Simple Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
2 (28-ounce) cans whole or diced plum tomatoes
2 sprigs basil or 1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a large, straight-sided skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add garlic and cook until just lightly golden. Add chile flakes if desired and cook 30 seconds.

Stir in tomatoes and juices, basil or bay leaf, and salt and pepper.

Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until sauce is thick and tomatoes have mostly fallen apart, about 30 to 40 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to keep at a steady simmer. If using whole plum tomatoes, mash them up with the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to help them break down. Remove sauce from heat and discard basil or bay leaf.

Pasta With White Beans, Arugula Pesto, and Halloumi

1/3 cup/75 milliliters olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium green serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 (15.5-ounce/400-gram) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups (about 9 ounces/250 grams) short, twirled pasta, preferably gemelli or trofie pasta
3 cups/700 milliliters chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup/60 milliliters lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
1 block halloumi (around 7 ounces/200 grams), very finely grated

Heaping 1/3 cup/50 grams pine nuts, well toasted
2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 lightly packed cups (about 2 ounces/60 grams) arugula (rocket), roughly chopped
1/2 cup/20 grams roughly chopped parsley (leaves and tender stems only)
1/3 cup/90 milliliters olive oil, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper

Prepare the pasta: Add the oil to a large, lidded sauté pan, and then place it over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the garlic and chile, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the garlic is nicely golden. Stir in the thyme, beans, pasta, stock, 2 teaspoons salt and plenty of pepper, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, with the lid off, for about 5 to 10 minutes. This will help it absorb more of the liquid.

As the pasta cooks, make the pesto: To a food processor, add the nuts, garlic, arugula (rocket), parsley, half the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Pulse a few times, scraping down the sides and pulsing again until you have a coarse paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the remaining olive oil, adding a touch extra if needed to loosen the pesto.

When ready to serve, stir the lemon juice and half the pesto into the pasta (discard the chile, if you wish) and transfer to a large serving bowl or platter with a lip. Sprinkle over about half the halloumi, and serve with the extra halloumi and pesto to eat alongside.

Notes: makes about 160 grams of pesto

Braised Fresh Black-Eyed Peas With Baby Turnips

1 bunch baby white turnips with greens, such as Hokkaido (8 ounces)
4 tablespoons French-style unsalted butter
2 small red onions, diced
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds fresh black-eyed peas in pods, shelled
Fresh mint leaves

Remove the green tops from the turnips, and cut the turnips into quarters or sixths depending on size. Separate leaves from stems and discard stems; wash leaves.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 3- to 4-quart shallow stovetop braiser over medium heat. Sweat onion in butter for 1 minute, until translucent. Add turnips and sweat 2 minutes, until glossy and starting to “shine.”

Run a knife through the leaves once, maybe twice, and add to the pot. Season with a healthy pinch of salt and stir until leaves are also starting to sweat and wilt.

Add peas and 1 cup of water. Season with two large pinches of salt (restaurant-chef pinches, not home-cook pinches). Cover. Reduce heat. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Stir. Add 1 cup water. Add pinch salt. Re-cover. Simmer for 10 more minutes.

Stir. Simmer for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until beans are cooked and soft and starchy inside, turnips are cooked and water has turned grayish purple. Taste for salt and season. Let cool completely on stovetop with heat off.

Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow everything to meld and settle. Serve the next day, reheated over low until tepid, stirring in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to melt gently into the broth. Finish with a shower of fresh mint and ground black pepper.

Golden Cauliflower Dal with Spinach and Coconut

1 cup split red lentils (masoor dal) see notes on “timing”
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons ghee (or for vegan use coconut oil) ( ***see note at bottom!)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2–3 fat shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ginger, grated or finely minced (or use ginger paste)
2–4 fresh or dried chilies (optional, for heat)
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 large head of cauliflower, broken into large florets (about 2 lbs), stems ok.
couple handfuls baby spinach

Cover the split lentils with 2 cups boiling water, set aside.

In an extra-large saute pan or Dutch oven, heat the ghee over medium heat, add the crushed coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and stir for one minute.

Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and optional chilies, and saute until fragrant and golden, lowering the heat to med-low, if need be, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and turmeric. Stir in the lentils along with the 2 cups of hot water. Add the salt and fenugreek. Give a good stir.

Add the coconut milk and stir to incorporate, then add the cauliflower florets, coating them well. Give the pan a shake to allow any lentils to slip back into the liquid. Increase heat, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer gently over med-low heat, until lentils are softened and cauliflower is fork-tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove lid and let some of the liquid cook off, about 3-4 more minutes. Carefully stir in spinach. Taste, adjust seasonings. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.

Garnish with cilantro or scallions and if you made the extra tempering oil ( see notes), spoon this over top before serving.

Serve with naan bread or basmati rice, or on its own in a bowl like a stew.


***For extra flavor (as is, this is “gently” spiced) create a tempering oil. Double the ghee and double the whole seeds. After sauteing the seeds in the oil or ghee, spoon half of this into a small bowl and set aside -to drizzle over the finished dish (this is the “tempering oil”) super tasty!

Timing: If your lentils seem extra-large, or your cauliflower florets seem extra small, cook the lentils a few minutes before adding the cauliflower, so the cauliflower doesn’t get overcooked. ****I used tiny lentils and extra-large florets.

You could also, roast off the cauliflower separately (toss with oil, salt and pepper at 400F until tender) and stir into the cooked lentils.

Spiced Eggplant and Tomatoes With Runny Eggs

1 1/2 pounds Italian eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), plus more as needed
1 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 1/4 teaspoons baharat blend (or use another spice blend, such as garam masala)
Freshly ground black pepper
5 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 fat garlic cloves, finely grated, pressed or minced
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (about 1 pound)
3/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, mint, cilantro, parsley, dill or any combination, plus more for garnish
4 to 6 large eggs
Lemon wedges, for serving
Plain whole-milk yogurt, for serving
Hot sauce (such as Tabasco), for serving

Put eggplant in a colander in the sink and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Let drain while preparing the nuts.

In a small bowl, combine nuts, 1/4 teaspoon baharat and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nut mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and toasted, 2 minutes. Pour nuts back into the small bowl and stir in lemon zest. Set aside for serving.

Add 3 tablespoons oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high until oil thins out, about 20 seconds. Add enough of the eggplant to fit in one layer without overlapping. Cook eggplant until browned, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggplant to a plate. Repeat with more oil and eggplant, taking care not to crowd the pan.

When all the eggplant is browned, push the last batch still in the pan to one side. Drizzle the empty part of the pan with a tiny bit of oil and add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the rest of the browned eggplant back to the pan and stir well to incorporate garlic.

Add tomatoes and remaining baharat, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a big pinch of pepper. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes and eggplant become stewy, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in herbs. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
Make small hollows into the stewed eggplant with the back of a spoon. Gently crack an egg into each hollow. Season eggs with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid or piece of foil and cook on medium-low until the eggs are just set, but still soft, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the lid, and garnish with the spiced nuts, more herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Serve with yogurt, hot sauce and more lemon wedges on the side.

Pantry Noodles

Any dried pasta
Soy sauce
Sesame oil
White pepper (optional)
Chili oil (optional)
scallions (chopped, optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Toss with soy sauce and sesame oil to taste. If using, mix in white pepper, chili oil, and scallions to taste.

Make sure to add condiments in small quantities as you’re mixing the noodles together, especially the soy sauce––it can get salty very quickly. Add the soy sauce a teaspoon at a time.

Chinese Eggplant with Garlic Sauce (Fish Fragrant Eggplant or Yuxiang Qiezi)

For the sauce mixture:
1 tablespoon spicy bean paste (douban la jiang)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
1 teaspoon fish sauce

For the rest of the dish:
2-3 Japanese eggplants (about 6 cups)
2 scallions (cut into 2-inch lengths)
3 tablespoons oil
4 oz. ground pork (110g; ground chicken or ground turkey can also be substituted, or it can be left out entirely)
2 thin slices ginger (julienned)
10 dried red chilies
4 cloves garlic (finely minced)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Wash the eggplants, cut the ends off and slice them into equal sized pieces. After slicing, separate the green and white portions of the scallions into roughly two piles.

Over very high heat, heat a tablespoon of oil in your wok. Add half of the eggplant and let it sear until brown on all sides. You can lower the heat if it looks like they’re starting to burn. You want to cook the eggplant for about 5 minutes until they start to get soft and have a nice sear. Take this first batch of eggplant out of the pan, heat a second tablespoon of oil, and do the same with your second batch. Set all the cooked eggplant aside on a plate.

Set the heat to medium high and add the last tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the ground pork. After the pork has browned, add the ginger and cook for a minute to let it crystalize with the pork. Stir in the whole red chili peppers and the minced garlic, and after a minute, turn the heat back up to high. Add the eggplant back in, along with the stir-fry sauce, the white parts of the scallions, and the shaoxing wine. Stir-fry everything together for another 2 minutes, making sure everything is well-combined.

Toss in the rest of the scallions and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Plate and serve immediately with white rice.

Chickpea Vegetable Soup With Parmesan, Rosemary and Lemon

1 whole clove
1/2 onion, sliced root to stem so it stays intact, peeled
1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
1 sprig rosemary, plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh bay leaves or 1 dried
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, more to taste
1 small Parmesan rind, plus 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/4-inch thick
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Insert the clove into the onion. Put the onion in a large pot with the chickpeas, rosemary sprig, garlic, bay leaves, olive oil, salt and cheese rind. Add 5 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about an hour, or until chickpeas are tender.

Add the tomatoes, carrots and celery, cover loosely, and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 25 minutes longer. While soup simmers, mix the chopped rosemary, grated Parmesan, lemon zest and pepper in a small bowl.

Season the soup to taste and ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan mixture.

Roasted Tomato and White Bean Stew

1/2 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley leaves and tender stems
2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
2 (10-ounce) containers cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons and more for drizzling (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (such as butter or cannellini), rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)
Toasted bread, for serving

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, gently toss together the parsley and lemon zest with your hands until well combined; set aside.

In a large baking dish or on a sheet pan, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup oil and thyme; season well with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes until they have collapsed and begin to turn golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

When the tomatoes are almost done roasting, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large (12-inch), deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium. Add the onion, garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook until the onion is softened and the garlic is fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in the rinsed beans and broth and bring to a simmer. With the back of a spoon or spatula, gently smash about 1/2 cup of the beans so they slightly thicken the broth. If you want a thicker stew, crush some more of the beans. Season with salt and pepper.
When the tomatoes are finished roasting, add them directly to the stew along with any juices that have been released. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more so the flavors become friendly; season to taste with salt.

Ladle into shallow bowls. Top each serving with some of the lemon-parsley mixture and drizzle with some more olive oil, and season with flaky salt, if you like. Serve with toasted bread.

Reader ideas:

Add sage and swiss chard.

Add tomato paste for a richer flavor and red color (as was shown in tbe picture).

Add sausage.

Creamy Braised White Beans

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 head garlic, halved crosswise
1 cup whole milk
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, with their liquid
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, drained and rinsed
1 thyme sprig, 2 sage leaves or 1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, allspice or garam masala
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 slices crusty bread or thick toast
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
Aleppo pepper or red-pepper flakes, for serving

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cut side down, and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the milk, chickpeas and their liquid, white beans, thyme and nutmeg and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges of the pan (you don’t want it to come to a full boil), reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and tastes great to you, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Use a fork to remove the garlic halves from the beans. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then use the fork to remove the cloves from the skins. Spread the cloves on bread or toast.
If you would like the beans to be more stew-like, mash some of the beans using a potato masher or the back of a spoon. Serve beans and milk in bowls. Garnish as you wish, with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a pinch of Aleppo pepper and black pepper. Serve with the bread alongside for dipping.

You can reheat leftovers the next day over low heat; the sauce will have thickened, but the beans will still be delicious.

Reader ideas:

Add bacon, pancetta, or sausage.

Add basil pesto and sundried tomato pesto before serving.

Add kale, rainbow chard, or arugula.

Add some lemon.

Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles

1 pound noodles, frozen or fresh (use less if using dried or this won’t be enough sauce)
2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (not tahini)
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chile-garlic paste, chile crisp or chile oil, or to taste
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes. They should retain a hint of chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a splash of sesame oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts.

The Chinese sesame paste called for here is made of toasted sesame seeds; it is not the same as tahini, the Middle Eastern paste made of plain, untoasted sesame. But you could use tahini in a pinch. You need only add a little toasted sesame oil to compensate for flavor, and perhaps some peanut butter to keep the sauce emulsified.

Reader ideas:

Skip the noodles altogether and put the delicious sauce on veggies and tofu.

Make 50 percent more sauce and serve with choice of condiments: cshredded duck or chicken, tofu, cucumber, sweet red pepper, hot pepper, scallion, jicama, and so on. Keep them all about the same size with shredding or julienne.

Garnish with cucumber but also a large mound of fresh beans sprouts, grilled chicken or tofu, cherry tomatoes, black radishes, snow peas & anything else that comes to hand.

In cold weather, add the dressed noodles to a bowl of hot soup stock flavored with garlic, sliced coins of fresh ginger, dried shrimp to chase away the blues and the sniffles of dark cold winter days.

Add broccoli, carrots, red peppers, scallions, peapods, bean sprouts, etc.

Add chicken or shrimp.

Craig Claiborne and Virginia Lee’s The Chinese Cookbook for 2 to 4 servings, from 4 ounces of fine egg noodles, calls for: 1/4 cup sesame paste 3 T brewed tea or water 2 T hot oil (Optional, but if you want spicy, it’s got to be there) 3 T light soy sauce (that is, the regular kind) 3 T red wine vinegar 2 tsp sugar salt 1/4 tsp MSG (optional) [this recipe dates from 1972!] 1/4 cup peanut oil 2 T chopped garlic 1 T sesame oil.

Pressure Cooker Khichdi with Mixed Lentils and Vegetables

2 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon ginger
1 carrot peeled and sliced
1/4 cup green beans chopped
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1 red potato cubed
1 tomato diced
1 cup cauliflower chopped
1 cup cabbage chopped
1 cup spinach chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup white rice
1 cup mixed lentils moong, masoor, toor and chana daal
6 cups water
1/4 cup cilantro chopped, for garnish

Turn the Instant Pot to Saute Mode and heat ghee. Add cumin seeds and ginger.

Cook for 30 seconds. Add all the vegetables – carrots, beans, peas, tomato, potato, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach.

Add turmeric, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well.

Next add the rice and mixed lentils. Add 6 cups of water. Give a quick stir and close the Instant Pot lid with the pressure valve to Sealing.

Press the rice button followed by natural pressure release. (Note, for short-grained rice, I dropped the Breville rice pre-set to three minutes. This gave a nice mushy texture that could be thinned for a porridgy texture.

Open the Instant Pot and garnish with cilantro.

Serve hot with roasted papad and pickle.

Substitute the 4 different lentils with any lentils you may have on hand. It could be just 1 cup of moong daal or 1/2 cup of moong daal and 1/2 cup of chana daal. Just make sure you use 1 cup of lentils.

You can use any combination of vegetables. Just make sure to add about 4 cups of chopped veggies. Frozen mixed vegetables also work well in this recipe.

The water ratio in this recipe is 3 times the rice and lentils together which makes a soft, porridge-like consistency for the final dish. To make dry-ish khichdi reduce the water to 4 cups.

Tomato-Butter Pasta

Kosher salt
1 pound wavy or ridged pasta (like cavatappi or rigatoni), or a long noodle (like fettuccine)
2 pounds large, ripe tomatoes (about 2 to 3), halved horizontally
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
Black pepper
Torn basil leaves, for serving (optional)
Finely grated Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, using the large holes of a box grater, grate the cut ends of the tomato into a large bowl. Discard or compost skins. Grate the butter into the bowl as well. Using the small holes of the box grater, grate the garlic into the bowl. Add the red-pepper flakes, and season generously with salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Return the drained pasta and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to the pot, along with the bowl of grated tomato and butter. Set over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly and glosses the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes (the sauce will thicken as it sits). Add more pasta water as needed to emulsify the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with more red-pepper flakes, black pepper, basil and Parmesan as desired.

Orecchiette With Corn, Jalapeño, Feta and Basil

1 pound orecchiette
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 jalapeño, finely chopped
5 ears corn, shucked and kernels removed (about 3 1/2 to 4 cups kernels)
Kosher salt
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup torn basil leaves, plus more for serving
Flaky salt, for serving

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until it is just short of al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water.

While pasta cooks, make the sauce: In a 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add jalapeño, and cook until softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add corn, and cook until it begins to brown in spots, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and bring to simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add pasta to skillet, tossing to coat with sauce. Add feta cheese and an additional 1/4 cup of pasta water, tossing until pasta is slick and glossy with sauce. If needed, add in another 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir in basil. Transfer to a large bowl and scatter with remaining basil. Season with flaky salt, if desired.

Sweet Corn and Scallop Pasta

Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound large or medium shell pasta
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 pound sea scallops, patted dry
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup chopped basil, plus more for garnish

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high. Season scallops with salt and pepper and add to skillet in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until golden underneath, about 2 minutes. Flip scallops and cook until golden on second side, 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a cutting board to cool.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, corn and scallions to the skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add lemon juice and stir to lift up any browned bits on bottom of pan.

While the corn cooks, chop the cooled scallops into 1/2-inch pieces. Return pasta, 1/2 cup of the pasta water, corn mixture, scallops and butter to the large pot and heat over medium. Cook, stirring vigorously, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheese and basil, and season with salt and pepper. (Add more pasta water if a thinner sauce is desired.)

Divide pasta among bowls and garnish with more basil. Drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

Creamy Corn Pasta With Basil

Fine sea salt
12 ounces dry orecchiette or farfalle
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 bunch scallions (about 8), trimmed and thinly sliced (keep the whites and greens separate)
2 large ears corn, shucked and kernels removed (2 cups kernels)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, more for serving
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more to taste
1/3 cup torn basil or mint, more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Fresh lemon juice, as needed

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente, according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large sauté pan over medium heat; add scallion whites and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and all but 1/4 cup corn; simmer until corn is heated through and almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, transfer to a blender, and purée mixture until smooth, adding a little extra water if needed to get a thick but pourable texture.

Heat the same skillet over high heat. Add butter and let melt. Add reserved 1/4 cup corn and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (It’s O.K. if the butter browns; that deepens the flavor.) Add the corn purée and cook for 30 seconds to heat and combine the flavors.

Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water, tossing to coat. Cook for 1 minute, then add a little more of the pasta cooking water if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in 1/4 cup of the scallion greens, the Parmesan, the herbs, the red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice to taste. Transfer to warm pasta bowls and garnish with more scallions, herbs, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper.

Halloumi with Corn and Cherry Tomatoes

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
12 to 14 ounces halloumi cheese, diced into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen and thawed (from 2 to 3 ears of corn)
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 jalapeño, seeded or not, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal), plus more to taste
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, more as garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges
Black pepper

In a large, preferably nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high until it thins out, about 20 seconds. Working in batches, add cheese in one layer, and cook until golden on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip cheese and cook without moving until golden on the other side, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with remaining cheese.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat it over medium-high. Add corn, tomatoes, jalapeño, cumin seeds and salt, and cook until corn and tomatoes have softened and everything looks juicy, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and stir in the browned cheese, sliced onion and basil. Squeeze a lime wedge or two over everything and season with more salt and lots of black pepper. Garnish with more basil and serve immediately.

Pressure Cooker Chickpea Coconut Curry

1/4 cup water or broth or use 1 tsp oil
1/2 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 hot green chili ,chopped (such as serrano, jalapeno) or use mild chili or omit
1 tsp each ground cumin, , ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp each cinnamon , ground cardamom
1/3 tsp cayenne or to taste
1/4 tsp grouond sage or dried oregano
1 red bell pepper ,chopped or sliced
1 tbsp minced ginger
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup dry uncooked chickpeas ,soaked for atleast 30 mins in boiling hot water (4 hours to overnight soaking works best)
13.5 oz can coconut milk , reserve 2 tbsp for garnishing
1 cups water ,depends on curry consistency preference., use 1/2 cup for thicker, 1.5 cups for soupier
lemon/lime juice , cilantro, pepper flakes for garnish

Press saute on the Instant Pot. Add onion, garlic, chili and a good pinch of salt. Cook for 3 to 4 mins until translucent. Deglaze with more broth if needed. (See notes for saucepan)

Add the spices and mix in. (You can add spice blends of choice here such as curry powder, garam masala, berbere or jamaican curry powder, or curry pastes instead of listed spices).

Add the bell pepper and ginger and mix in. Drain the chickpeas and add to the pot. Add salt, coconut milk and water and give it a good mix to pick up any stuck bits.

Cancel saute, Close the lid to sealing. Pressure cook at high pressure for 40 to 45 mins (30 mins for overnight soak)**. Let the pressure release naturally then open the lid.

Taste and adjust salt and flavor, add more spices if needed. If the mixture is thin, Mash some of the chickpeas to thicken or blend half cup of the curry and mix in, saute for a few mins if needed. (Fold in some baby spinach at this point while the chickpeas are still hot).

Garnish with lemon, pepper flakes, remaining coconut milk and cilantro and serve over rice or grains.

Saucepan (dried chickpeas): Soak the chickpeas overnight or atleast 4 hours and drain. Follow steps 1,2,3 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add only half the salt, add 1 to 1.5 cups water. Cook partially covered for 50 minutes. Then check the chickpeas for doneness. Add more salt, more water if needed and continue to cook for another 10-15 mins.

Saucepan(canned/pre-cooked) chickpeas: Follow steps 1,2,3 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add only 1/4 cup water and 2.5 cups cooked chickpeas. Partially cover and cook for 20 mins. Taste and adjust flavor, mash some chickpeas to thicken and serve.

Instant Pot (Canned Chickpeas): Follow steps 1,2.3. Use just 1/4 cup water, 2.5 to 3 cups cooked chickpeas and pressure cook for 5 mins.

Variations: Use other beans such as brown chickpeas (pressure cook 50 mins), black eyed peas(pressure cook 30 mins), kidney beans or white beans(pressure cook for 45 mins).
Add a cup of chopped tomatoes with the chickpeas.

** times are for creamy curry with soft chickpeas. Chickpeas that are just done have a bite and clash with the creamy profile i am going for. Adjust the times based on preference if needed.

Imli Chile (Sweet and Sour Chickpeas with Tamarind)

15 oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas drained and washed or 1 cup dry chickpeas washed and soaked overnight
2 teaspoons oil
1 small onion chopped
1/4 teaspoon asofetida (hing – omit to make gluten-free)
1 teaspoon ginger paste or a Tablespoon chopped ginger
2 teaspoon garlic paste or 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or more for a spicier version
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cloves powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon raw sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of tamarind concentrate or 2 teaspoon of tamarind pulp (less or more according to taste to adjust the sourness)
1.5-2 cups water
1/2 tsp chaat masala or amchur for garnish

In a pressure cooker or a deep pan, add the oil and keep it on medium heat.

Add in the onions and the asofetida(hing) and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (you can puree the onions after this and cook the puree for another 6-7 minutes and proceed with the next steps. This will help make a thicker curry).

Add in the spices, ginger garlic paste, red chili flakes and mix well. Cook for another 3 minutes.

Add in the washed chickpeas, salt, sugar, tamarind concentrate and water and mix well.

Pressure cook the beans for 10 minutes if using canned beans, and 20 minutes once the pressure has reached ( 3 to 4 whistles), if using dry beans that were soaked. (cook longer if you want softer beans).

If cooking in a deep pan, add another half cup water, cover and cook on low-medium heat until chickpeas are tender. about 30 minutes.

Wait for the pressure in the pressure cooker to release naturally before opening. Check and adjust salt and spice according to taste. Mash the beans a little bit. Sprinkle chaat masala or Amchur(dry mango) powder.

Serve hot with Naan or Rotis, or as topping for chaat snacks.

Edamame Kara Kuzambu (South Indian Edamame Curry)

2 teaspoons safflower or any neutral oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal split black gram, or use petite yellow lentils
10 curry leaves coarsely chopped
Pinch asafetida omit to make gluten-free
1/2 cup chopped red onion or pearl onions
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon sambhar powder or use 2 teaspoons ground coriander *
1 teaspoon tamarind paste concentrate
3/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
1 1/2 cups edamame fresh or thawed if frozen, or other fresh or cooked beans like fava beans, butter beans, or lima beans
3/4 cup coconut milk canned or culinary
1 cup or more water
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds, and the urad dal. Cook until the seeds start to sizzle and the urad dal changes color, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry leaves and asafetida.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomato, sambhar powder, tamarind, and cayenne, and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are saucy, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt. Cover and cook until the edamame are tender, about 25 minutes. Taster and adjust salt, heat (cayenne), tang (add lemon juice if needed). For thinner curry, add more water and bring to a boil. Serve hot with Dosa crepes, idli rice cakes or over rice.

Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot: Follow steps 1 to 3 on saute mode. Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt and cook for 6 to 8 minutes at high pressure. Natural release. Taste and adjust salt, tang and heat.

* Sambhar powder is a South Indian spice blend of coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, red chilies, urad dal and toor dal. It is easily available in Indian stores or online. Or find the recipe in my cookbook.