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.

Xinjiang Big Plate Chicken (Da Pan Ji)

Marinade
1 tablespoon Chinese light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Other ingredients
4-5 chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, cut in large bite-size pieces (cut with a meat cleaver or have butcher do so)
3 tablespoons Chinese light soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons Pixian chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
2 teaspoons Chinese dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 slices of ginger
3 scallions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
6 whole dried Chinese chilies
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin
4 star anise
3-inch piece cassia bark or 1 cinnamon stick
1 pound white potatoes, roughly chopped into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
1 green bell pepper, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
8 to 12 ounces fresh or dried wheat noodles (wide is traditional)

Marinate chicken pieces for 20 minutes in marinade ingredients: soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil and cornstarch.

In a separate small bowl mix sauce ingredients: 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, Pixian doubanjiang, dark soy sauce and Shaoxing wine.

Heat wok over medium flame and add 3 tablespoons oil. Add garlic, ginger, scallion whites, dried chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, cumin, star anise and cassia and stir around until mixture becomes fragrant, for about 2 minutes, making sure that it doesn’t burn.

Turn heat up to high and add marinated chicken. Stir-fry until chicken is partially cooked and starting to take on some color, making sure not to burn the spices.

Make a well in the center of the wok, add the sauce mixture and cook briefly. Add 3 cups water, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover wok and simmer for 10 minutes for bone-in chicken (5 minutes if using boneless).

Add potatoes to the wok and return to a boil. Lower heat, cover wok and simmer 5 minutes. Taste, and add salt if needed. Add bell peppers, cover wok and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles according to package directions, aiming to have them done just as the stew is done.

If you would like a thicker consistency to the stew, mash a few of the potatoes with a fork. Just make sure to retain enough sauce for the noodles!

Transfer hot noodles to a large wide plate or bowl and cover with the chicken stew. Garnish with scallion greens and serve immediately.

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

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions & Smoked Maple

Vegetable oil
2 large onions, any color, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Runamok Smoked Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper

In a large pan, heat several tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and stir to coat them in the oil. Sauté for a few minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Let the onions brown without disturbing them, only giving them a stir to prevent burning every ten minutes or so. Keep an eye on moisture and if the pan looks too dry, add extra oil. To properly brown onions can take up to half an hour so be patient and wait until they have developed that deep brown color. They will have reduced in size considerably.

When they are just about done, add the balsamic vinegar and smoked maple syrup to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pork chops, preheat a grill or broiler. Generously salt and pepper the chops. Coat with a little vegetable oil and place on the grill or under the broiler.

Broil or grill for approximately five minutes a side on high heat (more for thick chops, less for thin). When fully cooked through, remove from the heat, place on a plate and top with the caramelized onions and a sprinkling of parsley.

Roasted Cabbage with Maple, Horseradish and Cream

1 medium cabbage
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup horseradish
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1 Tbsp Sugarmaker’s Cut Pure Maple Syrup or Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp butter cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 400. Remove any wilted leaves from the outside of the cabbage then cut it into wedges, removing the center core. Place the wedges, slim side up in a wide, oven-proof pot. They should be fairly snug.

Whisk together the cream, horseradish, vermouth, and maple syrup in a bowl and then pour over the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper and then dot with the pieces of butter.

Put a lid on the pot and place on the stove on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and let the cabbage steam in the pot until the leaves have wilted a little, about 8 minutes. Remove the lid and take the cabbage off the heat.

Tilt the pot to gather some of the cream to baste over the tops of the cabbage. Put the pot in the oven, uncovered and bake until the center is tender and the tops have started to brown a little, about 35 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid and add some extra cream if it gets too dry.

Serve with pork chops or sausage.

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.

Shrimp, Snow Pea and Grapefruit Salad with Smoked Maple Vinaigrette

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Runamok Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mesclun lettuce mix for 4
12 medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into small segments
Toasted cashews
10 uncooked snow peas, rinsed and sliced

Make the vinaigrette by placing the mustard, maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl and whisking vigorously.

Put the mesclun greens and sliced snow peas in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette, making sure to coat evenly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and fresh ground pepper accordingly.

Place dressed greens on four individual plates then top with three shrimp each and a few segments of grapefruit. Sprinkle some cashews on each salad and serve.

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.

Coconut Prawn Curry

10-12 King prawns (shelled and deveined)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8-10 curry leaves
350 mls coconut milk
50 mls water
1 tsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish

for the paste:
100 gms coriander leaves
6 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 green birds eye
Juice of one lime

Peel and devein the prawns leaving the tails on. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and turmeric powder on the prawns. Mix well and set aside while you make the paste.

Mix all the ingredients for the paste in a mini processor and add a couple of tablespoons of water to form a smooth paste consistency. Spread a couple of teaspoons of the paste over the prawns and set aside.

Heat oil in a sauce pan add the curry leaves and sauté until they crackle. Add the remaining paste and fry on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the prawns fry for 1 minute until they just start to take on a pink hue.

Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes and add the water. Stir in the tamarind paste if using. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes until the prawns are cooked.

Season to taste and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve warm with chapattis or steamed rice.

Marathi Kolambi Masala (Shrimp with Coconut Sauce and Curry Leaves)

350 gm large prawns shelled and deveined
1 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 curry leaves
1 medium white onion finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika; add a little less if you prefer)
1 tbsp malt vinegar
Pinch of sugar
50 mls coconut milk
Fresh coriander for garnish

for the spice powder:
4 dried red chillies (mild variety)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 star anise
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 green cardamom (seeds only)
2 black cardamom (seeds only)

for the paste:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion finely sliced
100 gms fresh grated coconut (available in asian stores)

Place the prawns in a bowl with the turmeric and salt. Mix well and set aside while you make the spice powder and paste.

Heat a small frying pan and roast all the spice powder ingredients for 7-10 mins on a low heat. Stir every few minutes until they start to release their aroma and change colour. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a coffee/ spice grinder.

For the paste heat the tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Fry the sliced onion on medium heat for 7-10 minutes. As it starts to turn light brown add the grated coconut. Fry for 12-15 minutes stirring frequently. The coconut will start to change colour to a light brown as well. Turn the heat off. Cool the mix and add to a blender with some water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

To make the curry; heat the oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add half the curry leaves letting them splutter for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes; they will begin to soften. At this stage add the coconut paste and fry for 3-4 minutes it will start to leave oil from the sides of the pan. Add 2 tbsp of spiced powder along with the chilli powder and stir well frying for a couple of minutes.

Now tip in the prawns and cook and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they start to turn opaque and just cooked through. Add the vinegar, sugar and check for seasoning. Also add the coconut milk and the remaining curry leaves. Simmer for a further minute. Turn the heat off garnish with fresh coriander & lemon juice. Serve with a choice of Indian bread or steamed rice.

Chingri Macher Malai (Bengali Shrimp Curry)

12-15 large prawns shelled and deveined with the tails left on
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
4 green cardamom pods
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 small onion roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
2 green chillies
50 gms freshly grated coconut
1/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
100 mls coconut milk
100 mls water
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Coriander roughly chopped for garnish

Add the prawns to a bowl and mix in the turmeric and salt well. Set aside while you get the curry ready. In a blender add the onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and grated coconut. Add a splash of water and blend to a smooth thick paste. Set the paste aside

In a frying pan add 2 tbsp of the oil and fry the prawns for a minute on each side. They will start to colour but don’t cook them all the way through. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan heat the remaining oil add the green cardamom, cloves and bay leaves; fry for 30 seconds. Now tip in the onion paste and fry on a medium heat for 5-7 mins stirring frequently making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the chilli powder, sugar and salt. Stir for a further minute; add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat. Add the prawns, simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve warm with boiled rice.

Goan Prawn Caldinho (Shrimp with Ginger and Coconut Milk

400 gms raw king prawns deveined with tails on
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp Goan vinegar or white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 medium tomato finely chopped
3 cloves garlic pounded to a paste
1 inch piece of ginger pounded to a paste
400 mLs coconut milk
80 mls water
1 tbsp tamarind paste
2 slit green chillies (deseeded if you prefer it mild)
Pinch of sugar
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves for garnish

For the powdered spices:
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds

In a bowl add the prawns and sprinkle over turmeric powder, vinegar and salt. Mix and set aside for 15-20 mins while you get the curry ready. In a coffee grinder tip in the cumin seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Blitz to a fine powder and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy based sauce pan and add the onions and fry for 5-7 mins on a medium until they start to change colour to a light brown. Add the chopped tomato and fry for 3-4 mins. As they begin to soften add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further minute.

Now add the powdered spices and mix it all together. Fry for 2 minutes and add the marinated prawns. Stir coating them in the spiced sauce for a few seconds now add the coconut milk, water and tamarind paste.

Bring to a simmer cooking the prawns until they turn pink for no more than 3-4 minutes. Add the green chillies and sugar. Garnish with coriander leaves and check seasoning. Serve with steamed basmati rice or some pav bread and a fresh zingy salad.

Chemeen Mulakittathu (Spicy Malabar Prawn Curry)

350 gms king prawns shelled and deveined
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
120 gms shallots thinly sliced
1 green chilli slit lengthwise
15 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves ground to a paste
1 tsp mild chilli powder or Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
180 gm tomatoes finely chopped
150 mls water
4 tbsp tamarind paste
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Slivers of ginger
Coriander for garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan on a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.

Now add the fenugreek seeds and the sliced shallots. Fry for a minute and add the green chilli along with half the curry leaves. Continue to fry for 8-10 minutes over a medium heat until the shallots begin to change colour to a light brown.

Add the garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the powdered spices and fry for a further 10 seconds making sure it doesn’t burn.

Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until they soften for 6 minutes. Mash with the back of the spoon and add water along with the tamarind paste. Season to taste. Lower the heat and bring to simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the prawns and cook over a low heat for 6-7 minutes with the lid on stirring half way through. Turn the heat off and add the ginger slivers along with the remaining curry leaves and coriander.

Andhra Royala Vegundu (Andhra-Style Shrimp with Fennel and Tomato Sauce)

500 gms king prawns shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 inch ginger roughly chopped
1 birds eye chilli

For the stir fry;
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
180 gms shallots finely chopped
10 curry leaves
5 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coarsely ground fennel
90 gms tomato finely chopped
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

In a blender add the ginger and green chilli with a splash of water and blend to a smooth paste. Add the prawns to a large mixing bowl along with the turmeric. Add the ginger chilli paste and marinate for 1 hour

Heat the oil in a kadhai or wok on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and as they splutter add the shallots. Fry the shallots for 10 minutes as they begin turn light brown in colour.

Now add the curry leaves and garlic and fry for 2 minutes stir well. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and fennel along with the chopped tomato. Fry for 1 minute over a medium heat

Now add the marinated prawns, season to taste and fry for a further 2 minutes stirring to make sure it does stick to the bottom. Continue to cook for 6 minutes with the lid on stirring halfway through.

Garnish with coriander and serve warm with rice or chapatti.

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

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.

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.

Malabar Vegetable Ishtu (South Indian Vegetable Curry)

3 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cloves
4 cm cinnamon stick
1 large white onion thinly sliced
1 green chilli slit lengthwise
2 inches ginger finely chopped
12 curry leaves
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 medium tomato finely chopped
150 gms carrot diced into cubes
150 gms green beans cut into three
200 gms cauliflower cut into small florets
200 mls water
250 mls coconut milk
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

Heat oil in a heavy bottom large sauce pan on medium heat. Add the cloves and cinnamon and fry for 3-5 seconds. Add the onions and fry for 8-9 minutes as they begin to soften. Now add the green chilli, ginger, half the curry leaves and turmeric powder. Stir well and fry for 40 seconds to mix the spices well. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 2 minutes as it begins to soften. Followed by the carrots and green beans. Stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes.

At this stage add the cauliflower and fry for a further minute. Now add the water and season to taste. Simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 8-9 minutes until the vegetable have cooked. Add the coconut milk and simmer for a further 2 minutes. Now add the black pepper and remaining curry leaves. Serve warm garnished with coriander along with rice or bread of your choice.

Punjabi Aloo ki Sabzi (Potato Curry)

500 gms boiled potatoes cut into cubes
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida
1 green chilli slit lengthwise (add an extra one if you prefer a spicy curry)
1 1/2 inch ginger finely grated
3 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
250mls water
Fresh coriander for garnish

In a dry frying add the cumin seeds and roast on a low flame for 2-3 minutes. The seeds will begin to change colour slightly and release their aroma. Turn the heat off and cool the cumin seeds. Now crush them to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder and set aside.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the asafoetida and chilli, cooking for a couple of seconds. Now add the grated ginger and stir well making sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Fry for 2-3 seconds and add the chopped tomatoes.

Fry the tomatoes on a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, they will start to go mushy and soften. At this stage add the tomato puree and stir well for a further minute. Turn the heat low and add the boiled cubed potatoes, stir well coating the potatoes in the tomato gravy. Add the cumin powder, coriander powder and chilli powder along with the sugar and salt. Stir well and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 3-4 minutes stirring halfway through. Add a little more water if its too thick although your looking for a slightly thicker gravy rather than a watered down consistency.

Garnish with coriander and serve with puris or chapattis and some onion salad.