Sweet and Sour Beets

2 – 3 large beets, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbs Smoked Maple Syrup plus more to drizzle
2 tbs cider vinegar
1 whole star anise
Salt and pepper
1 tb butter
2 tbs chopped chives

Put the peeled, sliced beets in a wide, shallow pan and add the orange juice, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, star anise and sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Turn on high to bring to a boil then lower to simmer and cover. Let the beets braise for 10 minutes or until tender, turning every so often to coat with the liquid.

When they are done, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving plate. Add a pat of butter to the remaining sauce, simmer until thickened and season to taste. Pour the sauce over the beets, sprinkle with the chives and then drizzle with a little extra Smoked maple if desired.

Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions & Smoked Maple

Vegetable oil
2 large onions, any color, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Runamok Smoked Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper

In a large pan, heat several tablespoons of oil on medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and stir to coat them in the oil. Sauté for a few minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Let the onions brown without disturbing them, only giving them a stir to prevent burning every ten minutes or so. Keep an eye on moisture and if the pan looks too dry, add extra oil. To properly brown onions can take up to half an hour so be patient and wait until they have developed that deep brown color. They will have reduced in size considerably.

When they are just about done, add the balsamic vinegar and smoked maple syrup to taste. Season with salt and pepper.

For the pork chops, preheat a grill or broiler. Generously salt and pepper the chops. Coat with a little vegetable oil and place on the grill or under the broiler.

Broil or grill for approximately five minutes a side on high heat (more for thick chops, less for thin). When fully cooked through, remove from the heat, place on a plate and top with the caramelized onions and a sprinkling of parsley.

Roasted Cabbage with Maple, Horseradish and Cream

1 medium cabbage
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup horseradish
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1 Tbsp Sugarmaker’s Cut Pure Maple Syrup or Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp butter cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 400. Remove any wilted leaves from the outside of the cabbage then cut it into wedges, removing the center core. Place the wedges, slim side up in a wide, oven-proof pot. They should be fairly snug.

Whisk together the cream, horseradish, vermouth, and maple syrup in a bowl and then pour over the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper and then dot with the pieces of butter.

Put a lid on the pot and place on the stove on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and let the cabbage steam in the pot until the leaves have wilted a little, about 8 minutes. Remove the lid and take the cabbage off the heat.

Tilt the pot to gather some of the cream to baste over the tops of the cabbage. Put the pot in the oven, uncovered and bake until the center is tender and the tops have started to brown a little, about 35 minutes. Keep an eye on the liquid and add some extra cream if it gets too dry.

Serve with pork chops or sausage.

Beet, Arugula, Citrus, and Feta Salad with Ginger-Maple Vinaigrette

2 – 3 beets
Bunch of arugula
1 navel orange, peeled and sectioned
2 oz feta cheese

Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp Runamok Ginger Infused Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp walnut oil
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and fresh ground pepper

Prepare the beets by scrubbing off any dirt and trimming the tops and bottoms but leaving the rest of the skin on. Put them in boiling water for about ten minutes or until fork tender then remove from the water to cool. The skins should come off very easily at this point and once they are peeled, dice them into chunks and set aside.

Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking all of the ingredients together and tasting for salt and pepper.

Toss the arugula and beets in some vinaigrette and arrange on a plate. Top with bite-sized pieces of orange and a sprinkling of crumbled feta.

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Maple-Cider Glaze

3/4 cup Run Amok Sugarmaker’s Cut pure maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
pinch kosher salt
1 lb Brussels’ Sprouts
Vegetable oil for frying

Combine maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, apple cider and salt in a medium sized pot. Reduce by 1/4 over medium heat stirring constantly. Set aside.

De-stem Brussels and cut in half, pulling off any outer leaves that are loose. Fry in 350 degree oil for 1 minute or until brown. If you don’t have a fryer, take the raw cleaned Brussels and toss with oil and salt. Roast in a 375 degree for 20 minutes. Brussels should be tender but still have a bite to them.

Season Brussels immediately with a pinch of salt and toss with one tablespoon of reduction for every cup of Brussels.

Bengali Kumro Chenchki (Spiced Winter Squash)

680 gms squash/ pumpkin cut into bite size chunks; cleaned with the skin left on
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 heaped tsp panch
2 dried mild red chillies deseeded
1 1/2 inch ginger pureed to a paste
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp mild chilli powder
1 heaped tsp coriander powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
100 mls water
Fresh coriander for garnish

Heat the oil in a kadhai on a medium flame. Add the panch puran and red chillies letting them sizzle for a few seconds.

Add the ginger paste and fry for a minute making sure to stir so it does not burn. Add the chopped squash or pumpkin and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Add the powdered spices, sugar and season to taste. Stir well. Add the water and simmer on a low heat with a lid on for 8 minutes.

You want the squash to cook yet hold its shape. Stir half way through and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes with the lid half over the kadhai/ pan. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with dal and luchi or puris the Bengali way.

Bengali Phulkopir Aloo Dalna (Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Peas)

420 gms Cauliflower florets
280 gms potato boiled and cut to chunks
60 gms frozen green peas
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch of asafoetida/ hing
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds
4 green cardamom pods
1 dried mild red
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp caster sugar
Salt to taste
100 mls water
1/4 tsp garam masala powder

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the asafoetida along with all the whole spices. Fry for a minute on low heat. Add the ginger paste and fry for a few seconds.

Now add the chilli powder and turmeric powder along with the cauliflower florets. Mix well and sauté the florets for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sugar, season to taste and add water. Stir well and cook with a lid on for 10 minutes. Now stir and add the potato continue cooking for 5 minutes with a lid on.

Add the green peas and simmer for a minute. Turn the heat off and add garam masala. Stir well and serve warm with paratha or rice.

Grilled Ham and Cheese with Apple

8 slices of pumpernickel bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup mango chutney
1/2 Granny Smith apple—peeled, cored and coarsely shredded
8 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese
8 ounces thinly sliced Virginia ham

Spread the bread with the butter and arrange, buttered side down, on a work surface. Spread each slice with the mango chutney. Top half of the slices with the apple, cheddar and ham and close the sandwiches.

Preheat a skillet or panini press. Grill the sandwiches over low heat until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. If using a skillet, press the sandwiches with a spatula and flip them halfway through. Cut in half and serve right away.

Asparagus, Pea, and Egg Masala

Oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
Green chilies – 2, sliced
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Tomato – 1 large, chopped
Asparagus – 1/2 lb, cut into 1? long pieces
Green peas – 1/2 cup
Salt – to taste
Lime juice – 2 tsp
Cilantro leaves – a few stalks, roughly torn
Eggs – 4, large
How to:

Boil and peel the eggs and set aside.

Heat oil in a deep skillet or pan and add the cumin seeds. When they start to change color, throw in the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Saute till onions are translucent, but not browned.

Add the turmeric, red chili, coriander, cumin and garam masala powders. Stir around for a few seconds till well combined.
Add the tomatoes and cook till they are broken down and mushy. Then add the asparagus and green peas. Sprinkle some water, add salt, cover and cook till vegetables are tender-crisp.

Open the lid, sprinkle some lime juice and cilantro leaves to garnish. Fold in the boiled egg halves. Serve hot with steamed rice or flatbreads like chapatis and rotis.

Tandoori/Tikka Gobi (Cauliflower Bites)

For the tandoori/tikka gobi,

Cauliflower – 1 large head, washed and cut into medium-sized florets
Yogurt – 1 1/2 cups (must be thick yogurt)
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1 tsp (reduce for a less spicy version)
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Amchoor or dry mango powder – 1/4 tsp (simply omit if you don’t have any)
Chickpea flour or besan – 2 tbsp
Lime – 1 small one, juiced
Cilantro leaves – a large handful, chopped
Salt – to taste
Oil – to brush while baking
For the spicy yogurt dip,

Leftover marinade from above – 1 cup
Water and salt – as needed
How to:

Tandoori/Tikka Cauliflower: In a large saucepan, bring some water to a boil. Season with a touch of salt, add cauliflower and cook on low heat for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and allow the cauliflower to remain submerged in the hot water for 8-10 minutes or till they are just tender. Drain completely and set aside.

Meanwhile, lightly roast the chickpea flour in a hot skillet for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the while.

Take all the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl (listed from yogurt to salt in the list above). Whisk well, ensuring there are no lumps. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add cauliflower to it and mix well to coat them thoroughly. Let it rest for at least half an hour. You may want to refrigerate it for any duration longer than that.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 deg.F and place a grilling rack over a rimmed baking tray. Arrange the cauliflower florets on it, shaking off excess marinade, and brush lightly with oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes or till cooked thoroughly.. You can also broil them at 450 deg.F for the last 1-2 minutes of baking for lightly charred edges.

Remove from oven and serve warm with lime wedges and your favorite dip.

Spicy yogurt dip: You will have at least a cup of leftover marinade from above. Cook this in a skillet over medium heat, till the raw smell goes away and it turns thick with a deep red-brown color. Add some water to it, whisk well and bring it to a boil. Simmer till it reaches a dip-like consistency. Check seasoning, you may want to add a pinch of salt or dash of lime juice to balance the flavors.

Cool this completely and serve with the tandoori or tikka cauliflower. This can be done on the stove-top while the cauliflower florets are baking and it cools down by the time it is ready to be served.

Green Bean Poriyal (with variations)

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few, roughly torn
Shallots – 2 tbsp, chopped (can also use red onions)
Whole dried red chilies – 3-4
Green beans – 1 lb, washed and diced into 1/4? pieces (very short!)
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste

Heat oil in a deep skillet or pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to sizzle and crackle, add the onions and red chilies. Saute till onions are lightly golden.

Then add the chopped green beans and stir fry for a minute or so. Sprinkle some water and salt, reduce heat to low, cook and cover till beans are just cooked.

Open the lid, fold in the shredded or grated coconut and saute for a few more seconds to make sure there is no residual water in the pan.

Remove from heat and serve hot along with rice and sambar or dal.

Notes:

You can add 1/2 tbsp of urad dal (or dehusked black lentils) along with the mustard seeds and fry them till they just begin to change color. You can also add a pinch of turmeric and coriander powders along with the salt, but we actually prefer to have thoran without it.

You can cook vegetables like carrots, beetroot, cabbage, long beans and gourds the same way. You can also try combinations like carrots-beans, cabbage-carrots-beans or asparagus-green peas. Try it for yourself and see!

Vegetable Poriyal

4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup diced carrots
4 ounces green beans, trimmed and diced
1/4 cup coconut oil (may substitute canola or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons urad dal (black matpe beans)
2 teaspoons chana dal (split chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
1 cup chopped red onion or shallots
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
20 fresh/frozen curry leaves
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger root, finely chopped
5 green small, whole Thai chili peppers (may substitute serrano chile peppers)
1 cup grated fresh/frozen coconut (do not use dried or sweetened coconut)

Fill a large bowl with water and ice.

Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a deep pot over high heat. Add a tablespoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the ground turmeric and the carrots; once the water returns to a boil, add the green beans. Cook for 7 or 8 minutes, until just crisp-tender.

Drain through a fine-mesh strainer; leave the vegetables in the strainer and immediately place it in the bowl of ice water.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is liquefied, add the urad dal and chana dal; cook, stirring a few times, until they begin to brown. Stir in the mustard seed and the red onion or shallots; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

Stir in the hing, curry leaves, ginger and Thai chili peppers, then the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric, the remaining teaspoon of salt and the coconut; toss to make sure the coconut is evenly distributed.

Drain the cooked vegetable mixture (in the strainer) and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring to incorporate and heat through, for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve right away.

VARIATION: To make this recipe with potatoes, boil and skin potatoes before adding, omit the coconut and consider using cilantro, which can be substituted for the curry leaves. For broccoli, omit the onion and add toasted cashews to the mix.

Source: Adapted from Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in the District.

Gojju

This gojju uses eggplant and green peppers, but you can make many gojju variations: green onion, okra, bitter gourd, tomato and even pineapple! Also you can make this dish to suit your preference as far as how soupy you want it.

For cooking vegetable
2 tablespoons oil
pinch of hing or asafetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili pepper
3-4 fresh curry leaves
1 1/2 cups Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick wedges
1 cup green pepper, rough chop
1 cup onion, rough chop

For grinding
3-4 dried red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons roasted chana dal
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
few sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (can use thawed out frozen)
1/2 cup or more water

1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
2 teaspoons teaspoon jaggery or sugar
salt to taste

Put oil in pan under medium-high heat. When hot, put hing and mustard seeds in. When mustard seeds start to pop, put in fenugreek and let it turn golden brown. Turn the heat to low-medium and put in the red chili and curry leaves and coat with oil. Cook for a few seconds and throw in the onion. After the onion has softened a little, put in the green pepper, eggplant and salt to taste. I add a bit of water too so that the vegetables stay moist. Cover.

While the veggies are cooking put the dried red chili peppers, black mustard seeds, roasted chana dal and turmeric into the blender and grind. Next add in coconut, cilantro and water and grind. If it is looking a bit dry, you can add some water to make it more paste-like.

When the vegetables are almost done cooking, mix in the grinded paste and bring to a boil. At this time you can add some water too if you want to have a more soupy texture. Add in the tamarind paste and the jaggery and mix well. Continue to boil for a few minutes and then simmer. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and it will thicken a bit.

I like to eat this with roti and recently have been rolling it into a whole wheat tortill with rice.

Green Bean Palya

1 tablespoon oil or ghee
3/4 pound green beans – cut into about 1/2 inch long pieces
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
3 fresh curry leaves (can use dry)
1 dried red chili – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder
2 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut – thawed out
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Heat oil under a medium flame. Put in a pinch of hing or asafoetida, mustard seed, urad dal and chana dal.

When the mustard seed starts popping and the dals start browning, put in the curry leaf and broken up chili pieces. Mix everything around for 10 seconds until everything is coated with oil.

Next throw in the green beans.

Mix it all up.

Add a little bit of water, turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are almost tender. Mix in sambar powder and cook until the beans are tender. Add the coconut and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the lemon and salt and mix well.

Vangi Baath (Eggplant Rice)

2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
pinch of hing or asafoetida
2 fresh curry leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch long strips (can use different varieties)
1 green pepper – same size as eggplant
1 small red onion
2 teaspoons vangi baath powder (recipe below)
1 cup cooked and cooled rice
juice of 1/2 lemon (or tamarind extract)
fresh frozen coconut – optional if not in powder

In a frying pan or wok under medium heat, add oil, mustard seeds and hing. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop and then add in the curry leaves and coat with oil. Add in the onion and fry until translucent. Add in the eggplant and green pepper and the turmeric and stir well.

Cook the vegetables until the eggplant is half-cooked. Add in the vangi baath powder and stir fry thoroughly so that the spice mixture is on all of the vegetables. Turn the heat down to cook through and stir periodically.

Once the vegetables are cooked, add in the rice and stir well. Turn off heat. Squeeze lemon and mix together. Top with coriander leaves and serve with yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Notes: This was a rice for long car rides or on picnics. It’s quite hardy and since it’s so flavorful, you can just eat it as is. Traditionally, vangi baath is made with eggplants, but it can be made it with cauliflower too. You can also fried peanuts to the mix which was really good. Serve it with plain yogurt, raita or majjige huli.

Green Yogurt Curry (Majjige Huli)

1 1/2 pounds summer squash (yellow or green zucchini), cut 1/2 inch thick rounds with large pieces cut again in half
3 cups yogurt (or combo yogurt and buttermilk)
small bunch cilantro leaves
1/2 cup frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
2 tablespoons chana dal
2-3 green chilis
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste

for tempering
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
pinch of hing / asafetida
1 dried red chili
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves

In a pan, fit a steamer with water below, but just at a level that is below the steamer and not touching it. Place cut summer squash in the steamer basket. Turn the heat to medium/high and when the water starts to boil, turn to medium and cover. Steam for about 15 minutes or until tender. Immediately immerse the squash in a bowl of cold water to avoid overcooking.

In a blender, put in the chana dal and grind until powder. Have about a 1 cup of water by the blender. Add in coconut, green chilies, cilantro, cumin seed, black mustard seeds, turmeric powder and slowly add water as needed so that you can a well ground paste. You want this to be as smooth as possible but by adding in enough water. For this recipe, I added in about 3/4 cup water. When you have a nice paste, add in your yogurt and/or buttermilk. Blend this well.

In a pan place the steamed summer squash, the yogurt curry and salt to taste. Put the heat on medium. You want the mixture to boil once. At this time, turn the heat off.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil under medium heat and add in the hing, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the cumin seeds start to brown, turn the heat to low and add in your curry leaves and dried red chili, broken in half. Coat everything with oil and pour this oil mixture on top of the yogurt curry.

Serve majjige huli with hot rice. You can also chill it if you like, but traditionally at home, we would eat it after it was just prepared.

*When eating curry the next day, do not heat it.

Sambar with Kohlrabi

1 large or 4 small kohlrabi, skin removed and chopped into cubes (~1 cup), leaves chopped
1 cup masoor dal (red lentil)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons sambar powder (MTR brand is good if you don’t have homemade)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons frozen fresh coconut (optional)
salt to taste

For tempering oil:
2 tablespoons oil or ghee (clarified butter)
pinch of asafetida or hing
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1 dried red chili (broken into pieces by hand)
1/2 red onion

Wash masoor dal until water is clear, drain and set aside.

Add drained lentil and 6 cups of water to pot. Bring to a boil under medium/high heat and then leave at medium heat. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Once foam stops, add turmeric and kohlrabi pieces and mix up. The dal and vegetables take about 30 minutes to cook. The lentils should be fallen apart and the kohlrabi should be soft. At this point, add in the kohlrabi leaves.

Add sambar powder and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Should get a golden-like residue forming on the surface. Add salt to your taste, tamarind and coconut and mix well. Make sure the tamarind is completely dissolved. You can also at this time, add more water depending on your preference of thickness. Cook for a few more minutes. Turn off heat.

In a separate small pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or oil and put in asafetida and black mustard seeds. Wait for the seeds to pop a bit. To help this happen, you can put a lid over the pan. Once its popped for a few seconds, turn the heat down a little and put the curry leaves and broken up chilis. Coat the leaves and chili with the oil and fry for a few seconds. Add in the chopped onions and fry for 10 minutes on low heat. The onions should be translucent and give off a nice fragrance. Pour this mixture over the lentils and vegetables and mix well.

You can serve with rice and some yogurt on the side.

Red Currant Chitranna

1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup red currants, few more for garnish
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon oil + 1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup raw peanuts
pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 dried red chili, broken in two (alternative is chopped green chilis which adds more spice)
4 fresh curry leaves
juice of 1 lemon
handful frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
cilantro for garnish
salt

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on stove with water and turmeric mixed in. To make the rice not stick I sometimes add a little oil. Set cooked rice aside.

In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil and put in peanuts under medium heat. Fry peanuts until they are fragrant and turn golden brown. Put peanuts aside. (They will get crunchier as they sit out.)

In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil under medium heat. To test the oil is hot put in a couple mustard seeds and they should start sizzling. Then add the rest of the mustard seeds and hing. Shake up the pot and cover (this is so the mustard seeds don’t pop out of the pan and burn you!) Once they pop for a few seconds, add the dried red chili and curry leaves (rub leaves between your hands a little before putting in pan to release oils). Coat them with oil and fry for a few seconds. Add the rice into the wok and mix well. Fry for a few minutes.

Turn the heat off and mix in the lemon juice and coconut. Gently mix in the peanuts, red currants and salt to your taste. Garnish with cilantro, few more currants and serve with yogurt raita.

Paneer-Stuffed Mini Peppers with Green Pea Chutney

Paneer Stir-Fry
4 oz. paneer cheese, crumbled or cubed small
1 tablespoon oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 inch ginger piece, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Indian green chills (can sub in Serranos or jalapeño)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste

Green Pea Chutney
1/3 cup blanched green peas or thawed out frozen peas
3 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
squeeze of lemon
salt to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet pan.

In a pan under medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot add in cumin seeds. When seeds start to brown after a few seconds, add in shallot. Turn the heat to medium and cook until translucent, a few minutes. Then add the garlic, green chili and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds, mixing about until fragrant. Add in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala and mix well. Fry for a few seconds. If pan is getting dry, can add in a few drops of water. Add in the paneer cheese and mix well. Sauté paneer for few minutes. Add salt to taste and turn off heat.

Layer the halved sweet mini peppers on a greased cookie sheet pan. With a teaspoon, fill the pepper halves with paneer stir-fry. Place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are soft and drying out a little on top.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, add in the peas, cilantro and yogurt. Puree and transfer to a bowl. Add squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.

Line a plate with the baked peppers and drizzle the green peas chutney on top. Serve immediately.

Rainbow Chard and Lentils

1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
4-5 cups water
2 tablespoons mustard oil
1-2 green scallions, chopped
1 bunch rainbow or swiss chard, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (deggi mirch), or to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon

Rinse dal thoroughly using a fine-meshed sieve. Place in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil. Skim foam off the top until it no longer appears. Add turmeric powder and mix well. Simmer dal on medium-low, partly covered for 35-40 minutes or until dal is falling apart. Add additional water for desired consistency. Add salt to taste. If you like a smoother consistency, blend dal with an immersion blender.

In a frying pan over medium heat, add in mustard oil. When oil starts to shimmer, add in cumin seeds and nigella seeds. When the cumin seeds start to brown, add in the coriander powder and paprika. Stir the spices around well in the oil until they are aromatic, a few seconds. Quickly add in the cut scallions (reserving a few green pieces for garnish) and sautee until softened, 1 minute. Next add in the cut rainbow chard and salt to taste. Sautee until chard leaves start to wilt. Turn off stove and pour the sauteed leaves and onions onto the dal. Mix in lemon juice. Taste for sourness and add more lemon juice accordingly. Garnish with remaining cut scallions.

Serve over rice with yogurt and Brooklyn Delhi achaar.