Trinidad-Style Aloo and Channa

3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as canola or vegetable
2 tablespoons curry powder, preferably Chief brand (see headnote); may substitute Madras curry powder
4 to 5 (about 2 pounds) large Yukon Gold potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 2/3 cups water, divided, plus more as needed
One (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 large cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1/2 teaspoon chopped habanero chile pepper (about 1/2 chile), seeded and minced, or a few dashes of fruit-forward hot sauce, such as Yellowbird habanero hot sauce
Fresh chopped cilantro or scallions, for garnish (optional)
Naan or cooked brown rice, for serving

In a large, heavy pot over medium heat, add the oil and curry powder. Allow the curry powder to bloom, constantly stirring, about 30 seconds.

Add the potatoes and stir to coat them with the curry-oil mixture. Add 1 tablespoon of the salt, the black pepper and 1 cup of the water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, mash some of the potatoes against the side of the pot and stir to thicken the cooking liquid. Add the chickpeas and 2/3 cup of water and stir to combine. Stir in the scallions, cilantro, garlic and habanero, if using, and simmer until the chickpeas are warmed through and everything is coated in the golden sauce, 5 to 7 minutes.

If the stew is too thick or sticking to the bottom of the pot, add 1/3 cup water. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and a dash of hot sauce.

Ladle the stew into bowls, garnish with the cilantro or scallion, if using, and serve hot, with naan or brown rice.

Home Style Tofu with Peppers

1 block (14 oz/396 g) soft or medium firm tofu , cut into 1 cm thick triangles (Footnote 1)
1 cup vegetable oil , for deep frying
4 cloves garlic , sliced
1 ” (2.5 cm) ginger , thinly sliced into strips
3 green onions , cut into 1″ pieces, white and green parts separated
1 tablespoon doubanjiang
1/2 carrot , sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 bell pepper , cut into 1” diamonds
1 (8-oz / 226 g) can sliced bamboo shoots , or 1 bamboo shoot, sliced (about 1/3 cup)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Sauce:
3 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon Chinkiang vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetarian oyster sauce (or sweet bean paste) (Footnote 2)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons water (or vegetable stock)

Slurry:
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Add the slurry ingredients into a small bowl and stir to mix well.

In a high-walled skillet or pot, heat the oil to 375°F (190°C). Carefully add the tofu. Fry until both sides turn golden, about 3 minutes. Flip once or twice to ensure even cooking. Remove the tofu from the oil and transfer it to a big plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan (alternatively, you can heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another large skillet).

Add the garlic, ginger, green onion (white part), and doubanjiang to the pan. Turn the heat to medium. Stir fry to release the fragrance until the oil turns red, about 2 minutes.

Add the fried tofu, carrots, bell peppers, and bamboo. Stir fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Pour in the sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, gently flipping occasionally. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the green onion (green part). Mix the slurry again so the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour in the slurry and mix with a spatula until the sauce thickens.

Drizzle in a teaspoon of sesame oil to finish up.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Crispy Tofu with Garlic Sauce

Crispy tofu:
1 12-oz. / 340-g block extra firm tofu
Salt

Garlic sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free option
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves minced
1 green onion chopped (*Footnote 1)
Optional Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Optional Sriracha sauce for serving

Crispy tofu:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Line a baking tray with parchment.

Press the water out of the tofu while heating up the oven. Carefully press the tofu with your hands. Slice the tofu into two even-thickness pieces. Wrap a few layers of cheesecloth (or kitchen paper towel) outside the tofu, and place a small tray with a heavy weight on top. The weight can be a jar of pickles or canned tomatoes.

When the oven is heated, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch (1-cm) pieces. (*Footnote 2)
Season both sides with salt. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the tofu turns golden and the surface puffs.

Now you can use it in stir fries or serve the tofu with sauce.

Garlic sauce:

Prepare the garlic sauce while baking the tofu. Whisk the soy sauce, sugar, water, and cornstarch in a small bowl until completely dissolved.

Heat the oil in a small pan over a medium heat until hot. Add the garlic and green onions. Stir for 20 seconds to release the aroma.

Stir the sauce again to make sure the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour into the pan. Stir constantly for 10 to 20 seconds, until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer immediately into a small bowl, so the sauce won’t overcook in the residual heat.

When the tofu is baked, drizzle the sauce over the tofu. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds, if using.

Serve immediately as a snack or appetizer.

Notes:
Use the white part to cook the sauce and save the green part to garnish the tofu before serving.
It is OK to cut the tofu slightly larger, up to 3/4-inch (1.5-cm) thick. It will take longer for the pieces to crisp up, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Crispy Marinated Tofu

1 block (14 oz / 400 g) extra-firm or firm tofu
Optional 3 to 4 green onions, coarsely sliced to fill the marinade (*Footnote 1), reserve green parts for garnish
Vegetable oil for pan frying

Marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chili paste (or hot sauce you like) (*Footnote 2)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, grated

Coating:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt (Skip the salt if using doubanjiang in the marinade)
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Marinate (4 hr to overnight)
(Optional) Press the tofu gently using your hands or a few layers of paper towel to get rid of excess water. Use this step if you’re short on time and need to use less time to marinate the tofu. You can skip this step if you’re going to marinate the tofu overnight.

Prepare a container that’s slightly bigger than the block of tofu. Combine all the sauce ingredients in the container. Stir to mix well. Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of the marinade into a separate small bowl to use as a dipping sauce later.

Cut the tofu in half lengthwise, then into half-inch-thick squares. Transfer the pieces into the container by making them “stand”, so it helps the marinade to disperse evenly (see the blog post above to see how to arrange the tofu). Use your hand to gently separate the tofu slices, so all the surfaces will be in touch with the marinade. If the marinade cannot cover all the tofu, use some green onion (or white onion) to fill up the empty space in the container, so the marinade covers most of the tofu.

Cover to seal the container. Gently shake it. Marinate overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for at least 4 hours.

Cook
When you’re ready to cook, remove the tofu from the marinade and lay it on a few layers of paper towels to drain the extra liquid.

Combine the coating ingredients in a plate. Stir to mix well.

Prepare a big plate with a few layers of paper towels, for the cooked tofu.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a nonstick (or carbon steel) pan over medium-high heat until hot.
You might need to cook the tofu in batches depending on your pan size. While heating up the pan, coat each piece of tofu with the coating mixture and place it on a plate. You should only coat the pieces you’re going to fry immediately.

Carefully add the coated tofu pieces into the pan. Cook without moving until the bottom is browned, 2 minutes or so. Flip to cook the other side until browned, another 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium if the pan gets too hot and the oil starts to smoke. Repeat the process until you’ve fried all the tofu pieces.

Transfer the fried tofu onto the paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.

Serve the fried tofu with the reserved dipping sauce on the side and garnish it with chopped green onion. Enjoy!

Notes:
I put green onion in the marinade container so the liquid would rise high enough to cover the tofu. You can skip it if the marinade covers the tofu already.

Sriracha, Thai chili paste, doubanjiang, and any other type of hot sauce will work in this recipe. Note, if you use doubanjiang, skip the salt in the coating since doubanjiang contains a lot of salt already.

The nutrition facts were calculated based on an estimate of the amount of marinade that gets absorbed by the tofu.

Coconut Rice (Savory or Sweet)

1 cup long-grain white rice, such as jasmine
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 scant tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup water

Rinse the rice a few times, until the water that drains away runs almost completely clear.

Put in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with coconut milk, water, sugar and salt. When the liquid comes up to a boil, give it a good stir, scraping the bottom of the pot. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low.

Cook for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 10 minutes. Mix gently with a flexible rubber spatula. Taste, season with salt and serve.

This becomes a meal if you serve it with a fried egg, finely sliced pickled chiles with a little of the pickling liquid and some crushed peanuts. And if you wanted to turn it into dessert, serving it with ripe fruit like cut mango on top, you could stick to the recipe below, but bump the sugar up to 2 tablespoons.

Broccoli Salad with Peanuts and Tahini-Lime Dressing

2 pounds broccoli (see Tip)
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (3 to 5 scallions)
1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 teaspoons honey or agave
1 garlic clove, finely grated
A few dashes of hot sauce, plus more to taste
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro or mint

Trim the broccoli stalks and peel them to remove the tough outer layer. Cut off the florets, leaving as much of the stalk as possible intact, and set the florets aside. Using the shredding or julienne blade of a food processor, a mandoline or a sharp knife, julienne the stems and place them in a large bowl.

Finely chop or julienne the florets and add them to the bowl, along with the scallions and peanuts.
In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the tahini, lime juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, garlic and hot sauce and whisk until smooth. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss thoroughly to coat. Set aside at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally, to allow the broccoli to soften slightly.

Just before serving, add the fresh herbs and toss well. (You can refrigerate for up to 8 hours before serving.)

Tip: When shopping, avoid broccoli “crowns.” For this salad, you want plenty of stems, too.

Tikka Paneer

1.5 cups (337.5 g) paneer , cut into cubes
2 teaspoons Oil
3-4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Minced Ginger, minced
1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Garam Masala
1/2 teaspoons Turmeric
1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika, for color and a slightly smoky taste
1/4 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 tablespoon Ghee, for cooking the paneer
1 (1 ) Lemon, Juice of 1 lemon for sprinkling before serving

Place paneer into a bowl and add oil and all the spices. Gently mix everything, taking care to not break the paneer. I found this easiest to do with my hands.

Allow this mixture to marinate for about 30 minutes.

Heat a skillet, and when it’s hot, add two tablespoons of ghee. Lay the paneer cubes in a single layer in the pan.

Let it sear for 1-2 minutes, and then using tongs, turn the pieces to sear the other side. Once both sides are seared, you can reduce the heat a little to finish warming the paneer.

Spritz the lemon juice right before serving.

Aloo Masala

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
1 tablespoon urad dal (split black gram)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons roughly chopped roasted cashews
1 green finger chile (or serrano chile), finely chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 lemon, for squeezing

Bring a pot of water to boil over high. Once the water boils, add the potatoes. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes, then drain in a colander.

In a heavy pot, heat the oil over medium. Add the urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds, and fry until cumin seeds are browned and dal is crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in the cashews, chile and ginger, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the onion, salt and turmeric, and lower the heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and tender but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Tip the cooked potatoes, half the cilantro and 1/4 cup water into the pot, and stir well to coat. As you stir, let some of the potato get mashed. If the mixture seems dry, add a splash more of water.

Cook over low, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are heated through, about 5 minutes, then season to taste with salt. Scrape into a serving dish; top with a generous squeeze of lemon and the remaining cilantro.

Golden Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
3 tsp oil
1 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala or use curry powder of choice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne or use 1 tsp sweet paprika + pinches of cayenne to taste
a good dash of black pepper
pinches of cinnamon and clove powder, optional
1.5 to 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
raita, chutney or lemon to serve

Slice the cauliflower into florets and add to a large bowl. Drizzle oil and lemon juice. Mix and rub the oil and lemon juice into the florets.

Mix the spices and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Sprinkle all over the cauliflower and toss well to coat.
Spread on parchment lined baking sheet or large dish and spray oil on the florets.

Bake at 425 degrees F (220 deg C) for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees F. Turn the sheet around or move the cauliflower around a bit and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve with raita.

Baked Aloo Gobi

1 small head of cauliflower , 2 heaping cups
2 medium potatoes (yukon gold or white), about 2 cups cubed

Spicing:
1 tsp turmeric , divided
1 tsp ground cumin (1/2 tsp if you dont like cumin)
1 tsp ground coriander , optional, but nice
1/3 tsp (0.33 tsp) cayenne or paprika
1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) garam masala or curry powder or berbere(1/2 to 1 tsp to preference), or use more of ground cumin and coriander
3/4 tsp (0.75 tsp) salt
1 tbsp minced ginger , (1 inch ginger minced)
1 tbsp minced garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp water
1 tsp oil
cilantro and lemon juice for garnish

Other flavor additions:
1/2 tsp amchur(dry mango powder)
1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves(kasoori methi)
a good pinch of asafetida (hing)

Chop the cauliflower into small florets and put in a large bowl.

Chop the potatoes into small cubes (less than 1/2 inch) and add to the bowl.

In a small bowl. Mix the 1/2 tsp turmeric and the rest of the ingredients under spicing until well combined. Add the spice mixture to the large bowl and toss to coat.

Alternatively, Add the minced ginger, garlic, oil to the bowl and toss well. Combine the turmeric, cumin, coriander, garam masala, cayenne, salt in a small bowl, mix well. Sprinkle over the cauliflower, potatoes and toss well.

Let the cauliflower and potatoes sit for a minute.

Sprinkle some more turmeric and mix lightly (optional).

Spread the veggies in a stoneware or ceramic baking dish. Spray oil. See Tips above on how to spread the veggies and pan size to choose.

Bake at 400 deg F (204 C) for 20 mins, then cover with parchment and bake for another 15 mins or until tender to preference. Taste carefully and adjust salt and spice and mix in. garnish with cilantro and some lemon juice.

Variations: Add 1 hot green chili, finely chopped with the ginger and garlic.

Change up the spices, use panch phoron blend instead of garam masala for achari aloo gobi.

Add thawed peas in the last 10 minutes of baking for Aloo Gobi Matar.

Add 1 to 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas to amp up the protein. Increase the spices and salt to preference to accommodate the added chickpea volume.

Add 1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds instead of ground cumin

Oilfree: Omit the oil. Cover the Veggies half way through(about 5 mins longer).

Aloo Gobi

2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 2″-long sticks
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin seeds
½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced ginger
Pinch of asafetida (optional, but really great)
Pinch of red chili powder
1 tsp. (or more) kosher salt
1 Tbsp. (or more) fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves with tender stems

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss potatoes and cauliflower with 3 Tbsp. oil on prepared sheet. Spread in an even layer and roast, tossing once halfway through, until cauliflower and potatoes are browned and slightly crisped, about 30 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high until it begins to shimmer. Add cumin and cook, stirring frequently, until they turn a medium shade of brown, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium and swirl in turmeric. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 4–6 minutes. Add ginger, asafetida (if using), and chili powder and cook, stirring, until heated through and well combined, about 1 minute longer.

Stir in roasted potatoes and cauliflower, including any charred bits from the foil, and gently mix (don’t overmix, or the cauliflower will fall apart). Add salt and cook, tossing occasionally, until potatoes and cauliflower are tender (but not soggy!), 5–6 minutes. Remove from heat and add lime juice. Taste and add more lime juice or salt, if needed.

Transfer potatoes and cauliflower to a platter. Top with cilantro.

Barbecue Cauliflower Salad Bowl

For the BBQ Cauliflower:
1 medium cauliflower head chopped into florets
2 tsp oil
1 tsp paprika half smoked, half sweet
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) or more bbq sauce
2 tsp or more hot sauce

For the Salad:
1 small head of iceberg lettuce chopped
1 apple peeled, and chopped small or sliced thin
1/3 cup (90 g) chopped pecans or use toasted sunflower seeds/pumpkin seeds for nut free
1/4 cup (60 ml) vegan ranch dressing
1/3 cup (100 g) thinly sliced carrots
Chives for garnish

Chop your cauliflower, and set aside.

In a bowl, mix all your dry spices, and set aside.

Add the oil to the cauliflower, toss well, and rub in so that all the florets are coated well.

Add in the spice mixture and toss well to coat.

Transfer this to a greased or parchment lined baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees F ( C) for 17-18 minutes, then remove from the oven.

Let the cauliflower cool for a few minutes, then drizzle the bbq sauce and hot sauce, and mix well. If you’d like more bbq sauce coating the cauliflower, add some more, and toss within the baking dish, spread the cauliflower out again, and bake again at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked to preference.

Meanwhile, prep your salad by chopping up the lettuce, apples, and carrots. Add them to a bowl, and mix well.

Top the bowl with your baked cauliflower, and a generous drizzle of ranch, and some garnishes like chives or black pepper, and serve!

Khichdi

1/2 cup (92.5 g) long grain white basmati rice
1/2 cup (96 g) quick cooking lentils such as split Red lentils (masoor dal) or (petite yellow lentils) Mung Dal or both
1 tsp oil
1/3 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 inch (7 g) ginger finely chopped
1 green Chili, chopped serrano or birds eye, or use half a jalapeño
1 bay leaf or 6 curry leaves , optional
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala , optional
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne optional
1 tomato chopped
1 to 2 cups chopped vegetables
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (473.18 ml) water 2.5 for saucier

Wash the lentils and rice then soak in hot water for 15 minutes.

Heat the Instant Pot on saute. Add oil and let it heat up. Add cumin or mustard seeds and cook for half a minute.

Add the onion, chile, garlic, ginger and a pinch of salt (and bay leaves or curry leaves) and cook for 2 mins.

Add ginger and spices and mix in.

Add tomato and cook for 3 mins. Mash the larger pieces. Add 2 tbsp water to deglaze mid way.
Drain and add the lentils and rice. Add water, salt, veggies and mix well to pick up any stuck bits.
Close the lid and pressure cook one of the following times. Low pressure for 3 mins for pictured version. High pressure for 3 to 6 minutes for a porridge and if using mung dal. Once the cooking cycle is done, quick release the pressure after 5 mins.

Fold in a few tbsp chopped cilantro and lemon juice to taste and fluff. Taste and adjust salt and flavor.

Store refrigerated for upto 3 days. For brown rice kitchari, try this.

Notes:
To make it in a saucepan: follow steps 1 to 5 in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the lentils and rice and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low-medium and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency. You can add any blend of veggies! Think carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and spinach. Use any blend you like.

Make sure not to burn the spices or your kitchari will be bitter.

White basmati rice can be substituted for other quick cooking whole grains such as quinoa, and amaranth.

Feel free to play around with the spices and vegetables, according to what you enjoy and what’s in season.

Navratan Pulao

1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 green cardamoms
4 cloves
1-inch stick cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 bay leaves
2 medium potatoes (cut into a fine dice)
2 medium carrots (cut into a fine dice)
2 cups green beans (chopped into small bits)
1/2 small head cauliflower (separated into small florets)
1 cup green peas (frozen)
16 oz baked tofu (use my recipe linked here or use storebought)
1/2 tsp saffron strands
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I use almond)
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp sliced almonds
2 tbsp golden raisins

Bring a large pot of water to boil, lightly salt it, then add the rice and cook until the rice grains are almost tender but not fully cooked. Drain and set aside.

Mix the saffron with the nondairy milk and set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil. Add the cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Stir-fry until the spices release their fragrance and begin to turn color.

Add the potatoes, saute for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrots and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and green beans and saute for a couple of minutes. Add green peas, then add some salt, cover the pot and let the veggies cook over a medium-low flame for about five minutes. Stir a couple of times to ensure they do not stick. You don’t want the veggies to brown.

When the potatoes are almost cooked and the cauliflower is al dente, mix in the rice, tofu cubes and the saffron in milk. Cover and let the rice continue cooking over low heat for 10 more minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in a small saucepan. Add the cashews and raisins to it, and finally the blanched, sliced almonds. Cook until the nuts are a light gold, then pour over the rice and mix.

Serve hot.

NOTES
To make this recipe soy-free, leave out the tofu.

To make this recipe nut-free, leave out the nuts. You can use apricots or another dry fruit along with the raisins. Also use a nondairy milk that’s nut-free.

Vegetable Tehri

1 1/2 cups basmati rice (covered in water and soaked for at least 30 minutes. Drain before using)
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
4 green cardamom pods (whole)
1 bay leaf
2-inch stick cinnamon
2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 large onion (thinly sliced)
1 green chili pepper (like japeno or serrano. Leave whole with just a slit down the middle, or, for less heat, split into half, deseed, and then use. You can fish out the peppers before serving)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 medium tomatoes (pureed. Or use 1 cup canned tomato puree)
3 medium potatoes (cut in a 1-inch dice)
1 large carrot (cut into chunky 1 1/2 inch slivers)
1/2 head cauliflower (separated into chunky but bite-sized florets)
1 cup green peas (I used frozen, but fresh work too)
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or water)
Salt to taste

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot. Add the cumin first, then the cloves, cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add in the fennel seeds and stir quickly.
Add the onions and saute until they are soft but not brown. You can add a little salt to help this process go faster. Stir in the ginger garlic paste, green chili peppers and turmeric and saute another minute over low heat so the ginger and garlic don’t stick to the bottom.

Add the potatoes to the pot along with the carrots. Add a cup of the water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and let the potatoes and carrots cook about five minutes or until fairly tender but not quite done.

Add the cauliflower and tomato puree and continue cooking the veggies for a couple more minutes. Add the green peas and stir them in.

Add the remaining water or stock, followed by the drained rice, mix everything well and bring it all back to a boil. Once it looks like the rice has absorbed most of the water, give it all a good stir, cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat to low, and set the timer for 15 minutes.

Avoid peeking while the rice is cooking, and let it stand, undisturbed, for 10 minutes after cooking. After 10 minutes, open the lid and fluff the grains of rice with a fork before serving.

Coconut Curry

1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
3 medium tomatoes (finely chopped)
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 medium potatoes (boiled and diced)
14 oz coconut milk (canned or freshly made are both fine)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cilantro (or scallions, for garnish)

Heat the oil. Add cumin seeds and as they start to darken, add the onions and a pinch of salt. Saute for a couple of minutes until the onions start to soften.

Add the tomatoes, cayenne and turmeric and continue to saute for a few more minutes until the onions are soft and pulpy.

Add the potatoes along with half the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Let the curry cook another minute for the flavors to meld, then turn the heat to low and add the remaining coconut milk. Check for salt. If the curry is too thick for your liking, you can add some water or vegetable stock to thin it out. Turn off the heat as soon as the curry has warmed through but before it returns to a boil.

Garnish, if you like, with cilantro. I love this curry with the carrot rice and a garnish of scallions.

Masala Bhath

2 cups basmati rice (washed under running water or in several changes of water)
1 tbsp coconut oil
5 pods green cardamom (crushed slightly but left whole)
5 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 large potato (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
1 large carrot (cut into 1/2-inch dice)
1/2 small head cauliflower (separated into small florets)
1 medium zucchini (cut into 1-inch strips)
1 tbsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional –the goda masala has some heat)
2 tbsp goda masala (you can substitute with garam masala; see my recipe tips above for details on how to do that)
1 heaping tbsp coconut sugar (or jaggery, or regular sugar. Piloncillo, if you have some, is a fine replacement for jaggery)
1/4 cup coconut (grated. I don’t mean the dry shredded coconut you use for baking, but either freshly grated coconut, or grated coconut available in frozen packets. The coconut shreds have to be juicy, not dry)
1/4 cup cilantro (minced)
Salt to taste

Heat the oil. Add the cardamom, cloves and bay leaves and saute until the bay leaves start to change color and become lightly golden.

Add the potatoes and carrots and saute, stirring frequently, until the potatoes have a light brown crust.

Add the cauliflower and zucchini and continue sauteeing another couple of minutes.

Add the powdered spices–turmeric, coriander powder, cumin and goda masala–and saute for a minute to coat the spices with the oil and toast them.

Add the washed rice and stir until the rice begins to turn opaque.

Add 4 cups water to the rice, and add enough salt to make the water a bit saltier than you’d like your final dish to be.

Stir well, bring to a boil, then cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid. Let the rice cook over medium heat for five minutes, then lower the heat and continue cooking for 10 more minutes, never opening the lid once during cooking.

Turn off the heat and let the rice stand another 10 minutes. Open and sprinkle on the coconut and cilantro.

Serve hot or warm.

Quinoa Pilaf with Lemons, Shallots, and Herbs

1–2 shallots ( or 1/4 of an onion) – very thinly sliced – see notes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed, drained ( rinsing removes bitterness)
2 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or use 1–2 minced garlic cloves with the shallot)
1 teaspoon dried oregano ( or italian seasoning, or herbs de Provence, or similar)

Garnish:

lemon zest from one small lemon,
sprinkling of fresh herbs ( italian parsley, dill, basil, cilantro)
2 tablespoons slivered almonds ( optional- other nuts & seeds are ok, or just leave off)
sautéed shallot ( see notes) or crispy shallots
drizzle of good olive oil– optional but good.

In a medium pot, over medium heat, sauté the shallot in the oil, until golden and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. If you want, set half aside for the garnish. Add rinsed/drained quinoa, water, salt, cumin, granulated garlic and dried herbs, and give a good stir. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover well, and cook for 15 minutes. Check to see that quinoa has soaked up all the water. If not, continue cooking 2-5 more minutes. If it has, turn heat off and let it sit covered 5-10 more minutes.

Fluff with a fork, place in a serving bowl and toss gently with lemon zest, sprinkle with fresh herbs and, sauted shallots and optional nuts. Don’t over mix.

For extra richness a drizzle of good quality olive oil is really nice touch.

notes

When serving this as a side dish all on its own, I like to use two sautéed shallots, half for cooking with the quinoa, and the other half for sprinkling over the top as a garnish. If batch cooking for the week, you may not need the garnish.
Rinsing the quinoa is imperative. It really does help remove the bitterness.
If making a smaller batch or bigger batch, my general ratio of water to quinoa = 1 cup quinoa to 1.5 cups water.

Play around with this and embellish it as you please.

A easy way to turn this quinoa into a meal….is to serve it with simple roasted veggies and tahini sauce. Or these roasted parsnips! Add this make-ahead kale salad if you like. It really doesn’t have to be complicated! Simple real food -the best kinds of meals!

Perfect for meal prepping and batch cooking!

Basic Roasted Vegetables

2 large carrots, peeled, sliced into ½ in rounds, halved into half-moons
2 parsnips, peeled, sliced into ½ in rounds, halved
1/2 – 1 onion, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks, or wedges
1 sweet potato cut into ¾ inch cubes
2–3 tablespoons olive oil
generous, 5 finger pinch of salt and pepper
optional additions: other veggies of course, fresh herbs -thyme, rosemary, sage

Pre-heat oven to 425F.

Cut veggies and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. If your sheet pans are small, use 2 pans.
Cut veggies and place them in rows.

drizzle lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and using tongs give a light toss.
Place in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes, rotate, toss again, and continue cooking until fork tender, another 10-15 minutes.

Place in a serving dish and cover to keep warm.

Tips:

Choose veggies that take roughly the same amount of time to roast. Root veggies (vegetables that grow underground) like carrots, parsnips, beets, and potatoes, are relatively dense compared to other veggies and take the longest to roast, 30-50 minutes, depending on what size you cut them. Winter squash are medium-dense so take less time, when peeled and diced.

If someone were to ask me which veggies are best to roast? I would say, hands-down, root vegetables! Their natural sweetness and earthiness both get enhanced and elevated through roasting.
Cut veggies so they are the same thickness. This ensures they roast quickly and uniformly. I try to keep root veggies at ½ inch thick.

Roast vegetables on a parchment-lined sheet pan – and use an extra-large one! Or use two! They like space.

Group different veggies separately on the sheet pan (instead of mixing them all together) just in case you need to remove some and not others.

Keep it simple, with a light drizzle of olive oil, sprinkling of salt and pepper. This allows the flavors of the veggies to really shine.

Use a hot, 425 F oven, middle rack.

Check at 15 minutes, rotate pan and give a quick toss, continue cooking 5-15 minutes or until fork tender.

I always like to include an onion and bell pepper for flavor. (Just a personal preference)
Of course you can add a herb – thyme, rosemary, sage- all work well.

Basic Cauliflower Rice Pilaf with Variations

1 head cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
2–3 garlic cloves ( optional, or sub 1–2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder)
1 shallot, finely chopped ( optional)
pinch salt and pepper
zest from one small lemon
1/8 cup fresh chopped parsley (or thyme, cilantro or basil, or sub other herbs, see below)

Trim the leaves and stem off the cauliflower and cut into smaller pieces. (If using a box grater, cut into quarters and see notes)

Working in 2 batches, place 1/2 the cauliflower pieces into a food processor and pulse until it is uniformly and coursely ground. Place in a large bowl, lined with paper towels. Repeat with the second half.

Pat the top with paper towels, squeezing out any excess water.

To cook, either roast or saute.

To roast, preheat oven to 425 F. Remove the paper towels and place the cauliflower on a parchment lined sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil, a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, chopped shallot, finely minced garlic and the zest of one lemon. Toss and spread out. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden, giving it good toss halfway though. Garnish with fresh parsley.

To saute on the stove top, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until golden and fragrant. Add cauliflower, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes until you begin to smell the garlic. Turn heat down to low, cover and let this steam a bit until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Uncover, continue stirring, and add lemon zest. Cook until it starts to get golden. Sprinkle with herbs right before serving.

Feel free to make other variations to go with your meals:

Mexican – lime zest, cilantro, chili powder, cumin or coriander
Spanish – add smoked paprika
French – fresh thyme
Italian – garlic and basil
Indian – add curry powder
Asian – garlic and ginger, a small splash of soy and srircha at the end ( or Szechuan Sauce)