Instant Ramen Fried Rice

One 2.5-ounce (71g) cup instant ramen noodles, such as Cup Noodles, in flavor of your choice
Boiling water
3 tablespoons (45ml) canola oil or other neutral oil
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup (7 3/4 ounces; 220g) cooked medium- or short-grain rice (see note)
Kosher salt

Transfer contents of instant noodles cup (dried noodles plus all seasonings and mix-ins) to a zipper-lock bag or mixing bowl. Crush noodles well into roughly rice-size pieces, but don’t obsess about it.

Return crushed noodles and seasonings to cup.

Add just enough boiling water to wet contents of cup but no more than that. Cover and let stand while you continue with the recipe.

In a large nonstick skillet, wok, cast iron, or carbon steel pan, heat oil over high heat until shimmering. Add egg and cook, stirring, until just scrambled.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly and breaking up any small lumps, until heated through and glazed in the oil, about 2 minutes.

Add soaked ramen along with any liquid and cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until excess moisture has cooked off and rice and noodles are lightly golden and toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt.

Transfer to a serving platter or pack into a heatproof bowl, then invert bowl on a plate to make a compact mound of rice.

Note:
If a heartier meal is desired, you can whip up a 4-egg omelette and unfurl it on top of the mound of rice; top with ketchup and anything else you want.

Pasta with ‘Nduja Sauce

1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots (about 3 ounces; 90g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
One (24.5-ounce; 700g) bottle tomato passata (see note)
4 ounces (1/2 cup; 115g) ‘nduja (see note)
1 pound (450g) dried ziti, candele (broken into 3-inch pieces) or other short tubular pasta
2 ounces (60g) finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until shallots are softened but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add passata, and make sure to use up all of the tomato in the bottle by adding 1/4 cup (60ml) water to the empty bottle, screwing on the lid, shaking the contents, and then adding tomato-water mixture to the skillet. Bring to simmer, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is slightly thickened, 12 to 15 minutes.

Add ‘nduja, and use wooden spoon to break up and stir into sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, until ‘nduja is fully emulsified and incorporated in sauce, about 1 minute.

Meanwhile, in a pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until just softened on the exterior, but well shy of al dente, and still uncooked in the center (about 3 minutes less than the package directs). Using a spider skimmer, transfer pasta to sauce, along with 1/2 cup (120ml) pasta cooking water. Alternatively, drain pasta using a colander or fine-mesh strainer, making sure to reserve at least 1 cup (240ml) pasta cooking water.

Increase heat to high and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly, until pasta is al dente and sauce is thickened and coats noodles, about 2 minutes, adding more pasta cooking water in 1/4 cup (60ml) increments as needed. Remove from heat, add half of grated cheese, and stir rapidly to incorporate. Season with salt to taste. Serve immediately, passing remaining grated cheese at the table.

Game-Changing Crispy Topping

3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup fresh coarse or panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re evenly toasted and golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add cup pecorino and toss to coat, letting the cheese melt and clump among the bread crumbs (think granola-like clusters).

Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl or plate. Use on mac and cheese or anything that needs a crispy topping.

Perfect Doctored Ramen

1 pack ramen noodles with flavor packet
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon butter
2 slices American cheese
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1/2 scallion, green part only, thinly

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flavor packet, stir, and continue to cook for another 30 seconds.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the egg. Do not stir; pull the noodles over the egg and let sit for one minute to poach.

Carefully transfer everything to a serving bowl, add the butter, cheese and sesame seeds and mix. Garnish with the scallions if desired.

Soba Noodles with Peanut Chutney

Peanut chutney:
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Indian peanutty noodles:
8 ounces udon or soba noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, divided
2 tablespoons peanut chutney, prepared above
1 to 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, to taste

Optional: Feel free to substitute with vegetables of your choice as long as the vegetables retain some bite, shape and do not become mushy. Carrots, red onions, snap peas, zucchini, water chestnuts, baby corn, mushrooms, french beans are great substitutes.

Roast the peanuts in a 350°F oven (or toaster oven) for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the nuts have turned dark brown, a shade darker than golden brown. Keep an eye on them! (After 3 minutes, turn the pan in such a way that the peanuts in the back come to the front.) Turn the oven off, take the peanuts out, and let cool.

In a food processor or blender, blitz all of the chutney ingredients (cumin powder, red chile powder, and salt) along with the peanuts into a coarse powder. Keep in a zip-top bag or tightly sealed jar.

Cook the noodles according to the instructions on their packet and set aside. Keep half a cup of water in which you boiled the noodles.

Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet. Add broccoli and saute for 5 minutes. Feel free to add broccoli stems too.

Follow with red bell pepper for about 3 to 4 minutes. (We want both these vegetables to lose their raw flavor, yet still have a bite.)

Add half of the scallions and let cook for a minute.

Add peanut chutney and mix well, followed by the soy sauce, and sauté till the sauce coats all of the vegetables.

Add boiled noodles and mix till the noodles are coated evenly with the soy sauce/peanut chutney mixture. Pour some of the starchy noodle water if you like your noodles wetter.

Garnish with rest of the scallions and serve hot with fresh red pepper chile garlic sauce on the side.

Sheet Pan Fried Rice with Bacon and Broccoli

2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other high-heat-friendly oil), divided
3 cups cooked, leftover rice (the more dried out, the better)
1/3 cup soy sauce, plus more for drizzling
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli (in bite-sized florets)
1 cup green chopped cabbage (in roughly 2×1/2-inch strips)
1 1/2 cups finely chopped scallions (the green and light green parts), divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup
1/2 cup frozen green peas
6 ounces thick-cut bacon, sliced into roughly 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 sunny-side-up fried egg with a runny yolk per person you’re serving (optional)
Chili sauce of your choice

Heat oven to 475°F.

Drizzle an 11×17-inch rimmed sheet pan with one tablespoon of oil and spread it around, to grease the pan.

Add the following to the pan: rice, the remaining tablespoon of oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, onion, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, and 1 cup of the scallions. Use clean hands to mix and break up the rice clumps with your fingers. (You could do this with a fork instead, but you’d be more likely to spray rice all over your kitchen.) Spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes—until there are lotttts of crispy rice bits, and the carrots have just lost their bite—giving everything a gentle stir every so often to avoid letting the cabbage or the rice around the edges burn. Then, add the peas and bacon pieces, stir again, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the bacon is crisped up.

Remove from the oven. To serve, drizzle with more soy sauce to taste, and top with a fried egg (if using), plus some of the reserved scallions, and chili sauce of your choice.

Tomato Cheese Masala Toast

2 slices bread, any kind (I like a very grainy bread, but this combo tastes great on truly anything)
1 medium Roma tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala, plus more if needed

Toast the bread to the desired toastiness. Evenly top each piece of toast with the tomatoes, followed by the cheese.

Place the tomato-cheese toasts in a toaster oven (or under the broiler on high) and toast until the cheese has fully melted on top of the tomatoes.

(Alternatively, microwave the toasts on high in 30-second intervals, until the cheese has fully melted on top of the tomatoes.)

Sprinkle the toasts with the chaat masala, adding more to taste.

Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Salt
8 ounces (about) rice noodles (vermicelli or sticks, as you like)
8 ounces bean sprouts
4 eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
2 small hot red chiles (like Thai bird or Fresno), seeded if you like and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put the noodles in a large bowl. When the water boils, add enough water to the bowl to cover, stir, then let the noodles soak until they are soft and pliable. Start checking after 3 minutes; thicker noodles could take up to 15.

When the noodles are nearly tender, add the sprouts to soak for a minute or reserve 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, then transfer everything to a colander, run under cold water for 1 minute, and shake off any excess water.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining water back to a boil, carefully add the eggs, cover, and turn off the heat. Steep the eggs for 9 minutes, then drain and run under cold water until cool.

Whisk together the peanut butter, sugar, fish sauce, 1 teaspoon of the chiles, and the lime juice in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid and continue to whisk. The dressing should easily coat the back of a spoon. If it’s too thick, whisk in more hot water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more lime juice, chiles, and salt if you’d like.

Combine the noodles and sprouts with half the dressing in a large bowl and toss gently with 2 forks.

Peel the eggs and halve lengthwise.

Garnish the noodles with the eggs, scallions, and peanuts and serve at room temperature, passing the lime wedges and the remaining dressing and chiles at the table.

Smacked Zucchini Salad With Chile Oil & Black Vinegar

4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile crisp (or chile oil with its sediment)
2 teaspoons black vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large garlic clove, Microplaned or minced
2 zucchinis (totaling at about 12 ounces)
1 pinch kosher or flaky salt (if needed)

Combine the soy sauce, chile crisp, black vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.

Lay the zucchinis on a cutting board and smack with a rolling pin until they split, like a dropped watermelon at the grocery store. Now chop the smacked zucchinis into bite-size pieces with a knife. Add the zucchini to the bowl with the dressing and toss.

Taste and adjust as needed. Maybe you want the salt, or not. Maybe you want more soy sauce, or chile crisp, or vinegar, or sugar, or garlic. Adjust until it tastes very, very good to you. The longer it sits, the softer the zucchini will get, and the saucier.

Chongqing Melted Cheese

To Assemble:
1 1/2 tablespoons My Ultimate Chile Oil (recipe below), or your favorite chile oil
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded Pepper Jack cheese
3/4 cup (68 g) shredded mild Cheddar cheese
1 large egg
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 pinch finely chopped herbs and aromatics, such as mint, parsley, and scallions
1 piece crusty bread, for serving

Ultimate Chile Oil:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated
1/2 cup (50 g) Sichuan (spicier) or Korean (milder) chile flakes
1 star anise pod
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups (480 mL) canola oil
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons finely ground Sichuan peppercorns

Assemble:
Add the chile oil to a small, heavy skillet (7 to 8 inches/18 to 20 cm; best to use a skillet in a material that retains heat well, like cast iron) and swirl to spread it around. Scatter the cheeses on top and make a small well in the middle, then crack the egg into the well. Place over medium-low heat with the lid on and cook until the cheeses are melted and the egg is just cooked, with the yolk still runny. You can peek a couple of times during the process; it’s fine.

Crack some fresh black pepper on top and sprinkle with whatever fresh greens and herbs you have on hand, such as scallions, mint, or parsley. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

My Ultimate Chile Oil:

Mix the soy sauce and grated garlic together. Set aside.

Using a spice grinder, grind the chile flakes, star anise pod, coriander, cumin, and curry powder into a fine powder. In a large saucepan at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep, combine the spice powder with the oil, sesame seeds, and bay leaves. Set it over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the chile flakes have turned maroon in color (but not black!).

When the chile flakes have turned to the desired color, turn off the heat immediately, then add the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Stir and let fry in the residual heat for about 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce/garlic mixture. The oil will boil up a little due to the added moisture (which is why we’re using a deep pot). Just keep stirring until the sizzling has died down.

Let the chile oil sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours (or best overnight) before using. Keep in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Louisiana Barbecued Shrimp

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves, crushed
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup fish stock (or chicken stock)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound shell-on shrimp
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Hot crusty French bread, for serving

In a small bowl, combine the cayenne, black pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, thyme, oregano, paprika, and bay leaves.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the butter over medium-high until melted and sizzling. Add the garlic, spices, wine, fish stock, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce thickens enough to lightly coat a spoon, about 5 to 7 minutes; shake the pan as it cooks to help bring the sauce together.

Add the shrimp, reduce the heat to low, and cook, turning once, until the shrimp turn pink and firm, 3 to 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the shrimp with parsley and serve immediately from the skillet with hot French bread to soak up the sauce. Eat with your hands.

Pasta e Ceci with Miso and Chili Oil

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons white miso
2 1/2 cups just-boiled water
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup ditalini
2 teaspoons chili crisp (such as Lao Gan Ma or Fly By Jing), with oil, adjusted to taste

Add the oil and miso to a large saucepan or small soup pot. Set on the stove over medium to medium-low heat and stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, lowering the heat if the miso is threatening to burn, until the miso is very fragrant and a toasty, chestnutty brown.

Carefully pour off the oil into a small heatproof bowl (you don’t need to obsess over every last drop, just try to get most of it); discard this later on, whenever it’s cool.

Set the pan back on the stove and add about half the water, stirring until the miso is incorporated and all the bits on the bottom are scraped up.

Add the rest of the water, as well as the chickpeas and pasta. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the pasta is super-duper al dente (remember, it will continue to cook as it hangs out in the hot soup).

Divide into two soup bowls and top with however much chili crisp you want.

Chinese Chili

16 Chinese Facing Heaven chili peppers
16 Chinese Red Lantern chili peppers
1 and 1/2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 yellow onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 lbs (1 kg) ground beef
4 tablespoons Doubanjiang Chinese fermented spicy chili paste
1 can (28 oz) canned diced tomatos
1 cup canned tomato sauce about 1/2 can (7 oz. tomato sauce, or 2 tablespoons tomato paste)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup beef broth
2 can (14 oz) kidney beans, drained

Finely chopped cilantro
Cubed avocado or sour cream
Steamed rice

Toast the Sichuan peppercorns in a small saucepan over medium heat until you can smell the fragrance and the Sichuan peppercorns turn a little darker. Transfer the peppercorns to a small bowl and set aside.
Soak the chili peppers in 2 cups of hot water until softened, 15 minutes or so. Use your fingers to press the air out from the chili peppers so they soak evenly. Once soaked, remove the tough stems of the chili peppers and discard them.

Combine the soaked chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, cumin powder, dried oregano, and salt in a blender or in a tall glass and use an immersion blender. Add 1/2 cup of the pepper soaking water without adding the residue at the bottom. Blend until it forms a fine paste.

Heat oil in a 5.5 quart dutch oven over medium heat and add the yellow onion. Cook and stir until the onion just starts to soften, 5 minutes or so.
Use your spatula to move the onion to the edge of the pan and add the ground beef in the center. Add the Doubanjiang. Let cook for a minute without moving. Then stir with a spatula to break the meat into smaller pieces and coat with the Doubanjiang. Cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is cooked and turns into small pieces.

Add the chili paste. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the diced tomato, tomato sauce, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Add the beef broth. Cook until bringing to a simmer. Turn to medium-low heat. Simmer, covered, until the beef turns soft, 30 minutes.

Add the kidney beans and stir to mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste the chili carefully and add more salt if needed.

Serve the chili over steamed rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and avocado, if using. Serve as a main course.

Store:
Store the leftover chili in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. The beans will continue to absorb liquid during storage. You can add a splash of broth before reheating to bring back the original texture.
Notes:

If you want a faster and easier recipe, or if you do not have whole Chinese chili peppers, use 1/3 cup of Chinese chili flakes (or 1/4 cup of chili powder) to replace the whole chili peppers. Grind the Sichuan peppercorns into powder in a spice or coffee grinder. Mix all the ingredients for the chili blend and toss them in a hot pan to release the fragrance. Then use the dry chili blend instead of the paste in the recipe.

3-Ingredient Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

6 ounces (170g) elbow macaroni
Salt
6 ounces (180ml) evaporated milk
6 ounces (170g) grated mild or medium cheddar cheese, or any good melting cheese, such as Fontina, Gruyère, or Jack

Place macaroni in a medium saucepan or skillet and add just enough cold water to cover. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook, stirring, until water has been almost completely absorbed and macaroni is just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes.

Immediately add evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Add cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continuously, until cheese is melted and liquid has reduced to a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with more salt and serve immediately.

Oi Muchim (Korean Marinated Cucumbers)

ngredients
4 Persian cucumbers (about 10 1/2 ounces; 300g), sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon (8g) coarse ground gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (5g) sugar
2 tablespoons (30ml) unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon (5ml) fish sauce
1 medium garlic clove (5g), very finely minced or grated
3 tablespoons (45ml) toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon (10g) toasted sesame seeds

In a medium bowl, combine cucumbers, gochugaru, salt, and sugar. Using clean hands, massage cucumbers, squeezing and tossing them with seasoning, until cucumber is well-coated on all sides and begins to release liquid and color of gochugaru brightens to vibrant orange-red, about 1 minute.

Transfer cucumbers to a colander, then set colander inside bowl used to season cucumbers. Cut a round of parchment paper large enough to cover surface of cucumbers, and place over cucumbers. Then place a weight on top of parchment to press down on cucumbers (canned goods, a cast iron skillet, a mixing bowl filled with water, or a Chef’s Press all make for good weights). Set aside to drain for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl, whisk together rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, and garlic. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in sesame oil until emulsified.

Once cucumbers have drained, remove weight and discard parchment paper. Using clean hands, squeeze cucumbers to get rid of excess moisture, then transfer to bowl with dressing; discard accumulated cucumber liquid. Toss cucumbers with dressing until well-coated all over, about 30 seconds. Add sesame seeds and toss to combine. Divide between small individual serving bowls and serve, or transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Kering Kentang (Spiced Potatoes)

500 gr potatoes – Choose less waxy potatoes like Russet
2 Thai red chilis – seeded and cut into strips
Cooking oil – to fry potatoes

Spiced paste:
4 kaffir lime leaves – use a scissor to cut into thin strips, remove the vein in the middle
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cloves garlic – grated or finely minced
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 Tbsp sambal oelek – or use chili paste
2 tsp galangal powder
70 gr coconut sugar – or use dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp water
2 bay leaves – or 4 dried bay leaves

To add last:
2 Tbsp Crispy fried shallots / bawang goreng

Soak the potatoes:

Peel the potatoes and use a mandoline slicer if you have one to cut the potatoes into uniform size sticks. This is important and will make your life easier when you fry them. They are cooked and get crispy at the same time. You can manually cut them too, it’s more work!

Soak the potato sticks in fresh cold water for at least 2 hours (overnight is fine too) and then drain off all the water and starch that leaks out. Do not skip the soaking part.

Use an absorbent paper towel and pat the potatoes dry.

Fry the potatoes:

Preheat about 1 1/2-inches of cooking oil over high heat. When you dip a chopstick into a oil and it bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready. Or you can just put one piece of potato in there and if it bubbles and floats, the oil is ready. Lower the heat to medium.

You need to fry the potatoes in 3-4 batches. DO NOT dump all at one go. Place the first batch in and fry until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown. Remove to an absorbent paper towel. Continue frying the next batch.

Prepare the spiced paste:

Place all ingredients for the spiced paste in a bowl, except for kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves.

Preheat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a large pan/wok. Add the kaffir lime leaves and Thai chili and fry briefly, about 10 seconds or so. Add the rest of the ingredients above and bay leaves and cook until the sauce thickens to a syrup consistency.

Add the fried potatoes into the sauce and turn off the heat. Stir to make sure the sauce is coating the potatoes. Sprinkle in the bawang goreng and stir again to mix. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Notes:

Kering kentang is best served on the same day. The kering kentang will stay crispy for one whole day. The next day, they will get significantly soggy, which is normal as the moisture from the sauce continues to soften the potatoes.

It’s not uncommon to add things like: roasted peanuts, dried anchovies, fried tempeh (tempe). I highly recommend that you fry these ingredients separately and then add them in when you are about to toss the potatoes to the sauce. This helps to keep the kering kentang crispy.

Sambal Goreng Tempeh

8 oz tempeh – (cut into long and narrow strips)
1/2 tsp belacan / shrimp paste – omit for vegan version
1 Tbsp seedless tamarind paste – mixed with 2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp gula jawa/ Indonesian palm sugar – roughly chopped, or you may sub with brown sugar
Salt to taste
Cooking oil – for deep-frying of pan frying

Ground ingredients:
3 shallots – (peeled and thinly sliced)
3 cloves garlic – (peeled and finely minced)
4 Fresno chili – or use 1 Tbsp chili paste
1 tsp galangal powder
1 Roma tomato – quartered

Place all the ground ingredients in a food processor and process into a smooth paste. Set aside. Preheat about 1-inch of oil to deep fry the sliced tempeh in batches if necessary. Deep fry until they are golden brown. Drain on an absorbent paper towel and set aside. Alternatively, you can also put about 1 Tbsp of oil in a large non-stick skillet and pan fry them on 1 layer until they are crispy.

In a large skillet or wok, preheat about 2 Tbsp of oil. Add the ground ingredients and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add tamarind juice and palm sugar. Stir to mix and until the palm sugar is melted. Add the fried tempeh and stir to mix everything to make sure the sambal sauce is coating every piece of the tempeh. Have a taste and season with more salt and sugar as needed. It should be spicy, sweet, and slightly tangy.

Kering Tempeh Kacang (Sweet and Spicy Tempeh with Peanuts)

300 gr tempeh
100 gr roasted unsalted peanuts
2 Thai red chilis – seeded and cut into strips – optional
Cooking oil – to fry tempeh

Spice paste:
4 kaffir lime leaves – use scissors to cut into thin strips – remove the vein in the middle
1 Tbsp cooking oil
2 cloves garlic – grated or finely minced
1 tsp tamarind paste – or use 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp sambal oelek – or use chili paste
2 tsp galangal powder
70 gr coconut sugar – or use dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp water
2 bay leaves – or 4 dried bay leaves

Fry the tempeh:

Cut tempeh into long strips, about 2 inches long and about 1/2 inch wide. Preheat about 1-inch of cooking oil on a pan and fry the tempeh until they are dry and crispy. You can also just use about 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and shallow fry the tempeh until they are golden brown, they won’t be as crispy but less oil and still make a tasty kering tempeh.

Prepare the spiced paste:

Place all ingredients for the spiced paste in a bowl, except for oil and kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves.

Preheat 1 Tbsp of cooking oil in a large pan/wok. Add the kaffir lime leaves and Thai chili and fry briefly, about 10 seconds or so. Add the rest of the ingredients above and bay leaves and cook until the sauce thickens to a syrup consistency.

Put everything together:

Add the fried tempeh and roasted peanuts into the sauce and turn off the heat. Stir to make sure the sauce is coating the tempeh and peanuts. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

Steamed Mussels With ‘Nduja

For the Mussels:
1 tablespoon (15ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 large shallots (3 ounces; 85g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
2 ounces (1/4 cup; 60g) ‘nduja (see note)
1 cup (240ml) dry white wine
2 pounds (900g) mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see note)
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice and 1 teaspoon (2g) finely grated zest from one lemon

For Serving:
1 loaf rustic sourdough bread, thickly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, and broiled until heavily toasted

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add wine, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly and peeking every 30 seconds to stir. Cook just until all the mussels are open, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and using tongs, quickly transfer mussels to a warmed heatproof serving bowl. Cover mussels with saucepan lid to keep warm. Add parsley, lemon juice, and zest to saucepan and stir to combine. Taste the liquid, and adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

For Serving: Remove lid from the serving bowl, and pour contents of saucepan over mussels. Serve immediately, passing toasted bread at the table along with a large empty bowl for collecting spent mussel shells.

Gobi Manchurian

750 grams cauliflower cut to medium size florets
Oil for frying
90 grams corn flour
3 tbsp plain flour
1/4 tsp black pepper
Pinch of salt
150 mls water

for the sauce:
3 tbsp vegetable oil
5 spring onions thinly sliced (save the greens for garnish)
1 tbsp garlic chopped
1 tbsp ginger chopped
3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
150 mls water
chopped green chillies (optional)

In a mixing bowl add the corn flour, plain flour, black pepper and salt. Add the water a little at a time making sure to stir well to rid of any lumps. Add the florets to the batter and mix well.

Heat oil for deep frying over a medium heat. Add the cauliflower in batches and fry for 5-6 minutes. Make sure to heat is not too high as you want the cauliflower to cook all the way through.

Fry as they go crispy and light brown and drain of kitchen paper. Keep warm while you make the sauce.

For the gravy heat the oil in a wok or kadhai over a medium heat. Add the white part of the spring onion and fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the chilli garlic sauce, soy and ketchup, stir over a low heat for 1 minute. Now add the vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Season to taste.

Add the water and simmer for 2 minutes as the gravy thickens. Add the fried cauliflower florets and stir well coating them in the sauce. Warm through for a minute and turn the heat off and rest for a few minutes as the cauliflower soaks all the gravy flavour. Serve warm with egg fried rice or noodles.