Spicy Sautéed Bitter Gourd (Karela)

Bitter gourd (karela) is a vegetable that I really didn’t grow up loving. The only way I could tolerate it when I was younger was when it was deep fried and covered in spice.

This spicy sautéed karela recipe however, changed my whole relationship with this vegetable for me. Maggie who makes the best Trini food ever – makes Karela in the simplest, most delicious way.

You can make this dish as spicy as you wish – just increase or reduce the number of chili peppers – and you can use whatever peppers you have but tasty peppers is the key to this recipe. This recipe is best cooked in a cast iron or nonstick pan.

All I need is a bowl of dal to go with this karela and life is good!

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Squash Toast

This recipe is from ABC Kitchen, at one of New York City’s most beautiful stores ABC Carpet & Home.

The menu offers many seasonal dishes of which one I just could not get enough of. It was their roasted kabocha squash toast w/ fresh ricotta and apple cider vinegar”. The flavors and textures of this creation were simply divine. Thoughtfully layered with crunchy bread, salty cheese, sweet and earthy squash, topped with chili and mint – it was divinity in each bite.

I recreated this dish in my kitchen using Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s recipe and though I could not get it to taste exactly the same but it was still par excellence.

 

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You must use good quality bread and you can use any cheese from ricotta, goat cheese – I even tried it with a herbed cream cheese and it tasted so good. I would try it with butternut squash the next time around.

 

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This makes for a wonderful snack, appetizer or even a lunch dish!

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Tomato Pasta Salad

This is a great summer dish when you can get your hands on really great quality tomatoes. My mother in law Atsuko used to make this simple tomato pasta salad really often which was really refreshing and a hit with kids and adults alike.

The better the quality of your tomatoes – the better this dish will taste. You will have to adjust the quantity of tomatoes according to the type you use. I usually use heirlooms or new jersey tomatoes but you can also use super sweet cherry tomatoes, plum or Roma.

You can choose any kind of pasta though I prefer the the shorter tubular ones, farfalle or fusilli. Always use a good quality EVOO – I personally love Brightland. 

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Vegan Beet Poke Bowl

This vegan beet poke bowl recipe is one that I have been most excited about recently. 

My daughter discovered it from Feasting at Home and made it for dinner one night and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

The beets add such vibrancy both in flavor and color – you do not miss the fish at all. I just love the zesty sauce that goes with it and always make extra as everyone loves to douse their bowls with it.

This is the first time we made a poke bowl at home and it just opened up a whole slew of ideas where I’ve made several iterations of them since – some veggie and others with sashimi. It’s such an easy, quick and super healthy meal to put together and it looks just gorgeous. You can play with colors and ingredients as you wish and can serve this with any kind of noodles, rice or just greens too.

 

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Grilled Asparagus, Ramps, Scallions & Zucchini

It’s grilling season and as exciting as all the meats are to cook – for me there’s nothing tastier than throwing a whole lot of farm fresh veggies on the grill. This mix of seasonal greens served as a perfect accompaniment to our bbq pork. 

The fresher your vegetables, the less intervention they need. Just a brush of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I served them with a homemade ramp chimichurri but you really don’t need a sauce to go with these.  Just putting those grill marks and some char on those veggies takes them to the next level.

I chose a combination of ramps, scallions, asparagus and zucchini- as that was part of my veggie haul from Union Square GreenMarket and The Queens County Farm.

 

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Kale Keema Fried Rice 

A while back I posted this recipe for a keema (minced meat) with kale. Here is what I did with the leftovers. I just stir fry it with rice – kind of like a desi version of fried rice – dollop some ghee on top and you have a band new dish. Here is the recipe for the keema with kale. Serve this rice with my Beet Raita.

You can adjust the quantities in this recipe as per how much you have leftover.

 

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Pan Fried Chicken Tenders

This might be one of my favorite ways to cook chicken tenders. It’s quick, crispy, delicious and doesn’t require deep frying. Sit them on large platter of anything – I used salad greens and roasted tomatoes but you can do sautéed veggies, rice, baked fries and so on. This chicken goes really well with a spicy hot sauce.

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Ramp Pesto Tartine

It’s ramp season and I went a little crazy at Union Square Market last week buying bunches of them. I’ve been experimenting a lot with them, adding them to this and that. I made a really nice pesto with ramps and pistachios and have been making gorgeous layered breakfast tartines with it.

I found a really good recipe by Kim Severson for a ramp pesto which can be used in several dishes.

It’s really easy to make a layered tartine – at the very least you could just do pesto, avocado and some greens on top. There are so many variations you could do – mine really depends on what I have in my fridge. I keep things like hummus, babganoush, labne, ricotta on hand and when in doubt just top any tartine with a fried egg. Use your imagination, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint – just about anything can make this even more really delicious. Also, the better the quality of bread – the better your tartine will be.

This one is with fresh ricotta, avocado, a beet puree, ramp pesto and some microgreens.

 

For the beet puree, I just roast or boil the beets till cooked, add some salt, pepper and olive oil to it and puree in a food processor until the desired texture is reached.

Just look at the beauty!

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My Simple Soup

Rainy days and yummy soup go hand in hand! 

I love Asian inspired clear broths. There are a few pantry items I always keep on hand so I can make this quick soup anytime. They are frozen dumplings, tofu, broth (homemade or store bought), a bottle of hon tsuyu and noodles (any kind). Greens are a great addition – I use anything from bok choy to spinach to kale. Pick any leafy green – you just have to cook the tougher greens a little longer. 

This soup is really just a matter of combining all of these ingredients together. I do different variations   – tofu and greens soup, dumplings and greens or sometimes I put everything in – tofu, dumplings, noodles and more.

I usually put a lot of ginger in my broth. If you are using a store bought broth, you can shave a few pieces of ginger in and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Here is my simple soup recipe.

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