Aloo Cochin (anise flavoured potato curry)

2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 dried red chillies, torn
2 stalks curry leaves
675g potatoes, chunky cut
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tomatoes, diced
3 tsp coriander powder

Heat 2 tbls oil and sizzle seeds, dried chillies
and curry leaves. Add potato and garlic – stir 2 minutes.
Add ground spices, sugar, salt and tomatoes – stir.
Add up to 1/2 cup water – cover and cook 8 minutes.
Uncover and stir until dryish and potato is cooked.
Add coriander powder.

Inspired by puttu eatery, Fort Cochin – Kerala

Gajar Achar (carrot pickle)

1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 cm ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli
1 stalk curry leaves
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
250g carrots/daikon, cut in batons
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tbls coconut vinegar

Grind coriander, cumin and mustard seeds to a course powder.
Pound ginger, garlic and chilli to a rough paste with 1 tbls water.
Heat 2 tbls oil and sizzle curry leaves.
Add crushed seeds and fenugreek – stir well.
Add garlic paste and stir 5 minutes until oil separates.
Add carrots, turmeric, salt, sugar and vinegar – cover and cook 10 minutes.
Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Inspired by random dhaba – Almora, Himachal Pradesh

Gaeng Kee-o Wan Jay (green vegetable curry)

2 tbls green curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tbls fish sauce
1 tbls palm sugar
3 lime leaves, torn
200g round Thai eggplants, halved
small handful pea eggplants
200g zucchini, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
6 snake beans, cut 3cm
2 red chillies, sliced
1 handful Thai basil leaves

Heat 2 tbls coconut oil, add curry paste and mix well.
Add coconut milk – bring to simmer.
Add 1/2 cup water, fish sauce, palm sugar and
lime leaves – bring to simmer.
Add vegetables – simmer 5 minutes until cooked.
Add basil to serve.

Inspired by Kit Pung restaurant, Thanon Phetkasem – Trang

Masala Chai (spiced milk tea)

5 tsp tea dust
3 tsp sugar
3 slices fresh ginger
4 green cardamom pods
4 cloves
3cm cassia bark
4 peppercorns
1 tea glass full cream milk
1 tea glass water

Crush ginger and bruise spices –
combine with tea, sugar, milk and water
in a small saucepan. Heat until boiling,
allow to almost boil over. Strain to serve.

Inspired by millions of chai wallahs across India

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