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.

Sesame Noodles

1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 – 2 Tbsp Asian sesame oil
2 tsp Makrut Lime-Leaf Infused or Sugarmaker’s Cut Maple Syrup
1 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 lb spaghetti
3/4 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces
3 scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds

Put the peanut butter, soy sauce, water, ginger, garlic, vinegar, sesame oil, and maple syrup in a blender and pulse until blended.

Boil a pot of water and cook the spaghetti until just al dente. Drain, and run under cold water to stop the cooking then combine with the sesame sauce.

In a smaller pot, blanche the asparagus by cooking in boiling water for two minutes then removing them to a bowl of ice water. Drain and add to pasta.

To serve, put room-temperature noodles and asparagus in a bowl and top with scallions and extra sesame seeds. Serve extra soy sauce on the side to taste.

*Adapted from a recipe for Peanut Sesame Noodles, Gourmet, June 2002

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.

Crispy Tofu and Asparagus with Green Curry and Makrut Lime-leaf Maple

1 pkg firm tofu, drained, cut into 1 dice
Oil for sautéing
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 large bunch asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
2 Tbsp green curry
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 – 3 tsp Makrut Lime-leaf Infused Maple Syrup
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 375. Gently toss the tofu with the cornstarch to coat and spread it on an oiled sheet pan. Put in the oven to roast for approximately 20 minutes or until brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, put the asparagus in the pan with a few tablespoons of water, turn the heat to high and close with a lid. Steam the asparagus for a few minutes until tender then remove.

Add the green curry, soy sauce, Makrut maple and broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the tofu and and asparagus and toss the ingredients with the sauce to coat and reheat. Place all the ingredients on a plate making sure to get all the sauce from the pan, then sprinkle on the chopped peanuts. Serve with rice.

Shrimp, Snow Pea and Grapefruit Salad with Smoked Maple Vinaigrette

1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Runamok Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mesclun lettuce mix for 4
12 medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into small segments
Toasted cashews
10 uncooked snow peas, rinsed and sliced

Make the vinaigrette by placing the mustard, maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil in a small bowl and whisking vigorously.

Put the mesclun greens and sliced snow peas in a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette, making sure to coat evenly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and fresh ground pepper accordingly.

Place dressed greens on four individual plates then top with three shrimp each and a few segments of grapefruit. Sprinkle some cashews on each salad and serve.

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.

Otsu (Soba Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing)

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

12 ounces dried soba noodles
12 ounces extra-firm nigari tofu
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 small handful of cilantro sprigs, for garnish
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds, for garnish

Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

Cook the soba in plenty of rapidly boiling salted water just until tender, then drain and rinse under cold running water.

While the pasta is cooking, drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into rectangles roughly the size of your thumb (½ inch thick and 1 inch long). Cook the tofu in a dry nonstick (or well-seasoned) skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until the pieces are browned on one side. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm, golden, and bouncy.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soba, the ¼ cup cilantro, the green onions, cucumber, and about ? cup of the dressing. Toss until well combined. Add the tofu and toss again gently. Serve on a platter, garnished with the cilantro sprigs and the toasted sesame seeds.

Serves 4-6.

PRINT RECIPE
JULY 19, 2004

Soba Salad with Rhubarb-Ginger Tahini

(adapted from Otsu Recipe on 101 Cookbooks)

Dressing (makes more than what you need for the recipe, but nice to keep around):

1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1-2 tablespoons (or more;) Brooklyn Delhi Rhubarb Ginger Achaar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons pure sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini paste

Soba noodle salad
8 oz. soba noodles, cooked according to package directions
6 oz baked tofu or 8 oz extra firm tofu, cubed (directions below)
1 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 scallion, green and white part, cleaned and thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut in half lengthwise then cut across into thin half-moons.
sesame seeds
more cilantro for garnishing

If using extra firm tofu: Add tofu to a large non-stick skillet without any oil and toss over high heat until all water has evaporated. Add canola oil, reduce heat to medium-high and fry, tossing frequently until tofu is firm and bouncy. Drain over paper towels.

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients. Blend well. Add tahini and blend together.

In a large mixing bowl combine drained soba noodles, cilantro, scallions, cucumber. Slowly add dressing and toss Add more dressing to your taste. Arrange salad in center of large plate and top with baked or fried tofu. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro sprigs. Serve with more dressing on the table just in case!

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.

Shrimp and Dragon Fruit Salad (with Variations)

1 dragon fruit, any varieties will work
8 Large shrimp unpeeled, deveined
3 cups Spring salad mix

Sesame plum dressing:
3 Tbsp plum sauce
2 tsp apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp water
Fresh herbs and aromatics:
Small bunch of fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped
1/4 red onions peeled and thinly sliced

Toppings:
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1/4 cup roasted peanuts

Cut the dragon fruit in half and then peel the skin off and cut the flesh into large cubes. Set aside and let them chill in the refrigerator while you prepare other things.

Prepare the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Steam the shrimp with the shells on, on high heat for 2 minutes or until they are cooked through.

Peel off the skin after they have cooled down a little bit. Steaming the shrimp with the shells on is to prevent the shrimp from curling. It’s really just for presentation and makes the shrimp looks bigger.

Assembling the salad:
Place the salad greens in a large mixing bowl.

Add sliced red onions.

Add freshly chopped cilantro leaves.

Add the cooked shrimp.

Add dragon fruit pieces.

Pour on the dressing when you are ready to serve the salad

Sprinkle on some sesame seeds.

Add some roasted peanuts.

Give the salad a gentle toss to mix everything.

Serve immediately.

Notes: This salad is highly customizable. You can change up the dressing, the toppings, the type of greens and veggies you want on the salad, the protein. Here are some suggestions:

Protein: Leftover chicken meat, pan-fried tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, seared scallop, seared ahi tuna.
Topping: Avocado cubes, tortilla strips, crispy chow mein noodle strips, wonton strips.
Dressing: Any vinaigrette dressing, sweet balsamic vinegar.

Coconut Prawn Curry

10-12 King prawns (shelled and deveined)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8-10 curry leaves
350 mls coconut milk
50 mls water
1 tsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish

for the paste:
100 gms coriander leaves
6 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
1 green birds eye
Juice of one lime

Peel and devein the prawns leaving the tails on. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and turmeric powder on the prawns. Mix well and set aside while you make the paste.

Mix all the ingredients for the paste in a mini processor and add a couple of tablespoons of water to form a smooth paste consistency. Spread a couple of teaspoons of the paste over the prawns and set aside.

Heat oil in a sauce pan add the curry leaves and sauté until they crackle. Add the remaining paste and fry on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the prawns fry for 1 minute until they just start to take on a pink hue.

Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes and add the water. Stir in the tamarind paste if using. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes until the prawns are cooked.

Season to taste and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve warm with chapattis or steamed rice.

Marathi Kolambi Masala (Shrimp with Coconut Sauce and Curry Leaves)

350 gm large prawns shelled and deveined
1 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
10 curry leaves
1 medium white onion finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika; add a little less if you prefer)
1 tbsp malt vinegar
Pinch of sugar
50 mls coconut milk
Fresh coriander for garnish

for the spice powder:
4 dried red chillies (mild variety)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 cloves
1 star anise
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 green cardamom (seeds only)
2 black cardamom (seeds only)

for the paste:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion finely sliced
100 gms fresh grated coconut (available in asian stores)

Place the prawns in a bowl with the turmeric and salt. Mix well and set aside while you make the spice powder and paste.

Heat a small frying pan and roast all the spice powder ingredients for 7-10 mins on a low heat. Stir every few minutes until they start to release their aroma and change colour. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a coffee/ spice grinder.

For the paste heat the tablespoon of oil in a frying pan. Fry the sliced onion on medium heat for 7-10 minutes. As it starts to turn light brown add the grated coconut. Fry for 12-15 minutes stirring frequently. The coconut will start to change colour to a light brown as well. Turn the heat off. Cool the mix and add to a blender with some water to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

To make the curry; heat the oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add half the curry leaves letting them splutter for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry on a medium heat for 7-10 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes; they will begin to soften. At this stage add the coconut paste and fry for 3-4 minutes it will start to leave oil from the sides of the pan. Add 2 tbsp of spiced powder along with the chilli powder and stir well frying for a couple of minutes.

Now tip in the prawns and cook and simmer for 2-3 minutes until they start to turn opaque and just cooked through. Add the vinegar, sugar and check for seasoning. Also add the coconut milk and the remaining curry leaves. Simmer for a further minute. Turn the heat off garnish with fresh coriander & lemon juice. Serve with a choice of Indian bread or steamed rice.

Chingri Macher Malai (Bengali Shrimp Curry)

12-15 large prawns shelled and deveined with the tails left on
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
4 green cardamom pods
3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 small onion roughly chopped
1 inch piece of ginger roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
2 green chillies
50 gms freshly grated coconut
1/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
100 mls coconut milk
100 mls water
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Coriander roughly chopped for garnish

Add the prawns to a bowl and mix in the turmeric and salt well. Set aside while you get the curry ready. In a blender add the onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies and grated coconut. Add a splash of water and blend to a smooth thick paste. Set the paste aside

In a frying pan add 2 tbsp of the oil and fry the prawns for a minute on each side. They will start to colour but don’t cook them all the way through. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan heat the remaining oil add the green cardamom, cloves and bay leaves; fry for 30 seconds. Now tip in the onion paste and fry on a medium heat for 5-7 mins stirring frequently making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the chilli powder, sugar and salt. Stir for a further minute; add the coconut milk and water. Bring to a boil and simmer on a low heat. Add the prawns, simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve warm with boiled rice.

Chemeen Mulakittathu (Spicy Malabar Prawn Curry)

350 gms king prawns shelled and deveined
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
120 gms shallots thinly sliced
1 green chilli slit lengthwise
15 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves ground to a paste
1 tsp mild chilli powder or Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
180 gm tomatoes finely chopped
150 mls water
4 tbsp tamarind paste
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Slivers of ginger
Coriander for garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan on a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter.

Now add the fenugreek seeds and the sliced shallots. Fry for a minute and add the green chilli along with half the curry leaves. Continue to fry for 8-10 minutes over a medium heat until the shallots begin to change colour to a light brown.

Add the garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the powdered spices and fry for a further 10 seconds making sure it doesn’t burn.

Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until they soften for 6 minutes. Mash with the back of the spoon and add water along with the tamarind paste. Season to taste. Lower the heat and bring to simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the prawns and cook over a low heat for 6-7 minutes with the lid on stirring half way through. Turn the heat off and add the ginger slivers along with the remaining curry leaves and coriander.

Mangalorean Prawn Sukke (Shrimp with Coconut and Tamarind

12-14 king prawns deveined, shelled with tails left on
1 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
120gm white onions finely chopped
12 curry leaves
6 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 inch ginger roughly chopped
1/4 tsp mild chilli powder
2 heaped tsp tamarind paste
100 mls water
Salt to taste
Handful of coriander for garnish

For the coconut spice mix:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
5 mild dried red chillies
120 gms grated coconut (fresh or frozen) or desiccated coconut

Add the prawns to a large bowl and sprinkle over the turmeric powder and pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside. Crush the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste in a grinder or pestle and mortar.

Heat a frying pan over a low flame. Add the all the ingredients of the spice paste except the coconut. Roast for 7-8 minutes stirring a few times while they release their aroma and change colour slightly. Turn the heat off and cool the spices.

Grind the spices in a spice grinder to a powder. Decant into a bowl. If the coconut has any moisture dab lightly with a kitchen towel. In the same grinder add the coconut and grind it roughly. Add the coconut to the spice powder and set aside.

In a large heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds as they begin the splutter add the chopped onions. Fry for 14-15 minutes stirring well making sure they soften and go light brown in colour.

Add the curry leaves and now turning the heat to a low setting add the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for 2 minutes

Add the chilli powder, blended spice and coconut mix along with the tamarind paste. Stir for a few seconds and add the marinated prawns. Mix well and season to taste.

Add the water and simmer over a low heat for 5-6 minutes with the lid on until the prawns are cooked all the way through. Stir half way through cooking. Turn the heat off and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with plain rice or pav/ bread roll and some raita.

Andhra Royala Vegundu (Andhra-Style Shrimp with Fennel and Tomato Sauce)

500 gms king prawns shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 inch ginger roughly chopped
1 birds eye chilli

For the stir fry;
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
180 gms shallots finely chopped
10 curry leaves
5 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coarsely ground fennel
90 gms tomato finely chopped
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

In a blender add the ginger and green chilli with a splash of water and blend to a smooth paste. Add the prawns to a large mixing bowl along with the turmeric. Add the ginger chilli paste and marinate for 1 hour

Heat the oil in a kadhai or wok on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and as they splutter add the shallots. Fry the shallots for 10 minutes as they begin turn light brown in colour.

Now add the curry leaves and garlic and fry for 2 minutes stir well. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and fennel along with the chopped tomato. Fry for 1 minute over a medium heat

Now add the marinated prawns, season to taste and fry for a further 2 minutes stirring to make sure it does stick to the bottom. Continue to cook for 6 minutes with the lid on stirring halfway through.

Garnish with coriander and serve warm with rice or chapatti.

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.