Pasta e Ceci with Miso and Chili Oil

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons white miso
2 1/2 cups just-boiled water
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup ditalini
2 teaspoons chili crisp (such as Lao Gan Ma or Fly By Jing), with oil, adjusted to taste

Add the oil and miso to a large saucepan or small soup pot. Set on the stove over medium to medium-low heat and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the miso is threatening to burn, until the miso is very fragrant and a toasty, chestnutty brown.

Carefully pour off the oil into a small heatproof bowl (you don’t need to obsess over every last drop, just try to get most of it); discard this later on, whenever it’s cool.

Set the pan back on the stove and add about half the water, stirring until the miso is incorporated and all the bits on the bottom are scraped up.

Add the rest of the water, as well as the chickpeas and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the pasta is super-duper al dente (remember, it will continue to cook as it hangs out in the hot soup).

Divide into two soup bowls and top with however much chili crisp you want.

Tomato Rice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
Salt
1 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1 cup long grain brown rice

Heat the butter in a medium heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and pepper and a large pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cook gently, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. (Do not let the vegetables brown — if necessary, add a splash of water to prevent this.)

Add the tomatoes and another large pinch of salt to the pan and stir to combine. Raise the heat so the mixture bubbles steadily and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until you have what resembles a thick sauce.

Stir in the rice, 2 1/2 cups cold water and a couple more pinches of salt. Bring to a brisk simmer and cook uncovered for 5 to 8 minutes without stirring, until the liquid on the surface is mostly gone. Stir the rice briefly, cover and turn the heat down as low as it will go. Cook the rice, without removing the lid, for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pot sit covered for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

Greek Lentil Soup

1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked over
10 cups vegetable broth or water
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes (1 1/4 pounds), scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
10 ounces baby spinach, chopped
1 small butternut squash (1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 lemons

In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, combine the lentils, stock or water, jalapeño, coriander, cumin, oregano and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, partially covered, about 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Add the potatoes, spinach and butternut squash, re-cover and cook another 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and squash are tender.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until it starts to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the celery and garlic and cook, stirring often, until they soften, 3 minutes. Add the mixture to the soup, deglazing the skillet with a little soup liquid and adding the deglaze contents back to the soup pot. Add the salt and pepper, taste, and add more if needed. Pick out and discard the bay leaves.

Thinly slice one of the lemons and cut the other into wedges. Just before serving, stir the lemon juice into the soup. Serve the soup hot, with a lemon slice floating atop each bowl. Pass lemon wedges at the table.

Tofu Broccoli Stir Fry

1 14 oz. / 400 g block firm (or extra firm tofu)
Marinade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

2 1/2 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 large head of broccoli
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

Cut the tofu into 3/4” (2 cm) cubes and place it in a sealable ziplock bag.
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Pour the marinade into the bag with the tofu. Press out as much air as possible and seal the bag. Gently swirl the bag around so all the tofu is coated with the marinade. Set aside, occasionally flipping as you finish your prep.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved.

Cut the florets off the stalks of broccoli. If there is excess stem, peel it and cut it into 1/2” (1 cm) chunks. Wash them, drain them, and set them aside.
Drain the marinated tofu and discard the marinade.

Heat 1/3 cup of water in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the broccoli and cover with the lid. Steam until the broccoli is cooked to the tenderness you prefer, 2 minutes for a chewy texture or 3 minute for a softer one. Transfer the broccoli to a large plate. Wipe the pan with a few layers of paper towel held in a pair of tongs to get rid of any excess water.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil into the same pan. Add the tofu. Let cook until the bottom turns golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until browned. Gently stir a few times with a spatula, then move the tofu onto one side of the pan.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, the ginger, and the garlic to the other side of the pan. Stir a few times to release the fragrance. Then stir everything together.

Stir the sauce again to make sure the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour it into the pan and stir and cook until the sauce thickens.

Add the cooked broccoli and turn off the heat. Stir to coat everything with the sauce, then transfer everything to a serving plate.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Chinese Lentil Soup

1 cup uncooked green lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons Doubanjiang (*Footnote 1)
1 teaspoon cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Salt to taste (Optional)

tomato, Chopped
avocado, Chopped
purple onion, Minced

Rinse the lentils with cold water and drain them. While rinsing, watch out and pick through your lentils to make sure there are no rocks or other debris (don’t be alarmed if there are, sometimes small rocks are overlooked during processing and packing).

Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Once the screen shows “Hot”, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Saute until fragrant and starting to brown, around 2 minutes.

Add the doubanjiang and cumin. Saute for another minute. If it looks dry, pour in a bit more oil or stock to prevent the ingredients from sticking or burning.
Turn the saute function off. Pour in the crushed tomato, and scrape the bottom again to make sure all the brown bits are lifted (This is important, to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning after adding pressure). Add the vegetable stock and rinsed lentils and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Seal the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is pointed to lock. Set to manual, high pressure, and the timer for 10 minutes for al dente lentils with soup, or for 12 minutes for a stew-like texture.

After the cooking is done, use quick release on the lid or unseal the valve by switching the lock using a spatula (watch out for the steam coming out). Stir and taste the soup. Add the white pepper and salt (if needed), according to your own taste.

You can top the soup with tomato, avocado, or onion if you wish. Serve hot as a side or main dish.

Store the leftover soup in a sealed container in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Notes:

I used 3 tablespoons to create an intense savory and spicy taste. Use 2 tablespoons for a milder taste.

To make this dish without an Instant Pot, use a 4-6 quart pot and follow the recipe and add 2 extra cups of water along with the vegetable broth in step 4. Then simmer the soup on the stove over medium-low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until the lentils turn soft but are not falling apart.

Winter Vegetable Stew

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1/2 onion, sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bulb fennel, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 leeks, chopped
1 large carrot, diced small
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small napa cabbage, sliced thin
2 to 3 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet beans with some broth

In a large pot, heat the olive over medium heat until shimmering, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, fennel, kale, leeks, and carrot. Salt lightly and stir. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes until they’re soft but not quite done. Add the cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add water to barely cover the mixture, about 5 or 6 cups, depending on the pot you’re using and the state of the vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a gentle simmer over medium to medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.

Add the beans and adjust the salt. Add a generous amount of pepper and bring back to a simmer.

Ladle into large bowls and drizzle each serving with extra-virgin olive oil.

Gobi Manchurian

750 grams cauliflower cut to medium size florets
Oil for frying
90 grams corn flour
3 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of salt
150 mls water

for the sauce:
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5 spring onions thinly sliced (save the greens for garnish)
1 tbsp garlic chopped
1 tbsp ginger chopped
3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
150 mls water
chopped green chillies (optional)

In a mixing bowl add the corn flour, plain flour, black pepper and salt. Add the water a little at a time making sure to stir well to rid of any lumps. Add the florets to the batter and mix well.

Heat oil for deep frying over a medium heat. Add the cauliflower in batches and fry for 5-6 minutes. Make sure to heat is not too high as you want the cauliflower to cook all the way through.

Fry as they go crispy and light brown and drain of kitchen paper. Keep warm while you make the sauce.

For the gravy heat the oil in a wok or kadhai over a medium heat. Add the white part of the spring onion and fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the chilli garlic sauce, soy and ketchup, stir over a low heat for 1 minute. Now add the vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Season to taste.

Add the water and simmer for 2 minutes as the gravy thickens. Add the fried cauliflower florets and stir well coating them in the sauce. Warm through for a minute and turn the heat off and rest for a few minutes as the cauliflower soaks all the gravy flavour. Serve warm with egg fried rice or noodles.

Vegetable Jalfrezi

1.5 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 green chili, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
1 large tomato, sliced
1 large carrot, cut into rounds
1/4 cup green peas
3/4 cup paneer cubes, 120 grams
3/4 cup water, 6 oz
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup tomato puree, store bought, canned
1 medium green pepper, sliced
1 inch ginger , cut into julienne
cilantro, to garnish

Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and let then sizzle. The add the onions, green chili and saute them for 2 to 3 minutes until softened.

Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 1 minute. Then add the sliced tomato, carrot, peas and paneer. Add water (you might need only 1/2 cup of water while making this on stove-top).

Also add turmeric, cardamom, chili powder, garam masala, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt and tomato puree.

Stir and cover the pan with a lid. Let the veggies cook for 5 to 6 minutes.

Then add the green peppers and ginger julienne. Cover and simmer for 3 more minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Classic Cauliflower Cheese

1 medium to large cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cheese Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter salted or unsalted
3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour *see Notes
1 cup milk at least 2% b.f.
1 cup whipping cream 35% b.f. ** see Notes
2 cups aged cheddar cheese grated, well packed
Pinch nutmeg grated or powdered
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Prepare and roast the cauliflower: Remove the stem leaves and core from the cauliflower and break off the florets into large chunks. (Not sure how to cut the cauliflower? Try my easy method details in the Cook’s Noes above). If you like, you can cut away most of the stalks and just use the florets or use it stalks and all. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, but not too small.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender (test with a knife) and golden in spots. Remove from the oven, set aside and REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 400F.
Prepare the cheese sauce: Measure out your milk and cream in a 2-cup measuring cup and set aside. Grate your cheese and have ready.

In a large saucepan (you’ll be adding the cauliflower to it later, so make sure it’s big enough), melt the butter oven medium heat.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or as long as you feel you can without letting it scorch.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low. Pour in a small amount of the cream/milk and whisk until a smooth paste forms.

Add the remaining milk a bit at a time and whisk until smooth, until all the milk has been added. Cook sauce over medium-low heat and whisking regularly, until the sauce noticeably thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Let stand without stirring for about 2 minutes, then stir together. The cheese should have all melted in to the sauce. If by chance it hasn’t, you can return the pot to the burner over low heat to finish the melting.

Add the nutmeg and stir in. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to completely coat the cauliflower. Spoon the cauliflower cheese mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet (to catch any bubble overs).

Place into the preheated 400F and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and deep golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to set up a bit.

Notes: If using heavy cream, you should be good with 3 Tbsp of flour. If using a lighter cream, whole milk or you’re using cream, but want a thicker sauce, go with the 4 Tbsp of flour.
** Heavy whipping cream will produce the best results, but if you prefer, you could use a lighter cream, such as table cream (18% b.f) or half and half cream (10% b.f.)

Roast the cauliflower just until tender with just a few golden spots. Test it with a knife to be sure it’s tender, then remove. You don’t want to roast all of the moisture out of it.

Add the milk/cream mixture in small increments (a scant 1/4 cup-ish at a time), to ensure a smooth sauce.

Be sure to properly season your dish, starting with seasoning the cauliflower before roasting and ending with tasting and seasoning the cheese sauce at the end of cooking it on the stove-top, to really bring out the flavours.

Turning off the heat under your pot (or removing it from the burner if you have an electric stovetop) immediately after adding the cheese helps to ensure a smooth and creamy sauce, as the cheese is allowed to melt slowly from the residual heat in the sauce.

Fish-Fragrant Eggplant

1 pound 5 ounces (600g) eggplants (1–2 large)
Salt
Cooking oil, for deep-frying
1 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan chile bean paste
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
10 tablespoons (150ml) hot stock or water
4 teaspoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce
3/4 teaspoon potato starch, mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
6 tablespoons thinly sliced scallion greens

Cut the eggplants into batons about 3/4 inch (2cm) thick and 2 3/4 inches (7cm) long. Sprinkle with salt, mix well and set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Rinse the eggplant, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Heat the deep-frying oil to around 390°F (200°C) (hot enough to sizzle vigorously around a test piece of eggplant). Add the eggplant, in two or three batches, and deep-fry for about 3 minutes, until tender and a little golden. Drain well on paper towels and set aside.

Carefully pour off all but 3 tablespoons oil from the wok and return to medium heat. Add the chile bean paste and stir-fry until the oil is red and fragrant: take care not to burn the paste (move the wok away from the burner if you think it might be overheating). Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until they smell delicious.

Tip in the stock or water, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then add the eggplant, nudging the batons gently into the sauce so they do not break apart. Simmer for a minute or so to allow the eggplant to absorb the flavors.

Give the potato starch mixture a stir and add it gradually, in about three stages, adding just enough to thicken the sauce to a luxurious gravy (you probably won’t need it all). Tip in the vinegar and all but 1 tablespoon of the scallion greens, then stir for a few seconds to fuse the flavors.

Turn out onto a serving dish, scatter over the remaining scallion greens and serve.

Mujaddara (Lebanese Lentils and Rice)

4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
4 bay leaves
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
Plain whole-milk yogurt, to serve

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, combine 5 cups water, the garlic, bay, cumin, allspice, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then stir in the lentils and reduce to medium. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the lentils are softened but still quite firm at the center, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the rice and return to a simmer. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed and the lentils and rice are tender, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring only occasionally at the start then more frequently once browning begins at the edges of the pan, until the onions are deeply caramelized and crisped, 10 to 15 minutes; adjust the heat if the onions brown too quickly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a paper towel–lined plate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside; the onions will crisp as they cool.

When the lentils and rice are tender, remove the pot from the heat. Uncover and lay a kitchen towel across the pan, then replace the lid and let stand for 10 minutes.h

Sheet Pan Spiced Cauliflower and Tofu with Ginger-Yogurt Sauce

1 large head cauliflower
5 tablespoons (75ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 3/4 teaspoons store-bought ras el hanout, divided (see note)
Kosher salt
2 (12-ounce; 340g) packs extra-firm tofu
2 cups (475ml) full-fat Greek yogurt
One (3-inch) piece fresh ginger (about 2 ounces; 55g), peeled and finely grated or minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 red onion (8 ounces; 225g), sliced about 1/8 inch-thick and soaked for at least 10 minutes in ice water
3 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves and cilantro sprigs (about one-half bunch cilantro and one bunch mint)
One preserved lemon, seeds removed and flesh and peel finely diced (optional; see note)
Dried ground sumac, for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C) with a clean rimmed baking sheet set on the middle rack. While the oven heats, cut the cauliflower into 1-inch florets. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with 3 tablespoons (45ml) olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons ras el hanout; season with salt.

Add cauliflower to heated baking sheet, carefully spreading it in a single even layer; set bowl aside. Return baking sheet to oven and roast cauliflower until it is just tender and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Drain tofu and cut it into 1- by 3/4-inch planks. Place tofu pieces in a colander in the sink and pour the boiling water all over them.

Transfer tofu to work surface lined with paper towels. Arrange tofu pieces in an even layer, then lay more paper towels on top and press down to absorb excess water. Add tofu to the same mixing bowl used for cauliflower and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons (30ml) olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon ras el hanout. Season with salt.

When cauliflower is cooked, transfer to platter to cool; wipe baking sheet to ensure any stray bits of cauliflower are removed. Arrange tofu on now-empty baking sheet in a single even layer, then roast, flipping once halfway through, until crispy on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, stir together yogurt and ginger. Season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

In a separate medium bowl, drain red onion, making sure to remove any stray pieces of ice. Sprinkle all over with salt, and using your fingers, rub salt into the onion slices. Let stand for at least 10 minutes.

To serve, dollop a generous amount of ginger yogurt onto each serving plate or bowl. Mound the cauliflower and tofu on top. Drizzle with fresh olive oil and scatter preserved lemon on top, if using. Drain onions of any accumulated liquid, then toss with cilantro sprigs and mint. Mound herb salad on top of cauliflower and tofu, and sprinkle with sumac, if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes: Ras el hanout is a complex mix of spices hailing from North Africa. While recipes vary, it typically blends warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom with paprika, black pepper, and turmeric; some versions also include floral notes from dried rosebuds. You can buy it online and at well-stocked supermarket spice aisles, or make an easy substitute by mixing 3/4 teaspoons sweet or hot paprika with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed, 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and cardamom.

The cauliflower and tofu are best roasted shortly before serving. You can make the ginger yogurt up to 1 day in advance

Crispy Tofu with Maple-Soy Glaze

1 12-oz. block firm tofu
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
Kimchi, toasted sesame seeds, hijiki, daikon, sliced scallions, and steamed rice (for serving; optional)

Drain tofu, then sandwich between several layers of kitchen towels to remove excess liquid. Cut into 9 cubes.

Whisk soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and ginger in a small bowl.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. When oil is rippling across the surface, carefully add tofu so it doesn’t splash. Cook, undisturbed, until very crisp and dark brown underneath, 3–4 minutes. Carefully turn and repeat on opposite side. Holding tofu back with a spatula or slotted spoon, pour out oil into a small bowl. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add soy sauce mixture. Cook, reducing heat to medium so it doesn’t over-reduce or burn and basting tofu occasionally, until glaze is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 4 minutes.

Divide tofu among plates. Drizzle with glaze, then top with scallions. Serve with rice alongside.

Stir-Fry Sauce for Any Meat and Vegetable

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable or mushroom stock; 350ml)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (can sub gluten-free soy sauce or tamari)
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian or gluten-free 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 refrigerator; all you need to do is measure and pour out what you need for your dish.

Makes enough sauce for about 3 dishes. Nutrition info is for one out of twelve servings of sauce, assuming that there are 4 servings per dish

HOW TO USE THIS STIR-FRY SAUCE:

1. 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

2. PREPARE AROMATICS:

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

3. 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).

4. PREPARE YOUR THICKENER:

2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

5. 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.

HOW TO USE THIS STIR-FRY SAUCE:

1. 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
2. PREPARE AROMATICS:

I like to cut my aromatics fresh, so I will mince 3 cloves of garlic, grate a teaspoon of ginger, and perhaps slice 1 or 2 scallions into 2-inch lengths if I have some.

3. SLICE VEGETABLES:

I’ll 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).

4. PREPARE YOUR THICKENER:

2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

5. 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.

Searing Meat in Wok, thewoksoflife.com

6. 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.

Add about 2/3 cup of stir fry sauce (more or less depending on how much sauce you like), and heat until simmering.

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.

Scallion Oil Noodles (Cong You Ban Mian)

1/3 cup oil
8 ounces scallions (225g, julienned)
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 teaspoons sugar
1 pound Chinese white noodles (450g, cooked until al dente)
—-if you want to add the pork component, you’ll also need 1 cup ground pork, 3 more tablespoons oil, and an extra 1/2 cup of chopped scallion

Heat oil in your wok over medium heat, add the scallions, and let them fry slowly. Once they start to turn golden brown, remove the scallions from the oil and set aside.

To the oil, add both kinds of soy sauce and the sugar. Use low heat and cook the mixture for about two minutes, until it starts to bubble up.

If you want to add pork to your noodles, simply brown the ground pork over high heat with about 3 tablespoons oil. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped scallions, and season with a bit of salt.
This recipe serves six. Portion out the noodles into bowls, and start with a tablespoon of sauce (it really doesn’t take much!). You can keep adding a bit more until the saltiness is to your liking. If using the pork, add a spoonful of your crispy pork and scallion mixture to the top, along with a small handful of the reserved fried scallions.

Toss it all together and dig in.

Hot Oil Noodles (You Po Mian)

4 oz. dried wheat noodles
a handful of leafy greens (choy sum, spinach, or baby bok choy)
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
Crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Chopped scallion
Chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 1/2 tablespoons oil

Boil the noodles according to package directions until al dente. In the same pot, blanch the leafy greens until cooked through. Drain.

Add the cooked noodles and greens to a heatproof bowl, along with the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, scallion, cilantro, and minced garlic.

In a small pot, heat the oil until shimmering. Carefully pour the hot oil over the bowl of noodles, and mix everything together. Serve!

Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup

5 ears yellow or bicolor corn (or 5 cups frozen corn kernels)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano chile (or other chile), minced
2 small red potatoes (6 to 8 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/2 cups of hot water whisked with 1 1/2 teaspoons jarred bouillon)
1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt, to season
Torn cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, crispy fried shallots, lime wedges and more sliced Serrano chiles, to serve (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape the cobs so that all of the milky juices collect in the bowl and the cobs look completely dry, like wrung-out sponges. Set aside. (If using frozen kernels, skip this step.)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and chile, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and juices to the pot, and sauté until the corn is softer and brighter, about 3 minutes more.

Add potato pieces, and stir to coat, 1 to 2 minutes.

Now, pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through.

Use an immersion blender to roughly purée the soup, so that it’s creamy with some kernels of corn, chunks of potato, and chile flecks remaining. (Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender, blend until smooth, and return to the pot.) Season with lime juice and salt, and mix to combine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Gnocchi

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 (18-ounce) package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Trim and halve the brussels sprouts. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thick strips of lemon zest, then coarsely chop. (You should have about 2 teaspoons chopped zest.)

In a large (preferably 12-inch) skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the brussels sprouts, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then arrange the brussels sprouts in an even layer, cut-side down. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and cook, undisturbed, until the brussels sprouts are well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes, stir and cook until the brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Break up any gnocchi that are stuck together, add them to the pan and cook, covered and undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the butter and honey, season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the butter is golden, nutty smelling and foaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brussels sprouts until warmed through. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Ricotta Dumplings with Peas and Asparagus

2 cups whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
3 cups pea shoots or leaves, thick stems removed
1/4 cup parsley or mint leaves, for serving
Parmesan or pecorino, for serving

Options: This dish is a truly excellent canvas for anything seasonal (asparagus and peas in the spring, cherry tomatoes in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, squash in the winter), so adjust as you like.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine ricotta and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using a large wooden or metal spoon, gently mix in the flour, taking care not to overmix (which could result in tough dumplings).

Meanwhile, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have softened completely and are starting to pick up some color, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add asparagus and peas to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until asparagus is just tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on its thickness. Remove from heat while you cook the dumplings.

When the water is at a nice steady boil, drop the ricotta mixture into the pot by the heaping spoonful. (The dumplings will expand in the water, so make them slightly smaller than you’d like them to end up.) Be careful not to crowd the pot; cook the dumplings in batches if need be.

Once the dumplings rise to the top, let them boil until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. (You can always pull one out and cut it in half to test its doneness; the texture will go from dense and doughy to light and pillowy.)

As the dumplings finish cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the skillet with the peas and asparagus. Once they’re all in there, give everything a quick toss over medium heat just to evenly coat the dumplings in the buttery sauce. Add pea shoots and toss just to wilt slightly.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter and top with parsley, cheese and more olive oil, if you like.

Crispy Spiced Cauliflower Steaks

1/2 of 1 cinnamon stick, broken up
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 cloves
Large pinch of ground cayenne
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus additional, as needed
1 1/3 cups brown- or white-rice flour (about 7 1/3 ounces)
2/3 cup tapioca flour (about 3 2/3 ounces)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from 2 limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon), plus additional lemon wedges, for serving
1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
2 small heads cauliflower (about 1 pound each), leaves removed, cut from top to core into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 1/2 to 2 cups coconut oil
1 cup Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, for serving (optional)

Line a baking sheet with a wire rack or paper towels, and set aside.

Finely grind cinnamon, coriander, fennel, peppercorns, cumin and cloves in a spice grinder, spice mill or mortar and pestle.Transfer to a bowl, and stir in cayenne and 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk both flours until combined. Whisk in lime and lemon juices, then gradually whisk in enough water until the mixture is the consistency of thin pancake batter (about 1 1/3 cups). There is no gluten in either flour, so don’t worry about overmixing.

Stir in turmeric and the spice mixture. Taste, and adjust salt as needed.

Working with 1 or 2 steaks at a time, push the cauliflower steaks into the batter, turn to coat and allow to marinate for at least 3 minutes.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium high. Add coconut oil to a depth of 1/3-inch, and heat until hot. Carefully drip a few drops of batter into the oil to test that it’s sufficiently hot. The batter should immediately sizzle and expand. Slip the steaks one at a time directly from the batter into the pan. Don’t overcrowd the pan — the steaks should never touch.

Cook until golden brown on the bottom, 8 to 12 minutes, rotating the steaks around the pan after 6 to 8 minutes to ensure even browning. Use a thin metal spatula to carefully flip the steaks. Continue cooking until the second sides are golden-brown and the cores are tender when pierced with a knife, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer steaks to the prepared baking sheet, and allow to drain. Season with salt. Repeat with the remaining steaks and any remaining smaller pieces of cauliflower, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent the steaks from browning too quickly.

Serve hot or reheat in an oven at 400 degrees until hot and crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a shower of chopped cilantro, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing on top.