Thai Watermelon Salad

3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons packed light palm sugar or brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice
2 Thai or Serrano chiles, minced with seeds intact for fun
1 tablespoon finely chopped kaffir lime leaf (remove the midrib)
1/3 cup (90 ml) dried shrimp, briefly rinsed to soften and finely chopped
1/2 cup (120ml) roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
A volleyball-size seedless watermelo

For the dressing, combine the garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lime leaf, dried shrimp, and peanuts. Set aside for 15 minutes, then revisit the dressing for a taste test. Add extra lime juice, sugar, or fish sauce as needed to balance the flavors. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days; return to room temperature before using.

Cut the watermelon into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Pile them into individual bowls, on a dramatic platter or in a shallow bowl. Top with the dressing and serve.

Thai Zucchini and Carrot Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. packed light brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red Thai chile, minced
3 large zucchini, julienned
1 large carrot, julienned
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup packed mint leaves
1/4 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, whisk the lime juice with the fish sauce, oil, sugar, garlic, and chile. Add the zucchini, carrot, cilantro, mint, and peanuts, and toss to combine. Transfer the salad to a bowl to serve.

Burmese Tomato Salad

250 grams tomatoes (approx. 2-3 medium), cut into bite size chunks
1 shallot, medium, thinly sliced
20 grams garlic, peeled
5 grams green chilis (Thai bird chilis), roughly chopped
15 grams roasted peanuts (Planters work just fine), coarsely crushed. Choose your weapon to crush: mortar and pestle, rolling pin, can of soup.
1-2 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced into hair-like shreds
1 handful cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan), toasted. Easily found in Indian stores, Asian stores, or other specialty stores.
2 tablespoons “tep say an lien” or crisp-fried, seasoned tiny shrimp (easily found in Asian stores in the ready to eat snacks aisle)
1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
pinches kosher salt to taste

Begin by toasting 1/2 a cup of chickpea flour in a cast iron pan or skillet set on medium heat. Keep stirring every 2 minutes or so. At the 7-8 minute mark, it’ll start to change color and your nose will start to pick up a wonderful, nutty aroma. At this point, stir every 30 seconds or so for an additional 3-4 minutes, until it resembles the color of finely powdered graham crackers. Remove pan off the heat and let cool. Store in an airtight container and use any extra in Burmese-style vegetable salads or as a thickener/base in soups and curries.

Next, put garlic and green chilis in a blender and pulse a couple of times to get a chunky mix with easily distinguishable pieces of garlic and chili; at no point should it become a paste.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a small wok and cook the garlic-chili blend in it until it turns an even golden brown.
Carefully remove the fried garlic-chili blend gently pressing against the side of the wok as you do, so as to leave most of the oil in the wok. Wait for the wok to cool down a bit.

Next, add a 1/2 tablespoon of toasted chickpea flour into the residual oil in the wok and stir it in to instantly form an emulsified dressing of sort. Follow with tomatoes, shallot, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro and give it a good mix. At this point, you can stick it into the refrigerator for a couple of hours until ready to eat.

This salad can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Remember to salt only when ready to eat. After salting, garnish with fried garlic-chili blend, crushed peanuts, and crisp-fried dried shrimp.

Burmese Beans

2 1/2 cups / 535 grams dried beans, such as pinto, navy, or cannellini
Salt
1/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil, plus more for finishing
1 sliced yellow onion
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 (2-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1/3 cup)
3 tomatoes, diced
Pinch of chile flakes
2 green onions, sliced (optional)
Lime wedges (optional)

Rinse the beans well in a colander. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with 2 inches of cool water, and let soak for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Drain the beans, transfer to a 4- to 6-quart pot, and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.

Remove from the heat, stir in 2 teaspoons salt, and let the beans stand in their cooking liquid for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate them in their cooking liquid and finish the dish the next day). Drain the beans, reserving the cooking liquid (you’ll have about 4 cups).

In the same pot used to cook the beans, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and cook until the onion has softened, about 6 minutes. While cooking, mash the garlic against the side of the pot to break it down.

Stir in the ginger and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and chile flakes and cook until the tomatoes have softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in the beans, another teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of the saved cooking liquid. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the beans achieve a creamy consistency. Taste, adding more salt as desired (beans do need a fair amount, so don’t shy away from the salt if they taste flat). If the beans are too thick, stir in a little more of the cooking water and continue to cook.

Remove from the heat. (At this point, the beans can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Reheat gently before serving.) Drizzle peanut oil on top to serve, if desired. Serve with lime wedges if you want the beans to taste a bit brighter

Thai Corn Salad

1 to 2 red Thai bird’s eye chiles (depending on your tolerance for heat), stemmed, seeded and cut into ½ -inch slices
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ounces green beans, cut into
1-inch pieces (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, or more as needed
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 or 3 limes)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
3 medium carrots, coarsely grated
2 1/2 cups cooked corn kernels (from 3 cobs; see NOTE)
1 3/4 cups roasted, unsalted cashews

Combine the chiles (to taste) and garlic in a gallon zip-top bag and zip it almost all the way closed, leaving an inch or two unzipped. Use a rolling pin to pound the chiles and garlic through the plastic and form a rough paste. Add the beans and pound briefly to crush them a little. Add the brown sugar, soy sauce and lime juice.

Add the tomatoes and pound briefly, just to flatten them. Stir in the carrots and corn; pound gently, just to help the flavors incorporate. Taste, and add more soy sauce as needed.

Transfer to a serving bowl, top with the cashews and serve right away.

NOTE: For an easy way to briefly cook corn that makes it easy to husk and de-silk, dip the three cobs, husks and all, in water (just to moisten them). Microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes, until very hot. Remove, let cool for a bit, then use a sharp knife to cut crosswise through the husk and cob an inch or two from the wide end (opposite from the end with the tassel of silk). Hold the silk end, and push the corn out. To cut off the kernels, let the cobs cool until easy to handle. Cut the cobs in half crosswise, stand each half on one end and cut off the kernels from each side.

Lime and Blistered Peanut Coleslaw

1 1/2 cups unsalted raw peanuts
1/2 of a medium-large cabbage
1 basket of tiny cherry tomatoes, washed and quartered
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and diced
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon + fine-grain sea salt
honey, to taste

In a skillet or oven (350F) roast the peanuts for 5 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice along the way, until golden and blistered.

Cut the cabbage into two quarters and cut out the core. Using a knife shred each quarter into whisper thin slices. The key here is bite-sized and thin. If any pieces look like they might be awkwardly long, cut those in half. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, jalapeno (opt), and cilantro in a bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt. Taste, and whisk in a teaspoon or two of honey if the lime is too strong for you. Add to the cabbage mixture and gently stir to combine. Just before serving fold in the peanuts (add them too earl and they lose some of their crunch). Taste and adjust the flavor with more salt if needed.

Charred Corn and Peppers with Crema

3 cobs corn kernels cut off (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 poblano pepper diced
1/2 red sweet pepper diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pickled Onions:
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 red onion sliced

Crema: (Optional)
2 Tbsp sour cream
Juice of 1/4 lime
Pinch cumin or cayenne (optional)
Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve:
Crumbled feta cheese
Chopped fresh cilantro

Do ahead: Make quick pickled onions by combining all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and set on the counter for at least 1 hour before using. (Do way ahead! Make well ahead, cover and refrigerate. These will keep in the fridge for at least a week!)

Place skillet in cold oven. Preheat oven to 400 F., leaving the skillet in the preheating oven to heat. Allow skillet to stay in the oven 5-10 after oven is preheated.

Meanwhile, cut kernels off corn and combine in a bowl with the diced peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir well to combine.

When skillet is good and hot, carefully remove from oven and add corn mixture. Quickly spread in an even layer and place in oven. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring once half way through. Remove skillet and stir mixture. Turn oven on to broil and place under the broiler (about 6 inches from heat) and allow to broil until corn/peppers begin to char (about 5 minutes, but watch closely so it doesn’t burn). Remove from oven and allow to cool to warm.m

To serve, top with crumbled feta cheese, a scattering of pickled onions, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of crema, if desired.

Peanut Noodles

1 pound spaghetti or Chinese egg noodles
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus more for garnish
1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Asian chili paste or to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons light or dark light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (may use natural peanut butter)
2 to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (optional)
6 to 10 tablespoons hot water
Salt, as needed
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Cucumber slices
Carrot sticks
Red, orange or yellow bell pepper slices
Fresh cilantro or mint leaves

Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain it well. If a cold dish is desired, rinse the pasta under cold running water to cool, and drain again.

Meanwhile, in a small pot over medium-low heat, heat the peanut oil. Add the scallions, ginger, garlic and, if desired, chili paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar if desired and 6 tablespoons hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture smooths out.

Remove from the heat. If necessary, add additional hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency. Taste and add more soy sauce or salt, as needed.

Return the hot or cold noodles to the pot in which they were cooked, add the sesame oil and toss to coat. Add as much of the peanut sauce as desired and toss again to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual plates and sprinkle with additional scallions, sesame seeds, cucumber, carrot, bell pepper and cilantro or mint. (May cover and refrigerate up to several hours.)

Note: You can toss raw, julienne carrots and bell peppers or steamed snow peas and broccoli with the noodles and peanut sauce. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated and served with cooked rice and raw or cooked vegetables.

Coconut Slaw

1 head of green cabbage, shredded
1/2 head of red cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
2 red bell peppers, julienned
1 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 cups toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
1 can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper

Mix vegetables and coconut evenly.

Blend dressing ingredients until smooth.

Combine dressing with slaw mix. Salt to taste.

Roasted Beets with Avocado, Citrus, and Hazelnuts

11/2 lb [680 g] red baby beets,
1 to 2 in [2.5 to 5 cm] in diameter
4 Tbsp [60 ml] extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp water
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice, plus 2 oranges
2 Tbsp hazelnuts
1 ripe avocado, cut in 1/4-in- [6-mm-] thick slices
Flaky sea salt
Best-quality olive oil for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400°F [200°C].

In a roasting pan, toss the beets with 2 Tbsp of the extra-virgin olive oil and the water and season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until the beets look caramelized and feel tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slip the skins off the beets and cut into quarters.

In a medium bowl, toss the beets with the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, the sherry vinegar, and orange juice. Season with kosher salt and pepper and let stand until the beets have absorbed the flavors of the dressing, about 30 minutes.

In a small, dry frying pan over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Lay out on a work surface and let cool. With the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the nuts.

Section one of the oranges by cutting off both ends. Set it on one end, and use a paring knife to cut away the peel and pith in strips, starting at the top and following the curves to the bottom. Then, holding the orange in one hand, carefully insert the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane to cut out the sections without any membrane attached. The sections should come out easily. Repeat with the remaining orange, and set aside.

Arrange the beets on a serving platter with the avocado slices, and sprinkle them with sea salt and pepper. Distribute the orange sections throughout the salad and sprinkle with the crushed toasted hazelnuts. Finish with a drizzle of best-quality olive oil. Serve immediately

Basic Chana Masala

Soak 160 grams who,e chickpeas overnight.
Boil until soft. Set aside.
Mash 300 grams tomato in a mixer. Set aside.
Heat 5 teaspoons ghee. Saute a medium sized chopoed onion and 1 teaspoon chopped green chili until brown.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger paste and 1 teaspoon garlic paste. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomato puree and pinch of tumeric. Saute until cooked through.
Add cooked chickpeas, 2 teaspoons channa masala, salt to taste, and about 200 mL water to get desired consistency. Simmer 5 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro and julienned ginger.
Serve hot with rice.

Basic Chana Dal Masala

Boil 200 grams chana dal in 800 mL water until tender. Set aside.
Fry 80 grams chopped onions in 40 grams oil until tender.
Add 100 grams chopped tomatoes and 15 grams chana dal masala. Stir for 4-5 minutes until it becomes paste.
Take 1 part of tge boiled dal and add to paste. Mix well, then add remaining dal.
Check seasonings, then simmer for five minutes.
Serve with rice or roti.

Pressure Cooker Lemongrass Pumpkin Congee (Tinutuan)

1/2 cup (120 grams) long grain or short grain rice
8 cups water
1 stalk lemongrass (or 2 stalks if you like a very strong lemongrass flavor)
3 cups diced kabocha squash (the yield from half a kabocha squash)
1 cup sweet corn kernels
4 cups spinach
(Optional) 1 bunch of Thai basil leaves for garnish
Sambal and/or fried shallot for serving

Add rice and water to cover in a large bowl. Use your hand to gently swirl a few times to rinse, discard the water. Repeat 1 to 2 times. Drain rice and transfer into an Instant Pot. Add 8 cups water.

Cut the lemongrass into 2-inch (5-cm) stalks and pound them with the back of your knife, to bruise the stalks so they release more aroma. Add the lemongrass into the Instant Pot. Set the pressure to high and timer for 15 minutes. Once the timer is up, use quick release to reduce the pressure.
Add the diced pumpkin. Cover and cook on high pressure, for another 6 minutes. Use natural release to reduce pressure.

Add the sweet corn kernels and turn on the saute function until bringing to a boil. Cook with the lid two-thirds of the way covered for 3 to 5 minutes, until the corn is cooked through.
Add the spinach and continue cooking for a minute. Turn off the Instant pot.

Transfer the porridge into serving bowls. Serve hot with sambal and / or fried shallot.

Braised Chick Peas with Tomatoes and Almond Pesto

500g chickpeas, soaked in cold water for 24 hours, or 2 x 400g tins
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove, unpeeled
6 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp chopped parsley
500g fresh, ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper

For the pesto
50g blanched almonds
1 tbsp pine nuts
2 garlic cloves

1 Drain the soaked or tinned chickpeas, put in a heavy-based pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water. Add the bay leaves and garlic, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the chickpeas are very tender. Pull from the heat, add salt to taste, and leave to cool in the cooking liquid.

2 Warm the oil and fry the onion until soft. Add 1 tbsp chopped parsley and the tomatoes. Simmer, crushing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon. Cook until saucy. Dilute with a ladleful of chickpea broth, then add the chickpeas, leaving some broth remaining. Simmer for 10 minutes.

3 Make the pesto by pounding/blending the almonds, pine nuts and garlic into a paste. Stir into the chickpeas. Cook for another 10 minutes, adding more broth if you want. Stir in the last of the parsley. Serve with bread and cheese.

Baked Gobi Manchurian

4 cups chopped cauliflower
1 cup chopped onions
1 large bell pepper chopped or eight small little ones
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce

Line a sheet pan with foil and turn on your broiler.

Sprinkle the veggies with oil, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and place veggies on foil-lined sheet.

Broil for 30 minutes or so until the veggies are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients and microwave for 30 seconds. Let this sit while the veggies cook.

When the veggies are done, remove from the oven and pour sauce on them, mixing as you go.

Indian Cabbage and Peanut Slaw

4 cups chopped cabbage or use ready slaw mix
1 tomato diced
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
2 tablespoons Spanish roasted peanuts chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar (Optional)
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds or cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 lemon juiced

Rough chop the cabbage and carrots slaw mix into bite size pieces.

Chop up the tomato, cilantro, and peanuts into a fine dice.

Place all the vegetables into a bowl and season with salt and sugar.

In the smallest little heat proof bowl you have, heat the oil until it is hot and shimmering.

Place the mustard and/or cumin seeds and allow them to sputter like popcorn about 30 seconds.

Add in the turmeric and stir quickly.

Pour this hot, flavored oil over the cabbage mixture and mix well.
Squeeze lemon juice and mix once again and serve.

Pressure Cooker Moong Dal

For Dal
1 cup whole moong dal (the green kind)
4 cups water
1 onion diced
1 tomato diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon garlic
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust to taste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

For Finishing
1 teaspoon Tamarind Concentrate OR 2 lemons juiced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup cilantro or parsley

Place all dal ingredients in your pressure cooker.

Cook for 20 minutes at high pressure, and allow it to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Release all remaining pressure.

Mix in the Tamarind concentrate or lemon juice, and sugar and stir well.

Garnish with cilantro or parsely and serve with either rice or Naans

This recipe can easily be doubled -This recipe freezes very well and is therefore great for meal prep and freezer meals.

Black Beans with Mango

2 cups cubed mango, about 3 mangoes, preferably the Ataulfo variety (see Notes)
2 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 large handful fresh cilantro, stems removed, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a serving bowl, mix the mango and beans.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lime juice and chile powder.

Add the cilantro to the serving bowl and then drizzle the dressing over the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss to combine. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This salad can be assembled in advance without cilantro and refrigerated for a day. Add the cilantro (or parsley) just before serving.

Quick Sesame Noodles (Single Serving)

4 oz. fresh wheat noodles (or 1 serving of dried noodles)
1/2 tablespoon sesame paste / tahini
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons rice vinegar (optional to taste)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
5 tablespoons hot water (or braised meat sauce)
A small handful of chopped scallion
Chili oil (optional)

Cook the noodles according to the package instructions.

While the noodles are cooking, make the sauce by mixing together the sesame paste, peanut butter, light soy sauce, rice vinegar (optional), vegetable oil, sugar, and water. Stir in one direction until it turns into a smooth, even paste.

Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and toss with the prepared sauce, chopped scallions, and chili oil (if desired).

Chili Paneer

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
14 ounces paneer
canola oil
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chili, very finely sliced
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 scallions, finely sliced into rings
lemon wedges, to serve

Throw the cumin seeds into a mortar and pestle and roughly grind them to a coarse powder. Next cut the paneer into 3/4-inch cubes. Pour a thin coating of oil into a large frying pan and bring it to a high heat. Fry the paneer in batches, turning the pieces until golden brown on each side, and transfer them to a dish lined with paper towels. Watch out, as the paneer may spit; if so, half cover the pan with a lid.

Put 2 tablespoons of oil into the pan, followed by the garlic, green chili, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Sauté for around 3 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and sugar and stir, then put the paneer back into the pan along with a splash of water. Cover the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Take the lid off the pan, add the scallions and simmer until there is no water left. Serve fresh and hot with a squeeze of lemon.