2-inch stick cinnamon
2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 large onion (thinly sliced)
1 green chili pepper (like japeno or serrano. Leave whole with just a slit down the middle, or, for less heat, split into half, deseed, and then use. You can fish out the peppers before serving)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 medium tomatoes (pureed. Or use 1 cup canned tomato puree)
3 medium potatoes (cut in a 1-inch dice)
1 large carrot (cut into chunky 1 1/2 inch slivers)
1/2 head cauliflower (separated into chunky but bite-sized florets)
1 cup green peas (I used frozen, but fresh work too)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
Salt to taste

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot. Add the cumin first, then the cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add in the fennel seeds and stir quickly.
Add the onions and saute until they are soft but not brown. You can add a little salt to help this process go faster. Stir in the ginger garlic paste, green chili peppers and turmeric and saute another minute over low heat so the ginger and garlic don’t stick to the bottom.

Add the potatoes to the pot along with the carrots. Add a cup of the water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let the potatoes and carrots cook about five minutes or until fairly tender but not quite done.

Add the cauliflower and tomato puree and continue cooking the veggies for a couple more minutes. Add the green peas and stir them in.

Add the remaining water or stock, followed by the drained rice, mix everything well and bring it all back to a boil. Once it looks like the rice has absorbed most of the water, give it all a good stir, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to low, and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Avoid peeking while the rice is cooking, and let it stand, undisturbed, for 10 minutes after cooking. After 10 minutes, open the lid and fluff the grains of rice with a fork before serving.

Coconut Curry

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
3 medium tomatoes (finely chopped)
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 medium potatoes (boiled and diced)
14 oz coconut milk (canned or freshly made are both fine)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cilantro (or scallions, for garnish)

Heat the oil. Add cumin seeds and as they start to darken, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes until the onions start to soften.

Add the tomatoes, cayenne and turmeric and continue to saute for a few more minutes until the onions are soft and pulpy.

Add the potatoes along with half the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Let the curry cook another minute for the flavors to meld, then turn the heat to low and add the remaining coconut milk. Check for salt. If the curry is too thick for your liking, you can add some water or vegetable stock to thin it out. Turn off the heat as soon as the curry has warmed through but before it returns to a boil.

Garnish, if you like, with cilantro. I love this curry with the carrot rice and a garnish of scallions.

Masala Bhath

2 cups basmati rice (washed under running water or in several changes of water)
1 tbsp coconut oil
5 pods green cardamom (crushed slightly but left whole)
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 large potato (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
1 large carrot (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
1/2 small head cauliflower (separated into small florets)
1 medium zucchini (cut into 1-inch strips)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional –the goda masala has some heat)
2 tbsp goda masala (you can substitute with garam masala; see my recipe tips above for details on how to do that)
1 heaping tbsp coconut sugar (or jaggery, or regular sugar. Piloncillo, if you have some, is a fine replacement for jaggery)
1/4 cup coconut (grated. I don’t mean the dry shredded coconut you use for baking, but either freshly grated coconut, or grated coconut available in frozen packets. The coconut shreds have to be juicy, not dry)
1/4 cup cilantro (minced)
Salt to taste

Heat the oil. Add the cardamom, cloves and bay leaves and saute until the bay leaves start to change color and become lightly golden.

Add the potatoes and carrots and saute, stirring frequently, until the potatoes have a light brown crust.

Add the cauliflower and zucchini and continue sauteeing another couple of minutes.

Add the powdered spices–turmeric, coriander powder, cumin and goda masala–and saute for a minute to coat the spices with the oil and toast them.

Add the washed rice and stir until the rice begins to turn opaque.

Add 4 cups water to the rice, and add enough salt to make the water a bit saltier than you’d like your final dish to be.

Stir well, bring to a boil, then cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid. Let the rice cook over medium heat for five minutes, then lower the heat and continue cooking for 10 more minutes, never opening the lid once during cooking.

Turn off the heat and let the rice stand another 10 minutes. Open and sprinkle on the coconut and cilantro.

Serve hot or warm.

Chicken Soup (with Slow Cooker and Pressure Cooker Variations)

1–2 tablespoons olive oil
one large onion, diced (or sub 2 fat shallots, or two leeks)
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
4–8 garlic cloves, rough chopped (I like 8)
4 cups chicken broth or stock
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or use regular)
1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless ( or use breasts- if very large, cut in half)
——–
lemon juice to taste
pinch chili flakes
scallions, cilantro or Italian parsley
drizzle of toasted sesame oil (optional, tasty)

Optional: 2-3 cups of cooked grain or starch of your choice like… Quinoa, rice or soba noodles, pasta, rice, 1 can whitebeans.

STOVE TOP INSTRUCTIONS:

Heat oil in a big pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Lower heat to med- low and continue sauteeing until golden, 3-4 more minutes.

Add the chicken stock, water, salt, white pepper, bay leaves and skinless chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover, and lower heat so it’s gently simmering, covered for 20 mintues. If using breasts, check at 15.

Test a piece of chicken for doneness by pulling meat apart with two forks. It should come apart easily and look opaque. If done, shred the rest of the chicken, then return to the pot and simmer gently for 5 more minutes.

Squeeze with lemon, taste and adjust broth. You can add more salt of needed, or if too salty for your taste, water down with a little water. I prefer ours salty, lemony and unctuous, especially if adding a starch (like rice, noodles or beans) which will temper the salt quite a bit. Up to you. If the soup tastes bland, it needs salt.

Ladle it over cooked rice or noodles or just on it’s own.

Garnish with scallions or cilantro (or both) a drizzle of sesame oil if you like and chili flakes (or chili paste or sriracha). Or you could add some cooked or leftover rice or quinoa. You could add white beans or cooked pasta.

Or if going low-carb- leave all the starch and grains out keep it simple and keto-friendly. Cauliflower rice would also work well here too!

Notes:

Soup will keep 4 days in the fridge, or freeze.

You could ladle it over a mound of rice noodles, then finish with sesame oil, sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro

Feel free to add 1/2 cup rice or quinoa to simmering soup. Or add a can of whitebeans. You can also add pasta ( about 4 ounces) but I prefer to cook pasta and rice noodles separate and ladel the soup overtop cooked noodles. Up to you. Feel free to toss in veggies, kale, spinach, etc.

Instant Pot: Set Instant pot to “saute” function and heat the oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger and saute 3-4 minutes until fragrant. Add broth, water, salt, pepper, bay, white pepper and chicken thighs, give a stir. Pressure cook on high for 12 minutes. (If using breasts, pressure cook 8-10 minutes depending on size). Manually release. Shred chicken with two forks. Season with lemon juice. Taste, adust salt. Follow the rest of the instuctions above.

For a slow cooker version, cook as stated above then cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on High for 3 hours.

Mexican Pinto Beans

1 lb dry pinto beans (2 1/2 cups dry), soaked 6-12 hours, then drained
1 teaspoon salt
——-
1–2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
1 dry Mexican Guajillo Chile (optional, see notes), seeds removed, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon coriander
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves (optional)
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)

Place pinto beans in a med bowl, and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt and let soak overnight – or for a minimum of 6 hours. Drain.

After soaking: In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender and fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Add the dried chili, cinnamon stick and all the spices. Saute one minute to toast the spices. Add the water, tomato paste and DRAINED beans. Stir in the 1/2 salt and bring to a rapid boil.

Lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer (on low or medium low) and simmer uncovered for 45-60 minutes, until beans are tender.

Stir in the tablespoon of Chipotle Adobo Sauce and the vinegar.

Taste, adjusting salt if needed.

Notes:
Feel free to substite 1-2 canned chipotle peppers (chopped) instead of the dried Mexican chili. Or leave out both for a milder version. Or experiment with other dried Mexican chilies taking not of heat level. One Guajillo chili makes this MEDIUM SPICY.

Using the The Adobo sauce from the Canned Chipotle Peppers really elevates and adds a lovely smokiness to the whole dish. Freeze the leftover chipotle chilies (individually) for later use!
You could also use a little smoked paprika for the smoky flavor without the spiciness.

INSTANT POT: Cook according to above, using the saute function for sauteeing. Reduce water to 4 cups. Pressure cook the soaked pinto beans on high for 25 minutes, naturally release. If you’d like to reduce liquid further, cook on saute function for a few minutes until it thickens up.

HAM HOCK: Feel free to add a smoked ham hock to the top of the simmering beans. After it’s tender, shred the meat and stir into the beans.

Sheet Pan Warm Winter Salad

1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2–3 large carrots (or parsnips), peeled and cut into 1 inch thick pieces
1 fennel bulb, cored and cut in 1/3 inch thick wedges
1 red onion, sliced ito 1/2 inch wedges
14-ounce can chickpeas ( rinsed, drained and patted dry) about 1 1 /2 cups cooked chickpeas
2–3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced or use 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons sumac (optional, but tasty)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
zest from one lemon
Couple handfuls baby spinach
Everyday Tahini Sauce (thin out with a little water, to make it more like a dressing)
3–4 tablespoons Dukkah (or a 2 tablespoons Zaatar)
3–4 tablespoons fresh dill
squeeze of lemon juice
Aleppo chili flakes ( or reguluar)

Preheat oven to 425F.

Place the cauliflower florets, carrots, fennel, onion and chickpeas in a EXTRA large bowl. Toss with the olive oil, minced garlic, coriander, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Toss well.

Place in a single layer on one or two, parchement lined sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss veggies and rotate pans, bake 10-15 minutes more until cauliflower is tender, and edges crispy.
Make the Everyday Tahini Sauce and the Dukkah.

If serving on the sheet pan, move all the veggies onto one pan. Spread around evenly. Top with the baby spinach, drizzle the tahini sauce over top (diagonally is nice) and sprinkle with the Dukkah. Squeeze with a little lemon.

Garnish with the fresh dill and Chili flakes.

Enjoy!

Sheet Pan Roasted Miso Tofu and Carrot Bowl (with Chicken Variation)

4 large carrots- peeled or scrubbed ( or sub sweet potato, yam, parsnips or other veggies)
8 ounces tofu – extra firm ( or add salmon or chicken breast…see notes)
salt and pepper and optional chili flakes to taste
Garnish- Orange zest ( optional) toasted sesame seeds, nuts, ¼ cup cilantro or scallions
Marinade:

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons miso paste ( any color)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoon honey or maple

Preheat oven to 425F

Make the marinade, blending all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Slice carrots at an angle into ? -½ inch disks, then half-moons.

Blot tofu with paper towels and slice into ¾- 1 inch slices, blot again.

Line a sheet pan with parchment.

Place carrots in single layer on the sheet pan, and beside them add the tofu.

Season the tofu (or salmon chicken) with salt and pepper – and if you like, add chili flakes.
Spoon or brush on the honey–miso marinade generously over the tofu and drizzle an remaining over the carrots. If carrots seem dry, drizzle with a little more oil. Give a quick toss, spread out, and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Divide carrots among two bowls, top with tofu. Garnish with fresh orange zest ( optional) , toasted sesame seeds and some fresh cilantro ( or scallions).

notes

If using salmon, it will cook much faster than the carrots. Depending on how thick, it may only need 10-15 in the oven, so either take it out early, or put it in later. Chicken breast ( boneless) will cook relatively the same amount of time as carrots ( give or take) but always check as thicker or larger breasts will obviously take longer, and smaller may take less time.

Bahn Mi Noodle Bowl with Tofu (Bun Chay)

2 ounces dry rice noodles (or use zucchini noodles)
Boiling water

Quick pickled veggies:

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 cup matchstick carrots (or grated)
1/2 cup sliced radishes (or try daikon or watermelon radish-like in the photos)
1 teaspoon sugar (or alternative equivalent, honey, maple, coconut sugar)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Creamy Sriracha Dressing:

4 tablespoons Veganaise or vegan mayo (or use regular)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or Sambal, or Chili Garlic Sauce)
1 teaspoon sugar or alternative sweetener
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce or vegan fish sauce (or regular fish sauce)

Bowl ingredients:

6 ounces tofu, patted dry, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or chicken, see notes)
1 cup thinly sliced cucumber
1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 a red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh torn mint leaves
1/2 a jalapeno, very thinly sliced
lime wedges
optional additions- sprouts, avocado, daikon, grated beet, cilantro

Cook the Noodles: Pour boiling water over rice noodles and let sit 5-6 minutes, or until softened, drain, rinse and set aside. (I use a shallow baking dish for this)

Make the Pickles (don’t skip!) At the same time heat 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup vinegar on the stove in a small pot, add sugar, salt, radishes, and carrots and bring to a simmer, and toss to coat well. Turn heat off. Place them in a bowl and chill.

Make the Creamy Sriracha Dressing: place ingredients in a small bowl and whisk.

Make the Crispy Tofu: Heat oil in a skillet, and season the oil with salt and pepper. Add the tofu and sear over medium heat until all sides are crispy. Stir in a little sriracha for heat at the end.
Prep your veggies. Slice the cucumber, bell pepper and cabbage (using a mandolin is nice, or just very thinly slice).

Assemble the Bowls: divide the noodles and arrange all the veggies around it. Grab the chilling pickled veggies and divide. Add the tofu to the bowls and Spoon the flavorful dressing overtop.
Garnish the bowls with fresh mint, jalapeño slices and lime wedges.

Gobhi Musallam (Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Tomatoes)

2 tablespoon(s) ghee or vegetable oil
2 large tomatoes, cut in four pieces
2 medium bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) turmeric
teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon(s) dried coconut
1 large cauliflower (about 900 gram)
2/3 cup(s) water
1/2 cup(s) chopped cilantro, to garnish
1 Whole lemon, sliced in several pieces
1 teaspoon(s) salt, or as desired

Heat the ghee or vegetable oil in a deep saucepan and sauté tomatoes until their juices run.

Add bay leaves, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt and coconut and stir thoroughly for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove leaves and stem from cauliflower, turn it floret-side down, and place over cooking mixture.
Pour water, cover pan, and simmer about 30 minutes. From time to time, remove cover and baste cauliflower with cooking mixture.

When cauliflower is tender, remove from heat and transfer the whole cauliflower together with the remaining liquid onto a serving dish.

Garnish with coriander and lemon and serve hot.

Chicken Vadouvan Curry

28g Vadouvan Curry Mix
1 tsp Celery Salt Seasoning or Himalayan Salt
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
600g chicken thigh fillets, cubed
1 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp tamarind liquid concentrate
coriander leaves to garnish
1/2 cup water or chicken stock

Heat oil in large saucepan, saute onion for 5 min, add vadouvan curry powder. Stir 1 minute then add chicken. Stir to seal on all sides.

Add salt, water to cover and tamarind or lemon.

Simmer 20 minutes or until meat is cooked.

Remove from heat, stir yoghurt through and serve immediately with rice and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.