Mango Pickle

1 greenish mango
salt to taste
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tsp mustard seeds

Cut mango (with skin on) into 1cm dice.
Mix with salt, chilli, turmeric and asafoetida.
Heat 2 tbls oil, sizzle mustard seeds and add to mango.
Mix well.

Inspired by random thali hall, Alappuzha – Kerala

Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese)

1 bunch spinach, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped
1cm ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tomatoes, pureed
1/2 tsp chilli powder
200g paneer, cubed

Cook spinach in a spinkle of water with green chillies
and ginger – puree with hand blender and set aside.
Heat 3 tbls oil and sizzle fenugreek seeds.
Add onion and fry until golden.
Add garlic and cumin – fry 30 seconds.
Add chilli powder and tomato – fry 5 minutes.
Add spinach – cook 3  minutes. Add paneer and heat.

Inspired by Hotel Moti Mahal, Uttarkashi – Uttar Pradesh.

Pau Bhaji

1 potato, finely chopped
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pounded
1 tsp ginger, pounded
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 small green capsicum, chopped
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/2 tbls pau bhaji masala ++
1/4 lemon in wedges
2 tbls red onion, finely chopped
2 tbls coriander leaves, chopped
6 pau (small bread rolls)

Boil potatoes, peas, cauliflower and zucchini in minimal water until soft – set aside.
Heat 1 tbls butter and sizzle cumin seeds. Add onion – fry until soft. Add garlic and ginger – fry 1 minute.
Add green chilli – stir. Add tomato and salt – cook until mushy. Add capsicum – cook 3 minutes.
Add turmeric and chilli powder, then pau bhaji masala – mix well.
Add vegetables and their cooking liquid – mash to desired consistency and cook 10 minutes.
Heat knobs of butter with some extra pau bhaji masala, split pau and heat face down in spiced butter.
Serve bhaji with pau, onion, coriander and lemon wedges, with extra knobs of butter on top of bhaji.

Inspired by dhaba in Trimbak, Maharashtra

Tomato Raita

1/2 cup yoghurt
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1/2-1 green chilli, chopped
2 tsp mint/coriander, chopped
pinch chilli powder
pinch salt
1/2 tsp cumin powder

Combine all ingredients.

Inspired by Shanti Sagar, eatery in Udipi – Karnataka


Ais Kreem Cha Thai (Thai tea ice cream)

1/4 cup red Thai tea leaves
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup condensed milk
1 cup cream

Steep tea in boiling water for 20 minutes –
strain, mix with condensed milk, and chill.
Use hand blender to combine with cream,
then re-chill and churn in ice cream maker
for 30 minutes. Freeze.

Inspired by mobile vendor, Koh Mook.

Sichuan Suan La Huang Gua (pickled cucumber)

300g small cucumbers
1/2 tbls salt
1/4 cup shredded ginger
1 red chilli, shredded
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
3 dried red chillies, shredded
1.5 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls sugar

Halve and de-seed cucumbers, slice into 5cm strips,
mix with salt and set aside 30 minutes. Drain, rinse and dry.
Combine cucumber with ginger and fresh chilli.
Heat sesame oil and 1 tbls vegetable oil, add peppercorns,
garlic and dried chillies, fry 30 seconds, pour over cucumbers and allow to cool.
Add vinegar and sugar. Allow to stand 6 hours in fridge before serving.

Inspired by Zhong Ye Gong, small eatery near Forbidden City – Beijing

Rou Si Xiao Qie Zi (eggplant with pork)

350g long Chinese eggplants
2 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 thin slices ginger, shredded
2 tsp chilli bean paste
1 small green capsicum, diced
150g pork chop, shredded
2 tbls soy sauce
2 tsp sugar

Roll cut eggplant diagonally into long pieces, then
fry in 3tbls oil until soft and golden – set aside.
Heat 1 tbls oil and fry spring onion, garlic, ginger,
chilli bean paste, capsicum and pork – stir 5 minutes.
Add eggplant, soy sauce and sugar – stir 5 minutes.

Inspired by small eatery near Red Square, Beijing.