New Orleans-Style Barbecued Shrimp

Shrimp
Diced shallots
Butter
Worcestershire sauce
Thyme
Paprika
Cayenne
Cream
Salt
Black pepper

Rice, green beans, and crusty bread for serving

Crank the oven to 450 degrees and make a sauce on the stovetop: diced shallots sautéed in butter, a healthy quarter-cup or so of Worcestershire, a little thyme, paprika and cayenne, some salt and then a whole lot more butter, cut into the pan a knob at a time and whisked into velvet.

Add to that a splash of cream and a few more healthy cranks of black pepper.

Roast the shrimp on a greased pan in the oven under a shower of salt and yet more pepper, and serve it on a warm platter with the sauce spooned over the top. Rice, green beans and plenty of good, crusty bread for mopping up make it an ambrosial meal.

Roasted Fish with Soy, Ginger, and Scallions

White fish fillets
Soy sauce
Rice wine
Lots of grated ginger
Lots of chopped scallions
Chopped garlic (optional)
Sesame or chili oil (optional)

Rice and greens for serving

Buy a few fillets of the white-fleshed fish you like best, then put a sheet pan in a 425-degree oven and let it get hot.

Make a sauce in a small bowl: a few tablespoons of soy sauce for each one of rice wine or sherry, and a heap of minced or grated ginger, and plenty of thinly sliced scallions. You could put some garlic in there, if you like, and a dash of hot chile oil or sesame oil.

Salt and pepper the fish, then pull the hot sheet pan out of the oven and get some neutral oil on it. Add the fish to the hot pan carefully, put it in the oven and roast for a minute or so, then paint the sauce onto the fillets and cook for a minute or so longer, until the fish has just cooked through.

Serve with rice and greens.

Khichuri

1/2 cup mung dal (skinned and split mung beans)
1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tejpatta (Sold in Indian grocery stores as “Indian bay leaf”)
6 cups water
1 Russet potato, cubed into 1″ pieces
1/2 head of a large cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated coconut (could substitute with unsweetened dessicated coconut)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Vegetable oil for sauteing
1-2 tablespoons Ghee (could be substituted with butter)
2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 teaspoon sugar

On medium heat, in a dry wok, add the mung dal and toast until it changes color to a light brown and becomes very aromatic. Keep stirring frequently while you toast the dal – don’t let it burn! Once the dal changes color, add 3 cups of water, add the bay leaves, bring it to a boil, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the rice, one teaspoon of Kosher salt and another 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover with a lid and cook for another 10 minutes.

While the dal starts boiling, start sauteing your vegetables. In a large skillet, on medium heat, add about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. When the oil starts shimmering, add the cumin seeds and ginger paste and saute for a few seconds. The ginger is going to splatter like crazy, so be careful! Add the potatoes, cauliflower, turmeric, cayenne and one teaspoon of Kosher salt and saute until the veggies are evenly browned on all sides. This should take about 20 minutes or so.

Once the rice has cooked for 10 minutes, add all the vegetables into the wok, scraping the skillet to get all the spices. Add the tomatoes, mix well, cover with a lid and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Check frequently to make sure that there is enough water in the wok and the khichuri is not getting stuck at the bottom.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, add another teaspoon of oil and saute the coconut until it gets browned at the edges and becomes very aromatic. Set aside.

After the vegetables have cooked in the wok for 10 minutes, check to see if they are done. At this point, both the rice and dal should be cooked through and about to turn mushy, and the tomatoes should have disintegrated. Add the sauteed coconut, raisins, peas, sugar, zest and juice of the lime. Mix well. I like my khichuri to have the consistency of risotto, so I let it cook with the lid off until the texture is just right. Taste for seasoning. Mix in the ghee just before serving. Enjoy immediately with your favorite vegetable fritters, papads and extra wedges of lime!

Khichuri (Stovetop or Pressure Cooker)

1/2 cup white rice
1/2-cup moong dal (split yellow mung bean)
Half of a small cauliflower, cut into about 10 florets (not so small that they will melt)
2 or 3 small potatoes, peeled and cut in half, or 1 medium potato cut into 4-6 pieces
1/3 cup of frozen peas
1 bay leaf
2 green cardamom
2-3 cloves
1 thin sticks of cinnamon
1 or 2 dry red chili (I often use green chili instead)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Ghee (clarified butter)
Turmeric and salt as needed

Dry roast the moong dal on medium flame till it starts to brown and you can smell its nutty aroma. (Other khichri recipes use a range of lentils that don’t involve this step.) Stop when about half the beans have become light brown in color, then set aside in a bowl with 2 cups of warm water in it.

Into a pan add a tablespoon of ghee (or mustard oil or vegetable oil) and heat on high or medium till the ghee looks hot.

Throw in the bay leaf. As it starts to brown, lower the flame to medium and add the cardamom pods, clove and cinnamon. Stir with a spoon. Then add the cumin seeds and the chilies. Once the cumin seeds start to sputter, throw in the grated ginger, and stir.

Now add the potato, carrots and cauliflower. Sprinkle some turmeric till veggies turn light yellow. Stir fry for a few minutes.

At this stage, add the dal with the water and salt to taste. Cover the pot and cook till water starts to boil.

Cook for 4 more minutes so that the dal, which takes longer to cook, starts to soften.

At this point, you can transfer everything to a pressure cooker, add the frozen peas, rice and one more cup of water and cook it using the rice setting. (If you’re using a stove top pressure cooker, wait for two whistles before you switch off of the stove.)

Or if not using a pressure cooker, add the rice and two more cups of water to the pot once the dal starts to soften. Cook with a lid on medium or low with occasional stirring to make sure rice and mung beans don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Frozen peas will cook quickly, so add them 5-10 minutes after the rice. Add more water along the way if it starts to look too dry.

Consistency should be like that of a thick porridge, although some people like it drier.

Cook till rice, dal and vegetables look cooked, but not too mushy. Serve with a teaspoon of ghee on top, mango or lime pickle on the side.

This very well with papad or papadum, which are flat, round, tortilla shaped crispy snacks that are usually deep fried or roasted over the fire.

Thai Spicy Steak Salad

1 pound steak (flank, top sirloin)
1 to 2 fresh red chilies (bird’s eye preferred)
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 packet chives, sliced into 1-inch lengths
1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

In a pan or on the grill, sear the unseasoned steak until browned well on both sides, and cook to medium rare or desired temperature. Allow the steak to rest while you prepare the other ingredients.

In a mortar and pestle, mash together the garlic and chilies to create a paste. Scrape the paste into a large bowl, and add the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Mix well to dissolve the sugar. Add the thinly sliced onions, chives, and cilantro, and toss well to combine. Next, slice the steak into thin, even slices across the grain, and add to the salad. Mix again thoroughly and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to meld. Serve with freshly steamed rice.

Oven Fries with Roasted Garlic

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes (1 3/4 pounds), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
8 unpeeled garlic cloves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
1/4 cup parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 425°.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes and garlic cloves with the olive oil. Spread the potatoes in an even layer, cut sides down. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the chopped thyme.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are browned on the bottom and very crisp.

Peel the garlic cloves. Transfer the potatoes and garlic to a platter, sprinkle with the parsley leaves and serve.

Suya-Spiced Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 1¼-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin and halved crosswise
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a large bowl, stir together the paprika, ginger, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.

Add the pork, turn to coat and massage the spice mixture into the meat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In an oven-safe 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pork and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes total.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the center of the thickest tenderloin reaches 140°F, 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the stovetop (the handle will be hot). Using tongs, transfer the pork to a large plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the sugar and broth to the skillet.

Bring to a simmer over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until reduced to 1/2 cup and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

While whisking constantly, add the butter 1 piece at a time; add the next piece only after the previous one is almost fully incorporated.

After all the butter is incorporated, stir in the lime juice and cook until a spatula drawn through the sauce leaves a trail, about 20 seconds.

Off heat, stir in the peanuts, then taste the sauce and season with salt and black pepper. Thinly slice the tenderloins and arrange on a platter.

Stir any accumulated pork juices into the sauce, then spoon the sauce over the pork.

Shrimp Creole

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
4 teaspoons Creole Seafood Seasoning or more to taste, divided
1 teaspoon hot paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 fresh bay leaves
2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
3 scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Louisiana-style hot sauce (such as Crystal)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined raw medium shrimp

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add chicken stock, 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Stir in scallions, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and salt; cook, stirring often, until thick but still a little saucy, about 10 minutes. Set aside Creole sauce.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high; swirl to coat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (or to taste), and cook, stirring often, until slightly pink, about 1 minute.

Add Creole sauce to shrimp; cook, stirring, until shrimp are pink, cooked through, and coated in sauce, 3 to 4 minutes.

Sicilian Swordfish

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
2 pounds swordfish steaks, cut 1/2 inch thick

Light a grill or preheat the broiler. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice with the salt until the salt dissolves. Stir in the oregano. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season generously with pepper.

Grill the swordfish steaks over high heat (as close to the heat as possible), turning once, until cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter. Prick each fish steak in several places with a fork to allow the sauce to penetrate. Using a spoon, beat the sauce, then drizzle it over the fish. Serve at once.

Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Sauce

For the chicken:
5 chicken drumsticks (or 4 chicken thighs––organic, kosher, or free-range chicken preferred; see note below about using breasts)
3 slices ginger
1 scallion

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (white and green separated, with the green parts chopped)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water (the water you cooked the chicken in)
15 grams ginger (about 1 1/2 tablespoons, minced)

In a medium pot, bring about 4 cups water to a boil along with 3 slices ginger and 1 scallion. Lower the chicken into the pot, and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. The heat level should be just high enough so the water is moving, without any big bubbles or rolling water.
After 10 minutes, turn off the heat, leave the lid on and let the chicken continue cooking in the warm pot for another 15 minutes.

If you use boneless, skinless chicken breast, you can reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes, but still keep the chicken in the pot for 15 minutes after turning off the heat. To test if the chicken is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the chicken to make sure the juices run clear.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place in ice water for 5 minutes to stop the cooking process and firm up the meat. Shred the meat onto a serving plate.
To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium/low heat, and cook the scallion whites until crisp and lightly brown. Remove and place the scallion whites on top of the shredded chicken. Add 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup of the water you used to cook the chicken to the remaining oil in the pan. Stir and bring it to boil. Add in the ginger and chopped scallion greens. Taste for seasoning and add more soy sauce or salt if desired. Bring to a boil again and pour it over the chicken.

Mango Salad With Zesty Lime Vinaigrette

Mango salad:
3 mangoes ripe, Alphonso recommended, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped

Mango Salad Dressing:
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed (about 2 limes)
2 tsp white sugar
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil or other neutral tasting oil
Freshly ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients for the Mango Salad in a large bowl. Toss to combine. *If making ahead, cover and refrigerate at this point, before adding the salad dressing.

Prepare the Mango Salad Dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking well to combine. Cover and refrigerate if making ahead or use immediately by drizzling over the salad and tossing to combine.

Jerk Chicken with Pickled Bananas

MARINADE:
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces Guinness stout
1 medium red onion (about 9 ounces), finely chopped
8 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Tabasco sauce
1 large nutmeg seed, freshly grated (about 4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup whole allspice berries, ground (about 3 tablespoons)
6 large garlic cloves, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 habanero chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
3 dried bay leaves
12 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs

FOR THE PICKLED BANANAS:
6 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 branches fresh thyme
3 tablespoons kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 habanero chile, split, seeds and stem intact
6 cloves
6 just-ripe bananas

PREPARATION
In a small skillet, toast the coriander and cumin seeds over medium heat, shaking the pan, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Let cool, then grind in a spice grinder until pulverized.

Add to a large bowl along with all other marinade ingredients (everything but the chicken). Add 1 cup water and whisk to combine. Alternatively, working in two batches, place all marinade ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2 or 3 times to combine.

Place chicken in a large container big enough for all pieces plus marinade. Reserve 3/4 cup marinade for later use, and pour remaining marinade over the chicken. Refrigerate 1 or 2 days (chicken can be stored for up to 5 days).

Prepare the pickled bananas: Add all ingredients except for the bananas to a nonreactive saucepan and boil over high, 10 minutes. Chill completely. Once brine is chilled, peel and slice the bananas on the bias. Add to the brine and chill, at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Heat grill to medium-low. Remove chicken from marinade and temper at room temperature for 15 minutes. Place chicken on the grill, skin-side down. Every minute or so, rotate the chicken a half turn so that the skin develops a deep, dark mahogany char and has been slightly crisped and rendered, 8 to 10 minutes total.

Turn chicken over to finish cooking, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, skin side up. Brush the reserved marinade on the skin side. Remove bananas from brine and serve with jerk chicken.

Pineapple Fried Rice with Shrimp

8 ounces shrimp (225g, peeled, deveined, rinsed, and pat dry)
1 cup onion (150g, diced)
1/2 cup carrot (75g, diced)
4 ounces ham (or Chinese sausage; 115g, finely diced)
6 cups cooked rice (about 900g)
2/3 cup peas (100g)
1 cup pineapple (diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
1 scallion (chopped)
2 eggs (beaten)
1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
1/2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine (plus 1 tablespoon, divided)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce (or Thai thin soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

First, prepare the shrimp, onion, carrot, ham/mChinese sausage, rice, peas, pineapple, and scallions. If using fresh pineapple, remember to trim away the pineapple core. If using canned pineapple, rinse away any syrup and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Beat 2 eggs with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon Shaoxing wine. Heat your wok over medium heat until lightly smoking. Add 1 tablespoon oil, and scramble the eggs for 1 minute—until just cooked. Turn off the heat, break the egg into small pieces, transfer to a dish, and set aside.

Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Cook the shrimp until they turn pink, about 1 minute. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Heat the last 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent. Add the diced carrots and ham, and cook until the carrots are no longer crunchy. Add the rice and 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine. The steam from the wine will loosen the rice chunks!

Stir-fry everything together well, and add in the peas, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, the scrambled egg, and the cooked shrimp. Stir-fry everything together for a few minutes.

Finally, add the pineapple and scallions. Mix everything again for a minute or two. To crisp and warm the rice through, you can use your wok spatula to spread the rice in a single layer around the surface area of the wok, making use of all the heat and letting any excess liquid evaporate.

Salt to taste, and serve immediately!

Summer Mango Salad

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or regular sugar)
1 fresh red chili pepper, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
3 ripe mangoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves , finely chopped
2 tablespoons shallots , fried (or French fried onion)

Prepare the dressing by combining the lime juice, palm sugar, chili, and salt in a small bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.

Combine the mango and cilantro in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss to mix well. If you plan to serve the dish later, you should transfer everything into a sealed container and store it in the fridge, up to 1 day.

Toss in the cashews and fried shallots. Mix well.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Pad Sapparod)

1 large pineapple
3 Tbsp cooking oil divided
4 cups cooked jasmine rice (best is leftover rice)
1 lb large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 large onion (peeled and diced)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup roasted peanuts

Seasonings:
1 Tbsp shrimp paste
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce or more to taste
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Garnishes:
3 stalks green onion (finely chopped)
Fried shallots crisp

Prepare the pineapple:
Cut the pineapple into half lengthwise. Scoop out the meat on each half of the pineapple. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. You’ll only need 1 cup of the pineapple cubes (drain off extra juice). Keep the rest for other use. Empty the juice that’s left on the shell and set aside to place your finished dish into the pineapple shells later.

This step is totally optional. Put the pineapple shells in the oven at 350 F and bake it for 30 minutes to dry it up.

Cooking the fried rice:
Preheat a wok or large skillet. When the wok is hot, add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add the shrimp and stir fry quickly until pink and cooked through, about 2 minutes or so. Dish out and set aside.

In the same wok, add the rest of the cooking oil. Crack in the eggs and break the yolk a little bit and then let it cook for about 10 seconds without stirring. When the eggs are half cooked, add chopped onion and stir fry for another 10 seconds. Add the rice follow by seasonings. Stir fry to mix everything.

Add the pineapple cubes, raisins, and roasted peanuts and stir again to mix everything. Have a taste and add more fish sauce if needed. Finally, garnish with green onion, give it one last stir and dish out into the pineapple shells. Garnish with some fried shallots crisp. Serve immediately.

Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken with Holy Basil (Cha Kreung Satch Moan)

For the Kreung:
3 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 to 5 inches only, outer leaves discarded, sliced into thin rounds (65g once sliced)
One 3-inch knob galangal, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (35g once sliced)
Two 4-inch knobs fresh turmeric, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (25g once sliced)
12 makrut lime leaves, preferably fresh, sliced very thinly crosswise
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rounds (25g once sliced)
5 medium cloves garlic, peeled (25g)
1/2 cup holy basil leaves, very tightly packed (12g; see note) or Thai basil leaves (25g)
For the Stir-Fry:
1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, divided
2 pounds (900g) boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3 breast halves), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices, divided
One 3-inch piece fermented mudfish (prahok) (35g), cut in half, divided (optional)
2 teaspoons (10ml) Asian fish sauce, divided
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cube (6g) chicken bouillon, such as Knorr, crumbled to a powdery consistency, divided
1 cup holy basil leaves, very tightly packed (40g), divided
4 jalapeños (150g), stemmed, halved, and seeded, then cut on a bias into 3/4-inch strips, divided
Kosher salt

For Serving:
Steamed white rice

For the Kreung: Using a large granite mortar and pestle, combine lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, and makrut lime leaves and grind to a smooth but slightly fibrous paste. These are the toughest, most fibrous ingredients in the paste, so it will take 5 to 10 minutes for the paste to form. Once the paste has formed, add shallot and garlic and pound again to smash them into the paste, another 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add basil to the mortar and pound until it is fully incorporated into the paste.

For the Stir-Fry: In a wok, heat 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add roughly half of the kreung to the wok, stirring and scraping constantly with a wooden spatula to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. At first, the paste will snap and pop as it begins to release moisture. Continue stirring until all visible moisture has cooked off and the paste has thickened and darkened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase heat to high, then add half of the chicken to the wok, along with 1 piece of mudfish (if using) and cook, stirring, until chicken is coated in the kreung and has turned white on the surface, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in half of fish sauce, sugar, and bouillon and scrape browned bits from the bottom of the wok (some may still adhere). Stir in half the basil. Once basil has wilted, reduce heat to low and add half of jalapeño slices, cooking until warmed through but still crisp. Season with salt to taste.

Scrape contents of wok into a serving bowl and discard fermented fish. Rinse and dry wok, then repeat with remaining oil, kreung, chicken, and other ingredients.

Serve stir-fry right away, passing steamed white rice at the table.

Chicken with Garlic, Chilies, and Peanuts

2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
4 5- to 6-ounce chicken breast cutlets, pounded to an even 1/4-inch thickness
Ground black pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 2 pieces

In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon soy sauce and the chicken, turning to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pat the cutlets dry with paper towels, then season with pepper.

In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering.

Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned on both sides, 4 to 6 minutes total, flipping once halfway through. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Allow the pan to cool for a couple minutes, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and scallion whites. Cook over medium, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Off heat, add the sherry, the remaining 1 tablespoon soy sauce, half the peanuts and any accumulated juices from the chicken.

Return to medium and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Off heat, add the butter and stir until fully incorporated. Pour the sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle with scallion greens and the remaining peanuts.

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.

Beef Suya

1 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1/4 cup peanut oil, plus more for grilling
2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade ground suya spice blend (see Note), plus more for serving
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
Kosher salt
2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch strips, seeds discarded
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
1 lime (optional)
1/4 cup toasted peanuts, chopped

Lay several strips of meat on a piece of plastic wrap, leaving about 1/2 inch between each slice, and top with another piece of plastic wrap. Pound the meat strips with a rolling pin or the bottom of a heavy frying pan until 1/8-inch thick. Repeat this process until all the meat has been flattened. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup peanut oil and 2 tablespoons suya spice blend with ginger and garlic. Add beef, toss to coat and season with 2 teaspoons salt. Cover with plastic wrap, and let marinate in the fridge for 4 to 12 hours.

Heat a gas grill or grill pan over medium-high, and brush with peanut oil.

Skewer the beef pieces on 12 individual presoaked wooden or metal skewers, wiping off any excess marinade. Brush the meat generously with more peanut oil and set the skewers on a baking sheet.

Working in batches if necessary, grill the beef skewers until meat is cooked through and lightly charred on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the skewers to a platter and sprinkle with more suya spice blend. Repeat until all the beef has been grilled.

Place the tomato and onion slices in a bowl and squeeze lime juice all over. Season with salt and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Strain any excess liquid.

Top skewers with red onion and tomatoes, sprinkle with toasted peanuts, and serve with additional suya spice, for dipping.

Tip
To make suya spice blend, combine 1/4 cup dry roasted peanut powder, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cayenne, 2 teaspoons hot paprika, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt. Makes about 1/2 cup.

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.