Navratan Korma

My south Indian Navratan Korma is a curry comprised of 9 vegetables, comforting spices, and is thick, rich, and creamy. Cooking this dish is a bit of a process with about 3-4 different cooking steps, but it is well worth the time and effort. I like making a huge batch of this once every couple of weeks on which I’ll feast for 3-4 days straight. Although navratan korma may be a process, it is absolutely delicious and my favorite curry to make at home.

Veggies

  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tbsp tahini or yogurt*
  • 1-10 oz block paneer or tofu*
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 package mushrooms*
  • 2 carrots*
  • 1 squash*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1/2 c green beans*
  • 1/2 c frozen corn*
  • 1/2 c frozen peas*
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 c+ water

Spices

  • 1 tsp pulao masala for paneer*
  • 1 tsp pulao masala for veggies*
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 1 heaping tbsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp pulao masala in curry*
  • salt to taste

Recipe

To begin, slice your onion and throw in a pan with oil on high heat and salt to fry until browned. While onions are cooking, chop your paneer into small cubes and fry with the pulao masala until it becomes golden brown on edges (a nonstick pan is best for the paneer).* Set the paneer aside. Once the onions are browned, let them cool for about 5 minutes, and transfer them into a blender and add tahini.

Begin cooking your onions, carrots, and mushrooms in a pan with oil on high heat. Once they start browning, add the squash, bell pepper, and frozen veggies. Cook until the frozen veggies are thawed, sprinkle on the pulao masala, combine well, and set aside. Blend the fried onions with the tahini and a little water until it forms a thick paste.

Heat a pan over medium heat with oil. Add the jeera and let splatter. Now empty the tahini/onion mixture into the pan and cook. After 3-5 minutes, incorporate the ginger garlic paste, and cook another 3 minutes. Chop roughly and blend the 2 roma tomatoes into a puree. Now, dump the chili and coriander powder into the mixture. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until the raw aroma of the spices subsides.

Pour the tomato puree into the onion/spice paste, and mix well. This will need to cook for 5-10 minutes, or until it appears that most of the moisture from the tomato puree has evaporated.

Ok, time to add the water and make this an actual curry. Slowly begin adding the 2 c water to the paste. Stir as you go, and stop adding water once you’ve reached a desired consistency. Once you think you’ve reached a good consistency, add the pulao masala, vegetables, and paneer and cook for another 2+ minutes. Alrighty, your navratan korma is ready to devour!

Serve with rice, parathas, naan, chapatis, or as is.

*Paneer and yogurt are totally optional as this recipe makes a great vegan dish as well with the tahini giving a creamy texture and tofu acting as a substitute for paneer. Also, this might be a recipe for a “9 vegetable” dish, but use what you have. It is absolutely delicious with 4-5 veggies as a regular vegetable korma. Traditionally, garam masala is used in this recipe as opposed to pulao masala. However, I prefer pulao masala so… use what you enjoy!

P.S. It may not look delicious, but it’s freaking amazing!

Tofu Broccoli Stir Fry

Stir fry is one of those delicious easy dishes where you can use anything in your fridge and freezer! Tofu broccoli stir fry is full of protein and healthy vegetables combined with a spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce that brings everything together.

Ingredients

  • 1 block tofu
  • 1/3 c egg whites
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2-3 tbsp sambal olek
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 c frozen broccoli
  • 1 c frozen peas
  • 1/2 c frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1 lime

Recipe

Heat a wok with oil and chop the tofu. Throw the tofu in the pan, and once it has browned, add the soy sauce, agave, and sesame oil. Now set the tofu to the side and cook your egg whites through. Throw your egg whites to the side with the tofu.

Now add some more oil to the pan, and add your onions, zucchini, ginger garlic paste, and sambal olek to the pan. Let them cook for about 5 minutes, and add the frozen vegetables, soy sauces, agave, and lime. Cook until the vegetables are no longer frozen, and there is no water in the pan. This should be about 5-10 minutes.

Now add the tofu and egg white back into the pan, give it a toss, and it’s ready to serve!

Fast Homemade Pizza

Ladies and gentlemen, I tried to make a quick fast homemade pizza dough recipe for years and finally came to a good recipe about a year ago. You can make this dough in about hours, or longer if you desire, and the crust is great! The crust is thick, chewy, crispy, and full of flavor. Thanks to ArtisanBreadwithSteve for introducing me to this recipe and showing me just how easy and fast it is!

Ingredients for Dough

  • 13 oz warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 c bread flour
  • 2 tsp paprika for color and flavor
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 garlic clove

Toppings

  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6-8 oz gouda and cheddar cheese (usually I use mozzarella)
  • 1/2 onion – carmelized
  • 1/2 c pineapple
  • whatever your heart desires
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • garlic clove from above

Recipe

For the dough you need to heat your bowl and water a little; I do it at the same time in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes.

Next add your salt, olive oil, and yeast to the water. Mix well, and add your flour and paprika. Now mix the flour and dough until all the flour is incorporated into the dough. Cover it with a lid or plastic wrap add let sit in the oven with only the light on for about 2 hours. (I made this recipe with active dry yeast, let it rise 4 hours, and it was perfectly fine!)

Once the dough has about doubled in size, it’s ready to spread onto a baking sheet and top with tomato paste, cheese, and the rest of your favorite things! If you use a little olive oil on your hands and the pan, it will make spreading the dough easier. Heat up the 1 tbsp butter with the clove of garlic in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and brush on the crust before placing in the oven.

Totally forgot to take a pic of the dough. So sorry!

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust starts to turn golden brown. Heat up the 2 tbsp butter with the garlic clove from earlier some salt and pepper for about 30 seconds, and now you have your own garlic dipping sauce! Your delicious fast homemade pizza is ready to enjoy!

Spicy Mac n Cheese

Mac n cheese is one of my guilty pleasures in life. Ever since I was a child, I have loved mac n cheese. Since then, I have come a long way in my exploration of making it; from velveeta single-serving cups in college to homemade spicy mac n cheese now. It has taken me years to come up with my perfect mac n cheese. I used to think the only way you could make it properly was with a roux, but I hated the texture. If you have found yourself in this predicament, this is the recipe for you! Soft, creamy, and smooth, my mac n cheese is a breeze to make and a pleasure to eat.

Ingredients

  • 2 c water
  • 1 c elbow pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp ras al hanout*
  • sprinkle of cayenne*
  • 1 c evaporated milk*
  • 1 tbsp butter*
  • 3 oz cheddar cheese*
  • 4 oz gouda cheese*

Recipe

This mac n cheese is not traditional; we’re going to cook everything together in one pan, preferably a skillet or wok. Add the water to the pan and let it boil. While it comes to a boil, grate your cheese. It might seem like a lot of cheese, because it is! And it explains why this recipe my guilty pleasure!

Once the water is boiling, add your salt and pasta and let cook for about 2/3 the time listed on the package. Once 2/3 time has elapsed, add the spices and evaporated milk. Now cook until your pasta is tender according to your preference.

If at any point it seems like there is not enough liquid in the pan, add some more water or milk. It definitely won’t hurt, just make sure not to add too much as you can’t take it out. If it does seem that you added too much liquid, don’t fret. The more you stir your pasta and liquid, the more liquid will evaporate, so stir away.

Once, your pasta is tender, and the liquid situation looks good (you still want a little liquid in the pan to help the cheese coat the pasta well), turn off the heat and stir in your cheese. Now your spicy and indulgent mac n cheese is ready to devour!

*You absolutely don’t have to add the spices, but I think they make it better. Use whatever cheese you desire: all cheddar, colby jack, vegan cheese. Butter and milk are optional as well, just make sure you substitute the milk with a non-dairy version.

**Many thanks to Franki Celenza for opening my eyes to cooking mac n cheese this way!

Egg White and Bean Tacos

Egg white and bean tacos are filling and delicious, and – even better – they’re easy as can be. These tacos are perfect for your weekend, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking! Plus, they’re filled with iron and protein. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 can of vegetarian refried beans
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • fresh coriander
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 bell pepper
  • ras al hanout
  • 1/2 c egg whites
  • 1/2 avocado
  • cheese
  • spinach
  • 2 tortillas
  • 1/2 lime
  • yellow bird habanero hot sauce

Recipe

Heat up some oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Chop your garlic, and add it to the oil to saute until it begins turning brown. Once the garlic is brown, add the refried beans and cook until warmed through. Turn off the heat, chop your coriander, and add it to the beans.

Heat some oil in a skillet over high heat. Chop your onions, and add them to the pan. While the onions are cooking, chop the zucchini and bell peppers and add to the pan after the onions become translucent. Saute everything together for 5-10 minutes or until the zucchini starts to get a little color on it. Now shake over some ras al hanout, flip to combine, and turn off the heat.

Heat a pan over medium heat and warm your tortillas. Now in the same pan, add some oil or butter before adding the eggs whites. Cook the egg whites until solid.

Now throw everything on the tortillas with the avocado, cheese, spinach, and hot sauce, and spritz some lime over them. Time to chow down!

Garlic Oil Pasta w/ Broccoli

Garlic Oil Pasta & Broccoli is one of my favorite pasta recipes these days. It’s simple, fast, and requires very few ingredients. I grew up thinking pasta required cheese to be good, but this pasta and broccoli is so garlicy and delicious, it disproves my thoughts completely. While it may be ridiculously easy and have few ingredients, this dish is so flavorful you will not be able to put down your fork. (I was barely able to put my fork down to write this recipe!)

Ingredients

  • 2 servings of angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil (good quality if you have the resources)
  • 3 c frozen broccoli
  • salt and pepper
  • chili flakes*

Recipe

Over high heat, bring a pot with water to a boil, and salt the water generously (I’m talking a small handful of salt). Once the water is boiling, add your pasta. Make sure to set a timer to cook the pasta to “al dente” which means you undercook it a little, because we will cook the pasta some more later.

In a skillet over medium heat, pour in half of the olive oil and let it heat while you chop your garlic. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic and let it begin to saute. You want it to become fragrant without burning it.

When it begins to turn brown, add your broccoli to the pan with about 1/2 c of the pasta water. Cover with a lid and let steam for about 2-3 minutes.

When your timer goes off for the pasta, extract it from the pasta water (which we want to keep) and place it in the pan with the broccoli. Combine everything and add more (but not all) of the olive oil.

At this point, you want to make sure your broccoli is no longer frozen or is cooked to your liking. Go ahead and add your black pepper and chili flakes now as well.

Next, we want to assess the liquid situation happening in the pan. The end goal is to get the pasta to have a velvety sheen on it. We will achieve a velvety sheen by adding pasta water and olive oil back and forth and letting the everything saute over high heat together for a minute before we add anything else. The pasta water and the oil are creating a kind of sauce coating the pasta. It might take a little practice, but it’s not too hard to get.

Once you are satisfied with the liquid situation, velvety sheen, and saltiness, it’s ready to eat! Enjoy!!

*The spiciness and garlicyness of this recipe are wholly up to you! Also, it’s not recommended to add cheese just because it’s an oil based pasta, but if you do, parmigiano reggiano is the one to use!

Palak Tofu

Palak tofu is healthy, zingy, and full of fiber and protein; it is my version of palak paneer. Created out of a need for an economical paneer substitute, palak tofu is just as delicious. If you can find/make and afford paneer, you can use this recipe to make an amazing palak paneer, but palak tofu is fantastic and happens to be vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch or 9 oz bag of palak/spinach
  • handful of coriander/cilantro
  • 1 block tofu*
  • oil for cooking*
  • 1 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • 5-8 cloves garlic*
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 jalepeno*
  • 1/2 bell pepper*
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 c water
  • salt to taste (about 1 1/2 tsp for me)
  • 1 heaping tsp garam masala

Recipe

Wash your palak and boil some water to blanch it. When blanching your palak, you only need to let it sit in the water for about 15 seconds or until it turns bright green. Once it is blanched, drain it and rinse with cold water to stop it from continuing to cook. Now blend your spinach and cilantro together; it may require a little water to blend properly which is ok.

It should look smooth like this, and will be about a cup or so of puree.

Now, heat a pan over medium heat with the oil (I used butter, oops) and chop your garlic and tofu while it heats. Once the oil is hot, add the jeera and garlic and allow to turn light brown before adding the tofu. You’ll want to fry your tofu until it gets some color and add some salt as both add flavor.

I’m very much a “use as few pans as possible” girl. You can cook the tofu separately if you like though, so it doesn’t break or crowd the pan.

While the tofu is cooking, chop your onions and tomatoes. Once the tofu is cooked to your liking, add the onions and let them turn translucent. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes and let them soften. After they become fairly soft, smoosh the tomatoes on the side of the pan so they will break down into a paste faster. At this point, you can add your garam masala as well to let it cook a minute before adding the coriander/palak puree.

When I add the tomatoes, I add them to the side of the pan, so I can pay special attention to them and smoosh them up later more easily.

Add your coriander/palak puree to the pan after the tomatoes cook another 2-3 minutes and combine everything well. If the consistency is too think at this point, begin adding the cup of water until it reaches a consistency with which you’re happy. After your palak tofu is all combined, taste for seasoning, adjust, and let cook about 2 minutes before taking off the heat. The longer you cook everything, the darker your palak will become. So if you want it to remain bright green, keep your cooking time low. Time to enjoy!

This can be a fairly fast recipe, I’ve got it down to 20-30 minutes now depending on how I prep it!

*I encourage substituting paneer for tofu if you can, and it’s your thing. Also, use what you like or can eat! There is a lot of garlic in this recipe, and I think it works well. But adjust the garlic and jalepeno to your liking!

Sweet Potato Falafel Wraps

Sweet potato falafels may sound like an abomination to falafel (or at least it did to me when I first tried it), but it is incredible! The flavor combinations are delicious, balanced, and it’s easier for me to make than traditional falafels due to the sweet potatoes. When you combine the sweet potato falafel (which are packed with protein) with onions, peppers, and a special tahini sauce all wrapped up, you will wish you tried this sooner. This is my go to recipe for falafel right now, and it is to die for.

Ingredients for Falafel

  • 2/3 c dried chickpeas
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • half lime
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce*
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder*
  • 1 tbsp paprika*
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds*
  • 1/4 onion*
  • 1 handful coriander/cilantro

Ingredients for Toppings

  • 3/4 onion (use leftovers from above)
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1/2 jalepeno*
  • bunch of spinach
  • tortilla, pita, rice, roti, greens

Ingredients for Tahini Sauce

  • 5 heaping tbsp tahini
  • half lime
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • handful of fresh mint

Recipe for Sweet Potato Falafels

Rinse and soak your chickpeas overnight, and when the chickpeas are swollen, boil your sweet potato until soft. In a blender or food processor, grind the chickpeas until they’re the consistency of bread crumbs. You don’t want a paste, but you don’t want whole or half chickpeas in your falafels. Dump the chickpeas in a large bowl. Mash the sweet potato into the chickpeas until combined.

Finely chop the garlic and onion before adding to the mix. Go ahead and add the dark soy sauce, lime juice, and spices to the falafel mixture as well. Once all of this is mixed thoroughly, incorporate the fresh coriander (we wait to add it until the end as it tends to be fragile).

Heat a nonstick pan with a little oil to medium-high heat. Use your hands or a pair of spoons to make the mixture into little balls or patties. Now, you’re ready to fry or bake them. I opt to cook them with a little oil to make them healthier, but still seem slightly fried. Each falafel will need to cook on each side around 3-5 minutes or until browned and crispy.

Recipe for Toppings

For the toppings, all you need to do is saute the onions, bell pepper, and jalepeno until the onions are browned. Wash and set aside a handful of spinach or greens of your choosing.

Recipe for Tahini Sauce

Combine your tahini, lime juice, agave, and water in a small bowl or cup. Whisk everything together until it forms a velvety smooth sauce or paste. Once it has reached a smooth consistency, add finely chopped mint leaves and let sit as that allows the flavors to develop together.

Assembly!!!

Throw the toppings and sweet potato falafels on your preferred carb or greens, and top with the tahini sauce. It blew my mind; I hope it does the same to yours.

**Inspired by the Happy Pear brothers recipe for Sweet potato falafel nuggets**

*As always friends, use what you have. If you happen to not have an ingredient that’s not a main part, it’s ok. I encourage you to substitute it! This makes an excellent recipe to meal prep, as you can reheat the little falafels throughout the week!

Veggie Burger Forever

I love veggie burgers. When I was younger, I would make my own veggie patties to fry and use on my burger, but these days I just grab some at the store. Fake meat burgers are great for this recipe; but use whatever you have. If it’s just a burger and bread, that works. If you have some greens that are about to go bad, and some leftover vegetables from the other night, use them! It’s hard to f*ck this one up.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 onion*
  • 1 bell pepper*
  • 1 clove garlic*
  • 1 veggie burger
  • 1 egg*
  • 1/4 c hummus*
  • handful spinach*
  • zaatar*
  • 2 slices of bread, or a bun*

Recipe

This is a quick recipe! Fifteen minutes, and you’re ready to eat. Slice up your onion, bell pepper, and garlic while you have a pan warming on medium heat with oil. Throw your onions in the pan when it’s hot. Wait about 5 minutes for them to cook, before adding the garlic and bell pepper (we add them later so they don’t overcook or burn).

While you’re cooking your veggies, either microwave your veggie burger or put it on another skillet on medium heat to warm. As the burger is warming and if there is room, put some oil or butter down and fry an egg. The burger and the egg should cook within 5 minutes or so.

After the burger is done cooking, I throw a couple scoops of hummus on top and place a lid on the pan after turning off the heat; this way, the hummus warms without having to microwave it in a separate dish or anything. Toast your bread and prepare to plate.

Take your bread of choice and spread some more hummus on it (helps it not to be dry). Throw down your egg, burger, cooked veggies, and greens after which I like to shake a little zaatar on top. Zaatar helps give everything a bit more flavor! Now you’re ready to eat.

*Everything except the burger is optional here. Swap the veggies for ones you enjoy like squash, chilis, and mushrooms. Use whatever condiments you prefer. You can definitely take the bread out of this recipe and make your burger on just greens, tortillas, or anything you have. This recipe can absolutely be made vegan!

Hummus

Great hummus is amazing, and it can be life altering. It has been an obsession for me, for the entirety of my adult life. However, most people haven’t had great hummus; they’ve had store bought versions or their own homemade types that aren’t necessarily true to traditional flavors. You can choose to eat it from the store, or you can make this incredible recipe that you will much prefer as I have poured years of time, passion, and love into this hummus.

Ingredients

  • 32 oz canned chickpeas (best if you start fresh, soak, and cook, but canned are more convenient for me at the moment)
  • 1+ c tahini
  • 1 lemon (or lime in a pinch)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp)
  • chickpea water from cooking
  • olive oil for garnish*
  • paprika, zaatar, cumin, harissa for garnish*

Recipe

It’s not so much the ingredients that make a good hummus, but the method and ratios. To begin, drain and rinse your chickpeas until there are no more bubbles. Plop them in a pot on medium heat with the garlic. Fill the empty can with water 1 1/2 times and add to the pot. Make sure to boil the chickpeas until they smoosh between your fingers VERY easily, but not until they disintegrate. (Approximately 30 minutes.)

Chickpeas once cooked and looking about to burst.

Once the chickpeas are cooked, take a utensil with slots and fish them out of the water, so you can keep the water for later use.

Into the blender or food processor goes your lemon, tahini, and some (about 1/3 c) of the hot chickpea water. Blend until you get a smooth, light, and fluffy consistency. It may take a little extra water or tahini here or there until you get to that point, which is ok. One cannot have too much tahini.

Shown above is the evolution of the sauce (enlarged so you can see it clearly), from the ingredients and first blend to the second blend after adding more chickpea water. The picture to the far right is the end consistency you want (this sauce doubles as a salad dressing :0 ).

Once you have achieved this, dump in your salt and chickpeas (they must hot out of the pot), except a couple spoonfuls chickpeas to serve on top of the finished yumminess. Blend everything together until you reach a fluffy light consistency again; it may take more tahini (1-2 tbsp) and hot chickpea water (1/4 c) to reach this point. Do not despair; it took me YEARS to get to this recipe. All you need to do is tweak your ratios a bit.

This is the consistency you want: velvet.

After reaching that light, fluffy, and creamy heavenly goodness, plate it while hot and fresh, top with the leftover hot chickpeas, olive oil, and your choice of spices. Serve with naan, pita, roti, flatbread of some sort, potatoes, roasted vegetables, pulaos, biryani, chorizo potatoes, huevos rancheros, fresh greens, rice, etc; seriously, whatever you have! You can even use hummus as a pasta sauce if you cook the pasta and add it to the hummus with some pasta water to thin it out. I’ve done it with pasta and broccoli; it was delicious. Whatever you do, I highly, highly recommend that you eat this fresh instead of popping it in the fridge. It may be good cold, but it will be amazing fresh.

*None of these ingredients are optional except the garnishes if you want quality hummus, otherwise it will be mediocre.

The tahini I buy at a middle eastern market. The seeds aren’t toasted as much for this tahini (making it lighter and less bitter) than the seeds in the tahini you find at American chain grocery stores.