Thai Chicken Meatball Soup

1 (4-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 jalapeño
2 pounds ground chicken
1 large bunch cilantro, leaves and stems finely chopped, a few whole leaves reserved for serving
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil, plus more as needed
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
5 ounces baby spinach
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
Steamed white or brown rice, for serving

Using the small holes of a box grater, or a Microplane, grate the ginger, garlic and jalapeño (or finely chop them by hand). Transfer half to a large bowl and set the rest aside. To the large bowl, add the chicken, finely chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons fish sauce and 1 teaspoon salt. Use your hands or a fork to fully combine but do not overmix.

Use your hands or an ice cream scoop to form 2-inch meatballs (about 2 ounces each). In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, flipping halfway through, until golden brown on two sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat, adding oil as needed.

Once all the meatballs are browned and out of the pot, if the oil is burned, wipe it out and add a bit more to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium, add the reserved ginger mixture and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs and any juices from the plate, and simmer until the flavors come together and the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove from heat, and stir in the spinach and lime juice. Divide rice among bowls, then top with meatballs, broth and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

Chicken Miso Meatballs and Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sweet white miso
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely crushed Ritz crackers (12 crackers)
1 pound ground chicken

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, and use your hands to gently mix. The mixture will be very sticky. Lightly wet your hands to prevent sticking during mixing and shaping meatballs.

Shape the meat into 12 golf-ball-size rounds (about 2 inches in diameter), and arrange on a greased rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Leftover meatballs freeze well; simply reheat in the oven at 375 degrees until warmed through (about 20 minutes).

For a quick dipping sauce, combine 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part distilled white vinegar, and add sliced scallions, or red-pepper flakes, if you like heat.

Pork and Ricotta Meatballs (and a Meatball Ratio)

½ cup/4 ounces whole-milk ricotta
½ cup/2 ounces grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
½ cup plain dry bread crumbs
1 pound ground pork

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and use your hands to gently mix.
Shape the meat into 12 equally sized balls (about 2 1/4 inches in diameter). Arrange on a greased rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Leftover meatballs freeze well; simply reheat in the oven at 375 degrees until warmed through (about 20 minutes).


Serve these plain, with a marinara sauce for dipping, or simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce for serving over spaghetti.

Ground chicken or turkey is a great alternative and will yield cheesier tasting meatballs.

Reader comments:

The ratio here is 10 parts mince to 2 parts ricotta and 1 part parmesan, plus one egg and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (fresh) per 500g (about one pound) of mixture.

Some people found these a little salty and cut the salt in half.

Added garlic, basil, oregano, majorum to give a bit more flavor.

Added grated garlic and grated onion. After forming into balls, I refrigerated for 45 minutes, baked 20 minutes at 400 degrees then simmered gently in sauce 10 minutes. Served over faro, great tender and light meatballs,

Cook meatballs on a rack over foil.

Cucumber-Tomato Salad with Seared Halloumi

1 pound slightly stale sourdough or country bread, thickly sliced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

4 to 5 cups cucumber chunks, preferably thin-skinned, such as Kirby or Persian
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved, or ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
8 to 12 ounces halloumi or bread cheese
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion or scallions, plus more to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint or basil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more as needed

Make the croutons: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut each slice of bread into 1-inch-wide strips. Tear each strip into 1-inch pieces, removing the crust as you go if it is very thick. Transfer to a large baking sheet (or use 2 sheets, if necessary to prevent crowding). Drizzle with olive oil and toss until evenly coated.

Bake until golden brown and crunchy on the outside, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet and turning the croutons halfway through so they brown evenly, and checking them every few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with a light sprinkling of salt, if needed. Let cool on the baking sheet.

Make the salad: In a colander in the sink, toss the cucumbers with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place a bag of ice cubes or an ice pack on top to chill and firm the cucumbers. Let drain while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Slice the halloumi about 1/4-inch thick, then cut into bite-size strips. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and combine with 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a small bowl to steep.

Pour off excess liquid from the bowl holding the tomatoes. Add drained cucumbers, red onion or scallions, fresh herbs and 2 tablespoons vinegar to tomatoes and toss well. Remove and discard the garlic cloves from the extra-virgin olive oil, add the oil to tomatoes and mix well. (If desired, the salad can be made up until this point and refrigerated for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Drain off excess liquid in the bottom of the bowl before proceeding.)

When ready to serve, add about half the croutons to the salad and toss so they can absorb the liquid. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar.
Cook the halloumi: Line a plate with paper towels and lightly coat a nonstick skillet with extra-virgin olive oil. Heat oil over medium-high until rippling. Working in batches, cook the halloumi strips on both sides until golden-brown and crusty, about 1 minute per side. Remove to the plate to drain.

Taste and add more croutons to salad as desired. (If there are too many, the salad will be starchy; too few, and it will be wet.) At the last minute, toss in the halloumi, add another good glug of extra-virgin olive oil, mix gently and serve immediately. (If desired, transfer to a clean bowl or platter for serving.)

Charleston Red Rice

Nonstick cooking spray
6 bacon slices
1 medium Vidalia or other sweet, Spanish or yellow onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups long-grain or Carolina gold rice, rinsed until water runs clear
1 (14-ounce) can tomato purée
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of ground cayenne
Parsley leaves, for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large (12-inch) heavy skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the bacon to paper towels to drain, leaving behind drippings. Crumble the bacon and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the chopped onion, celery, bell pepper and 1 teaspoon salt, and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, another 30 seconds.

To the skillet, add the rinsed rice. Stir and toast the rice for 30 seconds. Add the crumbled bacon, tomato purée, stock, hot sauce, Cajun seasoning, sugar, pepper and cayenne.

Bring the rice and vegetables to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt, if needed.

Carefully transfer ingredients to the greased baking dish. Cover the baking dish tightly with foil, and bake until the rice is tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Check the rice after about 30 minutes to make sure all the liquid is absorbed, and the rice is tender. (If it’s too dry or not cooked all the way through, add a few tablespoons of water or stock at a time, if necessary, and cook a little longer.) Fluff with a fork before serving and garnish with parsley leaves.

Coconut Milk Rice

2 cups rice (any fragrant rice)
1 1/2 cup coconut milk or (1 cup coconut chopped or grated + 1 ½ cup water)
2 cups Water (adjust as needed, you can use 1/4 cup more)
2 tsp ginger grated or crushed or paste or ginger garlic paste
1 to 2 green chili slit
1 medium carrots chopped (optional)
1 cup green peas frozen or fresh (optional)
6 beans chopped (optional)
2 tbsp oil , Ghee or butter
Salt as needed
Spices for coconut milk rice
1 bay leaf or tej patta
4 cardamoms or green cardamoms
6 cloves or laung
2 inch cinnamon piece or dalchini
1 tsp cumin or jeera
optional for garnish
10 cashews
4 tbsp Grated coconut or coconut flakes

Wash and soak rice for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Optional – Skip this step if you are using store bought coconut milk. Blend chopped coconut pieces with 1 1/2 cup water. Filter to extract the milk and use 1 1/2 coconut milk in the recipe.

Add ghee or butter to a cooker or pot. Fry cashews until golden. You can set aside if you like crunchy cashews.

To the same pan, add spices and fry till they turn fragrant. Add ginger paste and fry until it smells fragrant.

Add slit green chili, chopped vegetables and fry for 2 to 3 mins.
Pour the coconut milk along with the water and add salt. Taste and check the salt.

When the coconut milk begins to boil, add rice and mix well.

Cover and cook until fully done on a medium flame.

Little water can be sprinkled if rice is still not cooked well. If cooking in a pressure cooker, allow to whistle once.

Allow the coconut milk rice to rest for 15 mins then fluff it up with a fork.

Toast the coconut until golden and garnish it over the rice. You can also garnish with cashews.

South Indian Coconut Rice (Thengai Sadam)

1 cup uncooked rice (any kind, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice)
1 to 1 1/2 cup coconut grated (fresh or frozen) (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
1 to 2 green chili (slit or chopped)
1 dried red chili (broken to 2 pieces) (optional)
2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (optional)
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 tablespoon chana dal (bengal gram)
1/2 tablespoon urad dal (skinned split black lentils)
1 teaspoon ginger (fine chopped)
12 to 15 cashewnuts or peanuts

Wash rice at least thrice and drain the water. If using basmati rice, soak it for 20 to 30 mins.

To cook rice in pot, bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil and add the rice. Cook covered on a low heat until fully done but not mushy.

To pressure cook basmat rice, pour 1¾ cups water & pressure cook for 1 whistle. To pressure cook normal rice, pour 2 cups & pressure cook for 2 whistles. The rice must be grainy and not mushy. When the pressure releases, open the lid.

Fluff up the cooked rice with a fork and cool completely.

Slit the green chilies, fine chop ginger, and grate the coconut. If using frozen coconut, break up the lumps and loosen the coconut.

Making coconut rice:

Pour 2 tablespoons ghee or oil to a pan and heat it.

Fry cashews or peanuts until golden. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilli, chana dal and urad dal. Saute them and fry until the dals turn golden and aromatic.
Then add ginger, slit green chilli & curry leaves. Saute for 30 to 60 seconds until the curry leaves turn crisp. Add hing.

Optional – Quickly pour 2 to 3 tablespoons water to the pan. This will soften the dals and bring out the flavors of the ginger and curry leaves. If you want your dal to be very soft, then you can add little more water. Cook until all of the water evaporates.
Then add fresh coconut and sprinkle salt on it. Then add rice. Off the heat. If using frozen coconut, then saute the coconut a bit until it becomes hot. Then add the rice.

Mix well and taste test. Add more salt if needed. Serve coconut rice with a simple curry or plain yogurt.

Chinese Spicy Beef Salad

For the beef & marinade:
12 ounces flank steak (partially frozen; can also use chuck)
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rest of the dish:
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
1 Thai bird chili (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons Sichuan chili flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/4 cup cilantro (leaves and stems, roughly chopped)

Very thinly slice flank steak against the grain (it should be partially frozen to make this easier), and add it to a medium bowl. Add the water, cornstarch, vegetable oil, Shaoxing wine, baking soda, and salt. Mix well, and marinate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the beef, and blanch for 45 seconds to 1 minute, just until it turns mostly opaque (it’s ok if it’s still a little pale pink in spots). Drain well and transfer the beef to a mixing bowl.

Add the garlic, chili, sugar, sesame seeds, and Sichuan chili flakes to the beef in little piles next to each other. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a small pan, and pour over the garlic, chili, and sesame seeds.

Add the vinegar, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and cilantro. Toss and serve.

Garlic Broccoli

4 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
5 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon shaoxing wine
½ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Wash the broccoli and set aside. Make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the water and use a spoon to stir until completely dissolved. Mince the garlic.

Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil in your wok and add the broccoli. Blanch for a minute, drain, and put the broccoli into cold water to stop the cooking process.

Heat the wok over high heat. Once the wok is very hot, add the oil, garlic, broccoli, and wine. Stir fry for a minute and pour in the chicken stock. Let the mixture come to a boil, which should be quick since the heat is so high.

Add salt, white pepper, and sesame oil and give it another quick stir. Now make sure your cornstarch slurry is still well-mixed as the water tends to separate after some time. Stir in half of the slurry and let the sauce cook and thicken until it coats the back of a spoon. Add more slurry if it’s not thick enough. Plate and serve hot!

Chinese restaurants blanch the broccoli first because blanching cooks the broccoli faster and make the last step of stir frying and finishing much faster. The sauce also ends up cleaner in flavor. But you can also skip the blanching and cover your wok after adding the chicken stock (add a little extra stock or water to steam it). Then just let the broccoli steam in the covered wok for an extra few minutes, depending upon how crisp you like your broccoli.

Garlic Baby Bok Choy

1 pound baby bok choy (450g)
2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic (minced)
salt and white pepper (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon sugar

Trim the bottoms off of each bundle of bok choy, and split them in half or quarters. Just make sure all of the pieces are relatively uniform so they cook evenly. You can leave them whole if they’re very small and tender.

Wash thoroughly with cold water two to three times. These days, we’re never too cautious about making sure all of the dirt and pesticides are rinsed away. The best method is to use a large basin or sink to rinse and swirl around the vegetables letting them soak for a few minutes before draining and washing again. Shake off the excess water after the final rinse and transfer to a colander to drain. It is important to drain the vegetables well since these veggies will release quite a bit of water during the cooking process.

Heat the wok over high heat until smoking, and add 2 tablespoons oil. Swirl around the oil so the wok is coated. Add all of the garlic and immediately add the bok choy. Move quickly to stir and sauté the greens in the oil and garlic. Stir quickly so you don’t burn the garlic!

Use a folding motion to turn the vegetables or use tongs if that is easier. Once the vegetables begin to wilt, about 30 seconds, add salt, pepper, and sugar. How long you cook them from here is all personal preference.

Egg Drop Soup

4 cups chicken stock (about 1 liter, organic or homemade preferred!)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (Or 5 drops yellow food coloring. Optional, but if you want “the look…”)
3 tablespoons cornstarch (mixed with 1/3 cup water)
3 eggs (lightly beaten)
1 scallion (chopped)

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a medium soup pot. Stir in the sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Add in the turmeric or 5 drops of yellow food coloring, if using. This will give the soup that rich restaurant-style yellow color, but it is optional. Taste the soup, and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Next add the cornstarch and water mixture. Make sure the cornstarch and water is mixed well, as the cornstarch settles very quickly. Stir the soup continuously as you drizzle in the slurry, or you’ll get clumps of cooked starch in your soup. Use more or less starch if you like a thicker or thinner soup. You can also add the starch in a couple small batches, let the soup simmer for a couple of minutes, then check to see if the consistency is to your liking.

Now we’re ready for the most exciting part: the egg. This recipe calls for the egg to be lightly beaten, which results in both white and yellow egg swirls. The speed at which you stir the soup when adding the egg also determines whether you get large “egg flowers” or small egg flowers (i.e. swirly bits of egg). Use a ladle to stir the soup in a circular motion, and slowly drizzle in the egg until you have added it all.

Ladle the soup into bowls, top with scallions, and serve!

Gochujang-Glazed Eggplant With Fried Scallions

1 pound Asian eggplant (about 3 large; preferably Korean, or Chinese or Japanese), halved lengthwise and cut into 4- to 5-inch segments
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons gochujang
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 packed teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
1/2 cup olive oil
4 scallions, trimmed, cut into 3-inch segments, then very thinly sliced lengthwise, white and green parts separated

Place the eggplant in a colander set inside a large bowl or the sink. Sprinkle with the salt, toss to combine and let sit for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the gochujang, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil and garlic. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
To a large nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and the white parts of the scallions. Turn the heat to medium and fry the scallions, stirring often, until crispy and evenly browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried scallions onto a paper towel.

Reserve a small handful of raw scallion greens for garnish, then fry the remaining scallion greens in the oil until crispy and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer fried scallion greens onto a paper towel.

Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully pour the hot scallion oil into a glass container or measuring cup.

After the 30 minutes of salting, dry the eggplant segments with a paper towel. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the reserved scallion oil.

When the oil starts to shimmer and you see a wisp of smoke, add half the eggplant, cut sides down, and fry until browned and starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip once and cook another minute on the other side. Transfer to a plate, add 2 more tablespoons of scallion oil back to the pan, and repeat to fry the second batch of eggplants. (If you are lucky enough to have any scallion oil left, use it to fry eggs or to dress a salad.)

Finally, sauce the eggplants: Add the first batch of eggplants back to the pan alongside the second batch. Reduce the heat to medium-low and pour the reserved gochujang sauce over the eggplants. Toss until evenly coated and the gochujang starts to caramelize, about 1 minute.

Plate the eggplants on a large platter and garnish with the fried scallions and the reserved raw scallion greens. Serve immediately. (To store for later, transfer to a resealable container and keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. This dish tastes great cold, straight out of the fridge, or at room temperature.)

Nepali Aloo

3 medium potatoes chopped this dish is usually made with baby potatoes
3 serano peppers chillies sliced into thin long slices
2 inch ginger sliced into thin long slices
5 cloves garlic sliced into thin long slices
2 teaspoons vinegar or more for a more sour taste
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 cup oil to fry
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Chop the potatoes and shallow or deep fry them.

Fry the sliced chillies, ginger and garlic.

In a large pan with a little oil on medium heat, add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Add the potatoes, chillies, ginger, garlic, turmeric and salt and mix well.

add in the vinegar and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Patta Gobi Chile (Cabbage and Chickpeas)

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
pinch of asofetida
1 bay leaf
1 dried red chilli
2 teaspoons oil
1 serrano pepper chopped thinly
1 inch ginger chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 green cabbage chopped
16 oz can garbanzo beans strained
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 cup cilantro leaves for garnish

In a large pan, heat the oil on medium heat till hot.

Add in the mustard seeds and let sputter.

Add in the cumin seeds, coriander powder, asofetida and turmeric and let roast for a minute.

Add in the red chilli, bay leaf, serano pepper, ginger and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add in the strained garbanzo beans and mix well.

Cook covered on medium heat for 5 minutes.

Mix well again and let cook for another 3 minutes.

Add in the chopped cabbage and salt and mix well.

Cook on medium low heat, covered for 10 minutes.

Stir it well and check after another 10 minutes if the cabbage is soft enough.

Cook for another 10 minutes.

Garnish it with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with rotis or naan and a Garlic Papad!

Adraki Gobi Aloo (Cauliflower and Potatoes with Ginger)

1/2 medium cauliflower 2+ cups
2 medium white potatoes chopped into small cubes
1 Serrano chili pepper or to taste
2 inch ginger chopped use less if you dont like ginger
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric haldi
pinch of asafetida hing
salt to taste 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 cup cilantro leaves chopped
1 Tablespoon oil

In a pan, add oil and heat it at medium heat for 2 minutes.
Add in cumin seeds and wait until they start sputtering.

Add in the asafetida(hing), coriander powder and turmeric and mix well.

Add in the chopped ginger, garlic and serrano pepper and let them cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the potatoes chopped into small pieces and mix well and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.

Break the cauliflower into florets and chop some of the bigger florets to form smaller pieces.

Add in the cauliflower florets and salt and mix well.

Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 15-20 minutes stirring every 4-5 minutes.

Potatoes should be soft when done.

Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with rotis or Naan.

Edamame Kara Kuzambu (South Indian Edamame Curry)

2 teaspoons safflower or any neutral oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon urad dal split black gram, or use petite yellow lentils
10 curry leaves coarsely chopped
Pinch asafetida omit to make gluten-free
1/2 cup chopped red onion or pearl onions
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon sambhar powder or use 2 teaspoons ground coriander *
1 teaspoon tamarind paste concentrate
3/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
1 1/2 cups edamame fresh or thawed if frozen, or other fresh or cooked beans like fava beans, butter beans, or lima beans
3/4 cup coconut milk canned or culinary
1 cup or more water
3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds, and the urad dal. Cook until the seeds start to sizzle and the urad dal changes color, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry leaves and asafetida.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomato, sambhar powder, tamarind, and cayenne, and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are saucy, 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt. Cover and cook until the edamame are tender, about 25 minutes. Taster and adjust salt, heat (cayenne), tang (add lemon juice if needed). For thinner curry, add more water and bring to a boil. Serve hot with Dosa crepes, idli rice cakes or over rice.

Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot: Follow steps 1 to 3 on saute mode. Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt and cook for 6 to 8 minutes at high pressure. Natural release. Taste and adjust salt, tang and heat.

* Sambhar powder is a South Indian spice blend of coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, red chilies, urad dal and toor dal. It is easily available in Indian stores or online. Or find the recipe in my cookbook.

Kolhapuri Vegetables (Vegetables in Sesame Coconut Tomato Sauce)

Kolhapuri Masala:
1 tsp Coriander Seeds
2 tsp Sesame seeds
1/2 tsp Poppy seeds
1/2 tsp Black pepper corns
1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 dried red chilies cayenne or arbol for hot and california red or 1-2 guajillo for mild
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp or more paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 medium onion roughly chopped
2 tomatoes roughly chopped
1 inch ginger
5 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups cauliflower
1.5 cups sweet potato
1.5 to 2 cups other veggies carrots green beans, green peas etc
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1.5 to 2 cups water
salt cayenne to preference

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add all ingredients coriander seeds through cumin and roast for 2 to 3 minutes or until they start to change color. Add the chilies and coconut and continue to roast for a minute or until coconut starts to change color. Take off heat and mix in the nutmeg, paprika and cinnamon. Cool slightly and grind to a coarse powder in a spice grinder or small blender.

Add the sauce ingredients to a blender along with the ground spice mixture from above. Add a tbsp or so water and blend until smooth.

Heat 1 tsp oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the blended sauce mixture and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until the garlic doesnt smell raw and the sauce thickens and changes color. Stir occasionally. You can store this sauce to use later at this point(in the fridge for upto 3 days).

Meanwhile, combine the veggies except bell pepper, in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Add 1/2 tsp salt and cayenne to preference. Cover partially and Cook over medium hot until the veggies are al dente. (15 to 20 minutes). Fold in the bell pepper and peas in the last 5 mins. Add greens or cooked beans at this point if using.

Combine the cooked sauce mixture from Step 3 and cooked veggies and mix well. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes or until desired consistency. Mash some of the veggies. Taste and adjust slat and heat and mix in. Garnish with cilantro and lemon and serve with crackers, toasted dinner rolls, garlic bread or flatbread.

Instant Pot:
Make the sauce on saute mode or in a separate skillet (step 1 to 3 above). Once the sauce is cooked, combine the sauce, chopped veggies, 1/2 to 3/4 tsp salt with 1 to 1.5 cups of water and Pressure cook for 14 to 15 minutes (manual) in an Instant pot or electric pressure cooker , Or 6 to 7 mins in a Stove top pressure cooker once the pressure has reached. Let the pressure release naturally, open, taste and adjust salt, garnish with cilantro and lemon. If there is too much liquid, cook on saute for a few mins to reduce.

For added protein, add cooked chickpeas or other beans along with the veggies when combining with the sauce.

For deeper flavor in the masala blend, add a generous pinch of ground cardamom and cloves as well.

Use 2 to 3 tbsp of premade Kolhapuri spice blend.

Make ahead: Make the sauce till step 3 and store refrigerated. Pre cook the veggies by blanching or roasting until al dente. To serving, toss the veggies into the sauce and simmer for 7 to 8 mins. Add a bit of water if needed. Or to serve, combine the stored cooked sauce, veggies, 1 cup water in an instant pot and cook for 14 mins on manual.

Charchari (Bengali Mixed Vegetables)

1.5 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp or more turmeric
1/4 cup or more water
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup chopped potato
1/2 to 1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup chopped pumpkin or squash or sweet potato
1/2 cup green peas fresh or thawed if frozen
1/2 tsp or more salt
1 tsp oil
1 tsp Panch Phoron Or use 1/4 tsp each of cumin seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, and 1/8 tsp each of fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds
1/8 tsp asafetida omit to make gluten-free or use certified gluten-free asafetida
2 green chills chopped
1/4 to 1/2 tsp sugar or other sweetener to taste

Mix the turmeric and mustard powder in 1/4 cup water and add to a skillet over medium heat. Add the veggies except peas to the skillet and mix. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Add peas, salt, mix, Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the tempering. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add panch phoron spices and let the spices start to pop. 2 mins. (use a lid if the spices pop out too much).

Add asafetida and green chilies and cook for a minute or until the chilies are golden.

Add this tempering to the skillet with cooking veggies and mix in well. Add in sugar and mix. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Add some cayenne if needed for heat. Add a splash of water if the veggies are sticking. Cover and cook for another few minutes or until the veggies are done to preference. Cook uncovered if too wet.

Garnish with cilantro and lemon (optional). Serve as a side in Indian meal or in a bowl with Dal and rice or flatbread.

Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot: Add the first 7 ingredients and 1/4 tsp salt to a pressure cooker/IP and cook at manual low pressure for 4 mins. Meanwhile, make the tempering(steps 3 and 4). Quick release, add the tempering, 1/4 tsp salt and peas and saute for a few minutes. Taste and adjust salt and heat.

Basic Kachumber Salad

1 small onion finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped small
1 large cucumber chopped small
4-5 red radishes chopped small (optional)
1 green chili finely chopped
1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp or more salt
1/4 tsp or more freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp or more cayenne pure red chili powder
1 tsp or more freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

Chop the onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, wash and drain well.

Add the veggies and the rest of the ingredients to a bowl. Taste and adjust salt and heat. Serve.


To reduce the strong sharp onion flavor, soak the chopped onion in water for 15 minutes. Drain and then use.

To reduce spiciness, seed peppers


Add 2 tbsp of chopped mint.

Add a generous pinch of kala namak (Indian Sulfur black salt) or 1/4 tsp or more chaat masala to taste.

Add vinegar to taste instead of lemon juice.

Add 1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin or coriander powder.

Add 1/2 cup or more yogurt and 1/2 tsp ground cumin and mix in to make raita kind of yogurt dip.

8-Vegetable Masala Subzi

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powder powder the fenugreek seeds and use
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/3 tsp for less heat
1/2 tsp each ground cumin ,coriander, turmeric, mustard
1/3 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 to 1/2 tsp cayenne or use some paprika and some cayenne
1 tsp oil
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 cups of chopped veggies such as cauliflower carrots, green beans, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage etc
3/4 tsp salt less or more to taste
1/3 cup green peas thawed if frozen
cilantro and lemon for garnish

Mix the spices and bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until golden. Add the spice mix and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the veggies except peas, salt and toss well to coat. Add a splash of water. Cover and cook for 12 minutes.

Toss well, add peas and mix in. Taste and adjust salt and heat.

Cover and cook for another 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender to preference.

Garnish with cilantro and lemon. Serve with dal and rice/flatbread

Variation: add a chopped tomato after Step 2 and cook for 2 minutes, then add veggies.

Add 1 to 1.5 cup of chickpeas or beans at step 3 along with the veggies. Double all the spices.

8 Spice Mix: Mix equal quantities( 1 Tbsp) of ground fenugreek, black pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne (or half paprika and half cayenne) and store for spicing up the veggies to make a stir fry or roasted veggies.

Add Chickpeas: Add 1 to 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas to the stir fry for filling meal. Double the spices.

Instant Pot: Follow Step 1 and 2 in saute mode, add veggies and splash of water and salt. Cook on Manual for 1 minute. Quick Release, fold in the peas, adjust salt. Close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. If the veggies are not cooked, ook on saute for a few minutes. Garnish and serve.