Indian Pepper Chicken

1 cup (240 ML) onions (finely chopped or pureed)
3/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste (or grated)
1 cup tomatoes or 3/4 cup tomato puree (optional)
salt as needed
1 to 1 1/2 tsp pepper corn or coarse crushed
1/4 tsp red chili powder (or paprika)
3/4 to 1 tsp garam masala powder
1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf or few mint leaves
1/2 tsp cumin or jeera
2 to 3 green cardamoms
1 inch cinnamon or dalchini
3 cloves or laung
2 to 3 tbsp oil

Marinade:
500 grams chicken (bone-in or boneless)
3/4 tsp ginger-garlic paste (or grated)
1/8 tsp turmeric
salt
3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk (optional)

Marinate chicken with ingredients under marination. Keep it aside until needed.
Pour oil to a hot pan. Add cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Allow them to sizzle.

Next add curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off.

Add onions and fry till they turn golden.

Then add tomatoes and salt. Fry till the tomatoes turn mushy and soft.

Add red chili powder, garam masala and coarsely crushed pepper corn.

Fry everything well till the mixture looses all the moisture.

Add chicken and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken turns tender.

If the chicken doesn’t let out enough moisture to cook, then add little water.

Cover and cook until soft. If you want to have gravy, you can take it off while there is moisture. You can also pour 3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk.

If you prefer a dry version, cook without lid and evaporate the moisture in the chicken. fry till all the moisture dries up.

Serve pepper chicken hot with rice and rasam. Squeeze in some lemon juice before serving.

Chicken 65

250 grams CHICKEN boneless & tender
1 egg white (optional, see below)
2 tbsp Corn flour
1 tbsp rice flour or cornflour
oil for deep frying

Marinade
1/2 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp yogurt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp turmeric
1 sprig curry leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste (about 1/8 tsp)

Seasoning:
1/2 tsp cumin
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp garlic chopped
2 green chilies sliced
1/2 tsp pepper ground black pepper
3/4 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 cloves garlic paste or grated
1/4 tsp Salt – use as per your taste
1 tsp vinegar
2 tbsp water

Place marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix & taste it. Add more salt if needed.

Then stir in the cubed boneless chicken. Mix well. Set aside for at least 45 mins to 1 hour. You can also marinate overnight & pop it in the fridge for best results.

Sprinkle the dry flour over the marinade. If you chose to use egg, you can add it now. Mix well. If not using egg the marinade may turn dry so sprinkle some water if needed to bind the flour well.

Heat oil in a deep pan until hot enough. Test if the oil is hot by dropping a small portion of the batter to the hot oil. The batter must rise without burning a lot.

Slide in the chicken pieces one by one. Fry on a medium high flame until crisp & golden. When the chicken is done cooking, the bubbles will begin to cease. Drain them on a kitchen tissue.

Wipe off any moisture on the curry leaves & fry them in the hot oil & set aside for garnishing.

Heat a pan with 1 tbsp oil. Add cumin, chopped garlic, curry leaves & green chilies. Fry till the leaves turn crisp. Then add garlic paste, red chilli powder, sugar, curd & salt. You can also skip curd & just add 1 tsp vinegar with 2 tbsp water.

Quickly stir everything well. When the mixture bubbles well & turns thick, add fried chicken and toss well.

Fry on medium heat till it absorbs all the moisture & coats the chicken. This just takes 2 minutes. Over frying can make the chicken hard. So turn off in time.

Serve chicken 65 with sliced onions & lemons. Garnish with curry leaves.

Kerala Chicken Curry

Marinade:
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red chili powder (less spicy variety like kashmiri or byadgi)
1/4 tsp salt as needed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/8 tsp pepper powder

1/2 kg chicken (500 grams)

Spices to roast (or use any garam masala):
1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 inch cinnamon piece
4 cloves
2 pods cardamom
1/4 tsp pepper corn
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp cumin (optional)
2 to 4 red chilies or 1/4 tsp red chili powder (less heat variety like kashmiri or byadgi)

For gravy:
1 1/2 tbsp Coconut oil
3/4 cup onions chopped finely (1 large)
1 tbsp garlic-ginger paste
3/4 cup coconut milk (thin milk)
1/2 cup tomatoes (pureed or chopped) (optional)

tempering (optional):
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
1 red chili (break and remove the seeds)
3 to 4 pearl onions sliced thinly (Or shallots)
1 sprig curry leaves

Marinate chicken with chilli powder, salt, turmeric, pepper and garam masala.

Keep aside until you prepare the rest.

Make kerala masala (skip if using ready made masala)

On a low flame dry roast coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper and red chilies until they begin to smell aromatic.

Remove them to a plate and roast fennel seeds along with cumin until both turn aromatic.

Blend all of these to a fine paste with little water. You can also make a fine powder and use.

Heat coconut oil in a pan, add onions and fry till they turn golden.

Add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes off.

Add chicken and fry on a slightly high flame till it turns white in color, for about 3 to 4 mins.

Then add the ground spices or kerala masala & mix well.

Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken is tender.

Keep stirring in between for even cooking.

Optional – If using tomatoes, then add at this stage and cook further until the tomatoes loose the raw flavor.

If needed add 1/4+cup water. I did not use additional water, the moisture in the chicken and was enough to cook.

Pour the coconut milk. Mix well. If using tinned coconut milk, shake it well and then use.

When the coconut milk begins to bubble cover and simmer for 5 mins. Check salt and adjust as needed.

Heat a small pan with coconut oil and fry onions till they turn pink. Then add curry leaves and red chili. When the leaves turn crisp.

Pour this over the curry.

Serve it with rice, roti or paratha.

Paratha

2 cups (480 ML) wheat flour or atta (substitute with all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons oil for kneading (optional)
3/4 to 1 cup water (or luke warm water)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoon ghee or oil as needed

Mix together wheat flour, salt, oil in a wide mixing bowl.

Pour water little by little as needed & make a stiff non sticky dough.

Knead well to make the dough soft and pliable.

If necessary knead with moist fingers.

When you press down the dough with a finger, you must feel it is soft and dent easily.

Wrap it in a moist cloth or cover it in a container and set aside for 30 mins.
You can also grease the ball with a few drops of oil and cover.

How to make paratha:

Knead the dough lightly & divide to 8 parts.

Then roll to balls & keep them covered.

Take a few tbsp of flour to a small bowl & flour the rolling area.

Dip a ball in the flour and dust off excess. Too much flour on the parathas can make them hard.

Place the ball on the rolling area and flatten it slightly with fingers.
With the help of a rolling pin begin to roll each ball to a round layer or roti of 7 inches.

Making square paratha:

Apply ghee all over the paratha and fold 1/3 part of it.

Then apply the ghee to the folded part as well & repeat folding the other 1/3 part.

Apply ghee over the 3 layered long strip and fold 1/3 part of it.

Then repeat the other 1/3 part & you will have a square.

Sprinkle little more flour if needed to prevent sticking.

Then roll the square further to make a 7 inch square paratha.

Making Triangle paratha:

Apply ghee all over the roti & fold it to half to make a half circle.

Next apply ghee over it & repeat folding it to get a triangle shape.

Sprinkle a bit of flour & begin to roll evenly to a triangle paratha.

Frying paratha:

Heat a griddle until hot on a medium high flame.

Transfer paratha to the griddle. Cook it until you begin to see bubbles, then flip it.

Fry on a medium high flame on the other side as well pressing down with a spatula.

Pressing down helps the parathas to puff up and the layers get separated and get cooked through.

Flip the parathas too and fro. Cook until brown spots appear on both the sides.
Drizzle ghee or oil on both sides.

Remove the paratha to a wired rack or plate lined with a clean cloth or kitchen tissue.

Stack them one over the other to keep them soft.

Serve paratha with curry or chutney or just yogurt.

Variations:

For vegetable paratha – Mash well 1½ cups of boiled mixed vegetables & add it to 1 cup flour along with half tsp garam masala and half tsp of red chilli powder & handful of coriander leaves.

To make spinach paratha – Blend 1 cup spinach with 2 to 3 tbsp water, 1 garlic clove, 1 chilli & ¼ tsp garam masala to a smooth paste. Mix this with 1 cup flour, salt & 1 tsp oil.

For spiced or masala paratha just add half tsp each of red chili powder, garam masala & handful of coriander leaves to 1 cup of flour. Mix the dough and make masala paratha. You can also sprinkle in between the layers.

To make methi paratha, just add half cup finely chopped methi leaves to 1 cup flour along with spices, ginger garlic & herbs.

Notes:
If the dough turns sticky, sprinkle some flour and knead it.

If the dough turns hard or too stiff, then moisten your fingers and knead the paratha dough.

You can also make the dough in a food processor or stand mixer.

Vegetable Paratha

1 cup (240 ML) atta / whole wheat flour
salt as needed
1/2-tsp grated ginger or ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust as needed)
1/4 tsp GARAM MASALA
1/2 tsp ajwain / carom seeds/ vaamu
ghee or oil for frying
1 1/2 cup mix veggies (can substitute with other veggies)
1/2 cup potatoes or sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup carrots cubed
1/4 cup cauliflower
1/4 cup green peas
1/4 cup methi or palak chopped finely(optional)
1 Handful coriander leaves (optional)

Steam or boil mix vegetables until just cooked.

When they are still hot, mash them well using a masher until smooth.

Add the rest of the ingredients except atta. Mix well.

Add the flour and mix. If needed add little water or vegetable stock if any left from boiling the veggies.

Knead well to make a soft non sticky dough. Divide the dough into 5 to 6 equal sized balls.

Dust the rolling board and a ball with little flour. Flatten and begin to roll evenly to a medium sized paratha of 6 to 7 inches.

Heat a roti tawa. When it is hot enough transfer the paratha gently to the tawa. After a minute flip it and spread ghee or oil.

Cook on both the sides until brown to golden spots appear, meaning the paratha is cooked.

Continue to make and fry all the parathas.

Stack mix vegetable paratha to keep them soft.

Panch Phoran Potatoes (Aloo Bhaji)

1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon panch phoron (see Note) or 1/4 teaspoon each of fennel, cumin, fenugreek and mustard seeds
2 dried red chiles
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch matchsticks
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt

In a medium skillet, heat the oil.

Add the panch phoron, cover and cook over high heat until the spices crackle, about 20 seconds.

Add the dried chiles and cook, shaking the pan, for 20 seconds longer.

Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, just until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Add the turmeric and season with salt.

Cover tightly and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned, about 15 minutes longer.
Serve immediately.

Panch Phoran

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (also called black cumin or kalonji)
1 1/2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

Combine the seeds in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.
Depending on what kind of dish you make with these seeds, they can either be fried briefly in oil or dry roasted to coax out their rich flavors.

Sunday Rice

3 tablespoons canola oil
One 1-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 cup finely chopped white onion
4 scallions (white and green parts), thinly sliced
2 bay leaves 2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed, soaked, and drained (see here)
1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 small or 1 large chicken bouillon cube, preferably Maggi brand
3 cups boiling water
Kosher salt

Heat the oil in a 4-quart stew pot over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the cinnamon stick and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the onion and scallions and cook, stirring, until softened (don’t let them color), about 3 minutes.

Add the bay leaves and drained rice, stirring to coat the rice with the oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube, and water, taste, and add salt as necessary.

Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Gently stir the rice with a silicone spatula a couple of times and cover the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the pilaf stand, covered, for 15 minutes.

Gingery Pickled Carrots

1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
Kosher salt
3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded on the large holes of a box grater
2 -inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into thin rounds

In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in the carrots and ginger. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Miso-Gochujang Pulled Pork

5 pound boneless pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
3/4 cup gochujang, divided
6 tablespoons white miso, divided
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems minced, leaves left whole, reserved separately
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 ounces fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 3 chunks
2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large Dutch oven, combine the pork, 1/2 cup of gochujang, 2 tablespoons of miso, the cilantro stems, the hoisin, ginger and 1 cup water; stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then cover and place in the oven. Cook until a skewer inserted into the meat meets no resistance, about 3 hours.

Meanwhile, in a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then reduce to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons miso and cook, stirring frequently, until the miso begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces, discarding any fat; set aside. Remove and discard the ginger chunks from the cooking liquid. Tilt the pot to pool the liquid to one side and use a wide spoon to skim off and discard as much fat as possible from the surface. Bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half and a spatula drawn through the sauce leaves a trail, 5 to 7 minutes.

Whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons gochujang. Stir in the pork and onions. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in the vinegar, then taste and season with pepper.
Serve with cilantro leaves, pickled carrots and pickled jalapeños.

Tip: Don’t forget to skim the fat off the cooking liquid so the pulled pork doesn’t end up greasy. But make sure to allow the liquid to settle before skimming so all the fat has time to rise to the surface.

Paneer and Cauliflower Makhani

Ingredients send grocery list
3 quarts fresh tomatoes
1 serrano chilli
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon chili powder (he uses Kashmiri chilies)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup honey
2 cups water, plus more according to preference
1 dash salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 piece 2-inch ginger knob, cut in 1/2-inch long julienne strips
1/4 cup toasted fenugreek leaves, crushed
4 cups roasted cauliflower florets
3 cups soft paneer, cut into cubes
2 handfuls cilantro, to stir in and for garnish
8 servings steamed long grain basmati rice
8 servings Indian flatbread like naan

In a large blender, puree tomatoes, garlic, and chili. If your blender won’t accommodate all the tomatoes at once, work in batches.

Add the ground spices and honey to the pureed tomato, garlic, and chili mixture.

Place a large pot on moderate heat. Add the puree, along with the water, and bring up to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 hour.

After an hour, strain the mixture into a pot. Season and add the heavy cream, butter, julienned ginger, and crushed fenugreek. (This sauce can be prepped a couple of days in advance. At this point, store in the refrigerator until ready, or proceed to next steps for serving).

For serving: Add the cauliflower to sauce and bring the sauce up to a boil. Lower the heat, add the paneer and continue to cook for a few minutes. Stir in the cilantro (and garnish on top), and serve with Indian flatbread and/or long grain basmati rice.

Scrambled Eggs Patia

For the spice paste:
1 jalapeño (less spicy) or serrano (more spicy), stem and seeds removed
2 garlic cloves
1-inch piece peeled ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For the finished dish:
1 small onion, diced
1/4 cup canola or other neutral oil, divided
one 15-ounce canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar or jaggery
12 eggs
Black pepper
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus more for garnishing

Combine all ingredients for the spice paste in a food processor or mini blender with 1/4 cup water.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and the onions. Cook until deeply golden but not yet brown, about 10 to 12 minutes, then add the spices and the rest of the oil and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and salt and cook for another 8 minutes, until the tomatoes juices are a bit reduced and thickened. Then add the tamarind paste, vinegar, and brown sugar and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl just to break up the whites and yolks.

Reduce the heat to the lowest possible sitting, add the eggs, salt, and pepper, and cilantro, and cook gently, stirring constantly with a Silicone spatula in a figure-8 motion, until the eggs thicken and are soft and silky, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot with more cilantro.

Note: Feel free to halve the recipe, but keep a close eye on the eggs, which will (obviously) cook in less time.

Bien Cuit’s Masala Pecan Sandies

150 grams (1 cup plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour
125 grams (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, at room temperature
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon) granulated sugar
90 grams (scant 1 cup) toasted, ground pecans (see Notes)
25 grams (1 1/2) egg yolks
5 grams (1 teaspoon) masala (see Notes)
3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
1/4 vanilla bean, scraped

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until a dough just begins to form.

Transfer to a work surface and form into a rectangle, wrap with plastic or a reusable alternative, and refrigerate until chilled but still pliable enough to impress a dent when poked. (Alternatively, at this point you can refrigerate for up to a couple days, then let temp up on the counter until soft enough to roll.)

Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into squares (figure 2×2-inch, or smaller if you’d like). Transfer to lined baking pans, evenly spaced out by a couple inches, and refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until deeply golden brown all over. Let cool completely until firm before digging in and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you want.

Notes:

Bien Cuit chef and owner Zachary Golper uses the sweet masala (with cardamon, fennel, cinnamon, dates and vanilla) from Moji Masala, which sells small-batch Indian spice blends. You can either order it directly from their website, or go off-road with your own mix of two parts warming ground cardamom to two parts ground cozy cinnamon and one part earthy ground ginger. For even more flavor, try adding some smashed fennel seeds or freshly cracked black pepper or both. With all the butter, lots of spice blends will work beautifully here.

With respect to the pecans, put them on a sheet pan and toast in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned and fragrant (just check on them frequently toward the end, because nuts can burn quickly). Let them cool completely before grinding in a food processor, or mincing with a knife by hand; if you’re working with a food processor, opt for short bursts, so you don’t accidentally end up with nut butter. If you want to underscore the sweetness even more, Chef Golper likes to sift a little confectioners’ sugar on top of the cookies; you could even upgrade that dusting sugar with some of the masala spices, too.

Bien Cuit’s Shortbread

302 grams unsalted butter
93 grams confectioners’ sugar
3.5 grams kosher salt
302 grams all-purpose flour
1/8 cup regular or raw sugar, for sprinkling

Cut the cold butter and reserve at room temperature to temper slightly. Line a 13×9-inch baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper.

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and flour in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix for a few seconds to combine the dry ingredients.

Add the cubed butter and mix on low speed until a smooth dough is formed and butter is fully incorporated. At first, the dough will look extremely flaky and dry; let it keep mixing and it will eventually come together into a dough.

Dump the dough into the baking sheet ordish and spread it evenly to the corners. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

The next day, heat the oven to 300°F. Dock the dough every inch or so with a fork. Bake until the shortbread is golden brown, 60-75 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Turn the shortbread out onto a cutting board, and slice into 4-inch x ¾-inch slices. Sprinkle with raw sugar and transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

Soto Ayam

1/2 pack rice noodles (8 oz)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 skinless and boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3 strips
1 can coconut milk, 13.5 fl oz (400 ml)
1 can chicken broth, 14.05 oz (411 g)
1 cup water
Salt, to taste

Spice Paste:

1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 piece turmeric (2-inch), peeled or 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1 piece galangal, peeled and sliced (2-inch)
1 piece ginger, peeled and sliced (2-inch)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Toppings:

2 cups bean sprouts
2 cups sliced cabbages, optional
2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
1 stalk spring onion, cut into rounds
2 limes, cut into wedges
Fried shallot crisps

Soak the rice noodles in warm water to soften them. Set aside.
Blend the Spice Paste in a food processor. Add some water if needed.
Add the oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add in the Spice Paste and stir with spatula back and forth until aromatic.

Add in the chicken broth, coconut milk, lemongrass and water. Bring it to a boil. Add in the chicken breast cubes. Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Blanch the rice noodles, bean sprouts, cabbages (if using) in another pot of boiling water. Transfer them to a bowl once they are cooked. Add the Toppings of hard-boiled eggs, spring onions and add the hot chicken broth into the bowl. Serve hot with lime wedges and shallot crisps on top of the noodles.

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.

Paneer (or Chicken) Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka:

250 gms paneer (or chicken… see note)
3 tablespoons yogurt, preferably thick curd
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste
salt, to taste

Masala/Curry:
1 large onion, roughly chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 inch ginger, cut into small pieces
1.5 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cream
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves, and some more to garnish
1 cup water, or as required
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
salt, to taste

Paneer Tikka:
Cut the paneer into small cubes, add in the chopped ginger, garlic, coriander powder, garam masala powder, paprika powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Add in the yogurt and mix till all the paneer pieces are well coated with the spices and yogurt.

Cover and keep this marinated paneer in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.

Masala/Curry:

Heat 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of oil in a pan. Once hot add cinnamon stick and cumin seeds.

Once the seeds crackle, add the chopped onions, crushed garlic pods and chopped ginger. Fry till onions turn golden brown in color.

Once onions are done, add the tomatoes and the curry powder and mix. Also add the the salt and sugar.

Cook the tomatoes on medium flame till they are soft, around 6-7 minutes.

Once the mixture is cooked, switch off the flame and allow it to cool a bit.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree it. Set aside.

Roast (or grill… see note) the marinated paneer till golden brown in color from both sides.

Pour the pureed masala in a wok/kadhai and add water to it. Stir and add cream and chopped coriander leaves.

Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium-low flame.

Add the roasted paneer pieces, let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and cream.
Serve hot with butter naan or any bread of your choice.

Recipe Notes:

Use 1/2 teaspoon paprika powder in the curry for a deep red/orange color.

The quantity of butter and cream in the recipe depends on your taste and preference.

The paneer should ideally by grilled so in case you have a griller use that to make the tikka.

You can also drizzle around 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice on the curry once it’s done.

If you want, you can strain the pureed mixture before putting it back in the pan. This will just make the curry totally smooth.

You can make this recipe exactly the same, but with chicken.

Kadai Paneer

Kadai Masala:

2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 dried red chilies
4 green cardamom
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
3 cloves

Kadai Paneer:

1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon oil, 15 ml, I used avocado oil
1 medium red onion, 150 grams, finely chopped
1 green chili, sliced
2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
3-4 medium tomatoes, 450 grams, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1 inch ginger, julienned, divided
1/2 cup water, 4 oz/120 ml
2 tablespoons heavy cream, 30 ml
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large green bell pepper (capsicum), cut into 1-inch pieces
225 grams paneer, cubed, if using store-bought paneer soak it in warm water for 20-25 minutes before using
1 teaspoon kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
cilantro, to garnish

Make the Kadai Masala:

To a small kadai or pan, dry roast the spices for kadai masala for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat until fragrant. Add more red chilies for a spicier masala.

Remove kadai from heat and transfer the roasted spices to a spice grinder.
Let it cool down a bit and then grind to a fine powder. Set aside. You can also make this kadai masala in advance and store it.

Make the Kadai Paneer:

In a large kadai or any other pan, now melt butter with oil on medium heat.

Add the chopped onion and saute for 3 minutes until softened. Then add the sliced green chili and ginger garlic paste and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and cook for around 6 minutes until tomatoes are really soft.

Then add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the kadai masala that you prepared earlier (or add the whole thing if you like it spicy). Also add the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder.

Add half of the ginger julienne. Stir the spices and cook for 30 seconds.
Then add 1/2 cup water and stir.

Add cream, salt and sugar and mix. Cook for one minute.

Add in the paneer and bell peppers (capsicum) and mix. Cover the pan or kadai with a lid and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat until bell peppers are slightly softened. You only want them half cooked here.

Crush kasuri methi and add to the pan.

Garnish with remaining ginger julienne and cilantro. Serve kadai paneer with naan or paratha.

To make this Kadai Paneer spicier:
• use double the amount of red chilies while making the kadai masala.
• use the entire kadai masala in the recipe. I have used 3 to 4 teaspoons of the masala and was left with some.
• use 1/2 teaspoon garam masala in place of 1/4.

Paneer Butter Masala (Paneer Makhani)

2 teaspoons oil, 10 ml, divided, (use any flavorless oil)
1 bay leaf
1/2 inch cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
6-7 large garlic cloves, 25 grams, roughly chopped
1.5 inch ginger, 15 grams, roughly chopped
1 large white onion, 180 grams, roughly chopped
3-4 large tomatoes, 460 grams, roughly chopped
10-15 whole cashews, raw
1 cup water, 8 oz
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala, + 1/4 teaspoon, if needed
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste, optional
3-4 tablespoons cream, 45-60 ml
250 grams paneer, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons crushed kasuri methi, dried fenugreek leaves
chopped cilantro, to garnish

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves and saute for few seconds.

Then add the the onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cashews and mix. Then add 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove the pan from heat. Remove the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves.

Let the mixture cool down a bit and then transfer to a blender. It’s important to let it cool down a bit else it will all blow up from the mixer. Grind the masala to a smooth paste and set aside.

To the same pan now add 2 tablespoons butter along with remaining 1 teaspoon oil on medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the red chili powder and the Kashmiri red chili powder and fry for few seconds. This will give the curry a nice orange-red color.

Then add the ground paste back into the pan along with the garam masala (start with 1/2 teaspoon and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon at the end only if you feel like the curry needs that extra bit of garam masala), cardamom powder, sugar, salt and tomato paste (if using). Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Then add the cream and mix.

Add in the paneer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. Finally add crushed kasuri methi.

Garnish paneer butter masala with cilantro and serve hot with naan or rice!