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.

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.

Cherry Almond Dutch Baby

3 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (more or less to taste)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, well-toasted
Powdered sugar
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 425°F.

Whisk egg, sugar, flour, milk, extract and salt together until the batter is blended but lumpy; you can also do this in a blender.

In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan, melt butter.

Add cherries and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes.

Pour in batter and transfer to heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and rumpled-looking. (Err on the side of more cooking time with these pancakes, because the longer, within a range, they cook, the more rumpled and golden they get.)

Remove pancake from oven and quickly scatter with toasted almonds, dust with powdered sugar and squeeze lemon juice over. Serve in wedges, piping hot.

Stir-Fried Long Beans

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 inch ginger (minced) (30g)
2 red chilies (seeded and cut into pieces)
2 tbsp fermented soy beans (drained and minced)
1 tsp sugar
1 lb long beans (cut into 2 inch lengths) (450g)
1/4=cup water (60mL)

Heat a wok or large fry pan. Add vegetable oil and swirl it around to coat the wok or fry pan.

Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 20 seconds. Then add red chilies and sauté for another 20 seconds.

Add fermented soy beans and sugar. Continue to stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Add prepared long beans and water. Stir fry for another 5 minutes or until long beans are tender and sauce has thicken.

Turn off stove and transfer vegetables to a serving dish.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Ingredients

2 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp water
2 cups cream

Put berries and sugar and water in a pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved and blueberries soft and mushy. Take off heat and let cool to room temperature. Use hand mixer to blend until smooth.

Add in cream and stir.

Cover and chill til very cold and pour mixture into your ice cream machine and follow machine instructions.

Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Steamed Chinese Eggplant

3 chinese eggplants
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 small red chilis, chopped (optional)
3 tbsp of oil
2 tbsp spring onions

Marinade

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp of sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp rice vinegar

Wash and cut the eggplants to 2 1/2 inch lengths, discarding the stems. Place eggplants into steamer and steam for 25-30 minutes until really soft. Cut or tear each piece into bite sized shreds (I use a tong to grab the hot egglants and a knife to slice thru). Pile attractively into serving dish.

Mix soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and rice vinegar in a bowl. Heat oil in wok and fry the garlic and chilis (if using) over medium heat until garlic is a golden brown. Carefully pour the garlic/chili/hot oil into the marinade. Stir until well mixed. Pour sauce over the eggplants, sprinkle with spring onion and serve.

Chipotle Lime Grilled Chicken

2 – 2.5 lbs skin on chicken thighs deboned

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1 jalapeño chopped finely
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder or more to taste
5 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
Lime wedges for serving

Leave the skin on the chicken thighs but remove the bones by cutting two slits along the sides of the bone. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

In a big bowl, whisk all the Marinade ingredients until well combined. Save some of the Marinade for basting. Add chicken to the Marinade, make sure to stir and coat the chicken evenly. Marinate for at least 2 hours.

Fire up the grill, brush a little bit of the Marinade plus the garlic, cilantro and jalapeno on top of the chicken and grill them until they turn golden brown and charred on both sides. Serve immediately with some fresh lime wedges.

Recipe Notes
You may cook the chicken in an oven at 400F for about 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown and charred. You may also cook the chicken on stovetop using a regular skillet or cast-iron grilled pan.

Perkedel Jagung (Bakwan Jadung – Indonesian Corn Fritters)

500 gr sweet corn kernels
6 oz shrimps cleaned, deveined and finely minced
80 gr rice flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp salt
1 Thai chili
Oil for deep-frying

AROMATICS:
2 shallots peeled
2 garlic peeled
3 Tbsp chopped Chinese celery leaves

Place 1/2 of the corn in a food processor along with the shrimp, shallots and garlic and pulse few times until finely chopped.

Mix the chopped corn mixtures along with the other half of the corn kernels, eggs, chili, celery leaves, flour, salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to mix everything.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil for frying. Lower the heat to medium and then drop one or two spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. You may want to fry one first and then taste to see if you need to add more salt (as you can’t taste the “raw” mixture) and adjust by adding more salt if needed before frying more.

You can try to use egg rings if you have some to help hold the round shape, but you really don’t have to. If you use them, fill the ring with the corn mixture and then use the back of the spoon to kinda smooth it out to make sure there’s no “hole” so your bakwan jagung won’t fall apart later. Once the fritter is golden brown at the bottom, you can remove the ring and flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.

Continue with the rest of the mixture. You can serve with any of your favorite sweet chili sauce or just eat them as is.

Green Beans and Bean Threads

1 lb green beans trimmed both ends and remove tough fibers, cut into 2-inch sections
2 oz minced lean pork or any meat you like I used left over sausages
2 bundles of bean thread noodles/vermicelli noodles soak in cold water to let it soften and then cut into shorter pieces
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
3 Tbsp of canola oil

MARINADE:
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt to season
1 cup water
Dash of sesame oil

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and quickly submerge into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of canola oil and stir fry the minced pork and use the spatula to break up the meat, toss in chopped spring onion, add dark soy sauce, salt and water. Lastly add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the vermicelli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to reduce the gravy if you prefer. Lastly drizzle with some sesame oil.

Note on soaking vermicelli: If you want the vermicelli to further soak up the flavors and sauce of the dish you are cooking it in, soak it in cold water. If you are not cooking it in a sauce, soak it in warm water instead to allow it to swell more before cooking.

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.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Blueberries

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
6 cups fresh spinach leaves (torn)
2 cups fresh strawberries (rinsed, dried, hulled)
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the Red Wine Vinaigrette:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

In a large bowl, toss spinach with sesame seeds. Prepare strawberries, cutting large ones in half. Add strawberries to the spinach mixture. Cover and refrigerate.

Combine dressing ingredients in a screw-top jar or shaker; shake well then refrigerate to chill.

To serve, pour chilled dressing over strawberry and spinach salad mixture in a bowl and toss gently to distribute well.