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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Gobi Matar ki Sabzi (Cauliflower with Peas)

360 gms cauliflower cut in florets
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2-tsp turmeric powder

For the sabzi:
3 tbsp vegetable oil
110 gms white onion coarsely grated
5 cloves of garlic ground to a paste
2 inch ginger pounded to a paste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild chilli powder)
250 gms passata
2 tbsp tomato puree
85 gms frozen green peas
Salt to taste
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander

Preheat the oven to 200c. Line a baking tray with foil. Add the cauliflower to a bowl. Mix the oil with the turmeric powder and coat the cauliflower. Tip the cauliflower over the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes

In the mean while start cooking the sabzi. In a heavy bottom saucepan heat the oil on a medium flame. Add the onions. Fry for 10 minutes. As they begin to change colour and soften. Add the garlic and ginger paste stir well and cook for 1 minute.

Now add the turmeric powder and chilli powder. Fry the paste and add the passata along with the tomato puree. Cook for 7-8 minutes as the oil begins to separate from the sides.

Turn the heat to low setting, season to taste. Add the baked cauliflower along with the frozen green peas. Stir well coating the pieces in the tomato gravy. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat off and add the garam masala along with fresh coriander. Serve with rotis and raita.

Bengali Dimer Dalna (Potato and Egg Curry)

6 boiled eggs shelled
200 gms potato boiled, peeled and cut to chunks
5 tbsp mustard or vegetable oil
2 dried kashmiri chillies
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
180 gms white onion blended to a paste
2 inch ginger roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves roughly chopped
150 gms tomato finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
300 mls water
Handful of coriander to garnish

Add the ginger and garlic to a blender with a splash of water and blend to a smooth fine paste. Set aside.

Heat 2 tbsps of oil over a medium heat in a frying pan. Add ½ tsp turmeric powder and cook for a couple of seconds followed by the boiled eggs. As the eggs fry the skin will crisp up slightly so shake the pan and until then for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off and set aside until you make the curry.

Heat the remaining oil in a heavy bottom medium sauce pan. Add the dried chilli, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin seeds frying for a few seconds.

Now add the onion paste and fry over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes stirring frequently.

Lucknowi Achari Gobi

480 gms cauliflower cut to medium size florets
2 birds eye green chillies roughly chopped (add more if you prefer it spicy)
3 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp nigella seeds
Pinch of hing
120 gms white onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 inch ginger roughly chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander seeds coarsely ground
Salt to taste
2 tsp Amchoor/ dried mango powder
1 tbsp sugar
Coriander for garnish

Add the cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, fennel and nigella seeds to a mixer and grind to a coarse mix. Separately add the green chillies with a pinch of salt to a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste. Set aside. Blend the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste with a splash of water and set aside.

Heat oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan over a medium flame. Add the asafoetida and the coarsely ground spice mix. Fry for 20 seconds and add the onions cook them for 12 minutes stirring well. As they begin to soften add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a minute.

Add the turmeric powder, stir well and add the cauliflower florets along with the coriander powder. Season to taste. Fry for a 2-3 minutes stirring continuously. Add 150mls water and the green chilli paste. Stir well and cook over a low heat with a lid on for 14 minutes. Stir a couple of times through the cooking.

Add amchoor powder and sugar continue cooking for a minute. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve warm with roti, naan or pulao.

Punjabi Aloo Gobi

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

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

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

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

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

Mughlai Kadhai Paneer

450 gms paneer diced in bite size chunks
3 tbsp vegetable oil
120 gms white onion finely chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
400 gms tomato roughly chopped
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 heaped tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
200 mls water
2 medium size peppers diced in squares
80gms red onion diced in squares
Salt to taste
2 tbsp kasoori methi/ dried crushed fenugreek leaves
1 inch ginger juliennes
Coriander to garnish

For the Kadhai Masala:
2 dried mild kashmiri chillies
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper
8 green cardamom (seeds only)

In a dry frying pan add the kadhai masala spices and heat over a low flame. Give the pan a shake every few seconds. Roast for a 2-3 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder and set aside.

Add the tomatoes and tomato puree to a blender and blitz to a smooth paste.

In a heavy bottom non stick sauce pan or kadhai heat the oil over a medium flame. Add 1 tablespoon of the ground kadhai masala and fry for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry for 12 minutes. Make sure to stir well and scrap the bottom of the pan.

Add the garlic and continue to fry for a minute. Add the tomato paste and fry over a medium heat for 12-14 minutes. You want the sauce to reduce slightly and thicken. Add the kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric powder stir well for a minute.

Now turn the heat to a low setting and add the yoghurt a little at a time. Stir well continuously for 4 minutes

Turn the heat back to a medium and add the water followed by the peppers and red onion and fry for 6-7 minutes. Add another tablespoon of the kadhai masala and crushed kasoori methi. Season to taste

Add the paneer and stir well coating the paneer in the gravy. Cook for 3 minutes as the paneer begins to soften. Turn the heat off and garnish with ginger and coriander. Serve with naan and salad

Bengali Phulkopir Aloo Dalna (Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Peas)

420 gms Cauliflower florets
280 gms potato boiled and cut to chunks
60 gms frozen green peas
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida/ hing
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
4 green cardamom pods
1 dried mild red
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp caster sugar
Salt to taste
100 mls water
1/4 tsp garam masala powder

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the asafoetida along with all the whole spices. Fry for a minute on low heat. Add the ginger paste and fry for a few seconds.

Now add the chilli powder and turmeric powder along with the cauliflower florets. Mix well and sauté the florets for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sugar, season to taste and add water. Stir well and cook with a lid on for 10 minutes. Now stir and add the potato continue cooking for 5 minutes with a lid on.

Add the green peas and simmer for a minute. Turn the heat off and add garam masala. Stir well and serve warm with paratha or rice.

Grilled Cheese with Mango Chutney

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, minced
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 ripe mangoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1 jalapeño, minced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of sourdough boule
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

In a medium saucepan, toast the seeds over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Coarsely crush.

In the same saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar and 1 tablespoon of the ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar is slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Add the mangoes, crushed seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the mixture resembles jam, 5 minutes. Scrape the chutney into a small bowl and let cool. Season with salt.

Heat a griddle over moderately low heat. In a large bowl, toss both cheeses with the jalapeño, cilantro and remaining 2 teaspoons of ginger. Season with salt and black pepper.

Brush 1 side of each bread slice with butter. Arrange 4 slices buttered side down on the griddle. Top each with one-fourth of the cheese mixture and 3 tablespoons of the chutney. Close the sandwiches and cook until golden, 3 minutes per side. Let rest for 2 minutes, then cut in half and serve.
Make Ahead

The mango-ginger chutney can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Grilled Cheese with Gruyere and Sweet Onion

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced crosswise (4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Eight 1/2-inch-thick slices of whole-grain bread
Dijon mustard 8 ounces imported Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
2 half-sour pickles, thinly sliced lengthwise

In a deep skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the oil. Add the onion, cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice, until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes longer. Add water to the skillet as necessary, 1/4 cup at a time, to prevent the onion from scorching. Season the caramelized onion with salt and pepper.

Spread the bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and arrange, buttered side down, on a work surface. Spread a thin layer of mustard on each slice. Top half of the slices with the onion, Gruyère and pickles and close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Grilled Cheese with Antipasti

8 1/2-inch-thick slices of peasant bread
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces imported Fontina, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted red peppers (4 ounces), finely chopped
1/2 cup marinated artichokes (4 ounces), drained and finely chopped
2 pickled jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced

Brush the bread with the olive oil and arrange, oiled side down, on a work surface. Top half of the slices with the Fontina, red peppers, artichokes and pickled jalapeños. Close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Grilled Ham and Gruyere Cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 slices of bakery Pullman bread
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 pound sliced Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère
8 ounces thinly sliced ham
Dill pickle slices (optional)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup apricot preserves

Butter each slice of bread and sprinkle with Parmigiano, pressing to help it adhere. Invert the slices onto a work surface, cheese side down. Top 4 of the slices with the Swiss cheese, ham and pickles. Mix the mustard and preserves and spread on the remaining 4 slices of bread. Close the sandwiches and griddle over moderate heat, turning, until golden, crisp on the outside and melted inside, about 3 minutes. Cut in half and serve right away.