Hearty Bean Nachos With Spicy Salsa

1 1/2 pounds ripe Roma tomatoes (about 5 or 6)
1/2 pound tomatillos (about 3 or 4), husked and rinsed
1 to 2 jalapeños, destemmed
1 to 2 chiles de árbol, destemmed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, leaves and upper stems, plus 1 cup reserved for garnish
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 cups (1/2-inch) diced peeled carrot or sweet potato (or a combination)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped white onion, plus 1/2 cup reserved for garnish
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 1/2 cups cooked, drained pinto beans (from about 3/4 cup dried beans or a 15-ounce can)

1 to 1 1/2 pounds store-bought or Homemade Tortilla Chips (see recipe)
1 pound shredded cheese (any combination of Oaxaca, Monterey Jack and Cheddar)
1 cup Mexican crema

Prepare the salsa: Place the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapeños, chiles de árbol and garlic in a medium saucepan. Cover with at least 6 cups water and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the tomatoes and tomatillos are cooked through and mushy, the jalapeños have softened and the chiles de árbol have plumped up, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked vegetables to a blender, setting aside the cooking liquid. Add the cilantro, cumin and 3/4 teaspoon salt to the blender; purée until smooth.
Prepare the vegetables: Bring the reserved vegetable cooking liquid back to a simmer over medium-high heat and season generously with salt. Once it comes to a boil, add the carrots or sweet potatoes, or both, and cook until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Pour the cooked vegetables into a colander, discarding liquid, and set aside.

Wipe the saucepan dry, then add 1 tablespoon oil and heat over medium. Once the oil is hot, pour in the salsa, partly cover it with the lid, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the color has deepened, 8 to 10 minutes. Set salsa aside.

Prepare the beans: In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium. Once hot, add the onion and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, until completely softened. Raise the heat to high, add the cooked carrots and/or sweet potatoes, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring a couple times, until beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the pinto beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed, another 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt, then remove from the heat.

Assemble the nachos: Set a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Place all the tortilla chips in a half sheet pan or large baking sheet. Cover the chips with the bean mixture, ladle the salsa all over the top and cover with shredded cheese. Bake until cheese has completely melted, about 10 minutes.
Spoon the crema over the top and garnish with reserved cilantro and chopped white onion. Serve hot!

Shortcut Chilaquiles

1 small red or yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus more if desired
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored and sliced into 1-inch wedges
1 small Serrano or jalapeño chile, seeds removed if you like, finely chopped (optional)
6 ounces tortilla chips or tostadas, broken up into chip-size pieces
4 large eggs
4 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
1 cup cilantro, tender leaves and stems
1/2 cup crema (or sour cream, thinned with a bit of water)(optional)

Place half the onions in a small bowl and cover with lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, toss and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet (12-inch works well) over medium-high heat. Add remaining onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until they are tender and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and half of chile (if using) and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have started to burst and simmer in their own juices, 5 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and continue to simmer until tomatoes are totally softened and melted down, another 5 to 8 minutes; larger bits of the skin are O.K., but they should feel mostly broken down into a nice, thick sauce.

Add chips and toss to coat evenly. Simmer a minute or two and remove the pan from the heat while you fry the eggs.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in another large skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, undisturbed, until the whites of the egg are fried and lightly crisped but the yolks are still bright orange and runny, about 2 minutes.

Divide chips among plates and top with fried egg, queso fresco, cilantro, crema, remaining green chile, reserved red onions and a squeeze of lime if you like.

Chilaquiles with Eggs

2 tablespoons bacon fat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or you can use all bacon fat)
4 to 6 dry tortillas, of the kind described as having ‘‘seen better days, quartered
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/2 medium red onion, chopped small
1/2 red or yellow pepper, chopped small
1 to 2 teaspoons coarse salt, to taste
4 to 4 1/2 cups large chopped fresh or canned tomatoes (no juice if from can)
1/2 tablespoon pickled spicy chiles, or a few dashes Tabasco or other hot sauce
4 eggs
1 full cup cilantro or mint, stems removed, left as leaves
2 limes
Grated or crumbled Cheddar or queso blanco (optional)

Preheat oven to 400. In a heavy low-sided casserole, heat the bacon fat and vegetable oil (or just bacon fat) over medium-high heat, until a speck of salt just sizzles if dropped in.

Fry tortilla pieces in 2 batches until just lightly browned, removing to a plate.

Lower heat to low, and add the garlic, onion, chopped pepper and salt. Cook about 3 minutes, until onion has started to become translucent.

Add tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often, for fresh tomatoes. If you’re using canned, add a drizzle of water, and cook 8 minutes, until they have become lightly stewy. Add pickled chiles. Add fried tortillas, and stir. Add a drizzle of water now, to keep them from sticking. Lower heat, and partly cover the pot for about 20 minutes, opening to stir every few minutes.
When the stew has been cooking about 15 minutes, remove a tortilla, and taste a sliver. Cook until the tortillas are completely tender. Make 4 little wells in the stew.

Crack eggs, one by one, into a teacup or ramekin, then tip each into a well. Salt yolks and white lightly.

Put egg-topped stew into oven for 5 to 8 minutes, until whites are set and yolks still very slightly runny.

Remove, top with fresh herbs and serve in a casserole or pot, with wedges of lime for each person to squeeze. Serve cheese alongside, if you want.

Green Chilaquiles With Eggs

1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 to 4 jalapeño or serrano chiles, stemmed, to taste (seeded for a milder salsa)
12 cilantro sprigs, plus 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 small white onion, quartered and thinly sliced (about 1 cup sliced onion)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 large eggs
12 thick corn tortillas, cut into wedges and deep-fried or microwaved until crisp (see note), or 1/2-pound thick tortilla chips from a Mexican grocery
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta

Heat broiler. Place tomatillos and chiles on a baking sheet and set about 4 inches below broiler. Roast until dark and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip over and roast on other side until tomatillos are soft and charred in spots and chiles are soft all the way through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer tomatillos and chiles to a blender along with juices on baking sheet. Add cilantro sprigs, then blend to a coarse purée.
Heat oil over medium heat in a large, wide casserole or saucepan and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Add a little salt, stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Turn heat to medium-high and add tomatillo purée. Cook, stirring often, until salsa thickens and leaves a canal when you run a wooden spoon down the middle. Add broth, bring to a simmer, and simmer 10 minutes or until salsa coats the back of a spoon.
Beat eggs in a bowl and season with a little salt. Turn heat to low and stir eggs into salsa. Add chopped cilantro and stir until eggs are set. Mixture should be creamy.

Stir in tortilla chips, making sure they are completely submerged, and remove from heat. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese and serve at once.

To make tortilla chips, cut tortillas into wedges and leave out so they dry for an hour or more. Heat 1 to 1 1/2 inches vegetable or canola oil in a wide, deep skillet or wok to 375 degrees. Add tortilla wedges a handful at a time and fry, stirring constantly with a skimmer or heatproof spatula, until dark brown and the bubbling has subsided, 45 seconds to a minute. Remove from the oil with a skimmer and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining tortilla wedges.

Red Chilaquiles With Chicken

1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes
1 jalapeño chile, or 2 serranos, seeded for a milder sauce and chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion, soaked for a few minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 to 1 cup water, chicken or vegetable stock, as needed
Salt to taste
1 large chicken breast, poached and shredded about 2 cups shredded meat
8 corn tortillas, toasted and coarsely broken up, or 2 cups baked tortilla chips

1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 small red or white onion, cut into thick rings, soaked for five minutes in cold water, then drained, rinsed and dried on paper towels

Combine the tomatoes, chiles, chopped onion and garlic in a blender, and blend until coarsely pureed.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet or a wide saucepan over medium-high heat, and add a drop of the puree. It should sizzle. Add all of the tomato puree, and cook, stirring, for about five to ten minutes, until the sauce darkens, thickens and begins to stick to the pan. Add water or stock if the mixture seems dry, and season to taste with salt. Turn the heat to low, and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until the sauce coats the front and back of a spoon. Taste and adjust salt.

Stir in the chicken and heat through. Stir in the tortilla chips or pieces, stir together for a half minute, and remove from the heat. Spinkle the cheese, cilantro and sliced onion over the top, and serve.

Advance preparation: The poached, shredded chicken breast will keep for three days in the refrigerator. You can make this dish ahead through step 2 and remove from the heat. Reheat gently and proceed with step 3, then serve right away

Sheet Pan Chicken with Garlic-Cucumber Yogurt

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, finely grated, minced or passed through a press
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme or oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
Large pinch of red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 lemon, cut lengthwise into thin wedges
1/2 cup plain Greek or other strained, thick yogurt (or substitute labneh or sour cream)
1/2 cup grated seedless cucumber, such as Persian or hothouse cucumbers (see Tip)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint (or use parsley or cilantro), for serving

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Season chicken generously with the salt and pepper. In a large bowl, combine 3 of the grated garlic cloves, thyme or oregano, red-pepper flakes and olive oil. Add chicken and lemon wedges, and toss until well coated. (If you want to work ahead, you can refrigerate the chicken for up to 12 hours before roasting.)

Arrange chicken and lemons on a sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle with a little more oil and roast until chicken is cooked through, 27 to 35 minutes. If you’d like more color on your chicken, run the pan under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes until chicken is lightly charred in places.

As the chicken roasts, stir together yogurt, grated cucumber and remaining minced garlic clove in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

To serve, squeeze roasted lemon wedges all over chicken, and sprinkle with mint and more red-pepper flakes, if you like. Serve chicken accompanied by cucumber-yogurt sauce and a drizzle of olive oil over everything.

If you are starting with seeded cucumbers, halve them lengthwise, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds before grating.

Sheet Pan Chicken or Cauliflower with Potatoes and Olives

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika or cracked black pepper
4 chicken leg quarters (about 2 pounds total; see NOTE), patted dry, or 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), trimmed and quartered
4 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (13.5-ounce) can whole artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1/3 cup kalamata olives, halved or smashed
1/4 cup kalamata olive brine or 2 tablespoons water and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
Small handful (about 1/2 ounce) fresh parsley leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic, lemon zest, oregano, salt and paprika or black pepper. Add the chicken or cauliflower and, using your hands, rub the mixture into the meat or vegetable.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, combine the potatoes and artichoke hearts. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and toss.

Lay the quarters atop the potatoes and artichoke hearts and roast for 30 minutes. Toss the potatoes and artichoke hearts so they brown evenly. Rotate the pan, then roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked — an instant-read thermometer should read 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh — or cauliflower is crisp on the outside but fork-tender all the way through.

Remove the pan from the oven and add the olives, olive brine and lemon juice. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to help mix any browned bits into the sauce, top with chopped fresh parsley, if using, and serve family style.


Instead of olive oil, you can use any neutral-tasting oil or melted butter.

Garlic adds lots of flavor to this, but skip it if you don’t like it, or use 2 teaspoons of garlic powder instead of the fresh cloves.

The lemon zest in combination with the herbs gives this dish its Greek flavor, though orange zest would be nice instead, or you could use a lemon-pepper spice blend instead of the salt, pepper and lemon zest.

No oregano? Use fresh or dried parsley or dill.

The small amount of paprika or pepper goes a long way, though you can use more or less if desired.

Not into potatoes? How about butternut squash or just using all artichoke hearts?

Instead of artichoke hearts, you could use all potatoes, substitute whole fresh green beans or chopped cabbage or kale instead.

Kalamata olives and their brine are great here, but you could skip them, or use any oily olive.

Out of lemon juice? Use more brine or another splash of vinegar instead.

Chicken and Herb Salad With Nuoc Cham

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bird’s-eye chile or other small hot chile, minced with seeds
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 loosely packed cups chicken meat (12 ounces, pulled from store-bought rotisserie chicken or roast chicken)
2 cups thinly sliced red or green cabbage
1 small English cucumber, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium bell pepper (any color), thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups peppery leafy greens, such as watercress with tender stems, arugula or mizuna
1 loosely packed cup Thai or sweet basil leaves
1 loosely packed cup mint leaves
1/2 cup crispy fried shallots or onions, store-bought or homemade
Lightly crushed peanuts for serving

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and 1/4 cup water. Whisk to dissolve the sugar. Add the garlic, chile, lime juice and fish sauce. Stir to combine.

Add the chicken, cabbage, cucumbers and bell pepper to the dressing. Toss to coat. Add the leafy greens and the basil and mint leaves. Toss to combine.

Divide the salad among bowls, garnish with the crispy shallots and serve immediately.

Coconut-Gochujang Glazed Chicken With Broccoli

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar or 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 pound broccoli florets, cut into 2-inch pieces
Cooked rice, for serving
Sliced scallions or chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden all over, about 3 minutes. Add ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes.

Add coconut milk, sugar, gochujang and soy sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring until gochujang dissolves. Gently simmer over medium-low heat, stirring, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch broccoli until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Drain.

Divide chicken and broccoli among plates; spoon with sauce. Serve with rice.

Thai Chicken Meatball Soup

1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeño
2 pounds ground chicken
1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped, a few whole leaves reserved for serving
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil, plus more as needed
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 ounces baby spinach
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
Steamed white or brown rice, for serving

Using the small holes of a box grater, or a Microplane, grate the ginger, garlic and jalapeño (or finely chop them by hand). Transfer half to a large bowl and set the rest aside. To the large bowl, add the chicken, finely chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Use your hands or a fork to fully combine but do not overmix.

Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to form 2-inch meatballs (about 2 ounces each). In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on two sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat, adding oil as needed.

Once all the meatballs are browned and out of the pot, if the oil is burned, wipe it out and add a bit more to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the reserved ginger mixture and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and any juices from the plate, and simmer until the flavors come together and the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in the spinach and lime juice. Divide rice among bowls, then top with meatballs, broth and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Cheesy Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

3/4 cup crumbled firm tofu (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup ricotta (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 large egg
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, cored and sliced lengthwise 1/2-inch-thick
3 cups marinara sauce (about 24 ounces)
6 ounces sliced provolone cheese,
Cooked egg noodles or other pasta, for serving
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine tofu, ricotta, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper, and mix until well combined. Add chicken and gently mix to incorporate. Lightly wet hands to prevent meatball mixture from sticking, then roll into 24 (1 1/2-inch) golf ball-size rounds.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add marinara sauce and meatballs, and stir gently to coat the meatballs in the sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to the oven to bake until meatballs are cooked through, 20 minutes.

Top with provolone slices, slightly overlapping, and bake until cheese melts, about 3 minutes longer.

Serve meatballs, peppers and sauce over egg noodles. Garnish with parsley, if using.

Note: The unexpected secret to these tender meatballs is tofu, which keeps them juicy. Simply press pieces of tofu between your fingertips to create small crumbles that resemble ground meat. The addition of ricotta creates a creamy texture, as well as great flavor. The meatballs are simmered in marinara sauce with red bell peppers, which infuse the sauce with fresh flavor and natural sweetness. Sharp and tangy provolone completes the dish, although mozzarella could be used for milder flavor. Enjoy over buttered egg noodles, or with crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

Rasta Pasta With Jerk Chicken

2 tablespoons jerk seasoning
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound penne pasta
3 bell peppers, preferably a mix of colors, thinly sliced
4 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup jerk seasoning
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, pierced, not sliced (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Prepare the chicken: In a medium bowl, combine jerk seasoning, 1 tablespoon olive oil, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Pull chicken out about 1 hour before cooking, so it comes to room temperature.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium. Add the chicken to the skillet, and sear chicken on both sides until browned, about 3 minutes per side.

Once chicken is seared, transfer the skillet to the oven and roast chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for about 10 minutes, and slice on a bias.

As chicken roasts, prepare the pasta: Set a pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to a heavy pot set over medium, and sauté bell peppers with green onions until peppers are barely softened, about 4 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until it’s fragrant, about another minute.

Add the 1/4 cup jerk seasoning to the pot and combine. Add the thyme and pierced pepper. Add heavy cream and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Mix in the Parmesan, then add pasta.
Top with the jerk chicken, and garnish with green onions. Serve hot.

Chicken Lo Mein

8 oz. boneless skinless chicken thighs (225g, cut into thin strips)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons oil (plus more for cooking)
1 clove garlic (minced)
4 cups cabbage (shredded)
2 medium carrots (julienned)
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine (or dry sherry cooking wine)
16 oz. fresh lo mein egg noodles (450g)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
2 cups mung bean sprouts
2 scallions (julienned)

In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 2 teaspoons each of cornstarch, water, and oil. In a wok over high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil, and sear the chicken for a couple minutes until browned. Remove from the wok, and set aside.

Add another couple tablespoons of oil to the wok, and add the garlic. After 10 seconds, add the cabbage and carrots. Stir-fry on high heat for a minute and add the wine in a circle around the perimeter of the wok.

Add the noodles and chicken back to the wok and mix well from the bottom up for about 30 seconds. If the noodles aren’t coming apart, add about 1/4 cup water to the noodles to loosen them up a bit.

Then cover the wok for one minute. Remove the cover and add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and sugar. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, and add the bean sprouts and scallions. Stir-fry for one more minute and serve.

Home-Style Tofu with Ground Pork (or Chicken)

2 tablespoons oil divided
1 pound firm tofu (450g, pat dry, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/4″ slices)
2 cloves garlic (smashed and chopped)
1 red chili pepper (deseeded and thinly sliced)
3 scallions (cut into 1” pieces, with the white parts separated from the green parts)
4 oz. ground pork (110g; can substitute ground chicken)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (can substitute other rice wine or dry cooking sherry)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
Salt (to taste)

Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron pan over medium high heat. Before it starts to smoke, add 1 tablespoon of oil, and tilt the pan so the oil coats the bottom of the pan. Add the tofu and pan fry on both sides—3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Heat the second tablespoon of oil in a wok over medium heat. Cook the garlic, chili, and the white parts of the scallions for about a minute. Next add the ground pork (or chicken) and stir fry for a minute until meat is cooked through.

Add the light soy sauce, oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, sugar and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Finally, add in the pan-fried tofu and the green parts of the scallions. Turn up the heat, and quickly stir-fry everything together. Add salt to taste and serve.

Sichuan Spicy Three Pepper Chicken

For the marinade:
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon spicy bean paste

Other ingredients:
2 large boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite size pieces)
2 1/2 tablespoons oil
2 long hot green peppers (de-seeded and cut into 1/2-inch sections)
2 long hot red peppers (de-seeded and cut into 1/2-inch sections)
salt (to taste)
5 dried red chili peppers (whole or cut into thirds; cut them if you like your food spicier)
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
2 tablespoons garlic (coarsely chopped)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

In a medium bowl, stir together all the marinade ingredients. Toss the chicken in the marinade and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok over high heat until smoking. Add the long hot peppers and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the peppers are tender but still a little crisp. You want to see some scorch marks on the outside of the peppers. Add a pinch of salt. Remove the peppers from the wok and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil to your wok over high heat. Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer. Don’t stir. You want to get a good, crisp sear on the chicken. Brown the chicken until it’s cooked through. Take it out of the wok and set aside.

Let the wok cool down a bit. Now add a ½ tablespoon of oil to the wok over low heat. Add the dried chili peppers, peppercorns, and garlic. Stir for 2 minutes to toast everything together. Turn the heat back to high and add the peppers, chicken, and soy sauce. Stir everything together for a minute and serve!

Coconut Curry Chicken

2 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 large onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (smashed)
14 ounces coconut milk (400 ml)
2 cups water or chicken broth (475 ml)
2 plum tomatoes (diced)
2 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
salt and white pepper (black pepper may be substituted)

Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over low heat, and immediately add the curry powder. Let it cook in the oil for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn it. In the meantime, dice the onion and smash the garlic. Add them to the pot, turn the heat up to medium, and give everything a stir.

Stir in the coconut milk and water (or chicken broth). Bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for that, dice the tomatoes and prep the potatoes. Add them both to the pot and season with salt, then add the sugar. Cover the lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.

Cut the chicken thighs into chunks and season with salt and pepper. Once the potatoes are cooked through, add the chicken to the pot and give everything a stir. Cover the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve with rice!

15-Minute Coconut Curry Noodle Soup

2 tablespoons oil
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated)
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
8 oz. boneless chicken breast or thighs (225g, sliced)
4 cups chicken broth (950 ml)
1 cup water (235 ml)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2/3 cup coconut milk (160 ml)
6 oz. dried rice vermicelli noodles (170g)
lime wedges, sliced red onion, red chilis, cilantro, scallions (to garnish)

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil, garlic, ginger, and Thai red curry paste. Fry for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Add the chicken and cook for a couple minutes, just until the chicken turns opaque.

Add the chicken broth, water, fish sauce, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil. At this point, taste the broth for salt and adjust seasoning accordingly (add salt if needed, or if it’s too salty, add a bit of water). Pour the boiling soup over the dried vermicelli noodles in your serving bowls, add a squeeze of lime juice and your garnishes, and serve. The noodles will be ready to eat in a couple minutes.

(Alternatively, you can add the noodles to the boiling broth to cook them, and then divide among serving bowls).

Japanese Eggplant with Chicken and Thai Basil

8 ounces chicken breast (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus 1 teaspoon for marinating the chicken)
1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Chinese or Japanese eggplants (about 12-16 ounces/340-450g; cut on an angle into 1 1/2-inch wedges)
3 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
3 scallions (sliced 1½ inches long on an angle, separated into white and green parts)
1 bunch Thai basil or holy basil (stems removed, about 1 cup loosely packed)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry cooking wine)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Thai thin soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
ground white pepper
1/4 cup chicken stock (hot)

In a medium bowl, massage the chicken with 2 tablespoons of water until it is completely absorbed, and add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch until well incorporated. Set aside.

Heat your wok over medium-high heat and coat it with 2 tablespoons of oil. Spread the eggplant out evenly in the wok, and let sear with the cover on the wok for 2 minutes. Remove the cover, turn the eggplant pieces over, and pour another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter. Cover the wok, and turn heat to medium-low for another 2 minutes until the eggplant is just tender. Next, raise the heat to high to cook the eggplant to a golden brown color–another 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to your wok and heat until just smoking. Add the marinated chicken, and spread it around the wok.

Let it sear for 30 to 60 seconds (depending upon your burner capacity) on each side. Remove from the wok and set aside.
With the wok over high heat, add another tablespoon of oil, the garlic, the white parts of the scallions, and the basil. Stir fry for 30 seconds, and add the eggplant and chicken.

Next, add the Shaoxing wine, and stir everything together. Add the fish sauce, sugar, soy sauces, sesame oil, and white pepper, and stir until everything is combined–about a minute. Next, add the green portion of the scallions.

Pour the chicken stock around the perimeter of the wok to deglaze it. Stir fry until everything is well-combined, and most of the liquid has been absorbed by other ingredients. Serve with steamed jasmine rice!

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lemon and Thyme

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves
4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
2 lemons, as needed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
Torn basil or mint leaves, as needed

Place chicken breasts between two sheets of parchment or plastic wrap. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound each to an even thickness of 1/2 inch. Do not make them any thinner or they could dry out.

Place chicken in a large bowl and toss with salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Mix in olive oil. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. Remove chicken from fridge while you heat the grill.

Light the grill, building a hot fire, or heat your gas grill to high. Once grill is fully heated, brush breasts lightly with olive oil and place chicken on the grill. Cook until undersides are browned and chicken is about halfway cooked, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip breasts and grill until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Transfer chicken to a platter. Drizzle with oil and garnish with additional lemon juice, olive oil and basil or mint leaves.

Air Fryer Chicken Tikka Kebab (with Oven and Grill Variations)

1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts pat dried and cut into 1.5 inch pieces
2 cups mixed peppers cut into 1.5-inch pieces
1 medium red onion cut into 1.5-inch cubes

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon green chili
2 tablespoons garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoons ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Mint Cilantro Chutney
1/2 cup cilantro
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut frozen or dry
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 to 2 small green chiles
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon sugar

In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Add chicken and coat well. Allow to marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Thread the marinated chicken, peppers and onions in the skewers and lightly brush the skewers on all sides with oil. Next use one of the 3 cooking methods:

Airfryer. Brush the air fryer basket with oil and place the chicken skewers in the basket. Set the temperature to 400 degree F and cook time for 15 minutes.

Oven. To make Chicken Tikka Kebob in the oven place the skewers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes. Broil for 5 minutes to get the char marks.

Outdoor Grill. To make Chicken Tikka Kebob on an outdoor grill, soak the wooden skewers in water for an hour. This prevents the skewers from burning. Then thread the chicken and veggies on the skewers and brush with oil. Preheat the grill at 400 degrees and grill the chicken skewers on aluminium foil brushed with oil for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the skewers halfway through.

To serve: Make the chutney by blending all the ingredients in a high speed blender using water as needed. Serve the chicken tikka kebab with mint-cilantro chutney.