Soboro Donburi (Gingery Ground Beef with Peas over Rice)

1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1/3 cup sake
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Dashi or water
1 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup frozen English peas, thawed
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
5 cups hot Cooked Rice
2 tablespoon beni shoga (Japanese pickled ginger) or 1 large tomato, sliced

Stir together ground beef, sake, soy sauce, dashi, and sugar in a small Dutch oven or medium-size, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-high, stirring often to break up large lumps of beef, 5 minutes. Stir in peas and ginger; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is mostly evaporated and beef is no longer pink but is still moist, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Divide rice evenly among 4 large bowls. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture over each. Garnish with pickled ginger.

Cantonese Ground Beef Rice and Eggs

1 lb (450 g) ground beef

Sauce
2 cups chicken stock (or beef stock, or veggie stock)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (or soy sauce)
1/8 tsp white pepper powder
Cooking
1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 yellow onion , minced
2 teaspoons ginger , minced
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup frozen green peas
1 tsp Sesame oil (optional)
5 large eggs

Serving:
2 cups steamed rice

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan (or carbon steel paover medium heat until hot. Add the ground beef and spread it with your spatula. Let it cook without touching until the bottom is browned. Break up the beef into smaller bits.

Add the onions and ginger. Cook and stir occasionally, until onion turns tender and the edges are lightly browned, 5 minutes or so.

Pour in the sauce. Stir to mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Your pan should still have some sauce left, just enough to cover the beef. If not, you can gradually stir in more broth.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.

Once the beef is cooked, add the frozen peas. Stir the cornstarch slurry again to dissolve the powder completely, and pour it into the pot. Stir to mix well. Crack 5 eggs onto the beef. Cover immediately and let it steam until the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, 2 to 3 minutes. Or you can cook the eggs to the degree you prefer. Make sure the sauce doesn’t come to a full boil, which will reduce the cornstarch’s ability to thicken the sauce. Move the pan off the heat for a few seconds if the pan gets too hot.

Once done, uncover the pan and remove it from the stove. Use a spatula or ladle to transfer the beef with an egg and some sauce onto a bowl of rice. Serve hot as a main dish.

Hunan Beef

For the beef:
1 pound flank steak (sliced 1/4-inch thick)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/3 cup cornstarch

For the rest of the dish:
1 red Holland pepper (25g, deseeded; can substitute red Fresno peppers)
1 small green bell pepper or poblano pepper (100g, deseeded)
1 small red bell pepper (100g, deseeded)
2 banana peppers (80g, deseeded)
8 whole dried chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon Chinese black vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (8g, sliced)
1/2 cup shallots (thinly sliced, 40g)
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
5 cloves garlic (15g, sliced)
2 tablespoons fermented black beans (20g, rinsed)
2 scallions (60g, cut at an angle into 2-inch lengths)

In a medium bowl, combine the sliced flank steak with the baking soda, water and oyster sauce. Massage these ingredients into the beef until any liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Lightly dredge all of the beef slices in cornstarch. Set aside until ready to fry.

Slice all the fresh peppers crosswise into thin slices on the diagonal. Set aside the dried red peppers. Do not break them open or chop unless you want a very spicy Hunan Beef!

Stir the sugar into 2 tablespoons of hot water until dissolved. Add the Chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, and ground white pepper. Mix until well combined and set aside.

Heat your wok over high heat until smoking. Spread ? cup oil around the wok, and sear the beef in three batches on both sides until browned and slightly crispy on the outside. Be sure the wok and oil are hot each time you add a batch of beef.
Drain the crispy beef by moving it up to the side of the wok. The oil will drain to the bottom and you can then transfer the beef to a sheet pan or plate. No need for paper towels or wire racks!

After frying the beef, leave about 2 tablespoons of the oil in the wok, and remove any excess. If your wok got burned in the frying process, this is a good time to wash it. While you want the beef flavor from frying, you definitely don’t want burned bits in the stir-fry if you got carried away with the heat during frying.

Assembling the stir-fry:

Set the wok over medium heat. Add the sliced ginger and fry until caramelized, about 30 seconds.

Next, add the shallots. Continue to fry for another 30 seconds, and add the fresh peppers (except for the red holland or fresno peppers). Turn the heat up to high and stir-fry for 1 minute to get a nice sear on the peppers.

Clear a section on the bottom of the wok, and add the dried chili peppers. Let them toast in the oil for 20 seconds. (If you want your dish spicier, add the dried chili peppers earlier, along with the shallots.)

Next, pour the Shaoxing wine around the perimeter of the wok. Add the sliced garlic, fermented black beans, and the red Holland or Fresno peppers. Stir-fry for another 30 to 60 seconds on high heat.

Next, add the fried beef and pour over the pre-prepared sauce. Maintain the highest heat possible and stir-fry everything together for 20 seconds. Add the scallions. Continue to stir fry until most––if not all––of the sauce has evaporated.

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

1/2 cup dark brown sugar
About 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla) to taste
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 fresh Thai chiles, halved, or dried red chiles
1 tablespoon canola oil 1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cilantro sprigs

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce to taste, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper and chiles.

Heat the oil in a large deep skillet. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the fish sauce mixture and the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the cilantro and serve.

Steamed Eggplant with Lao Gan Ma (Lady Sauce)

1 pound Japanese or Chinese eggplant (450g, about 3 eggplants)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Chinese dark vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1-1 1/2 tablespoons Lao Gan Ma chili sauce (or any chili sauce or chili oil of your choice)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 scallion (minced)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Prepare your steamer. If you’re not sure how to set up a steaming apparatus, check our our post on how to set up a steamer, even without special equipment. Turn the heat on low to pre-heat the water in the steamer.

Cut each eggplant crosswise into 3 equal sections, then cut each section into 8-10 bite sized strips.

Fill a large container with about 2 quarts of water and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Soak the eggplant in the vinegar water for 3 minutes. Then remove the eggplant and squeeze as much liquid out as possible. Arrange them on a heat-proof rimmed dish and carefully lower it into the steamer. Cover and turn the heat on high. Steam the eggplant for 8-10 minutes.

Now make the sauce by combining the Chinese dark vinegar, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and chili sauce.
Remove the eggplant from the steamer (no need to pour out the liquid in the dish), and evenly pour the sauce over the eggplant. Top it with the minced garlic and scallions. Try to keep garlic and scallions close together in a couple tight lines to make the next step easier.

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan until it starts to smoke lightly, and then carefully pour it over the garlic and scallion. Serve hot or cold. If serving as a cold appetizer, you can make this dish in advance.

Tikil Gomen (Ethiopian Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes)

1/3 cup coconut oil
2 small to medium onions, thinly sliced
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, pureed
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper
1 cup water
1 head green cabbage, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped

In a very large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and cook for around 4 minutes. Add in the carrot and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Add in the potatoes, and cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and stir for 1 minute. Add in the water and cook, stirring, for 3-5 minutes. Add in the cabbage and jalapeño and stir for 2-3 minutes to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the veggies are soft. Season, to taste, with more salt.

Yemisir Wot (Ethiopian Berbere Lentils)

1/2 cup coconut oil
2 small to medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and pureed
1/2 cup berbere spice
1 cup dried red lentils, washed
3 cups water
kosher salt, to taste

In a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes.

Add in the garlic, ginger, and berbere, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in the lentils and cook for 1 minute more. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes until thick and the the lentils have broken down a bit. Season, to taste, with salt.

Yelik Akicha (Ethiopian Yellow Peas with Turmeric)

1 cup dried yellow split peas
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 small to medium yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1 and 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, pureed
2 tsp turmeric
3 cups water
1 tsp salt

Rinse the split peas and put them in a small saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, and then turn off the heat and allow the peas to sit in the water until ready to use.

In a large dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add in the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, ginger, and turmeric, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.

Drain the split peas and add them to the pot. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for around 45 minutes until thick and the split peas are tender. Season, to taste, with salt.

String Bean Chicken

1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs), sliced to 1/4” (5mm) thickness

Marinade
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons fermented black beans (or black bean sauce)
1/3 cup chicken stock
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Stir fry
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 lb (450 g) green beans , cut to 1” (2.5 cm) long pieces
3 cloves garlic , chopped
2 teaspoons ginger , minced
2 green onions , chopped

Combine the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Stir to mix well. Let marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Sear until the bottom turns golden without moving it, 1 minute or so. Stir and flip to cook the other side, until golden, another minute or so. Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a big plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the green beans. Turn to medium heat. Sear the green beans, stirring and flipping occasionally, until the surface is browned and the texture turns tender, 10 minutes or so (*Footnote 1). Reduce to medium-low heat if the pan starts to smoke too much.

Turn to medium-high heat again. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion. Drizzle with a bit more oil (or chicken stock), 2 tablespoons or so. Stir and cook for a minute to release the fragrance.

Add the chicken back into the skillet. Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens and coats the ingredients. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.

Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Notes
Slowly searing the beans generates the best result. But if you’re in a hurry, you can sear the green beans for 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water), then cover to steam. Cook until the green beans turn tender or reach your desired texture, 2 to 3 minutes.

Miso-Ginger Chicken Salad

1/3 cup water
1/3 cup white miso
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted, divided
1/3 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and ground white pepper
1/2 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (see note)
6 medium scallions, thinly sliced (½ cup)
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced (1 cup)

In a blender, combine the water, miso, ginger, ? cup of the almonds, the lime juice, mustard, honey and ½ teaspoon white pepper.

Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the oil and blend until the dressing is thick, about 1 minute. Transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, scallions, cilantro, cucumber and remaining ? cup almonds. Add 1 cup of the dressing and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

Sambalado (Sambal Balado – Indonesian Chili Sauce)

While typical sambal is usually served as a condiment on the side, Balado is usually cooked with other food to make Sambal Terong Balado (Eggplant Balado), Telur Balado (Egg Balado), Ayam Balado (Chicken Balado), Udang Balado (Shrimp Balado), Squid Balado (Cumi Balado), Dendeng Balado (usually made with Beef), Kentang Balado (Potato Balado), etc. You get the idea! Pretty much anything!

Ingredients to grind:
100 gr shallots or purple onion
200 gr large red chili or use premade garlic sambal chili
2 cloves garlic

Other ingredients:
1 large tomato
1 Tbsp cooking oil
3 kaffir lime leaves optional
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp sugar

Place shallots, chili (if using fresh chili), and garlic in a food processor and finely chopped them

Preheat a skillet with cooking oil. Add the ingredients you chopped above (if using premade garlic sambal chili, don’t add just yet) and stir fry until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the premade garlic sambal chili (if not using fresh chili) and stir fry for another minute.

Add tomato pieces and kaffir lime leaves (if using). Continue to cook until the tomatoes are wilted and softened. Squeeze in lime juice and sugar. Stir to mix. If you are preparing a balado dish, this is the point you add them in and toss with the balado sauce, otherwise, remove from the heat and serve as a condiment to your meal.

TO MAKE A BALADO DISH: If you are preparing a balado dish, this is the point you add your other cooked ingredient in and toss with the balado sauce, otherwise, remove from the heat and serve as a condiment to your meal.

Storage:

REFRIGERATOR: Sambal can be stored in an air-tight glass jar for up to one week in the refrigerator.

FREEZER: For longer storage, portion the sambal into smaller portion and freeze them. They can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.

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

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

For Serving:
Steamed white rice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicken with Garlic, Chilies, and Peanuts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keralan Cabbage Thoran

For the paste;

120 gm grated fresh coconut (or desiccated coconut)
1 tsp coarsely crushed cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves roughly chopped
1 green chilli

To cook the Thoran;

3 tbsp vegetable oil
800 gm white cabbage finely shredded
2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 mild dried red chilli halved
100 gms onion finely chopped
12 fresh curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp coriander for garnish roughly chopped

Add the paste ingredients to a blender with 100 mls water and blitz to a smooth fine paste. Set aside.

Heat a large heavy bottom saucepan on medium heat. Add the mustard seeds letting them splutter for 3-5 seconds. Add the dried chilli and follow by the chopped onions. Stir and fry for a 1minute. Now add half the curry leaves and continue to fry for 5 minutes as the onions begin to soften.

Cook the cabbage over a low heat with a lid on. Make sure to stir halfway through the cooking.

Now add the coconut paste and continue to cook for 2 minutes with a lid on. Turn the heat off and garnish with the remaining curry leaves and fresh coriander

Add the turmeric powder and stir well. Add the shredded cabbage a little at a time, season to taste and mix to coat it with the spice mix.

Parippu Curry (Sri Lankan Dal)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serve hot with rice or bread.

Carne en Su Jugo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

Oil – 2 tbsp
Whole spices – 1 inch piece cinnamon, 2 cloves, 2 cardamom pods
Onion – 1, finely sliced
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely chopped
Garlic – 4-5 pods, minced
Green chilies – 1-2, chopped or slit
Tomato – 1, chopped (or tomato paste – 1 tbsp)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 1/2 sp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1/4 tsp (can use at the end, if you feel the curry needs more heat)
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Coconut milk – 1 1/2 ups
Chicken – 3/4 – 1 lb, around 400g
Potatoes – 1, cubed
Water – 1/2 cup

For tempering:

Oil – 1 tbsp
Small shallots – 3-4 (or 2 tbsp chopped red onion)
Curry leaves – a few
Black pepper corns – 5-6, lightly crushed
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp, lightly crushed

Heat oil in a pan. Add the whole spices and when they become fragrant, add the onions, ginger, garlic and chiles till onions are softened and starting to turn lightly golden.

Add the tomato and saute till mushy.Add the masala powders and mix well.

Add 1 cup of coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Then add chicken, potatoes and water, cover and cook till chicken is tender. Open the lid and add the rest of the coconut milk and simmer till curry is slightly thickened. Remember that it will thicken further once cooled.

In a small pan, heat the oil for tempering, add onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions are browned. Add the crushed black pepper and cumin seeds towards the end. Add this tadka to the chicken curry, mix and serve.

Chettinad Chicken Curry (Chicken in Roasted Coconut Curry) with Variations

To marinate the chicken:

Chicken – 1 lb, around 500 gm
Yogurt – 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder – a pinch
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Lemon/lime juice – 2 tsp

To dry roast and grind (see Notes too):

Whole dried red chilis – 6-8 (as per heat level desired. If you are still apprehensive, I suggest using just 4-5)
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper corns – 1-2 tsp ( depends on your heat level, but do not skip it entirely)
Cinnamon stick – 1? piece
Cloves – 3
Cardamom pods – 2-3
Nutmeg mace – a small piece
Kalpasi or black stone flower – a small piece (I used a small piece of star anise here)
Coconut – 1/4 cup, freshly grated

For the curry:

Oil – 3 tbsp
Curry leaves – a small handful
Onion – 1 large-sized, finely chopped
Ginger – a thick 1? piece
Garlic – 4-5 cloves
Green chilis – 2
Tomatoes – 2, chopped
Water – 1 cup
Salt – to taste
Lime juice – 1 tsp
Cilantro leaves – a few, to garnish

Wash and cut the chicken into small pieces. Combine with the marinade ingredients and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add all the ingredients to be dry roasted. Lightly roast stirring every now and then till the coconut is golden brown and the spices are fragrant. Cool slightly and grind to a smooth paste with a bit of water. Keep aside.

Make a paste of the ginger, garlic and green chilis as well. Or you can substitute with 2-3 tsp of ginger-garlic paste and a couple of chopped green chilis. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a large pan and add the curry leaves. When they crackle, add the chopped onions and saute till they are golden.
Then add the ginger-garlic-green chili paste and saute well till the raw smell goes away. Now add the tomatoes and cook till they are mushy and well combined.

Add the prepared spice paste and saute for a few minutes. The gravy should be thick, dark and very fragrant.

Add the marinated chicken pieces and mix well to coat with the gravy. Add water and salt and bring to a gentle boil. Now cover the pan and cook on medium heat till chicken is done.

Open the lid, check seasoning and squeeze some fresh lime juice.

Reduce the curry to desired thickness. Remember that it will thicken upon cooling as well.

Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.

Notes:

In case you do not have dried red chilis, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and garam masala ingredients, you can use the respective spice powders. Start by roasting the coconut on medium heat till lightly golden. Add the spice powders towards the end and roast further till they are slightly aromatic. If you add the spice powders at the beginning and then start roasting the coconut, you run the risk of burning the spice powders and this may make the curry bitter.

For a vegetarian version, add cubed potatoes and other vegetables, making sure that they are all similar in size, to ensure even cooking.

You can add boiled and halved eggs to the curry as well.

If you feel the curry has thickened too much, gently boil it again with a bit of hot water to loosen it.

Indian Country-Style Chicken

Oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – a few
Red onion – 1, thickly chopped (or, use 1 cup of small Indian shallots)
Ginger – 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Dried red chilies – 8-10 (whole or de-seeded or cracked open depending on your heat level)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Chicken – 1 lb, boneless and cut into small pieces
Salt – to taste
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp (use roasted and ground cumin for best results)
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp

Heat oil in a pan or skillet. Add curry leaves, red onions (or shallots) and ginger. Saute till onions are red. Now add the red chilies. I add most of them whole and de-seed the rest. Saute for a few more seconds.

Add the turmeric powder and mix well. Add chicken and combine thoroughly. Season with salt, reduce the heat, cover and allow the chicken to cook in it’s own juices. The chicken will let out some liquid, so you don’t need water at all.

When the chicken is done, open the lid and increase the heat to thicken the gravy. Add garam masala and roasted cumin powders and cook for a couple more minutes, till most of the liquid evaporates.

Paneer (or Egg) Jalfrezi and Jeera Rice

For Paneer Jalfrezi:
Oil – 1 1/2 tbsp, divided
Paneer – 8 oz or 350 gm, cut into cubes or strips
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Onion – 1 medium-sized, thinly sliced
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 large, sliced
Tomato paste – 2 tbsp (can use ketchup in a pinch)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder – 2 tsp (or less, if you do not want it spicy)
Coriander powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
Green bell pepper – 1 sliced
Salt – to taste
Kasuri methi – 1 tsp, crushed (see Notes)
Cilantro leaves – 2 tbsp, chopped

For Jeera Rice:
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Cinnamon – 1″ stick
Cloves – 3
Green cardamom pods – 3
Star anise – a small piece
Black pepper corns – 6, lightly crushed
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Basmati rice – 1 cup, rinsed
Water – 2 cups
Lime juice – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste

Paneer Jalfrezi: Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a large skillet with slightly raised sides. Fry paneer slices lightly on all sides, Drain and remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Heat rest of the oil in the skillet. Add cumin seeds and allow it to crackle.

Add onions and saute till translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone.

Then add the tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir and cook till tomatoes are mushy and you see the oil separating at the sides, around 4-5 minutes.

Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and stir to combine.

Add green bell peppers and salt to taste. Cover and cook for a few minutes till peppers are tender-crisp. You do not need any water really, but sprinkle some water if you think it is too dry.

Finally, fold in the fried paneer pieces and heat through. Do not cook for a long time after adding the paneer or they will toughen and turn chewy.

Sprinkle crushed kauri methi and cilantro leaves. Serve hot with jeera rice.

Jeera Rice: Rinse the rice a couple of times under cold water. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes, if possible.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add whole spices (as listed above, from cinnamon through black peppercorns) and allow them to sputter and turn fragrant.

Add cumin seeds and saute till they are lightly browned, but not burnt. Then add the drained rice and lightly roast in the ghee for 30 seconds. All the rice should get coated in the ghee.

Add water, lime juice and enough salt (water must be salty) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook till rice is done. Fluff rice gently with a fork before serving.

NOTES:
1. Kasuri methi are dried fenugreek leaves. These are crushed and added to some dishes to enhance the aroma and flavor. It is easily found in Indian/Asian stores or online. You can leave it out if you cannot find it.

2. You can also make jalfrezi with other vegetables like sliced carrots, beans, fresh peas, baby corn, etc. Another easy recipe is to replace paneer with sliced boiled eggs to make egg jalfrezi. You can also make chicken jalfrezi with boneless chicken strips, but the cooking time must be adjusted accordingly.

3. This jeera or cumin rice recipe is super simple and uses only a handful of aromatic spices for flavor. If you wish to, you can also caramelize some onions and ginger first before cooking the rice.

4. Check the rice once in between to see if it’s done. Sprinkle more hot water as needed.

5. You can also use a rice cooker to cook the rice. Do the initial steps of sautéing the spices and rice in ghee, then transfer it along with water, lime juice and salt to a rice cooker and cook as per the settings for white rice.

6. Start the rice first and while it is cooking, make the jalfrezi. Both dishes then get done simultaneously if you have just half an hour! The cooking time shown here reflects this, while each recipe made on its own may also take the same time.