Basic Steamed Eggs

3 eggs
Water (same volume as eggs)
Vegetable or chicken stock (same volume as eggs)
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Chopped scallion

Crack 3 eggs in a liquid measuring cup and note the volume.

Pour the eggs into a large bowl, add salt, and beat for at least 1 minute.

Now measure out water at the same volume as the eggs, and add it to the bowl.

Do the same with the broth. Whisk in the sesame oil, and make sure everything’s well combined.

Place 4 empty ramekins in a steamer over high heat. Be sure the water will not bubble and touch the ramekins during steaming.

Once the water boils, turn the heat down to a slow simmer. Then, divide the egg mixture into the ramekins, pouring it through a fine mesh strainer.

Cover the steamer, turn up the heat to high, and steam for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes have elapsed, shut off the heat but keep the steamer covered. Let stand for 14 minutes

Stir-Fried Green Beans

For the pork & marinade:
8 ounces ground pork (225g, can substitute ground chicken or beef)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ginger (minced)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons oil (divided)
1 pound green beans (450g, chopped to ½-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons garlic (minced)
1/2 red bell pepper (diced finely)
4 red chilies (chopped, optional)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt (a pinch, or to taste)
2 tablespoons water

Combine the ground meat with all the marinade ingredients. Stir until any standing liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Marinate for 15-20 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the chopped green beans. Stir and spread the beans into a single layer. Cook for 30 seconds. Then stir and repeat the spreading step several times until the green beans are slightly charred, wilted, and cooked through. Turn the heat lower if needed to avoid burning. It takes about 5-8 minutes to cook the green beans this way. (To speed up the cooking, add a few drops of water each you stir, to create some steam.) Transfer the cooked green beans to a dish and set aside.

Now add 1 tablespoon oil to the wok, with the heat turned up to high. Add the ground meat and brown it. Don’t stir too much; give the meat a chance to brown and crisp. Once the meat has browned, reduce the heat to medium.

Next, add the garlic, bell pepper and chilies. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in the cooked green beans, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, r, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper, a pinch of salt (to taste), and 2 tablespoons water. With the heat all the way up on high, stir-fry for a final 10-15 seconds and serve.

Dodo (Fried Plantains)

4 medium ripe, deep-yellow plantains (about 2 pounds)
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
Canola or other neutral oil, for frying (about 3 cups)
1 lime, zest removed in strips and julienned, plus 1 tablespoon juice
1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Kosher salt

Cut off the tips of each plantain. Use a sharp knife to create a slit in the skin along the length of each plantain, carefully making sure not to cut into the flesh. Remove and discard the skin by peeling it apart. Slice each plantain in half lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch pieces.

Thinly slice one onion half, then transfer the slices to a medium bowl. Quarter the remaining onion half lengthwise, and pull the layers apart.

In a large, deep skillet or sauté pan, pour 1/2 inch oil and heat over medium. When hot, add the larger onion pieces and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and discard the cooked onion.

Working in batches to avoid crowding, fry the plantains, stirring halfway through, until browned and caramelized at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

While the plantains are frying, toss the sliced onion with the lime juice, red-pepper flakes and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Let marinate, at least 10 minutes.

Toss the fried plantains in the bowl with the pickled onion mixture while still warm. Add the lime zest and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately.

Jollof Rice

FOR THE OBE ATA:
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 red habanero chile, stemmed
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil

FOR THE JOLLOF RICE:
1/2 cup canola or other neutral oil
2 medium red onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
3 cups parboiled long-grain rice (such as Carolina Gold or Uncle Ben’s Original), basmati or jasmine rice (about 1¼ pounds)
5 fresh thyme sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock

Prepare the obe ata: Working in batches if needed, combine all the obe ata ingredients except the canola oil in a blender and purée on high until smooth. The liquid from the can of tomatoes should suffice, but you can add up to 1/4 cup of water if necessary to get the purée going. (You should have about 3 cups of purée.)

Heat the 2 tablespoons canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add the purée and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer until the sauce is slightly reduced by about a third of its original volume, 18 to 20 minutes. (It should make about 2 cups. Obe ata can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for up to 1 month.)

Prepare the rice: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the 1/2 cup canola oil in a large Dutch oven over medium until shimmering, about 1 minute.

Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove half the onions to a plate and set aside.

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste, turmeric and smoked paprika, if using, and toast, stirring occasionally, until turmeric is fragrant and tomato paste has deepened to a dark red color, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the obe ata sauce and bring to a simmer over medium heat. The habanero oils love to disperse in the air, so you may want to turn on your stovetop fan or open a window while simmering the obe ata.

Stir in the rice, thyme and bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the stock and cover with a lid. Transfer the pot to the oven and cook until rice is just tender, 35 minutes.

Remove the pot from the oven and let sit, covered (no peeking) for 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the reserved sautéed onions. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Serve warm.

Burrata with Peaches and Tomatoes

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 large tomatoes cut into pieces
2 large peaches cut into pieces
6 ounces burrata cheese cut into pieces
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

To make the balsamic reduction, pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, swirling the pan occasionally, until reduced to about half of the original amount, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes and peaches on a platter or plate.

Top with burrata cheese chunks and basil.

Drizzle the balsamic reduction over the salad and serve.

Fried Green Tomatoes

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups corn meal
4 green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
Oil, for frying
Buttermilk dressing, for serving

In a large plastic food-storage bag, mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Place the green tomato slices in the bag and shake until well coated.

Beat together the eggs with the buttermilk until well combined. Place the cornmeal on a plate.

Dip the flour-coated green tomatoes into the egg mixture then lightly dredge in the cornmeal. Place the cornmeal-coated tomatoes on a large plate or sheet. Repeat until all are done.

In a large heavy skillet heat 1/2 inch of oil on medium high to 350°F, about 5 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temperature by sticking a wooden spoon into the oil. If it bubbles around the spoon, it should be ready for frying. Line a large plate or sheet with paper towels.

Working in batches, slide the tomatoes into the hot oil and cook for 1 minute then turn and cook for another minute or until golden. Remove with a slotted spatula to drain on the paper-lined plate.

Lightly salt the fried green tomatoes, then serve warm with buttermilk dressing.

Pressure Cooker Grits with Cheese, Jalapeño, and Bacon

4 slices of bacon chopped
2 jalapeño peppers chopped with seeds removed
1 cup stone ground grits
3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese shredded
2 oz cream cheese
Salt to taste

Add bacon to insert. Turn on Sauté function and select “Normal” heat. Allow bacon to sit undisturbed until it gets cooked on one side, about 8 minutes. Then stir your bacon pieces until all pieces are cooked. Remove from insert and place on a paper towel to drain.
Remove excess bacon grease from Instant Pot, leaving about 2 Tbsp.
Add chopped jalapeño to the insert and stir until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add grits and stir for about 10 seconds.
Add water and use wooden spoon to stir up any brown bacon bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in heavy cream and salt.
Press Cancel on your instant Pot. Then select “Pressure Cook” and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes. Once done, allow your Pressure Cooker to natural release for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
Open lid and stir in cheddar cheese and cream cheese.
Allow grits to cool for 5 minutes.
Top with pieces of bacon. Enjoy!

Notes: Remeber 1:3:1. Use 1 part grits, 3 parts water or broth, and 1 part heavy cream to the pressure cooker cycle.
Allow grits to cool for at least 5 minutes once done pressure cooking. This will allow your grits to thicken up to a nice consistency.

Pressure Cooker Grits

2 tablespoons bacon grease or vegetable oil
1 cup stone ground grits
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Add bacon grease or oil to inner pot of Instant Pot. Turn “Saute” mode on. Once hot, add grits and cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add water, half-and-half, salt, and butter. Turn Instant Pot off, place lid on with valve in “sealing” position. Set to Pressure Cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.

Allow a 15 minute Natural Release and then manually release the remaining pressure. Remove lid and stir in cheese. Stir well. Grits will thicken up some as they cool slightly.

Note: Cooking time does not include time for Instant Pot to pressurize. This can take about 10 minutes.

Torn Croutons

1-pound loaf day-old country or sourdough bread
1?3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, as needed

Heat oven to 400 degrees. For more teeth-friendly croutons, remove the crusts from the bread, then cut the loaf into inch-thick slices. Cut each slice into inch-wide strips. Working over a large bowl, tear each strip into inch-size pieces. Alternatively, you can tear croutons directly off the loaf, as long as you get somewhat evenly sized pieces.

Toss croutons with olive oil to coat them evenly, then spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Use a second sheet as needed to prevent crowding, which will entrap steam and keep the croutons from browning.

Toast croutons for about 18 to 22 minutes, checking them after 8 minutes. Rotate the pans, switch their oven positions, and use a metal spatula to turn and rotate the croutons so that they brown evenly. Once they begin to brown, check them every few minutes, continuing to turn and rotate. Some croutons might be done when others still need a few more minutes of baking, so remove them from the tray and let the rest finish cooking. Bake the croutons until they’re golden brown and crunchy on the outside, with just a tiny bit of chew on the inside.

Taste a crouton and adjust the seasoning with a light sprinkling of salt if needed. Let croutons cool in a single layer on the baking sheet. Use immediately or keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To refresh stale croutons, bake for 3 to 4 minutes at 400 degrees.

Tip
To make classic torn croutons, stir 2 cloves finely grated or pounded garlic into the olive oil before dressing the croutons. Toss with 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes before toasting. To make cheesy torn croutons, toss the torn bread with the olive oil, then add 3 ounces (about 1 cup) very finely grated Parmesan and lots of coarsely ground black pepper to the bowl, and toss until combined. Toast as directed above.

Mast-o-Khiar (Persian Cucumber-Yogurt Salad)

1/4 cup black or golden raisins
3 Persian cucumbers (about 1/2 pound)
24 ounces Greek yogurt or labneh (3 cups)
2 tablespoons any combination of finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, tarragon or dill
1 garlic clove, finely grated or pounded into a smooth paste with a pinch of salt
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground or crumbled dried rose petals (optional)
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried dill
3 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted walnut pieces

In a small bowl, submerge the raisins in boiling water to plump for 10 minutes, then drain well.

Remove alternating stripes of peel on cucumbers and trim ends. Dice cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl with raisins, yogurt, fresh herbs, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and, if using, half the rose petals. Using your fingers to break up any large pieces, gently grind the dried mint and dried dill into the bowl. Stir to combine and adjust seasoning with salt as needed.

Just before serving, stir in the walnuts and transfer to serving bowl. Garnish with remaining rose petals, if using. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

Sheveed Polo (Persian Dilled Rice)

1 large bunch dill, trimmed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons dried dill
2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Set aside 1/4 cup of the chopped fresh dill. In a bowl, combine the rest of the fresh dill with the dried dill.

Place the rice, butter and salt in a medium pot. Add 3 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Give it a stir, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 12 minutes. (It’s O.K. to lift the lid to check.)

Fold the dill mixture into the rice. Wrap the lid in a kitchen towel to catch the condensation, ensuring that the kitchen towel is secured up top so it doesn’t catch fire. Firmly place the lid back on the pot.
Cook until the rice is cooked through and fluffy, about 15 minutes. Gently fluff with a spoon, then transfer to a serving platter, scattering the reserved 1/4 cup fresh dill in between spoonfuls of rice.

Salad-e Shirazi (Persian Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Salad)

3 to 4 Persian cucumbers (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 red onion, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons any combination of finely chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil or dill
1 teaspoon dried mint
2 to 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes), plus more as needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt and black

Remove alternating stripes of peel on cucumbers and trim ends. Dice cucumbers into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl with onion and fresh herbs. Using your fingers to break up any large pieces, gently grind the dried mint into the bowl. Remove tomato cores, dice remaining tomatoes into 1/4-inch pieces and add to bowl.

In a small bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking together 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Just before serving, dress vegetables with vinaigrette and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and lime juice as needed. This salad should be bright, crunchy and tart, a nice counterpoint for rich, buttery rice and unctuous stews. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.

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.

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.

Majjige Huli (Cucumber Yogurt Curry)

1-3 green Serrano chilies (to taste based on size and desired “hotness”)
1/2 bunch green coriander leaves washed and cleaned
1/4 cup of a fresh coconut OR 1/3 cup unsweetened desiccated dry coconut
1/4 cup roasted channa dal*
1/8 to 1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2-3/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 red chilies
2 sprigs curry leaves (optional)
3 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1” wide pieces
1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt** (natural style without gelatin or other additives)
Salt to taste***
1 tsp oil for tempering

*You can use chenna dhal soaked in hot water for 15 mins. if you don’t have roasted channa dal.
**The amount of yogurt can be adjusted to taste based on spiciness.
***Cucumber water has salt in it, so taste before adding more salt

Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds, and cut in half again lengthwise. Then cut into 1” wide pieces.

Boil in salted water until tender (about 10-15 mins.). Cover for the last 3-4 minutes. Drain but retain about 1 cup of the water and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a blender container add the following ingredients in the following order: roasted channa dal, coconut, green chilies, coriander leaves, turmeric, cumin seeds, and leaves from 1 sprig of the curry leaves. Now slowly add the cup of cooled cucumber water and blend to a smooth paste – add just enough of the remaining cucumber water as needed to keep the blender blades moving.

Whisk the yogurt to a smooth consistency and add the blended mixture to it. Continue to whisk until well blended. Taste to adjust salt. Add the cooled cucumber pieces and stir to mix.

In hot oil, fry the mustard seeds till they pop (use lid to prevent spattering). Immediately reduce the heat, add curry leaves from the remaining curry leaf sprig and the red chilies. Heat for about 30 seconds. Immediately add to the yogurt mixture and mix well.

This can be served either cold or at room temperature.

Other vegetables that can be used: boiled potatoes; boiled Chinese winter melon (ash gourd); stir fried okra pieces; or stir fried Japanese eggplant.

Chilli Paneer

200 gms Paneer/ Indian cottage cheese chopped into cubes
Oil for frying

for the batter;
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or mild paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp garlic paste
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp water

for the sauce:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp ginger finely chopped
80 gms red onion chopped into cubes
1 medium red or green pepper chopped into cubes
1 green chilli slit lengthwise (deseed if you wish)
1 1/2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce or kecap manis
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Sliver of ginger and chilli for garnish

Heat couple of inches of oil in a wide sauce pan or a wok. Mix the water with all the batter ingredients in a bowl you want a sticky thick paste like consistency. Toss the paneer cubes in the bowl to coat the pieces evenly. Fry the paneer in the hot oil in batches for 20-30 seconds. They should have a light brown crisp coating on all sides. Drain the paneer on kitchen paper and set aside.

To make the sauce; heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped ginger. Fry for 20 seconds and add the red onions. Sauté the onions for a further minute until they soften and tip in the red peppers along with the slit chilli and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the chilli garlic sauce and the dark soy & stir well. If the sauce is a little thick add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out slightly

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

350 gms Paneer diced in cubes
Mustard oil for shallow frying (or vegetable oil)
500 ml water
Pinch hing/ asafoetida
2 inch cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
6 green cardamom
1/2 tsp shahi
3 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp fennel powder
2 tbsp greek yoghurt
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

In a bowl add 500mls of warm water and set aside. In a frying pan heat oil and fry the cubes of paneer in batches until golden brown. The paneer might splutter slightly so make sure the heat is on medium. Drain on kitchen paper and add the fried paneer to the bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you make the curry. This helps the paneer to retain its moisture and stay soft.

Add 3 tablespoons of the oil to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Now add cinnamon stick, bay leaves and green cardamom. Fry the spices for a minute as they begin to splutter and release their flavour into the oil. Add the shahi jeera and fry for 2-3 seconds.

On a low heat add the tomato puree. Stir well making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add the chilli, ginger and fennel powder. Stir and fry for 2 minutes as they blend with the paste. Add 350mls of the soaking paneer liquid and continue to cook on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7minutes without the lid. The curry should have a thick consistency if it is too thick add a little more of the soaking liquid.

Crush the saffron into the gravy and whisk in the yoghurt. Simmer for a further 8 minutes and now tip the paneer chunks into the pot. Stir gently making sure they don’t break. You don’t really need to cook the paneer but just make sure the gravy coats the pieces well. Season to taste.

Khatta Jeera Aloo (Spiced Potatoes with Cumin and Pomegranate)

700 gms baby potatoes boiled and peeled
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp hing or asafoetida
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 ginger slivers
1 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 tsp mild red chilli powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
2 tbsp pomegranate powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander for garnish

In a wok heat the oil on a medium heat add the asafoetida and fry for couple of seconds while it sizzles and infuses the oil. Add the cumin seed and fry for a further 10 seconds. Add the ginger slivers and the green chilli. Stir well and fry for 8-10 seconds followed by the boiled potatoes

Add the powdered spices and stir for 3-4 minutes. The colour will deepen slightly and the spices will begin to coat all the potato chunks. If you feel its sticking to the bottom of the pan turn the heat lower or add a splash of water (although this is a dry dish and you wouldn’t want to add any moisture to it).

Add the sugar, salt and chopped coriander. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let it rest for a few minutes as the potatoes soak in all the spices. Serve with dal and roti/ parathas.