Tu dou si (shredded potato stir-fry)

350g waxy potatoes, shredded
2 tbls ginger, shredded
4 long dried red chillies, shredded
2 cloves garlic, bruised
2 spring onions, shredded
1 tbls sugar
1 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls black rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil

Soak, rinse and drain potato shreds.
Heat 2 tbls oil and fry ginger, chilli and garlic 30 seconds.
Add potato and spring onion – stir 30 seconds.
Add sugar, soy sauce and vinegar – stir 2 minutes.
Add sesame oil and serve immediately.

Recipe from Li Qiao Ling, Xian

Baigan Bharta (mashed eggplant)

2 eggplants (800g total)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2cm ginger, chopped
4 long green chillies, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 tbls coriander leaves, chopped

Char whole eggplants over flame or under grill until black.
Cool, peel and mash – set aside.
Heat 3 tbls ghee and sizzle cumin seeds.
Add onion and garlic – stir until soft.
Add ginger and chilli – stir.
Add chilli powder, turmeric and eggplant – stir until oil separates.
Add tomatoes and salt to taste – cook 5 minutes.
Garnish with coriander.

Inspired by Sammaan Restaurant, Dehra Doon – Uttarakhand.

Yum Talay (Seafood salad)

6 mussels, cleaned
6 large prawns
150g squid, cleaned
1 clove garlic
2 bird’s eye chillies
2 tsp palm sugar
juice of 1 lime
1 tbls fish sauce
2 shallots, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 bunch coriander, chopped
1 handful mint leaves
1 cucumber, sliced

Pound together garlic and chillies.
Add sugar, lime juice and fish sauce – set aside.
Barbecue squid, prawns and mussels until just cooked.
Slice squid into bite sized pieces.
Combine shallots, tomato and herbs – mix with dressing and seafood.
Serve immediately, garnished with cucumber.

Inspired by Jai Poon Lap seaside eatery, Pratchuap Kiri Khan.

Matar Paneer (Peas and cheese)

1 cup dried peas, soaked in water
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tej patta (bay leaves)
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2cm ginger
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbls coriander powder
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbls tomato paste
1.5 tsp garam masala
300g paneer, diced
3 tbls mint leaves, chopped

Boil peas until tender – set aside.
Puree together onion, garlic and ginger.
Heat 3 tbls oil and sizzle cumin seeds and tej patta.
Add onion paste and fry until golden.
Add turmeric, coriander and chilli powder – stir.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala and salt – cook until pulpy.
Add peas, paneer and 1 cup of pea water – simmer 10 minutes.
Add mint.

Inspired by Sharma Bhojna Bandar – Pathankot, Punjab

Poo Put Pong Garee (Crab curry)

2 blue swimmers (600g)
3 cloves garlic, pounded
1 onion, sliced
2 tbls fish sauce
1 1/2 tbls sugar
2 tbls Thai curry powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tbls sesame oil
1 egg, beaten
2 spring onions, sliced 3cm
1 tbls coriander leaves, chopped

Clean and chop crabs into pieces, crack legs and claws.
Heat 2 tbls coconut oil and saute garlic and onion 30 seconds.
Add crab and stir-fry 2 minutes.
Add fish sauce, sugar, curry powder, pepper and sesame oil,
mix well, cover and cook 3 minutes.
Add egg, stir well. Add spring onion and coriander.

Inspired by Jai Poon Lap seaside eatery, Pratchuap Kiri Khan.


Xiang Tiao Hu Luo Bo (Carrot salad)

1 carrot, thinly sliced diagonally
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt
1 tsp rice vinegar
2 tbls coriander leaves
1 tsp sesame oil

Combine carrot, sugar, salt and vinegar.
Add coriander.
Heat sesame oil and pour over salad,
mix well.

Recipe from Li Qiao Ling, Xian.

Gong Bao Ji Ding (Gong bao chicken)

300g chicken meat, diced 1cm
1 tbls soy sauce
1 tsp cornflour
5 dried red chillies, soaked and chopped
1cm ginger, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced 4cm
1 small green capsicum, diced
2 tbls yellow bean sauce
2 tsp rice wine
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 tsp sesame oil

Combine chicken, soy sauce and cornflour – set aside.
Heat 2 tbls oil and stir-fry chicken 1 minute – set aside.
Heat 1 tbls oil and stir-fry chillies, ginger, spring onion
and capsicum 1 minute.
Add yellow bean sauce and chicken – mix well.
Add rice wine – stir 1 minute.
Add peanuts and sesame oil – mix well and serve.

Inspired by Zhong Yegong eatery, behind the Forbidden City – Beijing.

Balado Kentang Teri (Potato sambal)

1 or 2 potatoes, cut into fingers
1 or 2 tbls ikan bilis
3 long red chillies
1 birds eye chilli
1 clove garlic
1/2 tomato, chopped
2 shallots, sliced
1 salam leaf
1/2cm galangal, bruised
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper

Puree together chillies and garlic – set aside.
Fry potatoes until golden – set aside.
Fry ikan bilis briefly – set aside.
Heat 1 tbls oil and fry shallots until golden.
Add pureed chillies and saute until fragrant.
Add salam leaf, galangal and tomato – fry until pulpy.
Add sugar and pepper. Add potato and ikan bilis –
cook until well coated.

Inspired by Warung Salsa, Ambon.


Gangan (Fish curry)

500g whole fish, cut into chunks
including head (mackerel is good)
1/2 small pineapple, sliced
2 salam leaves
1 tbls tamarind, soaked in water
1 tsp palm sugar
2 shallots
2 candlenuts
2 cloves garlic
2cm galangal
2cm ginger
2cm turmeric
3-10 red chillies (to taste)
1 stalk lemongrass
1/2 tsp trasi powder

Pound or process together ‘bumbu’ ingredients and
fry in 2 tbls oil until fragrant. Add 500ml water and bring to boil.
Add fish, salt, sugar, tamarind, salam leaves and pineapple.
Simmer 15 minutes.

Inspired by chef at Kelayung Indah, Pulau Belitung

Yu Xiang Rou Si (Fish-flavoured pork)

350g pork, shredded
1 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp cornflour
1 spring onion, chopped
1 tbls ginger, pounded
1 tbls garlic, pounded
2 tsp chilli bean paste (toban jian)
1 carrot, shredded
1 green capsicum, shredded
2 tbls soy sauce
2 tbls water
1 tbls rice wine
1 tsp black rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbls sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine first 5 ingredients and marinate 30 minutes.
Combine “SAUCE” ingredients and set aside.
Heat 3 tbls oil and fry pork mixture until colour changes – set aside.
Heat 2 tbls oil and fry spring onion, ginger and garlic paste 10 seconds.
Add chilli paste – stir. Add carrot and capsicum – stir 2 minutes.
Add “SAUCE” and stir until thickened. Add pork and mix well.

Inspired by nameless Muslim kebab restaurant, Da Zha Lan district, Beijing.