Khichdi

1 to 2 tablespoons GHEE or clarified butter
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cumin or jeera
1 bay leaf or 1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ginger grated or ginger paste
1 small onion chopped (optional)
1 green chili slit or 1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 small tomato deseeded & chopped
1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
salt as needed
1/2 cup rice (or quinoa, steel cut oats, millets)
1/2 cup MOONG DAL or skinless petite yellow lentils (or any other dal)
3 to 4 cups water (use 4 cups for porridge consistency)
1 pinch asafoetida or hing (optional)
1/2 tablespoons GHEE for topping
optional ingredients
1 medium carrot cubed
8 french beans cut to 1 inch length
1 small potato cubed

Add rice and dal to a pot. Wash them at least thrice & drain water completely.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker or pot on a medium heat. Saute bay leaf & cumin on a low flame for 1 min. Then fry ginger until fragrant & sprinkle hing.

Fry onions and green chilies until the raw smell of onions goes away.

Add tomatoes, carrots, beans, salt and turmeric and saute for 3 to 4 mins. Then add drained daal and rice. Saute for 3 to 4 mins.

Pour 3 cups water for mushy consistency and 4 cups for porridge like consistency. Stir well & taste the water. Add more salt if needed.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium flame for a mushy khichdi. Cook for 4 to 5 whistles on a low to medium flame for porridge consistency.

If cooking in a pot, cook until soft adding more water if needed.

Pour 1 tsp ghee on the hot khichdi. Serve with papad and pickle.

Instant pot Khichdi:
Press saute button (medium) & pour ghee. When the ghee melts, add in bay leaf and cumin. When it sizzles then add in onions & chili. Fry until transparent.

Next add in ginger, hing, tomatoes, all veggies & turmeric. Saute for 2 to 3 mins until tomatoes turn mushy.

Add & saute drained rice & lentils for another 2 to 3 mins.

Next add in salt & pour water. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with a spatula to remove bits of food stuck in there if any. Mix well & taste the water. Add more salt if needed. Secure the lid & move the steam release handle to sealing.

Press the pressure cook or manual button (high pressure). Set the timer to 8 mins. Or you can also press porridge button & set timer to 9 mins.

Once it is done, the instant pot beeps, then press cancel and switch off. Wait for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes & release the rest manually. When the float valve drops, open the lid & stir gently.

If you like soupy khichdi, add some hot water to bring to consistency you like.

Top with some ghee & serve khichdi with plain yogurt, pickle or papad.

Chinese Cold Dressing

4 cloves garlic (minced; 4 cloves = about 15g)
3 thin slices ginger (minced; 3 thin slices = about 8g)
2 scallions (chopped, with the green and white parts separated)
3 Thai chilies (chopped)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar (or to taste)
2 1/2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1/2-1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped; or to taste)

In a large heat-proof bowl, arrange the minced garlic, minced ginger, the white parts of the chopped scallion, and chopped Thai chilies so they are adjacent to each other at the bottom of the bowl (don’t messily pile them all on top of each other).

Now infuse the Sichuan peppercorns in oil. In a small pot, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil with the Sichuan peppercorns over low heat until fragrant, taking care not to burn the peppercorns.
After about 10 minutes, remove the peppercorns using a fine meshed strainer or slotted spoon. Heat the infused oil just until it begins to smoke. Pour it carefully over the arranged aromatics in the bowl. It will bubble and sizzle! Carefully stir to evenly distribute the heat.

Now add in the sugar, vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, salt and five spice powder. Mix well.

Finally add in the green parts of the chopped scallion and the cilantro. (If pre-making the sauce, leave these last ingredients out and add them right before serving.)

This all-purpose Chinese Cold “salad” dressing is ready to add flavor to blanched or steamed vegetables, tofu, seaweed, noodles, etc. With this sauce, you can make a variety of refreshing, cooling dishes during the warmer months, and use it for anything you have on hand.

Simply blanch or steam some vegetables, say: carrots, celery, zucchini, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, string beans, even mushrooms. You could also include some traditional Chinese add-ins like tofu, seitan, five-spiced tofu, bean threads, seaweed, wood ears, noodles, etc.

This dressing will make your dinner planning that much easier. Make double, triple or quadruple this recipe and keep it refrigerated to be used throughout the week.

Toor Dal

FOR THE DAL:
1 cup toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas)
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup raw whole peanuts

FOR THE TEMPERING
1/4 cup/55 grams ghee
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
3 small pieces Indian cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
3 red dried chiles, such as chile de árbol
3 cloves
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida

Prepare the dal: Soak the pigeon peas in a large bowl of warm water for about 1 hour. (They will have swelled a little.) Thoroughly rinse the soaked pigeon peas with fresh water, then tip the drained pigeon peas into a pot.

Add tomatoes, turmeric, salt and 5 cups water, and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to purée some of the dal, leaving some intact and getting some very smooth, or whisk vigorously to break up some of the soft dal. Stir in the peanuts and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the dal is very tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt. If the dal has become too thick for your liking, stir in a splash of water.

Prepare the tempering: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the ghee. When hot, carefully add all of the tempering ingredients (the mustard seeds will sputter!) and swirl the pan until you can smell all the toasted spices, about 30 seconds. Pour everything over the hot dal.

Toor Dal with Tamarind

400g toor dal
3 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
1 tsp of fenugreek/methi seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
2 inches fresh ginger, finely grated/chopped
a good pinch asafoetida/hing powder
2 small chillies, chopped into three
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
100 mL water
2 tsp salt

Soak the toor dal in a bowl of water for 20 minutes or overnight if you are well organized. This simply makes the cooking time a little quicker but is not essential (unlike some lentils which you have to soak over night – red kidney beans and green mung beans for example). Make sure the water is sufficiently above the level of the dal. You rinse it through after so the exact amount is irrelevant.

Once the 20 minutes soaking are up, rinse the dal through a sieve and place in a large pan and cover with boiling water. This time the water should only be a little bit above the dal. Gently cook the dal so that it softens, this will take around 20-35minutes (more of you have not soaked). You may need to add more water if it gets soaked up whilst softening. It’s not an exact science so don’t worry too much on water amounts – sometimes I have it more ‘soupy’ in consistency than others. Remove the scum from the top of the pan, which occurs when cooking the dal. When it has softened, leave to rest whilst you finish off preparing the rest of the ingredients. To test it has softened squeeze a lentil between your thumb and forefinger. If it soft it is ready for the next stage, however, if the lentil remains hard you will need to boil it a little longer.

In a large karahi or frying pan heat up the oil and then add the fenugreek/methi, cumin and black mustard seeds. They will begin to pop so make sure you keep the heat low. Move them around the pan for 30 seconds before adding the curry leaves and give a good stir.

After three minutes cooking time add the chillies, fresh tomatoes and asafoetida/hing, fresh ginger, chilli powder and turmeric and mix in well together.

Once the tomatoes have softened – this will take a few minutes, add the tamarind concentrate and water and stir. You now want to deposit the pan with the toor dal into your karahi/frying pan with the other ingredients, or vice versa, depending on which pan is larger. Stir in well together and add a little extra boiling water to clean the pan and then turn that water into the main pan.

Add the salt to taste and leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or Indian bread or simply on its own. I often like to squeeze in a little fresh lemon or lime as well.

Moong Dal Khichdi

1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup moong dal I used moong dal dhuli
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hing powder also know as asafoetida

1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 green chili finely chopped
1 large tomato chopped
1/4 cup green peas
salt to taste

Take 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup moong dal in a bowl. Soak it in enough water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, drain the water and set aside.

Add the rice and dal to a pressure cooker and add around 3.5 to 4 cups water. Add salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida and pressure cook on high heat for 5- whistles.

The rice and dal will cook and be very soft and mushy, set aside.

To another pan on meidum heat, add ghee and oil. You may use only oil to keep it vegan.

Once the oil & ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Wait till cumin seeds start sizzling and mustard seeds pop up.

Add chopped ginger and green chili. Saute for 30 seconds or so or till the ginger starts turning light golden brown in color.

Add chopped tomatoes and green peas. Cook for 2 minutes, you don’t want the tomatoes to get too mushy.

Add the cooked rice and dal to the pan.

Mix till well combined, add salt and adjust to taste.

Garnish with cilantro and serve the moong dal khichdi with some extra ghee on top. Also it’s usually served with some papad, achar (pickle) and yogurt on the side.

NOTES
Use only 2 cups of water if you want a more pilaf/pulao like consistency for your khichdi. This recipe is for a porridge like khichdi.

You may use other veggies in the khichdi like spinach, carrots, onion.

To make it vegan, simply skip the ghee and use oil only.

The khichdi tastes best when it’s warm. It will become thick once you keep it inside the refrigerator. Simply add more water and little salt and bring it to a desired consistency when heating it up again.

Peanut Noodles

200 g fresh white (wheat) noodles (7 ounces; or 100g/3.5 ounces dried)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (minced or grated)
1/3 cup peanut butter (85g; creamy or chunky)
2-3 tablespoons hot water (depending on desired sauce consistency)
1 tablespoon Thai sweet soy sauce (we like the “Healthy Boy” brand; can substitute 1 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce to keep the dish vegan)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
2 teaspoons chili oil (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Meanwhile, prepare the garlic and ginger, and add to a serving bowl along with the peanut butter and hot water.

Stir to combine, letting the hot water loosen the peanut butter. Then stir in the sweet/dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil, along with the lime juice and chili oil if using.

By now, your water should be boiling. Cook your noodles according to package instructions. Drain and toss in your sauce. Serve.

Garlic Noodles

12 ounces thin spaghetti (340g; can also use dried Chinese noodles or fresh egg noodles)
salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar (depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 whole scallions (chopped)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles/pasta according to package instructions. If using fresh noodles, you may simply need to blanch them. (Reserve some of the pasta cooking water, as you may need it in the sauce later.)

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until lightly caramelized, and stir in the turmeric (if using), oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir for 1 minute and add the scallions.

After 30 seconds, to let the scallions wilt, toss in the cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the noodle cooking water to loosen them up.

Serve them either as a side dish, or as a quick and easy vegetarian main, with some bok choy or sauteed broccoli on the side!

1-2-3-4-5 Tofu

21 ounces firm tofu (1 1/2 containers, 600g; cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons oil
4 slices ginger
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons water

Preheat a wok (or cast iron pan) until it starts to smoke lightly. This is very important to prevent the tofu from sticking.

Add 2 tablespoons oil, along with the ginger slices. Over medium heat, fry the ginger for 1 minute. Add the tofu, and take 10 minutes to brown the tofu on at least 2-3 sides.

When the tofu is lightly browned (or to your liking), add in 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons water. Stir and mix everything well. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium/low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Halfway through, check to make sure the liquid is not drying up. If so, reduce the heat further and add in a little more water if needed.

After 15 minutes, remove the lid. The sauce should be mostly cooked down. With the heat on high, gently toss the tofu to ensure every piece is coated in glistening sauce. This process takes a couple of minutes. Reduce the liquid until there is ¼ cup of liquid left and the tofu is gleaming with sauce. Serve immediately.

Crispy Tofu With Cashews and Blistered Snap Peas (with Variations)

1 (14-ounce) block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable or canola, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound snap peas, trimmed
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons)
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (light or full-fat)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons molasses, dark brown sugar or honey
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves, torn if large
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
Rice or any steamed grain, for serving

Slice the tofu in half horizontally, and leave on paper towels to dry any excess liquid.

In a medium skillet or cast-iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high until it shimmers. Season both sides of the tofu with salt and black pepper, place in the pan and sear without moving until tofu is browned and golden on both sides, turning once halfway through, about 8 minutes total. Move the tofu to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, and add the snap peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered and just tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and move to a bowl.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the ginger and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk, soy sauce and molasses. Simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce reduces and its color deepens to a dark brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. It should coat a spoon without running right off. Stir in the cashews, break the tofu into 1-inch pieces and toss in the pan to coat with sauce. Remove from heat, and taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Toss the snap peas with the rice vinegar, scallions, mint and red-pepper flakes, if using. Divide among plates, along with the tofu and cashews. Serve with rice or any steamed grain.

Baked Tofu With Peanut Sauce and Coconut-Lime Rice (with Variations)

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, plus more for brushing the pan and drizzling
2/3 cup lime juice (from about 5 limes), and zest of 1 lime
Kosher salt
8 baby bell peppers or 1 medium bell pepper (any color will do), stemmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
Black pepper
1 cup long-grain rice like jasmine or basmati
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon red miso
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped habanero pepper, stem and seeds removed, or 1 tablespoon sambal
2 tablespoons buckwheat honey or molasses
2 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick
3 cups peppery greens, like arugula, mizuna or baby mustard greens
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly brush a large rimmed sheet pan with oil.

In a small bowl, stir 4 tablespoons lime juice with 1/2 teaspoon salt until salt dissolves. Add the sliced peppers, a few cracks of black pepper and set aside.

In a small pot, combine the rice with 1 cup water and the coconut milk. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low until the rice is just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, until ready to serve.

In a medium bowl, whisk 4 tablespoons lime juice with the peanut butter, miso, ginger, fish sauce (if using), habanero, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 3/4 cup water. Stir until smooth and season to taste with salt.

Arrange the tofu pieces in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and season with salt. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the peanut sauce over each, covering the top and allowing the sauce to run down and coat the sides. Drizzle the tops with some oil, and roast until glaze is set, deep brown and caramelized along the edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Add the remaining lime juice and 1 tablespoon honey to the leftover peanut sauce in the bowl to make the dressing; set aside.

Notes: A spicy, fragrant peanut sauce reminiscent of the groundnut stews that are popular across West Africa anchors this recipe. Any protein would be lucky to be doused and marinated in it, but tofu soaks up the peanut sauce’s flavors and chars up nicely upon roasting.

Yam and Plantain Curry With Crispy Shallots

1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2- to 3-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 whole red habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, pierced all over with a knife
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 1/2 pounds white or orange yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 green (unripe) plantains (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon red palm oil (optional)
4 cups julienned hearty greens, such as dandelion greens, collards or lacinato kale, tough stems removed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 lime, sliced into wedges

Heat a medium pot, large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Pour in the neutral oil, add the sliced shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove shallots from the oil and allow to drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Season with salt and set aside.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil out of the pot. (Reserve extra oil for another use.) Over medium-low heat, add the garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pot and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes or until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Drop in the chile and add the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hands as they go in. Stir to combine ingredients and dissolve the tomato paste, then add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Once boiling, season with salt, reduce heat to medium, add the yams and simmer until the yams are just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the plantains and cook until both are tender but hold their shape, and the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and red palm oil, if using, season with more salt and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, remove and discard the cooked chile. Ladle the curry into bowls, top with the caramelized shallots, a scattering of basil and cilantro, and several squeezes of lime juice.

Note: This recipe is an adaptation of asaro, the Yoruba word for a dish of starchy root vegetables simmered in a seasoned tomato- and chile-based sauce. Regional versions of asaro are served all year round across the south of Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa. Traditionally, the dish is made with the West African yam, but you can also use white or purple taro root or unripe plantains. Here, firm, green plantains are combined with white yams in a sauce rich with caramelized shallots, garlic and ginger. There is a slight but welcome heat from a single red habanero dropped in whole to infuse the stew. Coconut milk and an optional spoonful of red palm oil — a floral, slightly smoky oil that is pressed from the fruit of oil palm trees — round out the flavors, and hearty greens cut the richness. Serve topped with crunchy shallots, fresh herbs and a wedge of lime.

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Peanut-Lime Dressing

4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
1/2 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
Zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, combine the red and green cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.

In another bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, chili flakes, honey, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir in the water until the dressing is smooth and set aside.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve chilled.

Slaw with Tomatoes and Blistered Peanuts

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

Blister the Peanuts
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.

Prepare the Coleslaw Ingredients
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.

Make the Dressing
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.

Notes: Go ahead and leave out the jalapeño if you like it milder. I also thought about adding shredded, baked tortilla chips (like the ones from the tortilla soup recipe). Also, I’ve mentioned this before – I try to seek out organic peanuts. As far as the choice of cabbage goes, you can use green cabbage, or a blend of purple and green. If you like a more creamy coleslaw, go ahead and add a dollop of mayo, or Greek yogurt.

Tempeh Rice Lettuce Wraps with Garlic and Lime

2 garlic cloves, peeled
1- inch segment of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup almond, cashew, or coconut milk
scant 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 ounces plain tempeh, crumbled
1 1/2 cups / 6 ounces leftover rice
1 teaspoon soy sauce or shoyu
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 small cucumber, deseeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
a handful of sliced herbs, cilantro, basil, mint
10 – 12 whole lettuce leaves, romaine, little gems, etc.
to serve (all optional):
extra lime, serrano vinegar*, shallot oil, a favorite curry paste

Use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic and ginger into a paste. Heat 1/4 cup of the nut milk in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir in the ginger-garlic paste along with the salt, and barely simmer for a minute of two before adding the tempeh. Stir until well-coated, cover, and allow to cook for about five minutes, stirring once or twice along the way. Add the rice, stir, and allow it to heat.
In the mean time add the soy sauce, and lime juice to the remaining nut milk, stir well, and add to the saucepan as well. Transfer to a serving bowl, and stir in the cucumber. Top with the grated carrot, and herbs, and give a light final toss.

To serve, spoon a generous amount of the rice mixture into a lettuce leaf. If you want to make them extra special do any/all of the following. Spread a whisper thin layer of curry paste across the lettuce, top with the rice mixture, and finish with a spoonful of serrano chile vi

Corn and Coconut Salad

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 ears of corn, shucked
fine grain sea salt
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup / 1 1/2 oz / 40 g big coconut flakes, well toasted
1 cup / 3 oz / 85 g sliced almonds, well toasted
3 tablespoons chopped red onions
big squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt and stir well, you want all the corn to be coated. Cook for just a minute, until the corn looses its raw edge, stir in half the thyme, and then transfer the corn to a large serving bowl.

Just before you’re ready to serve, add most of the coconut flakes, most of the almonds, the rest of the thyme, red onions, and citrus juice. Stir well. Taste, season with more salt, to taste, and serve topped with the remaining coconut and almonds (and another jolt of juice if needed!).

Sri Lankan Spiced Chickpeas (Kadala Thal Dala )

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
4 dried red chilies chopped into large chunks
1 large onion finely diced
2 15 oz. chickpeas cans (drained)
Salt to taste
Heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan.

Fry the mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves and chilies for around 30 seconds until you hear the seeds pop.

Add the onions and cook until soft and golden.

Stir through the chickpeas and add salt to taste. Sauté for a few minutes until heated through.

Serve warm as a snack or as a side to your meal.

Roasted Squash with Turmeric-Ginger Chickpeas and Greens

Note: You could swap in other roasted vegetables for the squash in this recipe. Broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potatoes would all work. Or just increase the chickpeas and greens.

2 pounds squash, such as butternut, honeynut, acorn or kabocha, seeds removed, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
10 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1 cup mixed torn fresh herbs, such as mint, cilantro, parsley and-or dill
4 cups spicy salad greens, such as arugula or mizuna
1/2 cup whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash and thyme with 2 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread in an even layer. Roast until the squash is tender and just beginning to turn golden-brown, 35 to 40 minutes.

As squash roasts, toss the onion, vinegar, garlic, turmeric and ginger in a large bowl; let marinate at least 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and the remaining 1/4 cup oil and stir to coat. Toss in half the herbs and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the salad greens among 4 bowls and top with the roasted squash. Serve with a generous amount of the marinated chickpeas, and a dollop of yogurt. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds, if using, and the remaining torn herbs.

Penne with Roasted Eggplant, Chile, and Mint

1 and 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 4 medium), cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
1 very large ripe tomato, cored and diced (1 and 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound dried penne
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 anchovy fillets
Large pinch chile flakes
2 tablespoons drained capers
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On rimmed baking sheet, toss together eggplant, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread into one layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until the eggplant is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Place tomato in large bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne to al dente according to package instructions; drain well.

While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in garlic, anchovies and chile flakes, and cook until golden and soft, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and, using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to cutting board. Let garlic cool for a few minutes, then chop up and add back to the oil. Pour garlic-chile into bowl with tomatoes. Add eggplant and capers, and toss well.

Add pasta to bowl with eggplant and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste, and drizzle generously with oil. Toss in herbs and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday Rice

3 tablespoons canola oil
One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 cup finely chopped white onion
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed, soaked, and drained (see here)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 small or 1 large chicken bouillon cube, preferably Maggi brand
3 cups boiling water
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a 4-quart stew pot over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion and scallions and cook, stirring, until softened (don’t let them color), about 3 minutes.

Add the bay leaves and drained rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube, and water, taste, and add salt as necessary.

Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently stir the rice with a silicone spatula a couple of times and cover the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pilaf stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Paneer (or Chicken) Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka:

250 gms paneer (or chicken… see note)
3 tablespoons yogurt, preferably thick curd
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

Masala/Curry:
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 inch ginger, cut into small pieces
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, and some more to garnish
1 cup water, or as required
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
salt, to taste

Paneer Tikka:
Cut the paneer into small cubes, add in the chopped ginger, garlic, coriander powder, garam masala powder, paprika powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Add in the yogurt and mix till all the paneer pieces are well coated with the spices and yogurt.

Cover and keep this marinated paneer in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.

Masala/Curry:

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once hot add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds.

Once the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic pods and chopped ginger. Fry till onions turn golden brown in color.

Once onions are done, add the tomatoes and the curry powder and mix. Also add the the salt and sugar.

Cook the tomatoes on medium flame till they are soft, around 6-7 minutes.

Once the mixture is cooked, switch off the flame and allow it to cool a bit.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree it. Set aside.

Roast (or grill… see note) the marinated paneer till golden brown in color from both sides.

Pour the pureed masala in a wok/kadhai and add water to it. Stir and add cream and chopped coriander leaves.

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium-low flame.

Add the roasted paneer pieces, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and cream.
Serve hot with butter naan or any bread of your choice.

Recipe Notes:

Use 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder in the curry for a deep red/orange color.

The quantity of butter and cream in the recipe depends on your taste and preference.

The paneer should ideally by grilled so in case you have a griller use that to make the tikka.

You can also drizzle around 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice on the curry once it’s done.

If you want, you can strain the pureed mixture before putting it back in the pan. This will just make the curry totally smooth.

You can make this recipe exactly the same, but with chicken.