Sambal Goreng Kol (stir fried cabbage)

1 onion, sliced
3 red chillies, crushed
2cm ginger, crushed
1 tsp palm sugar
300g cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 tbls soy sauce

Heat 2 tbls oil and fry onion until soft.
Add chillies, ginger and sugar – stir 1 minute.
Add cabbage – stir with soy sauce until soft.

Inspired by dish at Coaster Cottages, Ohoililir – Pulau Kei

Ikan Kecap (spicy fish)

1 Asian shallot, chopped
1 red chilli, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1cm ginger, chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp galangal powder
1 tsp nutmeg, crushed
1 tsp tamarind, soaked in water
1 tbls kecap manis
1 tsp palm sugar
250g fish steak, cut into bitesize

Heat 1 tbls oil and saute shallot, chilli, garlic
and ginger until golden. Add ground spices – stir.
Add fish and cook 2 minutes on each side.
Add tamarind, kecap manis, sugar and 1 tbls water
– cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Inspired by nasi ikan at Warung Makan Saung Kering, Bandaneira

Gaeng Kee-o Wan Tao-hu (green tofu curry)

200g hard tofu, cut in cubes
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbls green curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
200g green papaya, sliced
200g round green Thai eggplants, halved
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tbls palm sugar
2 tbls soy sauce
1 tbls fish sauce
large handful Thai basil leaves

Heat 2-3 tbls coconut oil, dust tofu in cornflour
and fry until golden – set aside.
Reheat oil and saute curry paste briefly until fragrant.
Add coconut milk, then 1/2 cup water – mix well.
Add green papaya and eggplants, then lime leaves,
palm sugar, soy sauce and fish sauce – simmer until
vegetables are tender. Add fried tofu and basil leaves.

Inspired by Kit Pung Restaurant, Thanon Phetkasem – Trang

Gurdwara Dal

1/2 cup chana dal
1/2 cup urid dal
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbls ginger, pounded
1 tomato, chopped finely
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tbls coriander leaves

Soak dals together for 1 hour, then boil in fresh
water to cover with turmeric until pulpy (1 hour).
Heat 1 tbls ghee and sizzle cumin seeds.
Add ginger and stir. Add ground spices and tomato
– saute 5 minutes. Add dal and simmer 20 minutes.
Add salt and coriander.

Inspired by meal in Gangharia gurdwara – Uttarakhand

Fuul Medammes (Damascus style)

2 cups dried fava beans, soaked in water
12 cloves garlic
juice of 2 lemons
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 tbls flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 spring onions, chopped
Lebanese flat bread

Boil beans in enough fresh water to just
cover until very soft – about 1 hour.
Pound garlic with salt to taste until creamy,
then mix into beans with lemon juice and
half of the olive oil.
Serve beans topped with parsley, tomato,
spring onion and remaining olive oil, with
flat breads.

Inspired by city iftar breakfasts – Damascus

Doufu Baicai (tofu with wongbok)

200g hard tofu, cut in cubes
2 tsp cornflour
2 spring onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 dried red chillies, sliced
450g wong bok, shredded
2 tbls rice wine
1 tbls soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tbls sesame oil

Dust tofu cubes with cornflour and shallow fry
until golden – set aside. Heat 2 tbls oil and fry
spring onion, garlic and chilli until fragrant.
Add wong bok – stir 1 minute. Add rice wine,
soy sauce, sugar and tofu – stir 2 minutes.
Add sesame oil and mix well – serve hot.

Inspired by meal in random eatery near bus station in Longsheng – Guangxi

Dal Maharani (mixed bean curry)

1/4 cup kidney beans
1/4 cup urad beans
1/4 cup chana dal
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 cm ginger, pounded
3 green chillies, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
coriander leaves

Soak beans together overnight, then drain
and boil in fresh water until tender.
Heat 2 tbls ghee and sizzle cumin and mustard seeds,
add ginger and chillies – saute 2 minutes.
Add onion – fry until golden. Add tomatoes, chilli powder,
turmeric and salt – cook 5 minutes.
Add beans with enough of their water to make a thick gravy
– cook 5 minutes. Add 2 tbls ghee and coriander leaves to serve.

Inspired by thali at Hotel Mansrovar, Almora – Uttarakhand

Mackerel Masala

350g mackerel chunks
80g fresh or frozen grated coconut
6 red chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp tamarind, soaked in a little water
1/4 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 cloves garlic
4 pieces dried kokum
1 green chilli, slit
1 small onion, pureed

Marinate fish pieces in a sprinkle of salt.
Puree together coconut, chillies, turmeric,
tamarind, pepper, coriander and garlic with 1/2 cup water.
Heat 2 tbls coconut oil and fry green chilli and onion
until aromatic. Add coconut paste, 1/2 cup water and kokum.
Bring to simmer then add fish and simmer, covered,
5 to 10 minutes – avoid stirring.

Inspired by dish at Udipi Hotel, Panjim – Goa

Muttakoos Thoran (cabbage and coconut stir-fry)

3 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 dried red chillies, chopped
2 stalks curry leaves
2 onions, chopped
5 cm ginger, pounded
2 green chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp pepper
450g cabbage, finely chopped
300g carrots, finely chopped
150g fresh or frozen grated coconut

Heat 4 tbls coconut oil and sizzle mustard seeds,
cumin seeds and dried chillies.
Add curry leaves, onions, ginger, green chillies,
turmeric pepper and salt – fry until soft.
Add cabbage and carrots – mix well then cover and
cook gently 5 minutes.
Add coconut and stir until well incorporated and dry.

Inspired by random thali restaurant, Kottayam – Kerala

Kaddu Dalcha (pumpkin dal)

1 cup toor dal, soaked in water
1 tej patta (bay leaf)
2 cardamom pods, bruised
2 cloves
3 cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried chillies, broken
2 stalks curry leaves
200g pumpkin, cubed 2cm
1 onion, chopped
1 cm ginger, pounded
2 cloves garlic, pounded
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2 tbls tamarind, soaked in water
1/2 tsp garam masala

Boil dal in fresh water to cover until pulpy.
Heat 2 tbls ghee and sizzle tej patta, cardamom,
cloves, cinnamon, cumin, mustard seeds, dried chillies
and curry leaves. Add pumpkin – fry.
Add onion, garlic and ginger – fry until golden.
Add turmeric and chilli powder – stir.
Add tamarind – boil then add dal – simmer 5 minutes.
Add garam masala.

Inspired by meal at Lakshmi Narayan Restaurant, Tirupati.