Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tamarind Dressing

2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 thai chili peppers, red and yellow color
2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves, fresh
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground + extra if needed
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar or jaggery crushed
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander powder, freshly ground (see notes above)
100mL cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes

Thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Add the cherry tomatoes over them.
Slice the chili peppers lengthwise in half and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the tomatoes.

Take a 500mL mason jar or glass jar with a lid. Add all the ingredients from the tamarind to the olive oil. Close the jar tight with its lid and then shake vigorously until it forms an emulsion. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
Drizzle enough dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt flakes and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Coconut-Cilantro Chutney

6 ounces fresh coconut, grated or chopped
1 bunch cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 green Thai chili peppers
1 inch ginger root, peeled and grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
3/4 cup water

Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Place the lid and pulse until the ingredients are completely combined in a smooth paste. You might need to occasionally stir the ingredients. You can also add a little more water to thin the chutney out, but remember to taste and adjust the salt and lime juice quantities, if necessary.

Transfer to a serving dish and let it sit for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator for the flavors to come together. Serve fresh.

To store, refrigerate the chutney in an airtight container for up to a week. It can also be frozen for up to 3 weeks in a freezer-safe airtight container; just thaw it completely before serving, but do not microwave.

Cilantro-Mint Chutney and Cucumber Raita

Cilantro-mint chutney:

1 cup packed mint leaves, fresh
1 cup packed cilantro, leaves
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled, julienned
2 thai green chili peppers
1 lime
1/4 cup water, chilled
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

Place the mint, cilantro, ginger, chili into a blender (or a jar if you’re using an immersion blender), Squeeze the lime juice and add the water and salt. Blend until the ingredients for a smooth paste. You might need to add a little more water to the paste or occasionally stir the ingredients to get them moving in the blender.

Once this chutney is prepared you can use it immediately or refrigerate it in an airtight container. You can also freeze this for for a few days. (Note: the vibrant color does tend to become a little darker after a few days of storage but the it is still good to use and eat)

Cucumber mint raita:
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup water, chilled (* if you want the raita thinner add more water but remember to adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste preferences)
1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 cups cucumber, peeled and grated
1 thai chili pepper, cut into thin slices for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt, water, salt and pepper until the ingredients are completely combined. Keep this yogurt base aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Squeeze the grated cucumber for any excess liquid. You can save the liquid and use it to for something else (I either drink it or use it in chilled juices).

There are two ways to prepare the raita.

a) The first method is for the “parfait style”. You can prepare about 4-6 (5-6 ounce) glass jars with this method. Layer the bottom of one jar, half-way with the yogurt base. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of the grated cucumber above and layer with more yogurt base until you’re about half an inch from the top of the jar. Layer with 2 generous tablespoons of the cilantro-mint chutney and garnish with a few of the sliced chilies and a little left over grated cucumber. Prepare the rest of the jars using this method. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

b)The second method is to mix 1/2 cup of the cilantro-mint chutney prepared earlier with the yogurt base and the cucumber in a large mixing bowl. Garnish with the thinly sliced chilies. You can serve it immediately or cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve chilled.

Pumpkin Raita

2 cups grated pumpkin
1 thai green chili pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
3 cups plain non-fat greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2-3 curry leaves, dried or fresh

Place the grated pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with a lid and microwave for 3-4 minutes until the pumpkin is completely tender. Keep aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl add the pumpkin, chili pepper, onion, cilantro, mint, yogurt, salt, and pepper. Whisk the ingredients with a fork and taste to make sure the amount of salt and pepper is enough. Transfer the mixture to a clean serving dish. Cover and refrigerate the raita for 1-2 hours until chilled.

Before serving, heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium high flame till it gets slightly smoky. Immediately reduce the flame to low and carefully add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. The seeds will begin to spurt and the leaves will brown in the hot oil. Cook till the seeds stop spurting and pour the entire contents while hot on top of the chilled raita. Serve immediately.

Grilled Pineapple Raita

1 3-pound ripe pineapple
Olive oil or vegetable oil for brushing the pineapple slices
2 cups plain yogurt
1 cup chilled water (see note)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 serrano chile, minced (deseeded if you want it less hot)
3 tablespoons julienned mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground red chile powder

Instructions: Prepare the pineapple by trimming off the top and the base. Then trim the sides and discard the outer thick skin. Using a small paring knife, remove any eyes (the brown hard spiny spots). Then cut the pineapple into six ½-inch thick slices; using a small paring knife cut the central woody core and discard. Wrap and save the remaining pineapple for use in another recipe (or just eat it).

Brush a grill pan with a little oil and put the heat on high. Alternatively, heat a gas grill on high and brush the grates with oil. When the surface is hot, brush the pineapple slices with a little oil on each side and place them carefully on the hot surface. Grill the pineapple slices on each side for about 1½ to 2 minutes, until each side is caramelized. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes, before chopping. Once the pineapple has cooled, chop the slices into coarse chunks and set aside until ready to use.

Place the yogurt in a large bowl and add the water, followed by the salt and pepper. Mix well; adjust the seasoning as necessary. Fold in the pineapple and serrano chile, along with half the mint and half the cilantro leaves. Transfer to a serving bowl and keep covered in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to cool and help the flavors meld.

While the raita is resting in the refrigerator, heat a small dry skillet on high heat. Add the cumin seeds to the hot skillet and toast until the seeds just start to turn brown and release their aroma. Immediately transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder.

Garnish the raita with the remaining mint and cilantro and the toasted ground cumin seeds and chile powder. Serve chilled. The raita will last about 2 to 3 days refrigerated.

Note: The amount of water might vary slightly depending on how thick or thin the yogurt is. The ideal consistency should be like a thin custard.

Note: while you can serve this with Indian food, this is also a wonderful accompaniment to barbecued meat and grilled vegetables, and it goes well with flatbread and rice.

Bourbon Barbecue Glaze

For the Bourbon BBQ Glaze:
1 cup BBQ sauce, homemade or store-bought
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey

Make the glaze while the meatloaf bakes: Add glaze ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until mixture forms big bubbles and is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula or spoon. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Notes: originally a glaze for meatloaf, but probably good on anything.

Fried Chili Paste

10 dried red chilies
3 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
5 shallots (peeled)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (80ml)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Break dried chilies in half and squeeze out the seeds. Soak in hot water for 30 minutes to soften. Drain.

Blend dried chilies, red chilies, and shallots with ¼ cup (60ml) water until smooth.

Heat vegetable oil in a medium size saucepan over low heat. Add blended chili paste, salt, and sugar. Stir continuously until chili paste darkens and oil separates. This will take about 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove and store in a jar.

Sambal Udang (Shrimp Sambal)

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb shrimps / prawns (peeled and deveined) (450g)
6 kaffir lime leaves
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
30 g asam jawa / tamarind paste ** (rinsed)

Spice Paste
6 red chilies (seeded and cut into small pieces)
8 dried chilies
6 shallots or 1 medium onion (peeled and cut into small pieces)
2 stalks lemongrass (sliced bottom third into rings)
1 inch lengkuas (peeled and sliced)
3 cloves garlic (peeled)
6 buah keras (candlenut) or macadamias
3/4 inch cube belacan (toasted)

Blend all spice paste ingredients with ? cup (80ml) water until smooth.

Place asam jawa in a small metal strainer over a bowl. Pour 1 cup (240ml) hot water over asam jawa. Stir and press down asam jawa with a spoon to dissolve.

In a medium sized pot, heat vegetable oil. Add ground spice paste and kaffir lime leaves. Stir fry for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant.

Pour strained tamarind juice into the pot. Stir to combine. Place lid on the pot and allow sauce to come to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the lid. Add shrimps (prawns), sugar, and salt. Stir to get all ingredients well mixed.

Place lid back onto the pot and continue to simmer for 3 minutes.

Turn off stove. Dish into a serving bowl.

Perfect Dumpling Sauce

1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 tablespoon hot water. Then add soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, minced garlic, sesame seeds, and sesame oil. Stir to combine.

Serve with freshly cooked dumplings.

Spicy Korean Chicken

1 lb boneless and skinless chicken thighs

Marinade:
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Korean chili paste gochujang
1 teaspoon Korean red chili powder gochugaru or regular chili powder
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1- inch piece ginger peeeled and minced
3 cloves garlic minced
Salt to taste

Slice the chicken thighs horizontally to make thinner pieces of meat. Slice each piece of chicken thigh (depends on its thickness) into 2 or 3 horizontal pieces. Set aside.

Combine all the ingredients in the Marinade in a bowl, whisk it to make sure the Korean chili paste (gochujang) is completely dissolved. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes or best for two hours.

Grill the chicken until slightly charred and completely cooked through. You may also pan-fried the chicken on a skillet or pan, or bake in the oven at 400F for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately with steamed rice.

Quick Kaya

200 ml canned coconut cream
50 gr palm sugar
50 gr white sugar
3 pandan leaves/screwpine leaves knotted
4 egg yolks from large eggs beaten

SEPARATING EGG YOLKS FROM THE WHITES:
Make sure you separate the egg yolks from the white very carefully. Leaving as little trace of egg whites as possible when separating. If there is a trace of egg whites, you can run the egg yolks through the sieve. This is to ensure you don’t get any lumps in the kaya. Otherwise, beat the yolks until smooth just using a regular fork is perfectly fine. Run it through the sieve if you want to.

TEMPERING THE EGG YOLKS:
Place coconut cream, both sugars, and pandan leaves in a saucepan over medium heat and just cook until the sugar melted. It shouldn’t be boiling, just heated to warm.

With one hand still beating the egg yolks, the other hand holding the saucepan with coconut cream, very gradually pour 1/4 of the coconut cream mixture. Then you can pour the egg mixture back to the saucepan. Stir to mix everything and then place this on the stove over medium heat.

Continue to stir over medium heat. The mixture started to thicken for me at around 8 minutes mark and continue to stir. It may still appear a bit runny, but it will continue to thicken once it cools down completely. Discard the pandan leaves.

Once the kaya has cooled down completely, transfer to a glass jar and secure the lid. Put in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Serundeng (Seasoned Crispy Coconut Topping)

10 oz grated white coconut
2 duan salam leaves
1 kaffir lime leaf
1- inch galangal (bruised)
1 Tbsp sugar

GROUND SPICES:
2 shallots (peeled)
1 clove garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds

You can use fresh grated coconut or if you can’t find one, you can buy frozen dessicated coconut.

Mix the grated coconut with ground spices and stir to mix evenly.

Preheat a large skillet without any oil over low heat. Add in the coconut mixture, bay leaves, lime leaf, galangal and stir fry until the coconut is really dry and crispy and sprinkle in the sugar while stirring. This may take a while and remember to do this over low heat or you are risking burning the coconut before it’s dry. Once it’s completely dry, crispy, and golden brown, remove from the heat and store in air-tight container when it’s completely cool.

Sambal Chili (for Nasi Sayur Medan)

1 lb 500 g dried chili (soaked until softened and process until fine)
1 lb 500 g shallots
1 lb 500 g onion
7 oz 200 g garlic (peeled)
1 medium size ginger
3 Tbsp shrimp paste/ belacan
5 Tbsp palm sugar
5 pieces candlenuts/kemiri/buah keras
1/4 cup tamarind juice
Salt and sugar to taste

Blend together shallots, garlic, candlenuts, ginger to a smooth paste.

Add a little oil in the wok with medium heat, place shrimp paste in the wok an saute until fragrant.

Add the blended dried chili into the aromatic shrimp paste and cook for 30 minutes on low to medium heat.

Add the rest of the blended ingredients into the mixture and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

Add the tamarind juice into mixture and cook until it binds together into a smooth, shiny and sticky consistency. It will turn darker too as the sugar caramelized.

Lastly, add salt and sugar to taste.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Eggplant Sambal

INGREDIENTS:
500 gr long purple eggplants or you can use dark purple kind

SAMBAL BALADO:
100 gr cayenne pepper see notes
8 shallots peeled
3 garlic peeled
1 large tomato quartered
1/3 cup cooking oil

AROMATICS:
3 daun salam leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves tear edges to release flavor

SEASONINGS:
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 lime

PREPARE EGGPLANTS:
Prepare a large pot of water with 1 tsp of salt in it.

Rinse the skin of the eggplants clean with water. Pat dry. Trim off the stem. Halve and then cut into about 3-inch pieces. Make sure you cut them into roughly equal in size so they cook evenly.

Place the cut eggplants into the pot of water to prevent them from turning black while you are cutting the rest of tge ingredients.

PRESSURE COOKING THE EGGPLANTS:
Pour 1 cup of water inside the inner pot of the instant pot. Arrange the eggplant in a collapsible veggie steamer that you can fit inside the inner pot. Cover the lid and turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure, and set timer to 15 minutes.

When the timer is up, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure completely.

PREPARE SAMBAL BALADO WHILE THE EGGPLANTS ARE COOKING:
Place all the sambal balado ingredients in a food processor. You can either roughly chop them for that rustic look or process them into finer texture. The oil will help to move things inside the food processor.

Preheat a large skillet and pour in the sambal mixture along with the aromatics. Stir fry for about 5 minutes and then add the seasonings. Keep stirring to prevent sambal from scorching. Have a taste. It should be savory, lightly sweet, with a hint of tang. Add more salt and/or sugar if needed.

PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER:
When the eggplants are done cooking, add the eggplants pieces onto the skillet and stir to mix everything. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, with lots of rice.

RECIPE NOTES:
If you can’t find fresh cayenne pepper (cabe keriting), you can substitute with dried Chile de Arbol or Guajillo. Just soak them in water until soft and then proceed with recipe.

Pressure Cooker Sambal Terong Belado (Eggplants with Sambal)

INGREDIENTS:
500 gr long purple eggplants or you can use dark purple kind

SAMBAL BALADO:
100 gr cayenne pepper see notes
8 shallots peeled
3 garlic peeled
1 large tomato quartered
1/3 cup cooking oil

AROMATICS:
3 daun salam leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves tear edges to release flavor

SEASONINGS:
1 tsp salt or more to taste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 lime

PREPARE EGGPLANTS:
Prepare a large pot of water with 1 tsp of salt in it.

Rinse the skin of the eggplants clean with water. Pat dry. Trim off the stem. Halve and then cut into about 3-inch pieces. Make sure you cut them into roughly equal in size so they cook evenly.

Place the cut eggplants into the pot of water to prevent them from turning black while you are cutting the rest of tge ingredients.

PRESSURE COOKING THE EGGPLANTS:
Pour 1 cup of water inside the inner pot of the instant pot. Arrange the eggplant in a collapsible veggie steamer that you can fit inside the inner pot. Cover the lid and turn the steam release valve to seal. Press pressure cooker, high pressure, and set timer to 15 minutes.

When the timer is up, wait 5 minutes and then release pressure completely.

PREPARE SAMBAL BALADO WHILE THE EGGPLANTS ARE COOKING:
Place all the sambal balado ingredients in a food processor. You can either roughly chop them for that rustic look or process them into finer texture. The oil will help to move things inside the food processor.

Preheat a large skillet and pour in the sambal mixture along with the aromatics. Stir fry for about 5 minutes and then add the seasonings. Keep stirring to prevent sambal from scorching. Have a taste. It should be savory, lightly sweet, with a hint of tang. Add more salt and/or sugar if needed.

PUT EVERYTHING TOGETHER:
When the eggplants are done cooking, add the eggplants pieces onto the skillet and stir to mix everything. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, with lots of rice.

RECIPE NOTES:
If you can’t find fresh cayenne pepper (cabe keriting), you can substitute with dried Chile de Arbol or Guajillo. Just soak them in water until soft and then proceed with recipe.

Ideas for Egg Lunches: Sambal Andaliman

40 gr Andaliman / Sichuan Peppercorns
100 gr cayenne peppers
5 Thai chili
5 cloves garlic peeled
10 shallots peeled
5 candlenuts (kukui nuts) optional
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp salt
juice of 3 limes

Place the andaliman on a dry pan and roast over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Let them cool down and then grind them into powder with dry miLl.

Place all ingredients for sambal andaliman in food processor and process into a coarse paste.

Preheat a medium skillet. Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil. Add the sambal andaliman and stir fry until the sambal turn slightly darken and you can smell the amazing aroma, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.

Use as a marinade for (and serve with) grilled chicken.

Sambal Andaliman

40 gr Andaliman / Sichuan Peppercorns
100 gr cayenne peppers
5 Thai chili
5 cloves garlic peeled
10 shallots peeled
5 candlenuts (kukui nuts) optional
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp salt
juice of 3 limes

Place the andaliman on a dry pan and roast over medium heat until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 2 minutes. Let them cool down and then grind them into powder with dry miLl.

Place all ingredients for sambal andaliman in food processor and process into a coarse paste.

Preheat a medium skillet. Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil. Add the sambal andaliman and stir fry until the sambal turn slightly darken and you can smell the amazing aroma, about 5 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.

Use as a marinade for (and serve with) grilled chicken.