Sopa de Ajo (Basque Garlic Soup)

4 ounces high-quality baguette
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 garlic head (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
8 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place baguette on a baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven until very browned and almost burnt, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Break or slice bread into 2-inch pieces.

Heat 7 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add bread pieces, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning often to allow bread to toast and soak up oil, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove bread, and set aside. Wipe pot clean.

Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot. Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in paprika. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.

Add bread to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a simmer. Add vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up bread, until flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

When ready to serve, bring soup to a simmer over medium-high. Stirring constantly, slowly pour beaten eggs into hot soup. If any large pieces of bread remain, cut with kitchen scissors, or break apart with a spoon. Serve hot.

Notes: Soup can be prepared through step 4 up to 2 days in advance. Bring to a simmer, and add beaten eggs just before serving.

Spicy Corn and Coconut Soup

5 ears yellow or bicolor corn (or 5 cups frozen corn kernels)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 serrano chile (or other chile), minced
2 small red potatoes (6 to 8 ounces total), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 1/2 cups of hot water whisked with 1 1/2 teaspoons jarred bouillon)
1 (15-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
Kosher salt, to season
Torn cilantro leaves, toasted coconut flakes, chopped roasted peanuts, crispy fried shallots, lime wedges and more sliced Serrano chiles, to serve (optional)

Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and transfer to a bowl. Using the back of a butter knife, scrape the cobs so that all of the milky juices collect in the bowl and the cobs look completely dry, like wrung-out sponges. Set aside. (If using frozen kernels, skip this step.)

In a large stockpot over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, ginger and chile, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Add corn kernels and juices to the pot, and sauté until the corn is softer and brighter, about 3 minutes more.

Add potato pieces, and stir to coat, 1 to 2 minutes.

Now, pour in the vegetable broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the potatoes are tender all the way through.

Use an immersion blender to roughly purée the soup, so that it’s creamy with some kernels of corn, chunks of potato, and chile flecks remaining. (Alternatively, ladle about half of the soup into a blender, blend until smooth, and return to the pot.) Season with lime juice and salt, and mix to combine. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with toppings of your choice.

Pot Pie Soup

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock/broth
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves or 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 medium russet baking potatoes diced (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots sliced or diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cup frozen peas
2 cups cooked chicken or turkey diced (about 1 large boneless breast)

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir continuously, cooking for about 1 minute. Start adding the milk a bit at a time, stirring well until smooth before adding more. Once all the milk is added, pour in the chicken stock. Add the diced potatoes, carrots and thyme. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your dice.

Add frozen peas and cooked chicken or turkey. Cook over low heat an additional 10 minutes or so, to cook peas and warm chicken. Taste soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may also wish to add a bit more thyme, to taste.

Serve hot, topped with crumbled soda crackers or pie-pastry croutons (pie pastry, cut into small squares or other shapes, then baked off and scattered on top of soup).

Indian Spiced Stew with Chicken and Potatoes

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 large skin-on/bone-in chicken breasts (or can use boneless)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tbsp finely grated ginger
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 – 3/4 tsp cayennne pepper (depending on how spicy like it or you can omit)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (plus a bit more thinning, if necessary)
3/4 cup tomato purée
1/2 cup heavy cream (can use a lighter cream)
1/2 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes,sliced 1/4″ thick (or small fingerlings, sliced in half lengthwise)

Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place skin side down in to the pan. Cook until golden brown without turning, about 8–10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

To the same pot, add onion, garlic, and ginger to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, about 8–10 minutes.

Add tomato paste, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste is beginning to darken, about 4 minutes.

Add chicken pieces, chicken broth, tomato purée, and cream to pot. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is almost falling off the bone and liquid is slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 hours. If using bone-in chicken, remove chicken to a plate and carefully remove chicken from the bone and discard skin and bones. Cut or pull chicken into bite-sized pieces. Return chicken pieces to the pot.

Add potatoes to the pot and cook, partially covered, until potatoes are fork-tender and sauce is thickened, 30-45 minutes. *Check and stir every so often to ensure the sauce hasn’t thickened to much and potatoes aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pot. If sauce is too thick, thin with a bit more chicken stock.

To serve, spoon stew into a shallow bowl and place a large dollop of yogurt on one side. Sprinkle with some fresh chopped mint, cilantro or parsley and serve with naan bread on the side. Alternately, spoon stew over some warm basmati rice.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised
3 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Kosher salt
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Thinly sliced Fresno chile, for garnish (optional)

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and curry paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree and broth, stirring to incorporate, then season with salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice and let cool for 10 minutes.

Transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender in the pot) and puree until smooth. If needed, add additional water or broth to reach the desired consistency. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Serve warm and garnish with fresh cilantro and thinly sliced Fresno chiles.

Like most soups, this one is even better made the day before. Reheat before serving.

Chicken, Corn, and Poblano Soup

For the soup:
2 poblano chiles or substitute cubanelle or sweet green peppers
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups corn cut from fresh corn or frozen
2 – 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken shredded from rotisserie chicken or see Notes below
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chipotle sour cream:
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp chipotle chile in adobo sauce finely chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For Garnish:
1 avocado pitted, peeled and cubed
Chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven broiler with a rack about 5 inches from the element.

Cut the poblano chiles in half lengthwise and remove the stem and seeds. Place cut side down, on a baking sheet and broil until the skin blackens and blisters, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cover baking try loosely with aluminum foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Using the edge of a knife, peel away and discard the skin from the peppers, then cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

In a large pot on the stovetop, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for an additional 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the corn and cook for 5 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree about half of the soup, leaving some of the corn kernels whole. *If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove soup to a blender or food processor and blend in small batches. Return to the pot and stir to combine.

Stir in the cooked, shredded chicken and diced poblano chillies. Taste, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat while you prepare the chipotle sour cream.

To make the chipotle sour cream, stir together the sour cream, chipotle chile and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more chipotle, if you like, to taste.
To serve the soup, divide the soup among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of the chipotle sour cream and diced avocado. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro.

Tomato Egg Drop Soup

2 tablespoons oil
10 ounces tomatoes (1 large or 2 small, about 280g; cut into small chunks)
1 cup chicken stock (235 ml)
2 cups water (or more chicken stock; 470 ml)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
salt (to taste)
1 egg (beaten)
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1 scallion (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped, optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot or wok over medium low heat. Add the tomato chunks and stir-fry for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are softened and start to fall apart.

Add in 1 cup chicken stock, 2 cups water, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat so that the soup is simmering with the lid on.

Now quickly beat the egg in a small bowl and prepare the cornstarch slurry in a separate bowl.

Use a ladle to slowly swirl the soup in a whirlpool motion. Keep swirling as you pour in the cornstarch slurry until well incorporated. Now pour a thin stream of egg into the middle of the whirlpool as you slowly swirl the soup. This is how you get that pretty egg drop effect.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro, if using.

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.

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.

Parippu Curry (Sri Lankan Dal)

8 oz. red lentils (masoor dal)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 leaves curry, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 whole cloves
1 cup coconut milk
1 1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 lime
1 green hot pepper

Wash the lentils well by changing the water at least three times.

Boil them in the water with the saffron, chili powder, turmeric, curry and cloves.
After about 15 minutes, when the color of the lentils changes from red to yellow, remove from the heat and pour into a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard, fenugreek, and cumin seeds and fry for 20 seconds.
Add the onion and garlic and mix well for 20 seconds.

Add the boiled lentils and mix well. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Cook until the curry begins to boil.
Remove from heat and add the lime juice.
Add the raw or fried green hot pepper on top (optional).

Serve hot with rice or bread.

Carne en Su Jugo

1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
8 tomatillos, peeled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 large yellow onion, cut into 4 wedges
1 quart beef broth or water, divided
2 bay leaves
3 cups cooked pinto beans
Finely diced white onion, chopped fresh cilantro, Key lime wedges, cooked bacon, and toasted tortillas, for serving

Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap, and place in freezer 15 minutes. Remove from freezer, unwrap meat, and slice thinly against the grain. Stack slices; finely chop.

Place the meat in a bowl, and season with Worcestershire, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, soy sauce, and black pepper. Stir until well coated, and set aside.

Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium. Once the oil is shimmering, add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add seasoned meat, and cook until it releases some of its juices, about 10 minutes. (It’s OK to crowd the pan—you want to encourage the meat to stew and release its juices.) Reduce heat to low to keep the liquid from reducing too much. Using a slotted spoon, remove and reserve 2 tablespoons cooked meat.

While the meat cooks, place tomatillos in a saucepan with just enough water to cover, about 3 1/2 cups. Cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Cook until tomatillos are soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; drain.

Place quartered onion half, cooked tomatillos, and reserved 2 tablespoons meat in a blender with 1 cup broth; blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add mixture to meat in pot; add remaining 3 cups broth and bay leaves. Season with remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to medium-low; simmer about 20 minutes. Add cooked beans, and cook until the meat is tender, about 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, place about 1 cup or more of the meat-and-bean mixture into each bowl. Add broth as desired, and garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, Key lime wedges, and bacon. Serve with toasted tortillas.

Vegetable Stew with Coconut Milk

Oil – 2 tbsp
Whole spices – Cinnamon – a long piece, green cardamom pods – 3, cloves – 3, bay leaves – 2
Curry leaves – a few
Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
Ginger – 2 tsp, chopped
Garlic – 2 small cloves, minced
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp, freshly cracked
Potatoes – 1 large, diced
Carrot – 1, diced
Green beans – 3-4, cut into 1 inch pieces
Green peas – 1/2 cup
Thin coconut milk – 1 1/2 cups
Salt – to taste
Thick coconut milk – 1/2 cup

You will need:
Heat oil in a large pan. Add the whole spices and curry leaves, and let them sputter. (You can crush the whole spices for more flavor, but my hubby hates finding cardamom seeds in his curry, so I leave it whole.)

Add the onions, ginger and garlic. Saute well till the onions turn soft and translucent. Do not brown them. Add cracked black pepper and mix well.

Add the vegetables, thin coconut milk and salt to taste. Cover and cook till the vegetables are soft, around 10 minutes.
Open the lid, check seasoning and add the thick coconut milk. Let it simmer for a couple more minutes or till heated through, but do not boil the stew after adding thick coconut milk.
A simple trick I learned from my mom, is to mash a couple of the potatoes cubes to add some thickness to the gravy.
Serve hot with bread or Indian breakfast breads like puttu, appam or idiyappam.

1. If using dried peas, soak them in water and pressure cook them first. If using fresh or frozen green peas, you can simply cook them along with the other vegetables.

2. If using canned coconut milk, open the can without shaking and skim off ½ cup of thick milk collected at the top to use as thick coconut milk. If using coconut powder, prepare thin and thick milks as per package instructions. But of course, nothing beats the real deal. Freshly squeezed coconut milk is always the best!

3. An easy variation of this recipe is to cook the vegetables in a little water and finish off with some heavy cream. While it looks the same, the flavor is different from that of the original recipe with coconut milk and of course, it will no longer be vegan. But this can be an easy substitution if you run out of coconut milk.

Tiffin Sambar

For the sambar masala,

Whole dried red chilis – 2-4 (as per heat level desired)
Chana dal – 1 tbsp, heaped
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp

For the sambar,

Toovar/Toor dal – 1/2 cup, heaped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 8-10
Asafoetida (hing) – 1/8 tsp
Small Indian shallots – 8-10, peeled and roots cut off (or 1/4 cup chopped red onion)
Tomato – 1 large, chopped
Green chilis – 1-2, chopped
Fresh tamarind – a small lime-sized ball (or use 2 tsp of concentrated tamarind paste)
Cilantro leaves – a few, roughly torn
Water – 3 cups (or more, as needed)
Salt – to taste
Sugar – 1 tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp

How to:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and dry roast the sambar masala ingredients. Cool down and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or mortar-pestle. Keep aside.

Wash the dal in cold water a couple of times. Pressure cook it in a pressure cooker adding enough water and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder for 2-3 whistles or till soft. If you do not have a pressure cooker, cook dal in a large covered pot. Once done, mash the lentils and keep aside.

Soak the fresh tamarind in 1/2 cup warm water. Once they soften, squeeze all the pulp by kneading the tamarind ball well with your fingers. Strain this and keep aside. If you are using tamarind paste, simply dissolve in 1/2 cup of warm water.
Heat oil in a large, deep pan and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they begin to crackle, add the asafoetida and whole shallots (or chopped onions) and saute till translucent and aromatic. Next add tomatoes and green chilis and saute till tomatoes are soft.

Add the prepared tamarind pulp and bring to a gentle boil.
Add the sambar masala and mix thoroughly to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes till nicely fragrant and it begins to thicken slightly. Then add 2-2 1/2 cups of water and cilantro leaves and boil for a few minutes.

Now add the mashed dal and season with salt. Add more water if it seems too thick. Bring the sambar to a rolling boil and finish by adding sugar and ghee.

Keep covered for at least half an hour before serving. Enjoy hot sambar with dosas, idlis or steamed rice.


In a pinch, you can replace the coriander seeds and cumin seeds needed for the masala with the respective powders. Take care not to burn them while roasting. But do not skimp or omit the chana dal and fenugreek seeds, they are what sets this masala apart from other Indian spice blends.

Indian shallots are smaller with a deep purple-red color and a unique taste. You can replace it with regular shallots or even chopped red onions.

Usually breakfast sambar may not be served with vegetables added, but you can use this basic recipe and add boiled vegetables to it. Add the cooked vegetables along with the dal and adjust water to required consistency. Traditionally, vegetables like potatoes, yam, green plantain, okra, brinjal/eggplant, etc are used.

Smear some ghee over the idlis for the little ones and feed them these fluffy pillows for a very filling and healthy meal. I added a generous amount of shredded carrots and the little bunny here gobbled them all up with no fuss. Win-win, right?!


2 tablespoons oil or ghee
1 medium red potato
1 carrot
1 cup masoor dal (red lentil)
6 cups water
2 tablespoons sambar powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoons frozen fresh coconut (optional)
cilantro leaves for garnishing
salt to taste
For frying:
3 teaspoons oil or ghee
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves (fresh or dried)
1 dried red chili (broken into pieces by hand)
1/2 red onion

Note: can use a combo of the following vegetables for this recipe – string beans, japanese eggplant, cabbage, spinach (good with potato), radish (indian variety called mullangi is the best) or watery squash like chayote, etc.

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

Heat ghee or oil in a pot at medium heat and put in carrot and potato. Coat with oil and stir a bit. Add in drained lentil and sautee for a few minutes. Add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil under medium/high heat. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Once foam stops, add turmeric and mix up. The dal and vegetables take about 30 minutes to cook.

Add sambar powder and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt to your taste, tamarind and coconut and mix well. Turn off heat.

In a separate small pan, heat 2 teaspoons of ghee or oil and put in mustard seeds. Wait for them 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. Pour this oil mixture over the lentils and vegetables and mix well.

In the same small pan put a teaspoon or 2 of ghee or oil and fry onion until they are fragrant. Add these onions to the sambar and mix well.

Garnish with cilantro leaves.

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

Tomato Rasam

1 cup toor dal, also called split pigeon pea
6 cups water
1 tablespoon oil (peanut, sunflower or corn is best)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 fresh curry leaves
bunch of cilantro stems, chopped
4 tomatoes (4 cups), chopped (you can also use canned)
2 teaspoons rasam powder
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste or fresh tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon brown sugar or jaggery
salt to taste
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed

Wash toor dal thoroughly in luke warm water until water is clear.

Put 6 cups of water and the dal in a pot over medium high heat. This dal has a tendency to foam very much. Keep removing the foam and throw it away in the sink. (You can add a bit of ginger which decreases this foaming.)

When the water is boiling and you have gotten rid of the foaminess, add the oil, turmeric, curry leaves and cilantro stems. Next add the tomatoes and mix it all up.

Place the pot over a medium flame with a lid partially covering it. Check on it often so that it does not boil over. This will take about an hour for dal to get tender. (Note – you may need to add more water as needed).

If you are using tamarind pulp as opposed to tamarind paste, break off lime size ball of tamarind and submerge it in warm water for about 15 minutes. Then press the softened pulp and liquid through a strainer over a bowl to separate the usable diluted pulp from the seeds and fibers. Set aside.

When the dal is finished cooking add the rasam powder. Make sure that the powder is homogeneously mixed and that there are no lumps. Let it boil to a golden brown color ~ 15 minutes.

Add tamarind paste or pulp.

Add brown sugar orjaggery and some salt to taste.

Let it all boil. After it has come to a boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat.

In a small pan take 1 tablespoon of butter and heat it under a medium flame. Add asafoetida and cumin seed. When the cumin seed is golden brown and fragrant, pour over. Add cilantro for garnish.

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.


1 cup moong dal (yellow lentils)
6 cups water
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
6 curry leaves
*2 small green chilies, chopped (depending on heat and can use jalapeño as a substitute)
1 inch ginger, grated
2 cups chopped spinach or 1 chopped tomato (optional)
chopped cilantro for garnish
juice of half a lemon (could use more depending on how juicy your lemon is)
salt to taste

For tempering
2 teaspoons oil
pinch of hing or asafetida
1/2 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
1 chopped green chili or broken in half dried red chili (if you want more heat)
2 curry leaves (optional)
1/2 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic crushed (optional)

*You can choose to fry these green chillies in oil later with other spices.

Wash your lentils very well in a fine meshed colander. Drop them in a pot with 6 cups water and turn the heat to medium. The lentils will start to foam so skim the top off until the water is bubbling clear. Add turmeric, curry leaves, chopped green chillies, ginger, tomato (if using) and salt. Cook until lentils are soft and fall apart, about 30 minutes. At this point, gage whether you want to add more water for more liquidy soup or a thicker one. Continue to cook. At this point, you can add in spinach or squash if you are using those veggies. Cook them until tender or soft. Turn off the heat.

In a small pan, heat oil under medium heat. When hot add hing or asafetida and black mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add in chilies and curry leaves if using. Coat them in oil and then add in the chopped onion. Fry until onion is translucent. Mix in garlic if using and fry for 20 seconds or until fragrant.

Pour the flavored oil over the soup and mix. Squeeze lemon juice into the soup. Add salt to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Beet Rasam

1/2 cup red lentils
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1/2 red onion, sliced in half circles
1 beet, peeled & diced
2 teaspoons rasam powder
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
parsley or cilantro leaves, chopped
salt to taste

Wash lentils thoroughly, using a fine-meshed colander.

Add lentils to a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Stay by the stove monitoring the foaming as your pot could quickly boil over if you are not watching. Skim off foam. Mix in turmeric powder. Turn the flame to medium-low, partially cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Mix in salt to taste and optionally mash down cooked lentils with a spoon.

While lentils are cooking, heat sunflower oil in a saucepan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add in cumin seeds and asafetida. When the cumin seeds turn a darker shade of brown, add in cut onions. Stir fry until translucent. Add in diced beets and salt. Stir-fry the beets for 30 seconds. Next, add enough water to cover the beets by about 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer beets until cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Add the cooked lentils to the cooked beets. Add 1-2 cups of water and rasam powder. The consistency should be a thin soup with the lentils on the bottom. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 5-6 minutes. Turn off heat and add lemon juice to taste. Add more salt to taste and mix in parsley or cilantro leaves.

Serve plain or over rice with yogurt and hot pickle.

Chana Masala with Feta and Herbs

1 cup dried chickpeas, preferably soaked at least 4-6 hours (equivalent to 2 15 oz cans of chickpeas)
3 cups water
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 stick cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, cracked
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
pinch of asafetida
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon Indian chili powder or cayenne (or to taste)
feta, cubed
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

If you have soaked your chickpeas, drain them and then add 3 cups fresh water to the chickpeas. Put the stopper in the sealed position on top and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes and then let the pressure naturally release (meaning do nothing). If you have not soaked the beans, just add the chickpeas and water and then press the Bean setting with the stopper on the sealed position on top. When the chickpeas are finished cooking salt them generously.

While the beans are cooking, heat ghee or oil in a pan under medium heat. Add in cinnamon, bay leaf, cardamom pods and cloves. When they start to sizzle, add in the cumin seeds and the asafetida. Shake the pan so everything mingles. Once the cumin seed starts to brown, put in the onions and mix them around. Add the the turmeric powder and and fry the onions until translucent.

Next put in the ginger and garlic and mix and fry for a few seconds. Next add in the diced tomatoes and cook until it separates from the oil. Add in the coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, chili powder and salt and mix well. Cook for a few minutes.

When the chickpeas are done cooking, add them and the cooking liquid (as much as you like if you want it drier or more of it if you like it to be more soupy). Simmer for about 10 minutes and then add the feta and simmer for a few minutes until softened but not breaking apart. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and taste. You want just a bit of tang. Add more if needed. Taste for salt.

Garnish with a sprinkling of garam masala and cilantro (or herbs of choice).

Serve with rice, yogurt (or sour cream if you are feeling decadent), and achaar.

Curried Coconut Lentils

1 cup of brown lentils
2 tablespoons canola oil or ghee
pinch of asafetida
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon Indian chili powder or cayenne
1 can coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Brooklyn Delhi Achaar – Roasted Garlic, Tomato or Rhubarb Ginger

Rinse lentils and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil or ghee at medium. When the oil starts to shimmer, add in the asafetida and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start to brown, add in the onions. When they start to soften mix in the turmeric powder. When the onions are translucent and smelling aromatic, mix in the garlic and ginger. Fry until you smell their fragrance.

Add in the coriander powder, garam masala, chili powder. Stir well. Quickly add in the rinsed lentils with water. Bring the lentils to a boil, then turn the heat back to medium, partially cover them with a lid and cook them until softened, about 30 minutes. Add the can of coconut milk and heat through. If needed, add water for your desired thickness. Add salt to taste. Turn off the heat. Add lemon juice and optional cilantro.

Serve as a soup with a spoon of Brooklyn Delhi Achaar on top. You can also serve with rice and naan.


1 cup red lentils (masoor dal)
2 tablespoons unsweetened grated coconut (fresh, frozen, or dried)
1 tablespoon ghee or unsalted butter
1 tablespoon mild-flavored oil such as canola
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch of asafetida (hing) powder
4 or 5 fresh curry leaves
1 dried red chile, broken into pieces
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1?4-inch-thick disks
1 medium red potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 cups water
2 tablespoons huli powder (see below) or store-bought sambar powder
1 teaspoon tamarind paste, plus more as needed
Chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish

Wash the red lentils thoroughly, using a fine-mesh colander.

Thaw frozen coconut or place dried coconut in a little hot water to plump it up.

Put the ghee and oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the ghee has melted and the oil is hot and shimmering, add one black mustard seed. When the seed sizzles and pops, add the rest of the mustard seeds and the asafetida. Keep a lid handy to cover the pan while the mustard seeds are popping. When the popping starts to subside (a few seconds), turn the heat to medium-low.

Rub the curry leaves between your fingers a little to release their natural oils, and drop them and the dried red chile into the oil. Cover immediately, as moisture from the curry leaves will cause the oil to spatter. Then stir to evenly coat everything with oil, a few seconds.

Turn off the heat. Add the onion and turmeric powder to the pan and fry until the onion has softened and is translucent, a couple of minutes.

Mix in the carrot, potato, and a sprinkling of salt. Stir to coat with oil.

Add the lentils and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Ladle out any foam that comes to the surface. Then simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, until the lentils are falling apart and the vegetables are tender; this should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Add the huli powder to the cooked lentils and vegetables and mix well. Add the tamarind paste and 1 1?4 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook at a boil for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.

Taste for salt and tamarind and adjust as needed. The consistency should be right in the middle, not too thick and not too thin. Add a bit more water or boil for longer depending on your preferred consistency.

Mix in the coconut and simmer for a minute more. Turn off the heat.

Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve hot o with dosas. You can also enjoy the stew plain.

When reheating huli, add water to get it back to your desired consistency, as it has a tendency to thicken up in the fridge.