Kuku (Persian omelette)

4 eggs, whisked
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
ground black pepper
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbls plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup dill, chopped
1/2 cup coriander, chopped
1 leek/4 spring onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup youghurt
1 tsp dried mint
1 cucumber, sliced
torshe (pickled vegetables)
barbari (Persian flatbread)

Combine eggs, walnuts, fenugreek, pepper, turmeric,
flour and baking powder. Add herbs and leek – mix well.
Heat 1-2 tbls oil in a non-stick pan and make an omelette, flipping to brown both sides.
Slice in wedges to serve. Mix together garlic, yoghurt and dried mint and serve with
kuku, cucumber, torshe, barbari and tea.

Inspired by Farzad’s midnight meal in Semnan, Iran

Veg Bhath (vegetable coconut pillao)

1/3 cup fresh grated coconut
3 tbls coriander leaves
2 tbls mint leaves
2cm ginger
4 cloves garlic
3 green chillies
2cm cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
2 cloves
1/8 tsp turmeric
2 cardamon pods
1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
2cm cinnamon stick (extra)
2 cardamom pods (extra)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1 small potato, chopped
1 cup basmati rice
1 carrot, chopped
10 beans, chopped
1/2 cup cabbage, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbls coriander leaves (extra)

Puree together the first 12 ingredients with 2 tbls water to a rough paste – set aside.
Heat 1 tbls ghee & 1 tbls oil and sizzle tej patta, cinnamon & cardamom. Add onion and saute until golden.
Add masala puree and stir 5-10 minutes. Add potato, then rice, carrot, beans, cabbage and peas – stir 5 minutes.
Add salt, tomato & one and three quarter cups water – bring to simmer then cover and cook on low heat 10-15 minutes.
Add lemon juice and coriander leaves. Serve with any kind of raita.

Inspired by prasad offered in Devaraja Market – Mysore, Karnataka

Meen Kari (Keralan sour fish curry)

Any kind of fish can be used for this dish…

350g fish, cut in large (5cm) chunks
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbls Kashmiri chilli powder
3 green chillies
3cm ginger
4 cloves garlic
6 Asian shallots
2 stalks curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sugar
3 dried kokum petals, soaked in 1/2 cup water

Puree together green chillies, ginger, garlic and shallots.
Heat 2 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard and fenugreek seeds.
Add curry leaves, stir, then add green chilli puree and saute
10 minutes. Add turmeric, salt, sugar and strained kokum with
soaking liquid. Bring to simmer and add fish – cook 10 minutes
until fish is cooked and gravy has thickened.

Inspired by Gunpowder Restaurant Hauz Khaz – Delhi

Avial (Keralan vegetable curry)

4 cups (600g) mixed vegetables:
long beans-etc., cut into batons
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 cup fresh or frozen grated coconut
6 Asian shallots
6 green chillies
2 stalks curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tbls coconut oil
1 stalk curry leaves extra

Puree together coconut, shallots, chillies,
curry leaves and cumin powder.
Cook vegetables in 1 or 2 cups water with turmeric
and salt until just tender (add taro and potato first).
Add coconut masala and cook a further 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add yoghurt.
Heat coconut oil and sizzle extra curry leaves –
add to vegetables.

Inspired by banana leaf meals at Hotel Ariya Bhavan, Kumily – Kerala

Taufu Fa (silken tofu in ginger syrup)

The spiciness of this sweet snack
depends on the age of the ginger and
length of the cooking time – the
older the ginger the stronger the flavour.

about 1cm fresh ginger, pounded
3/4 cup water
1/8 cup dark palm sugar
300g silken tofu

Combine water, ginger and palm sugar –
simmer 10 minutes. The longer the spicier.
Heat tofu in microwave and serve spooned
into large chunks with syrup poured over.

Inspired by street stall on Lorong Bukit Cina, Melaka

Put Fak Thong Jeh (stir-fried pumpkin)

500g pumpkin, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp peppercorns, crushed
2 tbls fish sauce/soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 spring onions, sliced

Heat 1 tbls oil and fry garlic and pepper paste 30 seconds.
Add pumpkin – stir 2 minutes.
Add 1/2-1 cup water, fish sauce and sugar –
simmer 5 minutes until dry and slightly mushy.
Add spring onion – cook 1-2 minutes.

Inspired by vegetarian restaurants on Tanon Phatthalung – Trang

Gaeng Kee-o-wan Plah (green fish curry)

250g fish steaks
1 tbls green curry paste
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tbls fish sauce
1/2 tbls palm sugar
small handful Thai basil leaves
1 green chilli, sliced

Heat 1 tbls coconut oil and stir in curry paste.
Add coconut milk – bring to simmer.
Add lime leaves, 1/4 cup water, fish sauce,
palm sugar and fish steaks – simmer 10 minutes.
Add basil and chilli.

Inspired by streetside eatery on Soi Rambuttri, Banglampoo – Bangkok

Rendang (slow-cooked beef)

850g stewing beef, cut in 7cm hunks
1 small onion
5 cloves garlic
5 red birds eye chillies
3cm fresh galangal
2cm fresh turmeric
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 a nutmeg, crushed
4 candlenuts
2 tbls coconut oil
1 cup coconut milk
2 salam leaves
3 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised
1/2 tbls tamarind, soaked in a little water
8cm cinnamon stick
5 star anise
5 cardamon pods, bruised

Puree together onion, garlic, chillies, galangal,
turmeric, peppercorns, coriander, nutmeg and
candlenuts – mix with beef and marinate overnight.
Fry beef in coconut oil until browned, add coconut milk,
2 cups water, salt and all remaining ingredients – simmer,
uncovered 2 hours stirring regularly until gravy has
reduced and oil has separated. Continue to cook until
beef is dark and dry.

Inspired by nasi Padang at Rumah Makan Kantini – Padang, Sumatra

Kai Yum (egg salad)

3 eggs, hard boiled
1 tbls lemongrass, sliced
1 Asian shallot, sliced
3 red birds eye chillies, seeded & sliced
1/2 tomato, sliced
1 tbls coriander leaves
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp sugar

Combine all ingredients, except eggs,
in a mortar and pestle – crush lightly.
Allow flavours to combine, add halved
eggs and mix well.

Recipe from nameless outdoor eatery – Narathiwat.

Malaysian kaya toast and half-cooked eggs

4 soft white bread rolls
4 tbls kaya
4 thick slices of cold butter
4 eggs
soy sauce
ground white pepper
2 glasses teh tarik or Malaysian coffee

Place eggs in a heat proof vessel,
pour half a litre of boiling hot water over them
and allow to stand 6 minutes – remove from water.
Meanwhile lightly toast the buns on both sides,
add a slab of butter and a dollop of kaya to each
and slam shut so it starts to melt.
Serve eggs with a splash of soy sauce and
a shake of pepper.

Inspired by breakfast at city bus stand food court, Kuantan