Baked Polenta with Corn and Eggs

Heat your oven to 350 degrees, and melt 2 or 3 tablespoons butter in an ovenproof skillet (9 or so inches). If you like, you can let the butter melt, bubble and turn brown, about 5 minutes.

When the butter is melted, stir in about 1/2 cup corn kernels (frozen, fresh, canned or leave the corn out entirely). Let sizzle for a few minutes, then add a quart of liquid (some kind of broth or water), 1 cup polenta (not the instant kind) and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on your love of salt and whether your broth was salted.

Whisk until the mixture bubbles and thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

At this point, you’ve got options. Add a handful of chopped herbs and a couple of sliced scallions or a shallot, or skip it. Two or three cups of chopped greens (spinach, kale, broccoli rabe) is also nice if you want more vegetables. Cheese lovers can stir in 1/2 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese, or grated Parmesan (or another firm grating cheese). Or stir in some sliced olives or roasted red peppers or marinated artichokes.

Cover the pan. (Aluminum foil or a pasta pot lid will work if you don’t have a covered skillet.) Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and give the mush a good stir with a whisk. Cover once more, and bake for another 15 to 25 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the polenta is tender. At this point, it makes a great side dish.

To turn this into a meal, you can add some eggs. Use a spoon to make four to six divots in the polenta, and crack an egg in each one. Return the pan to the oven and bake uncovered for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the eggs are cooked to taste.
Crack lots of pepper on top, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and strew with herbs and maybe more cheese before serving. Serve with a cool, crisp salad on the side, especially as these late spring evenings continue to warm up.

Lemongrass Tofu

1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 14-ounce containers extra-firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry
2 cored-and-quartered plum tomatoes
1 chopped shallot
stems from 1 bunch cilantro (reserve the leaves)
1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to the lower 5 inches (dry outer layers discarded and thinly sliced) and
1/4 cup neutral oil
14-ounce can coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 diced tomatoes
steamed jasmine rice for serving

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon turmeric, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add two 14-ounce containers extra-firm tofu (cut into 1-inch cubes and patted dry) and toss. Set aside.

In a blender, combine 2 cored-and-quartered plum tomatoes, 1 chopped shallot, the stems from 1 bunch cilantro (reserve the leaves) and 1 tablespoon each fish sauce and chili-garlic sauce. Blend until finely chopped, about 30 seconds.

Add 3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to the lower 5 inches (dry outer layers discarded and thinly sliced) and blend, scraping the blender jar frequently, until a smooth, thick paste forms, about 90 seconds. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat 1/4 cup neutral oil until shimmering. Add the tofu in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottoms and the pieces release easily from the pan, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the pieces and cook until browned on all sides, another 7 to 9 minutes. Transfer to a large paper towel–lined plate.

Return the skillet to medium-high. Add the tomato–lemon grass paste and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in one 14-ounce can coconut milk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer then cover, reduce to low and cook until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the tofu and stir to coat. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tofu has absorbed some of the sauce, about 10 minutes. Stir in and sprinkle with reserved cilantro leaves before serving.

Penne with Roasted Eggplant, Chile, and Mint

1 and 1/2 pounds eggplant (about 4 medium), cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
1 very large ripe tomato, cored and diced (1 and 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound dried penne
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 anchovy fillets
Large pinch chile flakes
2 tablespoons drained capers
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup torn basil leaves
2 tablespoons torn mint leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On rimmed baking sheet, toss together eggplant, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread into one layer. Roast, tossing occasionally, until the eggplant is golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Place tomato in large bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook penne to al dente according to package instructions; drain well.

While pasta cooks, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in garlic, anchovies and chile flakes, and cook until golden and soft, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and, using slotted spoon, transfer garlic to cutting board. Let garlic cool for a few minutes, then chop up and add back to the oil. Pour garlic-chile into bowl with tomatoes. Add eggplant and capers, and toss well.

Add pasta to bowl with eggplant and tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste, and drizzle generously with oil. Toss in herbs and serve warm or at room temperature.

Rendang-Seasoned Ground Beef over Pasta

Spice paste
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, peeled
5 shallots, peeled
2 dried red chiles
2 fresh red chiles, seeded
1 1-inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, roughly chopped

Sauce & Assembly
4 tablespoons neutral oil, such as vegetable or grapeseed
1 pound ground beef (preferably chuck and 20% fat)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut, toasted and blended to a paste
1 turmeric or pandan leaf, thinly sliced (optional)
8 ounces dried rigatoni

Blend all the ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor or a blender until finely minced. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water to help the mixture blend smoothly. (Alternatively, you can pound them in a mortar and pestle.)

Pour the oil into a pot, and place it over medium heat, and heat until oil starts to shimmer. Add in the spice paste and sauté gently for 6-8 minutes, or until the paste is thickened and starting to stick.

Season the ground beef evenly with 1/2 tsp salt, cumin, coriander, and fennel, then add to the pot. Combine well with the paste, and cook until beef is lightly browned and the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, 1?2 cup water, brown sugar and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Give it a quick stir, then turn the heat down to low. Let the rendang simmer for at least an hour, until the coconut milk turns thick and caramelizes, and the beef becomes soft and tender (like in a bolognese). Make sure to stir the pot every 10-15 minutes so the rendang doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom.

When the rendang is almost done—the gravy should be thick, like the consistency of relish—add in the coconut paste and sliced turmeric leaf, if using, and let simmer for a final 10 minutes. If not using the rendang immediately, let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

If having the rendang that same day, bring 4 quarts of well-salted water (estimating 1 tablespoon per quart of water) to a boil. Cook the rigatoni until al dente, then drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water.

Add the rigatoni to the rendang, and stir vigorously to bring the two together, adding pasta water if needed. Divide between bowls and serve.

Vegetable Yakisoba

2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (vegan Worcestershire if making vegetarian)
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
1 cup green cabbage (julienned)
1/2 red bell pepper (julienned)
1 pound fresh yakisoba noodles (450g)
3 scallions (julienned)
toasted sesame seeds (optional garnish)

In a small bowl, mix together the mirin, Ponzu sauce, oyster sauce, and Worcestershire sauce until thoroughly combined.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok. Stir-fry for 2 minutes and then add the onions, carrots, cabbage, and bell pepper.

Stir-fry for another 2 minutes, and then add the noodles. Pour the sauce mixture over the noodles. The liquid will help break them up.

Continue to stir-fry the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until the noodles are heated through. Add the scallions and stir-fry for 1 more minute. Serve, garnished with black sesame seeds if desired.

Chicken Yakisoba

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
8 oz. sliced chicken thighs or breast (225g)
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons oil (plus 2 teaspoons, divided)
1 small onion (thinly sliced)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
2 cups cabbage (julienned)
12 oz. fresh yakisoba noodles (340g)
2 scallions (julienned)

In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, oyster sauce, mirin, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the sliced chicken with 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 2 teaspoons oil. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat. Add the chicken in one layer and allow to sear for 1 minute. Stir-fry for another minute, remove from the wok, and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok, along with the shiitake mushrooms. Stir-fry for 2 minutes and then add the onions, carrots, and cabbage. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes, and then add the noodles, seared chicken, scallions, and the sauce mixture. Continue to stir-fry the mixture for another 2-3 minutes until the noodles are heated through.

Yaki Udon

1 pound frozen udon noodles (450g, or 200g dry udon noodles)
2 tablespoons butter (30g)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 teaspoons dashi powder
1 tablespoon oil
4 ounces pork shoulder (115g, julienned; can substitute chicken, beef, seafood, pressed tofu, or more vegetables)2 tablespoons mirin
2 cups cabbage (shredded)
1 medium carrot (julienned)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 scallions (julienned)

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Add the udon noodles. Boil for 30 seconds – 1 minute to loosen them. If using dried noodles, cook according to package instructions. Drain, rinse in cold water to remove excess starch, and drain thoroughly again. Set aside.

Place a large Dutch oven, non-stick pot, or large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the pan is heated, add the butter. Once partially melted, stir in the garlic and dashi granules. Cook for 30 seconds, until the dashi partially dissolves. At this point, the butter should be a light brown color.

Add the drained noodles and toss to coat them in the butter. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until the noodles have dried out and are slightly crisped. Remove and set aside.

Add a tablespoon of oil to the pot, along with the pork shoulder. Brown the pork until crisp on the edges. Add mirin, and cook until caramelized.

Add the cabbage, carrot, pepper, soy sauce, and water. Stir-fry until the vegetables are wilted, and add the noodles back in, along with the scallions. Stir-fry for ano

Sesame Chicken Schnitzel

1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (a.k.a. garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, plus more as needed
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 14 ounces total weight, from 1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine the panko, sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate dish; whisk together the flour and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt in another dish.

Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Season the chicken lightly with salt and black pepper, plus a little more cayenne, if desired. Working with one piece at a time, place each thigh between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.

Coat each piece of pounded chicken first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess; then in the egg; and then in the seasoned panko, pressing so the meat is evenly and completely coated. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; let the pieces sit for 10 minutes (this will help the coating adhere during cooking). Discard any remaining egg and seasoned flour; you should have used all the panko mixture.

When you are ready to fry, place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Heat the oil until shimmering in a heavy skillet over medium heat.

Lay two of the coated chicken pieces in the pan; fry for about 2 1/2 minutes, until the underside is golden brown, then use tongs to turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to the wire rack to drain while you cook the remaining chicken.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Korean Fried Chicken

For the tenders:
2 chicken breasts (cut into 15 tenders)
Buttermilk (enough to coat the chicken)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons Korean chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil (enough to fill a small, deep pot for frying)

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey (or agave)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard

First, place the chicken tenders in a medium sized bowl. Pour enough buttermilk into the bowl to submerge the chicken. Add the soy sauce and dijon mustard. Stir thoroughly and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, combine the flour, Korean chili powder, salt, and pepper.

Heat the oil over medium high heat. When a chopstick dipped into the oil sizzles, you’re ready to start frying.

Dredge each chicken tender in the flour mixture, coating thoroughly. Then dip the chicken tender back into the buttermilk. Dredge in the flour mixture a second time, and gently place into the hot oil. Fry until the chicken is golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet.

Repeat the double-dipping/dredging and frying with the remaining pieces of chicken. When you’re done frying the chicken, combine the gochujang, soy sauce, agave, sesame oil, and dijon mustard for the dipping sauce. Serve immediately–maybe alongside some French fries if you’re having yourself an extra little splurge!

Drunken Noodles (Pad Kee Mao)

For the chicken & marinade:
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces sliced chicken thighs or chicken breast (340g)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
8 ounces wide dried rice noodles (225g)
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar (dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)
2 teaspoons soy sauce (Thai soy sauce preferred)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
pinch ground white pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil (divided)
3 cloves garlic (sliced)
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
2 shallots (sliced, about 1/3 cups)
1 scallion (julienned into 3-inch pieces)
4 Thai red chili peppers (deseeded and julienned)
1 cup holy basil or Thai basil (loosely packed)
5 to 6 pieces baby corn (split in half, optional)
2 teaspoons Shaoxing wine

Work the 2 tablespoons of water into the sliced chicken with your hands until the chicken absorbs the liquid. Add 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon oil, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and mix until the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Follow the directions on the rice noodle package to prepare your noodles. What we usually do is prepare a stainless steel bowl with hot tap water to soak the noodles for about 15 minutes. Then we just drain them and set aside for cooking.

Stir together the dissolved brown sugar mixture, soy sauces, fish sauce, oyster sauce, and white pepper in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat your wok until it’s close to smoking, and spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter of the wok. Add the chicken and let it sear for 1 minute on each side until it’s about 90% cooked. Remove from the wok and set aside. If the heat was high enough and you seared the meat correctly, your wok should be still clean with nothing sticking to it. If not, you can wash the wok to prevent the rice noodles from sticking.

Continue with the wok on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil, along with the garlic and grated ginger.

After a few seconds, add the shallots. Stir fry for 20 seconds and add the scallions, chili peppers, basil, baby corn and shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds and add in the rice noodles. Use a scooping motion to mix everything for another minute until the noodles warm up.

Next, add the prepared sauce mixture and stir-fry at the highest heat for about 1 minute until the noodles are uniform in color. Take care to use your metal spatula to scrape the bottom of the wok to prevent sticking.

Add the seared chicken and stir-fry for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Chili-Garlic Shrimp

1 lb (450 g) raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Sauce:
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)

Stir Fry:
4 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced

Combine the shrimp and Shaoxing wine in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Mix until the salt is evenly dispersed. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil (or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a medium-sized skillet until hot. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and all-purpose flour to the bowl with the shrimp. Toss until the shrimp are fully coated.
Shake the extra flour off the shrimp and add them to the pan. You might need to cook them in two batches. Let the shrimp cook without touching them, until the bottom turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, transfer the shrimp to a large plate without overlapping and keep cooking the rest.

Once you’re done cooking the shrimp, turn off the stove and use paper towels to wipe the pan to remove any residue.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the sauce to the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy, 20 to 30 seconds.

Turn the heat off and return the shrimp into the pan, tossing to coat thoroughly.

Serve hot as a main dish.

Spanish White Bean Soup with Bacon and Herbs

1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
10 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.

Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.

Hawaiian Pork Bowl

1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup sugar
2 English breakfast tea bags
One 1-pound pork tenderloin, butterflied and flattened
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of fresh pineapple—peeled, quartered and cored
1 red onion, cut through the core into 1/4-inch wedges
1/3 cuo extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
Kosher salt
Pepper
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, plus sprigs for serving

Steamed rice, crisp bacon, diced avocado and thinly sliced jalapeño, for serving

In a large bowl, combine the boiling water, sugar and tea bags and let stand for 5 minutes. Discard the tea bags and stir the tea to dissolve the sugar. Let cool completely, then add the pork and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Drain the pork and pat ?dry with paper towels. Brush the pork, pineapple and red onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill ?the pork over high heat, turning once, until lightly charred and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the pork registers 135°, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a carving board and let ?rest for 5 minutes, then slice the pork against the grain. Meanwhile, grill the pineapple and onion, turning once, ?until charred, about 4 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the lime juice with the minced cilantro and the 1/3 cup of olive oil. Season the dressing with salt and pepper. Serve the pork, pineapple and onion over steamed rice with crisp bacon, diced avocado, thinly sliced jalapeño and the lime dressing.

Laksa Ayam Betawi (Jakarta Coconut Chicken Soup)

800 gr chicken breast fillet – about 28 oz, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups coconut milk

Ingredients to grind:
30 gr dried shrimp – soak in warm water until soft
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1 inch fresh ginger
1 Tbsp sambal oelek – or more if you want it spicier. You can also use this chili paste

Spices and herbs:
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp galangal powder
1 stalk lemongrass
2 bay leaves
3 kaffir lime leaves

Seasonings:
2 tsp salt – or more to taste
1 tsp sugar – or more to taste
1/2 tsp ground white pepper

Choice of noodles: (choose one)
Rice noodles – (bihun) prepare according to directions on the package
mungbean thread noodles – (soun) prepare according to directions on the package

Serve with:
200 gr mungbean sprouts (tauge) – blanched in hot water
2 hard-boiled eggs – cut into quarters
Crispy fried shallots / bawang goreng
Emping crackers
Limes

Garnishes:
1 stalk green onion – finely chopped
Fresh mints and/or basil leaves

Place all ingredients to grind in a food processor and process into a paste. Add the cooking oil to help it going.

Preheat a large heavy-bottom pot. Add cooking oil (if you haven’t added it when you grind the ingredients above). Add the ground ingredients and stir fry until they smell really good, about 3 minutes or so.

Add the chicken pieces followed by turmeric, coriander, galangal powder, and seasonings. Stir to mix everything and cook until the chicken just turn opaque and add chicken broth, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Then stir in the coconut milk. Have a taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Serving:
Portion the cooked noodles into individual serving bowl. Portion out some chicken pieces. and beansprouts. Ladle the hot soup over.

Add hard-boiled pieces, chopped green onions, bawang goreng, and fresh mint and/or basil leaves. Squeeze some lime juice over if you like. Serve immediately when it’s warm with some emping crackers if you have some.

Laotian Khao Soi (Coconut Curry Noodles with Pork)

5 dried Thai chiles
1 cup hot water 3 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound ground pork
2 small plum tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup soybean paste (such as Healthy Boy)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (such as Red Boat), divided
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 bunch fresh cilantro
8 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
14 ounces uncooked dried
1/8-inch-wide banh pho rice stick noodles
2 cups zucchini ribbons (shaved using a Y-shaped peeler, avoiding and discarding squash seeds) (optional)
2 cups shredded napa cabbage (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint Black pepper, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving

Wearing gloves, crumble Thai chiles into a medium-size heatproof bowl. Add 1 cup hot water; let stand 15 minutes. Drain chiles; discard liquid. Process chiles, oil, and garlic in a mini food processor until chiles are very finely chopped, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Add chile mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add pork; cook, stirring occasionally to break pork into small pieces, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, soybean paste, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, sugar, and paprika. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down, 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced and pork is coated with sauce, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, separate cilantro stems from leaves; tie stems together with kitchen twine. Chop leaves to yield about 1/2 cup; set aside for garnish. Stir together chicken broth, cilantro stems, and remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium. Uncover; remove and discard cilantro stems. Cover broth; keep warm over medium-low.

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles, and divide evenly among 8 serving bowls (about 2/3 cup each). If using, add zucchini ribbons and cabbage to hot broth; cook over medium-low until just tender, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using tongs or a spider, remove vegetables from broth, and divide evenly among serving bowls (about 1/2 cup each). Top each bowl with about 1/4 cup pork mixture and 1 cup hot broth. Sprinkle bowls evenly with mint and reserved chopped cilantro. Garnish with black pepper, and serve with lime wedges.

Note: Noodles can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance and held in cold water. Broth can be made up to 4 hours in advance. Pork mixture can be cooked and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days ahead.

Indochinese Schezwan Paneer

2 tbsp red chili paste (or 7 to 8 red chilies)
Hot water to soak chilies

For batter:
3 to 4 tbsps corn flour
3 to 4 tbsps all purpose flour or maida (organic)
salt as needed
1/4 tsp pepper
water as needed to make the batter
200 grams paneer

to make schezwan paneer:
oil for deep frying
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp oil for seasoning
3/4 tbsp. garlic chopped finely
1/2 tbsp. ginger chopped finely
1/2 tsp schezwan pepper or 3 to 4 crushed (optional)
2 tbsps spring onion whites chopped
2 to 3 tbsps celery chopped (optional)
salt as needed
3/4 to 1 tsp sugar
3/4 tbsp soya sauce
3/4 tbsp vinegar ( or tomato sauce)
4 tbsps water
1/4 cup capsicum (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1 tsp corn flour or corn starch or arrow root powder

Deseed & soak red chilies in hot water. Set aside for 30 mins. Blend them well with just 2 tbsps of water to a smooth or coarse paste. Discard the rest of the soaked water.

To a mixing bowl, add cornflour, maida, pepper and salt. Pour water just enough to make a free flowing batter of slightly thick consistency. Add the paneer bites and coat them in the batter well.

Heat oil in a kadai for deep frying. When the oil turns hot, drop the batter coated paneer in the hot oil. Fry them on a medium high flame until the paneer bites turn crisp. Drain them to a kitchen tissue.

Making schezwan paneer:

Heat oil in a pan or wok. Fry ginger garlic for a minute. Add spring onions, celery and schezwan peppers. Saute for 2 mins. Add red chili paste, salt and sugar. Fry for 2 to 3 mins. Remove the schezwan pepper.

Pour water and cook until the mixture leaves oil.Pour soya sauce and vinegar or tomato sauce. Mix and saute for a minute.

Add capscium and fry for 2 mins.

Mix corn flour with water. Pour that to the pan. Mix well and cook until the sauce thickens. Check the taste and adjust the spice and sourness as desired.
Turn off the stove. Cool this sauce a bit.

Add the paneer and mix well to coat the sauce.

Serve the schezwan paneer hot with noodles or fried rice.

Indochinese Lemon Chicken

300 grams chicken boneless cubes or breast
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 1/2 to 2 tbsp lemon juice
salt as needed
1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
3/4 tsp red chili powder
1/8 tsp turmeric

other ingredients:

1/2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp ginger chopped or minced
1/2 tbsp garlic
1 green chili slit
1 onion large , chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cajun spice mix or garam masala
1/2 tbsp soya sauce
1 Handful celery or mint or coriander leaves

Marinate chicken with all the ingredients mentioned under marinade. Set this aside for about 1 hour 15 minutes. It can also be refrigerated for longer to over night.

Heat a pan with oil, add ginger and garlic and fry until nice smell begins to waft.

Add onions, chili, sugar and salt. Fry until the onions turn pink.

Add marinated chicken and stir. Fry until the chicken is half cooked.

Add spice powder and stir. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add soya sauce and mix well.

Cook until the chicken is soft and tender. Any taste can be adjusted now, more chili powder, spice powder,salt or soya sauce can be added to reduce the tang.
Add mint leaves and fry until they wilt. Chicken should just be moist but not with dripping sauces. Cook to evaporate any excess moisture.

Serve lemon chicken with onion wedges as a side to fried rice, noodles or rice.

Chili Chicken

1/4 cup Oil or more for deep frying

250 grams boneless chicken cubes (½ lb)
1 1/2 teaspoon red chilli sauce (sweet & spicy, less spicy kind)
1 1/2 teaspoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder (crushed pepper)
2 to 3 tablespoons corn flour or corn starch
1 1/2-to 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or maida (optional)
1/4+teaspoon red chili powder (optional) or paprika or red chilli paste
1/8 teaspoon Salt or as needed
1 egg white (use only as needed) or 2 tbsps water (refer notes)

Seasoning for chilli chicken:
1 tablespoon soya sauce (naturally brewed)
2 tablespoons red chilli sauce (adjust to taste) (sweet and spicy)
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (optional) or paprika or red chili paste
1/4 teaspoon pepper powder
3/4 to 1 teaspoon vinegar (any or apple cider)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons water

Other ingredients (veggies):
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion thinly sliced or cubed
1 tablespoon garlic fine chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup bell pepper or capsicum – cubed
1 to 2 green chilies slit and deseeded (optional)
1 sprig spring onion or scallions chopped (optional)
1 to 3 tablespoon Spring onion greens for garnish

(Optional) If you prefer to skip the egg in the recipe, it is good to brine the chicken to keep it juicy, succulent and to prevent from drying up. Follow the instruction in recipe notes below.

Slice chicken to bite sized pieces about half inch cubes. Add chicken to a mixing bowl. Ensure it is drained completely.

Then add 1 1/2 tsp soya sauce, 1 1/2 tsp chilli sauce, 1/4 tsp pepper powder, 1/4 tsp red chili powder (optional) and 1 pinch of salt.

Then sprinkle corn flour & plain flour.

Add the egg white or water just as needed to bind the flour with the chicken. If the mixture is dry add more egg white or sprinkle some water.

Set this aside until you prepare the ingredients & the sauce. You can also refrigerate overnight and use.

Cube the onions & bell pepper. Separate the layers and slit green chilies.
Prepare the sauce in a bowl. Add 1 tbsp soya sauce, 2 tbsps chili sauce, 2 tbsps tomato ketchup, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, 1 tsp vinegar and 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar to a bowl. Pour 2 tbsps of water and mix well. Set this aside.

How to make chilli chicken:

Heat oil in a pan for deep or shallow fry. It can also be grilled at 240 C for 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated oven.

Check if the oil is hot enough by gently sliding a small quantity of batter to the hot oil. It must rise without browning.

Now add the chicken cubes one by one without crowding the pan.

Fry on a medium high heat until crisp, golden and evenly cooked from inside.

Keep stirring to fry evenly. Do not over fry as the chicken tends to turn hard.

When the chicken is cooked completely, bubbles in the oil will begin to reduce. Drain on a kitchen tissue or a colander.

For extra crisp chicken, once done frying the entire chicken refry them in hot oil.

Seasoning chilli chicken:

Heat 1½ tbsp oil in a wok or pan on a high flame.

Add garlic & fry for about a min.

Then add onions, capsicum, spring onions and green chilies.

Fry till they turn slightly soft for about a minute or so. The veggies must still be crunchy.

Pour the sauces. Let the sauces bubble up well & slightly thicken.

Taste the sauce and add more salt, spice or sauce as needed.

Also taste the chicken first and add accordingly.

Then add the fried chicken, Mix well. Saute chilli chicken on a high flame for 1 minute.

Toss until the chicken is coated well with sauce. Garnish with green parts of the spring onions.

Serve chilli chicken immediately hot as appetizer or with fried rice or noodles.

Indian Spicy Garlic Chicken

300 grams chicken strips or boneless cubes
4 tbsp Yogurt
Salt very little
1 pinch pepper

Seasoning:
2 tbsp Oil
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp cumin
1 onions chopped finely

Ingredients for Chili garlic sauce:
5 red chilies or 3/4 tsp red chilli powder
5 garlic cloves crushed
3/4 tbsp Vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
15 to 30 ml Water (lesser, better) to make a paste

Garnish:
Coriander leaves
Onion wedges or rings
Lemon

Mix yogurt, salt and pepper with ½ to ¾ cup water. Beat well and set aside.
Wash chicken and soak it in the above prepared butter milk for 2 hours to overnight in the refrigerator. Soaking for at least 6 hours is recommended to get soft chicken.

Blend and Make a paste of the ingredients mentioned for chili garlic sauce.
Drain up the buttermilk and add the prepared sauce. Mix well and leave it for 5 minutes. If you want to prepare it at a later time, you can put it back in the refrigerator.

Making garlic chicken:

Heat a pan with oil, add cumin and curry leaves, sauté till the cumin begins to splutter.

Transfer the onions and fry till golden.

Add the chicken and fry on a high heat for 2 to 3 mins. When you see the chicken turning white, cover it with a lid and lower the heat and cook till the chicken turns tender. This barely takes 5 mins if you are using strips.

Remove the lid and fry till the moisture evaporates and the sauce begins to cling to the chicken. The longer it is roasted, the sauce becomes more aromatic and tastier but the chicken tends to lose its tenderness. So take off from the heat when it is of your liking. Take care not to burn, garlic burns faster.
Serve garlic chicken hot or warm.

Andhra Chicken Fry

1 to 2 tbsp oil
1 to 2 sprig curry leaves
2 to 3 green chilies slit or chopped
1/2 tsp pepper powder (adjust as desired)
12 cashew nuts powdered finely

Marination for chicken fry:
1/2 kg chicken (bone-in or boneless)
1 1/2 tbsps Lemon juice
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp red chili powder
1 large onion (or 2 medium, coarsely pulsed in mixer)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp ghee solid (use 2 tbsp if melted)
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Coriander leaves chopped finely

Garam masala powder:
2 tbsps Coriander seeds or daniya
2 inch Cinnamon or dalchini
8 Cloves or laung
4 green cardamom or elachi
1/2 tsp Jeera or cumin
1/4 tsp Fennel seeds or saunf (optional)

Dry roast the ingredients mentioned for garam masala on a low flame until aromatic. Cool and make a fine powder.

Marinate the chicken with ingredients mentioned under marination along with 2 tbsps. water and garam masala. Set aside for 15 mins.

On a low flame, cook the chicken till it is soft cooked and tender. Little water can be added while cooking if the chicken turns dry. Once cooked, set aside for sometime. This gives the best taste to the chicken fry.

How to make andhra chicken fry:

Heat oil in a pan, add curry leaves and green chilies.

Fry till the leaves turn crisp and aromatic.

Add the cooked chicken along with the stock.

Fry on a high flame till all the gravy is absorbed by the chicken.

Add the cashew powder and pepper powder.

Keep stirring well and fry for 3 to 4 mins or till you get a nice aroma of cashews.The gravy should dry up with masala coated over the chicken.

Garnish chicken fry with fresh chopped coriander leaves