Shrimp with Tomatoes and Corn

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (from 4 ears)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), plus wedges for serving (optional)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
3 tablespoons chopped parsley or chives, or torn basil leaves

Pat the shrimp very dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and lightly golden in spots, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shrimp to a plate.

Add the tomatoes to the skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until they start to blister in spots, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corn, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the tomatoes burst and the corn is golden in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until you smell garlic, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to medium, and add the wine and lemon juice, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until nearly evaporated, then add the butter and stir until melted. Add the shrimp and its juices and stir until warmed through. (If the sauce breaks and looks greasy, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water and stir until emulsified.)

Remove from heat, add the herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with extra lemon for squeezing over, if you like.

Sheet-Pan Feta with Broccolini and Tomatoes

1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed, thick stalks split lengthwise, or broccoli, stalks trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
1 small red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 2-inch wedges
1 lemon, 1/2 cut into thin rounds and the remaining 1/2 left intact, for serving
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 (6- to 8-ounce) blocks feta, cut into 1-inch slices
Cooked orzo or farro, for serving
1/2 cup fresh basil or cilantro leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack set in the lower third. On a sheet pan, combine the broccolini, tomatoes, onion and lemon slices with the olive oil and toss. Add cumin and red-pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and toss again until evenly coated. Nestle the feta slices into the vegetables. (It’s OK if they break apart a little.)

Roast 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through but leaving the feta in place, until the broccolini is charred at the tips, the stems are easily pierced with a fork and the tomato skins start to blister and break down.

Serve over orzo or farro. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the remaining lemon half for squeezing. Top with fresh herbs, if using.

Khichdi

1 to 2 tablespoons GHEE or clarified butter
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cumin or jeera
1 bay leaf or 1 sprig of curry leaves (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon ginger grated or ginger paste
1 small onion chopped (optional)
1 green chili slit or 1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 small tomato deseeded & chopped
1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
salt as needed
1/2 cup rice (or quinoa, steel cut oats, millets)
1/2 cup MOONG DAL or skinless petite yellow lentils (or any other dal)
3 to 4 cups water (use 4 cups for porridge consistency)
1 pinch asafoetida or hing (optional)
1/2 tablespoons GHEE for topping
optional ingredients
1 medium carrot cubed
8 french beans cut to 1 inch length
1 small potato cubed

Add rice and dal to a pot. Wash them at least thrice & drain water completely.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker or pot on a medium heat. Saute bay leaf & cumin on a low flame for 1 min. Then fry ginger until fragrant & sprinkle hing.

Fry onions and green chilies until the raw smell of onions goes away.

Add tomatoes, carrots, beans, salt and turmeric and saute for 3 to 4 mins. Then add drained daal and rice. Saute for 3 to 4 mins.

Pour 3 cups water for mushy consistency and 4 cups for porridge like consistency. Stir well & taste the water. Add more salt if needed.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles on a medium flame for a mushy khichdi. Cook for 4 to 5 whistles on a low to medium flame for porridge consistency.

If cooking in a pot, cook until soft adding more water if needed.

Pour 1 tsp ghee on the hot khichdi. Serve with papad and pickle.

Instant pot Khichdi:
Press saute button (medium) & pour ghee. When the ghee melts, add in bay leaf and cumin. When it sizzles then add in onions & chili. Fry until transparent.

Next add in ginger, hing, tomatoes, all veggies & turmeric. Saute for 2 to 3 mins until tomatoes turn mushy.

Add & saute drained rice & lentils for another 2 to 3 mins.

Next add in salt & pour water. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with a spatula to remove bits of food stuck in there if any. Mix well & taste the water. Add more salt if needed. Secure the lid & move the steam release handle to sealing.

Press the pressure cook or manual button (high pressure). Set the timer to 8 mins. Or you can also press porridge button & set timer to 9 mins.

Once it is done, the instant pot beeps, then press cancel and switch off. Wait for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes & release the rest manually. When the float valve drops, open the lid & stir gently.

If you like soupy khichdi, add some hot water to bring to consistency you like.

Top with some ghee & serve khichdi with plain yogurt, pickle or papad.

Toor Dal

FOR THE DAL:
1 cup toor dal (split yellow pigeon peas)
2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup raw whole peanuts

FOR THE TEMPERING
1/4 cup/55 grams ghee
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
3 small pieces Indian cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
3 red dried chiles, such as chile de árbol
3 cloves
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
Pinch of asafoetida

Prepare the dal: Soak the pigeon peas in a large bowl of warm water for about 1 hour. (They will have swelled a little.) Thoroughly rinse the soaked pigeon peas with fresh water, then tip the drained pigeon peas into a pot.

Add tomatoes, turmeric, salt and 5 cups water, and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to purée some of the dal, leaving some intact and getting some very smooth, or whisk vigorously to break up some of the soft dal. Stir in the peanuts and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the dal is very tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust with salt. If the dal has become too thick for your liking, stir in a splash of water.

Prepare the tempering: In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the ghee. When hot, carefully add all of the tempering ingredients (the mustard seeds will sputter!) and swirl the pan until you can smell all the toasted spices, about 30 seconds. Pour everything over the hot dal.

Toor Dal with Tamarind

400g toor dal
3 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
1 tsp of fenugreek/methi seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
10 fresh curry leaves
2 inches fresh ginger, finely grated/chopped
a good pinch asafoetida/hing powder
2 small chillies, chopped into three
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
100 mL water
2 tsp salt

Soak the toor dal in a bowl of water for 20 minutes or overnight if you are well organized. This simply makes the cooking time a little quicker but is not essential (unlike some lentils which you have to soak over night – red kidney beans and green mung beans for example). Make sure the water is sufficiently above the level of the dal. You rinse it through after so the exact amount is irrelevant.

Once the 20 minutes soaking are up, rinse the dal through a sieve and place in a large pan and cover with boiling water. This time the water should only be a little bit above the dal. Gently cook the dal so that it softens, this will take around 20-35minutes (more of you have not soaked). You may need to add more water if it gets soaked up whilst softening. It’s not an exact science so don’t worry too much on water amounts – sometimes I have it more ‘soupy’ in consistency than others. Remove the scum from the top of the pan, which occurs when cooking the dal. When it has softened, leave to rest whilst you finish off preparing the rest of the ingredients. To test it has softened squeeze a lentil between your thumb and forefinger. If it soft it is ready for the next stage, however, if the lentil remains hard you will need to boil it a little longer.

In a large karahi or frying pan heat up the oil and then add the fenugreek/methi, cumin and black mustard seeds. They will begin to pop so make sure you keep the heat low. Move them around the pan for 30 seconds before adding the curry leaves and give a good stir.

After three minutes cooking time add the chillies, fresh tomatoes and asafoetida/hing, fresh ginger, chilli powder and turmeric and mix in well together.

Once the tomatoes have softened – this will take a few minutes, add the tamarind concentrate and water and stir. You now want to deposit the pan with the toor dal into your karahi/frying pan with the other ingredients, or vice versa, depending on which pan is larger. Stir in well together and add a little extra boiling water to clean the pan and then turn that water into the main pan.

Add the salt to taste and leave to simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with rice or Indian bread or simply on its own. I often like to squeeze in a little fresh lemon or lime as well.

Moong Dal Khichdi

1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup moong dal I used moong dal dhuli
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon hing powder also know as asafoetida

1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 green chili finely chopped
1 large tomato chopped
1/4 cup green peas
salt to taste

Take 1/2 cup rice and 1/2 cup moong dal in a bowl. Soak it in enough water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, drain the water and set aside.

Add the rice and dal to a pressure cooker and add around 3.5 to 4 cups water. Add salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida and pressure cook on high heat for 5- whistles.

The rice and dal will cook and be very soft and mushy, set aside.

To another pan on meidum heat, add ghee and oil. You may use only oil to keep it vegan.

Once the oil & ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Wait till cumin seeds start sizzling and mustard seeds pop up.

Add chopped ginger and green chili. Saute for 30 seconds or so or till the ginger starts turning light golden brown in color.

Add chopped tomatoes and green peas. Cook for 2 minutes, you don’t want the tomatoes to get too mushy.

Add the cooked rice and dal to the pan.

Mix till well combined, add salt and adjust to taste.

Garnish with cilantro and serve the moong dal khichdi with some extra ghee on top. Also it’s usually served with some papad, achar (pickle) and yogurt on the side.

NOTES
Use only 2 cups of water if you want a more pilaf/pulao like consistency for your khichdi. This recipe is for a porridge like khichdi.

You may use other veggies in the khichdi like spinach, carrots, onion.

To make it vegan, simply skip the ghee and use oil only.

The khichdi tastes best when it’s warm. It will become thick once you keep it inside the refrigerator. Simply add more water and little salt and bring it to a desired consistency when heating it up again.

Peanut Noodles

200 g fresh white (wheat) noodles (7 ounces; or 100g/3.5 ounces dried)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger (minced or grated)
1/3 cup peanut butter (85g; creamy or chunky)
2-3 tablespoons hot water (depending on desired sauce consistency)
1 tablespoon Thai sweet soy sauce (we like the “Healthy Boy” brand; can substitute 1 teaspoon Chinese dark soy sauce, plus 1 teaspoon sugar)
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce to keep the dish vegan)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lime juice (optional)
2 teaspoons chili oil (optional)

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the noodles. Meanwhile, prepare the garlic and ginger, and add to a serving bowl along with the peanut butter and hot water.

Stir to combine, letting the hot water loosen the peanut butter. Then stir in the sweet/dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil, along with the lime juice and chili oil if using.

By now, your water should be boiling. Cook your noodles according to package instructions. Drain and toss in your sauce. Serve.

Garlic Noodles

12 ounces thin spaghetti (340g; can also use dried Chinese noodles or fresh egg noodles)
salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons brown sugar (depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 whole scallions (chopped)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles/pasta according to package instructions. If using fresh noodles, you may simply need to blanch them. (Reserve some of the pasta cooking water, as you may need it in the sauce later.)

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until lightly caramelized, and stir in the turmeric (if using), oyster sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Stir for 1 minute and add the scallions.

After 30 seconds, to let the scallions wilt, toss in the cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the noodle cooking water to loosen them up.

Serve them either as a side dish, or as a quick and easy vegetarian main, with some bok choy or sauteed broccoli on the side!

1-2-3-4-5 Tofu

21 ounces firm tofu (1 1/2 containers, 600g; cut into cubes)
2 tablespoons oil
4 slices ginger
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
3 tablespoons light soy sauce
4 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons water

Preheat a wok (or cast iron pan) until it starts to smoke lightly. This is very important to prevent the tofu from sticking.

Add 2 tablespoons oil, along with the ginger slices. Over medium heat, fry the ginger for 1 minute. Add the tofu, and take 10 minutes to brown the tofu on at least 2-3 sides.

When the tofu is lightly browned (or to your liking), add in 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, 3 tablespoons light soy sauce, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 5 tablespoons water. Stir and mix everything well. Turn up the heat to bring it to a boil.

Cover and reduce the heat to medium/low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Halfway through, check to make sure the liquid is not drying up. If so, reduce the heat further and add in a little more water if needed.

After 15 minutes, remove the lid. The sauce should be mostly cooked down. With the heat on high, gently toss the tofu to ensure every piece is coated in glistening sauce. This process takes a couple of minutes. Reduce the liquid until there is ¼ cup of liquid left and the tofu is gleaming with sauce. Serve immediately.

Crispy Tofu With Cashews and Blistered Snap Peas (with Variations)

1 (14-ounce) block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed, vegetable or canola, plus more as needed
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound snap peas, trimmed
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 2 tablespoons)
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (light or full-fat)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons molasses, dark brown sugar or honey
1/2 cup toasted cashews
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/4 cup mint leaves, torn if large
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
Rice or any steamed grain, for serving

Slice the tofu in half horizontally, and leave on paper towels to dry any excess liquid.

In a medium skillet or cast-iron pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high until it shimmers. Season both sides of the tofu with salt and black pepper, place in the pan and sear without moving until tofu is browned and golden on both sides, turning once halfway through, about 8 minutes total. Move the tofu to a plate.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, and add the snap peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered and just tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and move to a bowl.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the ginger and garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour in the coconut milk, soy sauce and molasses. Simmer, stirring frequently until the sauce reduces and its color deepens to a dark brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. It should coat a spoon without running right off. Stir in the cashews, break the tofu into 1-inch pieces and toss in the pan to coat with sauce. Remove from heat, and taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Toss the snap peas with the rice vinegar, scallions, mint and red-pepper flakes, if using. Divide among plates, along with the tofu and cashews. Serve with rice or any steamed grain.

Baked Tofu With Peanut Sauce and Coconut-Lime Rice (with Variations)

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, plus more for brushing the pan and drizzling
2/3 cup lime juice (from about 5 limes), and zest of 1 lime
Kosher salt
8 baby bell peppers or 1 medium bell pepper (any color will do), stemmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
Black pepper
1 cup long-grain rice like jasmine or basmati
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon red miso
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped habanero pepper, stem and seeds removed, or 1 tablespoon sambal
2 tablespoons buckwheat honey or molasses
2 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and sliced crosswise, 1/4-inch thick
3 cups peppery greens, like arugula, mizuna or baby mustard greens
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced

Heat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly brush a large rimmed sheet pan with oil.

In a small bowl, stir 4 tablespoons lime juice with 1/2 teaspoon salt until salt dissolves. Add the sliced peppers, a few cracks of black pepper and set aside.

In a small pot, combine the rice with 1 cup water and the coconut milk. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low until the rice is just tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, until ready to serve.

In a medium bowl, whisk 4 tablespoons lime juice with the peanut butter, miso, ginger, fish sauce (if using), habanero, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 3/4 cup water. Stir until smooth and season to taste with salt.

Arrange the tofu pieces in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and season with salt. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the peanut sauce over each, covering the top and allowing the sauce to run down and coat the sides. Drizzle the tops with some oil, and roast until glaze is set, deep brown and caramelized along the edges, 18 to 20 minutes. Add the remaining lime juice and 1 tablespoon honey to the leftover peanut sauce in the bowl to make the dressing; set aside.

Notes: A spicy, fragrant peanut sauce reminiscent of the groundnut stews that are popular across West Africa anchors this recipe. Any protein would be lucky to be doused and marinated in it, but tofu soaks up the peanut sauce’s flavors and chars up nicely upon roasting.

Yam and Plantain Curry With Crispy Shallots

1/4 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
4 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 (2- to 3-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 whole red habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, pierced all over with a knife
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
1 1/2 pounds white or orange yams, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 green (unripe) plantains (about 1 pound total), peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 tablespoon red palm oil (optional)
4 cups julienned hearty greens, such as dandelion greens, collards or lacinato kale, tough stems removed
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
1 lime, sliced into wedges

Heat a medium pot, large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium. Pour in the neutral oil, add the sliced shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are caramelized and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove shallots from the oil and allow to drain on paper towels or a cooling rack. Season with salt and set aside.

Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil out of the pot. (Reserve extra oil for another use.) Over medium-low heat, add the garlic, ginger and turmeric to the pot and sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 2 minutes or until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Drop in the chile and add the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, crushing the whole tomatoes with your hands as they go in. Stir to combine ingredients and dissolve the tomato paste, then add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Once boiling, season with salt, reduce heat to medium, add the yams and simmer until the yams are just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the plantains and cook until both are tender but hold their shape, and the liquid is slightly reduced and thickened, 15 to 18 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and red palm oil, if using, season with more salt and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

To serve, remove and discard the cooked chile. Ladle the curry into bowls, top with the caramelized shallots, a scattering of basil and cilantro, and several squeezes of lime juice.

Note: This recipe is an adaptation of asaro, the Yoruba word for a dish of starchy root vegetables simmered in a seasoned tomato- and chile-based sauce. Regional versions of asaro are served all year round across the south of Nigeria and in other parts of West Africa. Traditionally, the dish is made with the West African yam, but you can also use white or purple taro root or unripe plantains. Here, firm, green plantains are combined with white yams in a sauce rich with caramelized shallots, garlic and ginger. There is a slight but welcome heat from a single red habanero dropped in whole to infuse the stew. Coconut milk and an optional spoonful of red palm oil — a floral, slightly smoky oil that is pressed from the fruit of oil palm trees — round out the flavors, and hearty greens cut the richness. Serve topped with crunchy shallots, fresh herbs and a wedge of lime.

Asian Cabbage Salad with Shrimp

1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus lime wedges for serving
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
1 small shallot, very finely chopped
1/2 small green cabbage, cored and finely shredded (6 packed cups)
2 carrots, julienned
2 Kirby cucumbers, very thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice water. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook until pink and curled, about 1 minute. Drain the shrimp and transfer them to the ice water to cool. Drain and pat dry.

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil with the fish sauce, lime zest, lime juice, brown sugar, red curry paste and shallot. Add the cabbage, carrots, cucumbers and shrimp and toss until evenly coated. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, until the cabbage is very slightly wilted. Toss the salad, top with the peanuts and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

The dressing can be refrigerated overnight.

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw with Peanut-Lime Dressing

4 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup packed cilantro leaves
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
1/2 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon honey
Zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, combine the red and green cabbage, carrots, and cilantro.

In another bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, chili sauce, chili flakes, honey, lime zest, and lime juice. Stir in the water until the dressing is smooth and set aside.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped peanuts and serve chilled.

Crispy Rice with Shrimp, Bacon, and Corn

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, patted very dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 strips bacon
3 ears corn
6 scallions
1 cup grape tomatoes, or 1 large chopped juicy tomato
4 cups cooked rice

Heat oil in large cast-iron skillet or other heavy skillet over high heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to the hot oil in a single layer and sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Turn heat down to medium-low and add the bacon in a single layer. Cook, turning to evenly brown, until crisp, about 10 minutes.

While the bacon browns, shuck the corn and cut off the kernels. You should end up with about 3 1/2 cups. Thinly slice the scallions and set aside some greens for garnish. Cut the tomatoes in half. (If the bacon is done cooking before you’re finished slicing, remove the pan from the heat for a moment.)
Drain the bacon on paper towels, leaving as much liquid as possible in the skillet. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the corn, scallions, and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the scallions just wilt, about 1 minute.

Add the rice and stir until well-mixed and heated through, about 3 minutes. Press the rice evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Let cook, without stirring, as the rice and corn begin to crackle, until you smell a toasty scent and the rice browns, about 5 minutes. You can lift up a section of rice to peek and see if a golden brown crust has developed.
Remove from the heat and divide the rice mixture among four bowls, scattering the tomatoes, shrimp and accumulated juices on top of each. (Alternatively, serve rice directly from the pan, with tomatoes and shrimp on top.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Crumble the bacon all over and garnish with the reserved scallions.

All-Purpose Chinese Brown Sauce

1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable or mushroom stock; 350ml)
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce (can sub gluten-free soy sauce or tamari)
1 1/2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce (or vegetarian or gluten-free oyster sauce)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a jar with a tight lid (must hold 2 cups of liquid), combine all of the stir fry sauce ingredients together and shake well.

This sauce should keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator; all you need to do is measure and pour out what you need for your dish. Makes enough sauce for about 3 dishes.

Whether you have carrots, peppers, onions, celery, snow peas, snap peas, bean sprouts, bok choy, etc. left over or readily available in your fridge, you can use any combination you like. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe!

HOW TO USE THIS STIR-FRY SAUCE:

MARINATE YOUR PROTEIN: Marinate 12 ounces of sliced beef, chicken or pork with:

2 tablespoons water
A pinch or more of baking soda (for beef only)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2. PREPARE AROMATICS:

I like to cut my aromatics fresh, so I will mince 3 cloves of garlic, grate a teaspoon of ginger, and perhaps slice 1 or 2 scallions into 2-inch lengths if I have some.

SLICE VEGETABLES: I’ll prepare the vegetables ahead of time, slicing celery, carrots, bell peppers, snow peas, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and/or broccoli. Use whatever you like and make sure to cut the vegetables small/thinly enough so that they’ll cook quickly (i.e. a couple of minutes).

PREPARE YOUR THICKENER: 2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.

SEAR MEAT: Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to your hot wok (it should be almost smoking). Add the meat, sear on both sides, and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil and add the garlic and ginger. (If you also sliced scallions, you can add the white parts of the scallion at this stage.)

After a few seconds, add the vegetables and stir fry for 1 minute or until just softened.

Add about 2/3 cup of stir fry sauce (more or less depending on how much sauce you like), and heat until simmering.

And add in the seared meat.

Bring to a boil and stir in the cornstarch slurry until the sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon (you may need a little more or a little less cornstarch slurry depending on how much sauce you added and how high your heat is). Add the green parts of your scallions (if using), and cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.

All-Purpose Chinese White Sauce

For the Chinese white sauce:
3 cups stock (chicken stock, pork stock or vegetable stock, 540 ml)
3 cloves garlic (finely minced or grated)
3/4 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon scallion (white part only, minced)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
1 teaspoon MSG (totally optional!)

Pour chicken, pork or vegetable stock into a resealable glass jar. It’s best to use home-made stock but you can use store-bought as well. If you use store-bought prepared stock, try to use a pure stock without any other flavorings added (herbs, spices, etc.), as usually store-bought stocks are usually made for western cooking.

Next, add the garlic, ginger, and scallion whites. It’s best if these aromatics are very finely minced. Add, salt, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil, oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce), and MSG if using.

Seal, and shake well to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake before using. Makes enough sauce for 4-6 dishes.

To make a stir-fry:
8 ounces meat of your choice (225g, pork, chicken, or beef; thinly sliced ¼ inch thick)
3 cups mixed vegetables (bell pepper, mushrooms, celery, carrots, snow peas, snap peas, broccoli/broccolini, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, lotus root, etc.)
1/2 cup firm tofu (cubed, optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 – 3/4 cup prepared Chinese white sauce (depending upon how much sauce you like)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (mixed with 1 tablespoon water; you may need a little more or less, depending upon how much sauce you use and how thick you like it)

Take your sliced meat, and velvet it using our method for velveting beef, velveting chicken, or velveting pork.

Bring 4 to 6 cups of water to a boil, and blanch the vegetables and tofu for 30 to 60 seconds. Drain thoroughly and set aside. (Blanch in 2 batches if you have lots of vegetables, or if vegetables require different cooking times. Dense vegetables like carrots will take a little longer than snap peas, for example).

Heat your wok over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Use 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to evenly coat the wok. Spread the velveted meat in the wok in one layer. Sear for 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the wok and set aside. Note, instead of searing the meat, you can also blanch it; just reduce oil to 1 tablespoon for stir-frying.

Next, without washing the wok, reheat your wok over high heat, and add the blanched vegetables and Shaoxing wine. Stir everything together, and add the meat.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of your white stir-fry sauce, and stir-fry everything together to deglaze the wok. Keep cooking until the sauce comes to a full simmer.

Mix the cornstarch and water into a slurry. Move the pork and vegetables to the sides of the wok. There should be a little well of sauce/liquid at the center of the wok. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the liquid, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Give everything a final stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed. Plate and serve over steamed rice.

Basic Baked Chicken Breasts

INGREDIENTS
1 lb. skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
3 dashes ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 400° F. Pat dry the boneless chicken breasts with paper towels. Score the bottom of the chicken.

Drizzle the olive oil on the chicken, add the minced garlic and rub all over the chicken breasts.

Add honey, smoked paprika, lemon juice, salt and ground black pepper to the chicken. Stir to combine well with the chicken. Set aside and marinate for 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken breasts to a baking dish lined with parchment paper. Bake at for 15-18 minutes, or until the inside of the chicken breasts are cooked through.

Change the oven setting to Broil and broil the chicken for 1 – 2 minutes or until the surface becomes slightly charred. Remove from oven, top with chopped parsley and serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges. (DO NOT discard the juice seeping out of the chicken. Serve the chicken with the juice.)

Basic Pad Thai

For sauce, combine roughly equal parts fish sauce, palm or brown sugar, and tamarind liquid. Add Some chicken broth And bring to boil. Simmer until sauce thickens. Set aside.

In a wok, saute minced red onion and garlic until golden brown.

Add any combination of cooked and diced chicken, cooked and diced firm tofu, and raw shrimp.

Add fresh noodles and fry for 30 seconds.

Push noodles aside and use the space to fry two lightly beaten eggs.

Pour in 3-5 tablespoons of sauce. Fry for another 30 seconds. Thin with more chicken broth if desired.

Add about a cup of bean sprout and some chives or scallions and fry for 30 more seconds.

Serve topped with fresh cilantro, basil leaves, crushed peanuts, crushed dried chilies, and lime wedges.

Bhindi Masala

1 1lb okra/bhindi
3 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly or ? cup sliced onions
1 large tomato, chopped or ½ cup chopped tomatoes
2 green chilies, slit
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste or ½ inch ginger along with 3 to 4 medium garlic crushed to a paste in mortar-pestle
1/4 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
1/4 tsp red chili powder/lal mirch powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder/dhania powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder/jeera powder
1/2 tsp dry mango powder/amchur
1/4 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, crushed
2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves/dhania patta
salt as required

Rinse the bhindi/okra in water. then wipe dry them with a kitchen towel or just allow to dry them naturally in a plate. (making sure they are completely dry eliminates the gelatinous texture of okra)

Slice off the crown and tip of each bhindi. then slice them vertically.
also slice 1 medium onion. chop 1 large tomato and slit 2 green chilies. crush the ginger and garlic in a mortar-pestle.

Heat 3 tbsp oil in a thick bottomed shallow frying pan. add the sliced onions.
saute them till they start turning light brown.

Add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste and the green chilies. Saute till the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.

Add the chopped tomatoes. stir well.

Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin and dry mango powder. Mix the spices with the rest of the onion-tomato masala. Saute this mixture till the tomatoes become pulpy and you see oil releasing from the sides.

Add the chopped bhindi/okra, season with salt, and stir very well. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and cook on a low flame or simmer. Check after 4 to 5 minutes a couple of times. Continue to cook the bhindi fry on a low flame till the bhindi is done. You will have to check after every 4 to 5 minutes so that the bhindi does not get too browned or burnt. Stir every time when you check it. If the okra is becoming too browned or getting burnt, then sprinkle 1 to 1.5 tbsp water all over. stir, cover and continue to cook.

Once the bhindi is done, add garam masala powder and kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, and cilantro, and stir well.