Steamed Eggs with Crispy Pork

For the meat & marinade:
4 ounces ground pork (110g, can substitute ground chicken or beef)
1 1/2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
For the egg mixture:
3 eggs
water (same volume as eggs)
vegetable or chicken stock (same volume as eggs)
salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

To cook the ground meat:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 scallion (finely chopped)

Marinate the ground meat:

Combine the ground meat with all the marinade ingredients. Stir until the meat has absorbed any standing liquid. Marinate for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the egg mixture.

Make the egg mixture:

To make the egg mixture, crack 3 eggs into a liquid measuring cup and note the volume. Pour the eggs into a large bowl, add salt, and beat for at least 1 minute.

Measure the same volume of water, and add it to the bowl. Do the same with the stock. Whisk the mixture all together along with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and make sure everything’s well combined.

Steam the eggs:

Place a heat-proof shallow bowl in a steamer over high heat. Be sure any water in your steamer will not be able to bubble up and touch the bowl during the steaming process.

Once boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer. Then, pour the egg mixture into the heated bowl through a fine mesh strainer.
Cover the steamer, turn up the heat to high, and steam the eggs for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes have elapsed, shut off the heat, but keep the steamer covered. Let stand for 14 minutes with the lid firmly covered. Cook the meat during this time.

Brown the meat:

Heat a wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Brown the marinated meat over high heat until any liquid has cooked off and the bits of ground meat are crispy. Avoid stirring too much in order to give the meat a chance to brown and crisp.

Add in the chopped scallion, mix well and turn off the heat. Once the steamed eggs are done cooking, remove from the steamer, top with the cooked meat, and serve!

Stir-Fried Green Beans

For the pork & marinade:
8 ounces ground pork (225g, can substitute ground chicken or beef)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ginger (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons oil (divided)
1 pound green beans (450g, chopped to ½-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
1/2 red bell pepper (diced finely)
4 red chilies (chopped, optional)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt (a pinch, or to taste)
2 tablespoons water

Combine the ground meat with all the marinade ingredients. Stir until any standing liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the chopped green beans. Stir and spread the beans into a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds. Then stir and repeat the spreading step several times until the green beans are slightly charred, wilted, and cooked through. Turn the heat lower if needed to avoid burning. It takes about 5-8 minutes to cook the green beans this way. (To speed up the cooking, add a few drops of water each you stir, to create some steam.) Transfer the cooked green beans to a dish and set aside.

Now add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok, with the heat turned up to high. Add the ground meat and brown it. Don’t stir too much; give the meat a chance to brown and crisp. Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat to medium.

Next, add the garlic, bell pepper and chilies. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in the cooked green beans, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, r, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, a pinch of salt (to taste), and 2 tablespoons water. With the heat all the way up on high, stir-fry for a final 10-15 seconds and serve.

Khua Mee (Lao Dry-Fried Rice Noodles)

For the Omelet:

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons canola oil

For the Noodles:
1 1/2 pounds dried medium-wide rice noodles
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sliced shallots
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Golden Mountain brand seasoning sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon MSG (optional)
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups scallions, in 1-inch pieces

For Garnish

Sliced omelet
2 tablespoons fried shallots
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, stems included
1 cup mung bean sprouts
Prik phong (ground toasted chile) or Sriracha

Make the omelet: Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and add the fish sauce. Beat with a fork, as if making scrambled eggs. Add the oil to an 8-inch sauté pan over medium heat. When it’s warm, pour in the egg mixture and tilt the pan to ensure the egg covers the bottom. Continue to cook over gentle heat for about 3 minutes—you’ll notice the top of the omelet firming up. (If it starts to color, it means the pan is too hot; remove the pan from the heat.)

Once the top is firm, flip and cook over low heat for another minute. Slide the omelet out of the pan and onto a plate to cool. Slice into ¼-inch slivers and reserve for garnishing.

Make the noodles: Start by soaking the noodles in cold water according to the package directions—when done, they should be opaque white and firm yet flexible. Transfer to a colander and drain well.

Meanwhile, add the oil and sugar to a saucepan with a wide diameter and mix well; set over medium-high heat. As the oil gets hot, the sugar will caramelize. Cook until the caramel turns a deep amber. Once it has reached the desired color, turn off the heat, carefully add the shallots and garlic, and give it a stir with a spoon to sweat the aromatics—at this point, your kitchen should smell very good.

Sweat the aromatics for 1 minute, deglaze with the water and stir well. Add the seasonings (oyster sauce, seasoning sauce, fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, black pepper and MSG, if using) and mix well.

Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the drained noodles and cook, stirring constantly with a pair of tongs. Move the noodles as if tossing a salad—they’ll wilt and slowly soak up the sauce. When the noodles have absorbed all the sauce and the pan is dry, with no residual sauce remaining, turn off the heat and fold in the bean sprouts and scallions, again like tossing a salad.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter. Scatter the top with the omelet slices, fried shallots and chopped cilantro, with a side of extra mung bean sprouts. Serve with prik phong or Sriracha.

Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken with Holy Basil (Cha Kreung Satch Moan)

For the Kreung:
3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 to 5 inches only, outer leaves discarded, sliced into thin rounds (65g once sliced)
One 3-inch knob galangal, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (35g once sliced)
Two 4-inch knobs fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (25g once sliced)
12 makrut lime leaves, preferably fresh, sliced very thinly crosswise
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (25g once sliced)
5 medium cloves garlic, peeled (25g)
1/2 cup holy basil leaves, very tightly packed (12g; see note) or Thai basil leaves (25g)
For the Stir-Fry:
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, divided
2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 breast halves), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, divided
One 3-inch piece fermented mudfish (prahok) (35g), cut in half, divided (optional)
2 teaspoons (10ml) Asian fish sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cube (6g) chicken bouillon, such as Knorr, crumbled to a powdery consistency, divided
1 cup holy basil leaves, very tightly packed (40g), divided
4 jalapeños (150g), stemmed, halved, and seeded, then cut on a bias into 3/4-inch strips, divided
Kosher salt

For Serving:
Steamed white rice

For the Kreung: Using a large granite mortar and pestle, combine lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and makrut lime leaves and grind to a smooth but slightly fibrous paste. These are the toughest, most fibrous ingredients in the paste, so it will take 5 to 10 minutes for the paste to form. Once the paste has formed, add shallot and garlic and pound again to smash them into the paste, another 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add basil to the mortar and pound until it is fully incorporated into the paste.

For the Stir-Fry: In a wok, heat 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add roughly half of the kreung to the wok, stirring and scraping constantly with a wooden spatula to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. At first, the paste will snap and pop as it begins to release moisture. Continue stirring until all visible moisture has cooked off and the paste has thickened and darkened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high, then add half of the chicken to the wok, along with 1 piece of mudfish (if using) and cook, stirring, until chicken is coated in the kreung and has turned white on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in half of fish sauce, sugar, and bouillon and scrape browned bits from the bottom of the wok (some may still adhere). Stir in half the basil. Once basil has wilted, reduce heat to low and add half of jalapeño slices, cooking until warmed through but still crisp. Season with salt to taste.

Scrape contents of wok into a serving bowl and discard fermented fish. Rinse and dry wok, then repeat with remaining oil, kreung, chicken, and other ingredients.

Serve stir-fry right away, passing steamed white rice at the table.

Chicken with Garlic, Chilies, and Peanuts

2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
4 5- to 6-ounce chicken breast cutlets, pounded to an even 1/4-inch thickness
Ground black pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces

In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and the chicken, turning to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels, then season with pepper.

In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.

Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Allow the pan to cool for a couple minutes, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and scallion whites. Cook over medium, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Off heat, add the sherry, the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, half the peanuts and any accumulated juices from the chicken.

Return to medium and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add the butter and stir until fully incorporated. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with scallion greens and the remaining peanuts.

Beef Suya

1 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/4 cup peanut oil, plus more for grilling
2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade ground suya spice blend (see Note), plus more for serving
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
Kosher salt
2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch strips, seeds discarded
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
1 lime (optional)
1/4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped

Lay several strips of meat on a piece of plastic wrap, leaving about 1/2 inch between each slice, and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound the meat strips with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy frying pan until 1/8-inch thick. Repeat this process until all the meat has been flattened. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup peanut oil and 2 tablespoons suya spice blend with ginger and garlic. Add beef, toss to coat and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.

Heat a gas grill or grill pan over medium-high, and brush with peanut oil.

Skewer the beef pieces on 12 individual presoaked wooden or metal skewers, wiping off any excess marinade. Brush the meat generously with more peanut oil and set the skewers on a baking sheet.

Working in batches if necessary, grill the beef skewers until meat is cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a platter and sprinkle with more suya spice blend. Repeat until all the beef has been grilled.

Place the tomato and onion slices in a bowl and squeeze lime juice all over. Season with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain any excess liquid.

Top skewers with red onion and tomatoes, sprinkle with toasted peanuts, and serve with additional suya spice, for dipping.

Tip
To make suya spice blend, combine 1/4 cup dry roasted peanut powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cayenne, 2 teaspoons hot paprika, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Basic Stir-Fry Sauce

1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a jar with a tight lid (must hold 2 cups of liquid), combine all of the stir fry sauce ingredients together and shake well.

This sauce should keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

To use:

MARINATE YOUR PROTEIN

Marinate 12 ounces of sliced beef, chicken or pork with:

2 tablespoons water
A pinch or more of baking soda (for beef only)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

PREPARE AROMATICS

Mince 3 cloves of garlic, grate a teaspoon of ginger, and perhaps slice 1 or 2 scallions into 2-inch lengths.

SLICE VEGETABLES

Prepare the vegetables ahead of time, slicing celery, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and/or broccoli. Use whatever you like and make sure to cut the vegetables small/thinly enough so that they’ll cook quickly (i.e. a couple of minutes).

PREPARE YOUR THICKENER

2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

SEAR MEAT

Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your hot wok (it should be almost smoking). Add the meat, sear on both sides, and set aside.

ASSEMBLE STIR-FRY

Add another tablespoon of oil and add the garlic and ginger. (If you also sliced scallions, you can add the white parts of the scallion at this stage.)

After a few seconds, add the vegetables and stir fry for 1 minute or until just softened.

And add in the seared meat.

Bring to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (you may need a little more or a little less cornstarch slurry depending on how much sauce you added and how high your heat is). Add the green parts of your scallions (if using), and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.

Serve over rice.

Salpicón Taco

3 medium plum tomatoes, diced
3 medium radishes, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
2 medium habanero chiles, halved
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound 3/4-inch-cubed cooked skirt steak, flank steak, or pork shoulder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium avocado, diced
8 (6-inch) white corn tortillas, warmed

Stir together tomatoes, radishes, onion, cucumber, and salt in a medium bowl; let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles, orange juice, and lime juice. Stir in meat and cilantro. Gently fold in avocado. Add salt to taste. Serve with corn tortillas.

Sesame Noodles

1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused or Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple Syrup
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb spaghetti
3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
3 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Put the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a blender and pulse until blended.

Boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti until just al dente. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking then combine with the sesame sauce.

In a smaller pot, blanche the asparagus by cooking in boiling water for two minutes then removing them to a bowl of ice water. Drain and add to pasta.

To serve, put room-temperature noodles and asparagus in a bowl and top with scallions and extra sesame seeds. Serve extra soy sauce on the side to taste.

*Adapted from a recipe for Peanut Sesame Noodles, Gourmet, June 2002

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus with Green Curry and Makrut Lime-leaf Maple

1 pkg firm tofu, drained, cut into 1 dice
Oil for sautéing
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 large bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
2 Tbsp green curry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 – 3 tsp Makrut Lime-leaf Infused Maple Syrup
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 375. Gently toss the tofu with the cornstarch to coat and spread it on an oiled sheet pan. Put in the oven to roast for approximately 20 minutes or until brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, put the asparagus in the pan with a few tablespoons of water, turn the heat to high and close with a lid. Steam the asparagus for a few minutes until tender then remove.

Add the green curry, soy sauce, Makrut maple and broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the tofu and and asparagus and toss the ingredients with the sauce to coat and reheat. Place all the ingredients on a plate making sure to get all the sauce from the pan, then sprinkle on the chopped peanuts. Serve with rice.

Otsu (Soba Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing)

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ? cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

PRINT RECIPE
JULY 19, 2004

Soba Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Tahini

(adapted from Otsu Recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

Dressing (makes more than what you need for the recipe, but nice to keep around):

1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons (or more;) Brooklyn Delhi Rhubarb Ginger Achaar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste

Soba noodle salad
8 oz. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 oz baked tofu or 8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (directions below)
1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 scallion, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons.
sesame seeds
more cilantro for garnishing

If using extra firm tofu: Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated. Add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy. Drain over paper towels.

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients. Blend well. Add tahini and blend together.

In a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber. Slowly add dressing and toss Add more dressing to your taste. Arrange salad in center of large plate and top with baked or fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs. Serve with more dressing on the table just in case!

Grilled Flank Steak Carne Asada

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds flank steak

In a medium bowl, combine cilantro, olive oil, soy sauce, orange juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, cumin and 1 teaspoon pepper; set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine steak and remaining cilantro mixture; marinate for at least 4 hours to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the steak from the marinade.

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Using paper towels, pat both sides of the steak dry; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Add steak to grill, and cook, flipping once, until desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes.

Thinly slice steak against the grain and serve with reserved 1/2 cup cilantro mixture.

Shrimp and Dragon Fruit Salad (with Variations)

1 dragon fruit, any varieties will work
8 Large shrimp unpeeled, deveined
3 cups Spring salad mix

Sesame plum dressing:
3 Tbsp plum sauce
2 tsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp water
Fresh herbs and aromatics:
Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1/4 red onions peeled and thinly sliced

Toppings:
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup roasted peanuts

Cut the dragon fruit in half and then peel the skin off and cut the flesh into large cubes. Set aside and let them chill in the refrigerator while you prepare other things.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Steam the shrimp with the shells on, on high heat for 2 minutes or until they are cooked through.

Peel off the skin after they have cooled down a little bit. Steaming the shrimp with the shells on is to prevent the shrimp from curling. It’s really just for presentation and makes the shrimp looks bigger.

Assembling the salad:
Place the salad greens in a large mixing bowl.

Add sliced red onions.

Add freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

Add the cooked shrimp.

Add dragon fruit pieces.

Pour on the dressing when you are ready to serve the salad

Sprinkle on some sesame seeds.

Add some roasted peanuts.

Give the salad a gentle toss to mix everything.

Serve immediately.

Notes: This salad is highly customizable. You can change up the dressing, the toppings, the type of greens and veggies you want on the salad, the protein. Here are some suggestions:

Protein: Leftover chicken meat, pan-fried tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, seared scallop, seared ahi tuna.
Topping: Avocado cubes, tortilla strips, crispy chow mein noodle strips, wonton strips.
Dressing: Any vinaigrette dressing, sweet balsamic vinegar.

Bengali Cholar Dal

250 gms Chana Dal/ Bengal gram
1.2 litres water
2-3 cloves
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 heaped tsp sugar
2 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies slit lengthwise
30gms grated coconut
1 heaped tbsp raisins
1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish

for the spice mix:
1 inch cinnamon stick
5-6 cardamom pods seeds only

Add the lentils and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat stirring often. Simmer and add the cloves, turmeric, salt & sugar. Continue cooking for a further hour and 15 minutes until the dal is soft stirring often making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat off and mash roughly with a potato masher or back of a fork.

To make the ground spice mix; heat a frying pan over a low flame. Break the cinnamon stick and chillies to smaller pieces. Add the cardamom seeds along with the cinnamon and red chillies to the pan. Keep the heat on low giving the pan a few shakes every couple of minutes. Roast the spices for 7-8 minutes. Cool slightly and tip it in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. Set aside.

n a heavy bottom non stick pan heat the oil over medium flame; add the bay leaf and cumin seeds cooking until they sizzle for a few seconds. Now add the green chillies and stir for 2-3 seconds. Add the coconut frying for a minute or so until it start to turn light brown

Slowly pour in the cooked chana dal stirring well. Bring it to a boil, add the raisins and the ground spice powder. Simmer on a low heat cooking for 10 minutes with a lid on. Stir a few times as it simmers making sure it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan. Check seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve parathas, luchis or steamed rice

Chilli Paneer

200 gms Paneer/ Indian cottage cheese chopped into cubes
Oil for frying

for the batter;
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or mild paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp garlic paste
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp water

for the sauce:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp ginger finely chopped
80 gms red onion chopped into cubes
1 medium red or green pepper chopped into cubes
1 green chilli slit lengthwise (deseed if you wish)
1 1/2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce or kecap manis
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Sliver of ginger and chilli for garnish

Heat couple of inches of oil in a wide sauce pan or a wok. Mix the water with all the batter ingredients in a bowl you want a sticky thick paste like consistency. Toss the paneer cubes in the bowl to coat the pieces evenly. Fry the paneer in the hot oil in batches for 20-30 seconds. They should have a light brown crisp coating on all sides. Drain the paneer on kitchen paper and set aside.

To make the sauce; heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped ginger. Fry for 20 seconds and add the red onions. Sauté the onions for a further minute until they soften and tip in the red peppers along with the slit chilli and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the chilli garlic sauce and the dark soy & stir well. If the sauce is a little thick add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out slightly

Kashmiri Dum Aloo (Potatoes in Fennel and Tomato Gravy)

60 gms cashew nuts
18-20 small new potatoes peeled
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium white onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
200 gms greek yoghurt lightly whisked
1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1 tsp fennel powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
150 mls water
1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp crushed dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1 tbsp coriander leaves for garnish
Slivers of ginger for garnish

Soak the cashew nuts in warm water for 20 mins. Prick the new potatoes with a fork lightly (this helps them cook all the way through). Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok or kadhai. Add the potatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes until they turn crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper & set aside.

Whisk the yoghurt and mix in the chilli powder, fennel powder and cumin powder. Stir the spiced yoghurt and set aside.

Drain most of the water from the cashew nuts; blend the cashew nuts to a fine puree. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the kadhai. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they begin to soften for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes as it cooks. Turn the heat to a low setting and add the spiced yoghurt. Stir well for a minute and add the cashew nut paste. Stir for 2-3 mins. Tip in the tomato puree and stir for a further 2 minutes.

As the curry starts to leave oil from the sides of the pan add the fried potatoes, water and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 mins stirring ever so often until the potatoes have soaked in the flavours and cooked all the way through. Add the cardamom powder, crushed methi/fenugreek leaves if using, fresh coriander and ginger. Stir and serve warm with soft naans and some fresh salad.

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

350 gms Paneer diced in cubes
Mustard oil for shallow frying (or vegetable oil)
500 ml water
Pinch hing/ asafoetida
2 inch cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
6 green cardamom
1/2 tsp shahi
3 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp fennel powder
2 tbsp greek yoghurt
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

In a bowl add 500mls of warm water and set aside. In a frying pan heat oil and fry the cubes of paneer in batches until golden brown. The paneer might splutter slightly so make sure the heat is on medium. Drain on kitchen paper and add the fried paneer to the bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you make the curry. This helps the paneer to retain its moisture and stay soft.

Add 3 tablespoons of the oil to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Now add cinnamon stick, bay leaves and green cardamom. Fry the spices for a minute as they begin to splutter and release their flavour into the oil. Add the shahi jeera and fry for 2-3 seconds.

On a low heat add the tomato puree. Stir well making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add the chilli, ginger and fennel powder. Stir and fry for 2 minutes as they blend with the paste. Add 350mls of the soaking paneer liquid and continue to cook on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7minutes without the lid. The curry should have a thick consistency if it is too thick add a little more of the soaking liquid.

Crush the saffron into the gravy and whisk in the yoghurt. Simmer for a further 8 minutes and now tip the paneer chunks into the pot. Stir gently making sure they don’t break. You don’t really need to cook the paneer but just make sure the gravy coats the pieces well. Season to taste.

Khatta Jeera Aloo (Spiced Potatoes with Cumin and Pomegranate)

700 gms baby potatoes boiled and peeled
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp hing or asafoetida
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 ginger slivers
1 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 tsp mild red chilli powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
2 tbsp pomegranate powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander for garnish

In a wok heat the oil on a medium heat add the asafoetida and fry for couple of seconds while it sizzles and infuses the oil. Add the cumin seed and fry for a further 10 seconds. Add the ginger slivers and the green chilli. Stir well and fry for 8-10 seconds followed by the boiled potatoes

Add the powdered spices and stir for 3-4 minutes. The colour will deepen slightly and the spices will begin to coat all the potato chunks. If you feel its sticking to the bottom of the pan turn the heat lower or add a splash of water (although this is a dry dish and you wouldn’t want to add any moisture to it).

Add the sugar, salt and chopped coriander. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let it rest for a few minutes as the potatoes soak in all the spices. Serve with dal and roti/ parathas.

Paneer Jalfrezi

230 gms paneer diced in cubes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion thinly sliced
2 garlic finely chopped
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1 tsp coriander powder
Pinch turmeric powder
1 medium green pepper thinly sliced
1 small tomato sliced
Salt to taste
1 inch ginger slivers for garnish
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh coriander for garnish

Heavy oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add cumin seeds and sizzle for 30 seconds. Add the onions and fry for 2-3minutes on medium heat. As they begin to soften add the garlic paste and fry for a few seconds. Add all the spice powders and stir for a further minute. If the spices stick to the base of the pan add a splash of water.

Now add the peppers and mix with all the spices for 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes at this stage and cook until slightly softened. Now add the paneer cubes and stir well to coat with all the spices. Cook for a couple of minutes, season to taste. Add the ginger, lemon juice & garnish with fresh coriander. Serve warm with naan or chapatti.