Cinnamon coffee cake

Soft, fluffy, buttery goodness – who can resist this, especially in the morning with a steamy cup of coffee? Extra bonus: you probably already have all these ingredients somewhere in your kitchen.

Servings: one standard size loaf pan

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 50 g melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 egg

Topping

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50 g melted butter

Glaze

  • 1 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Directions

  1. Separately mix the wet and dry ingredients for the cake. Make sure you sift the dry stuff well (saves you the headache of lumpy batter later)
  2. Slowly add the dry cake mix into the wet mix, folding well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 175 C
  4. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan
  5. Prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients well
  6. Pour the topping over the batter, and swirl with a knife
  7. Bake for 40 minutes
  8. While the cake is still warm, pour the glaze over it. The glaze will harden somewhat when the cake is completely cooled
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Spicy sauteed green beans

It’s spicy, crunchy, and juicy… need I say more? I like this as a side dish to a braised tofu main dish over some white rice. It hits the spot, big time. Sometimes, if I have fresh shiitakes on hand, I will toss them in as well.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 300g green beans, cleaned and cut into 1in pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 fresh chillies, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • some chili oil, to taste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, corn starch mixture, salt, and pepper.
  2. Separately, in a skillet, heat the sesame oil. Add the fresh chili, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and green onions. Fry for about 30-60 seconds.
  3. Before the garlic browns, add the green beans. Stir occasionally. They should be fully cooked in 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the sauce and cook for another minute or so (medium-high heat).
  5. Add extra chili oil to taste.

Green onion flatbread with garlic soy dipping sauce

You could call this a few different names: flatbread, pancakes, Asian roti, etc. The garlic soy sauce livens up this classic Chinese side dish/snack. It’s addictive.

Servings 1 (if you’re a piggy) or 4

Ingredients

Flatbread

  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/4 tsp ground Chinese Five Spice
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • Vegetable oil and a brush

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 clove finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
  • 1 finely sliced green onion

Directions

  1. Mix the flour, sesame seeds, five spice powder, and water until it forms a dough
  2. Knead the dough well (5 min) – it should be quite smooth
  3. Let it rest for 30 minutes, covered
  4. Mix the ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small container and set it aside
  5. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts
  6. Roll each piece into a 7 in circle
  7. Brush the circle with a little oil, cover with scallions, and roll it up tightly (like a fajita/burrito/spring roll)
  8. Coil the burrito tightly into a spiral, and roll it out again
  9. In a hot skillet with some oil, lightly fry each pancake (~3 minutes per side)
  10. Cut into wedges and enjoy with the dipping sauce

Mushroom Stroganoff

This dish was surprisingly well received. Usually our resident Indian dislikes pasta dishes – except this one!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 200g baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 400 ml vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup red wine or sherry
  • 150g goat cheese
  • 150g sour cream or creme fraiche
  • salt to taste
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tbsp cold water
  • parsley for garnish
  • 4 portions of pasta cooked al dente

Directions

  1. Saute the mushrooms in a skillet with the butter
  2. Add the garlic, black pepper and thyme
  3. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the green onions
  4. Stir in the green onions and saute for 2-3 minutes
  5. Add the flour and cook until the fond on the bottom of the pan turns dark brown (1 minute)
  6. Deglaze with the vegetable broth and red wine
  7. Lower the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes
  8. Gently stir the sour cream and goat cheese in, mix well
  9. Ladle the sauce over the pasta and garnish with the parsley

Sooji

This popular south Indian dessert is one of my favorites. I like adding extra cashews to it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of upma or sooji rava
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of split cashews
  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup of butter or ghee
  • a pinch of saffron

Directions

  1. Toast the cashews and raisins, then set them aside
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet, and toast the rava
  3. Once the rava is a golden color, add the water and mix well.
  4. Lower the heat, and let the rava absorb the water. Stir occasionally.
  5. Once the water is fully absorbed, add the sugar. Stir well.
  6. Add the saffron and cardamom
  7. Remove from heat, and top with the cashews and raisins

Creamy Vegetarian Miso Ramen

I didn’t think it was possible, but we discovered a delicious vegetarian ramen to rival my Vegetarian Curried Coconut and Garlic Ramen. This recipe has a completely different flavor profile; where the previous recipe was tangy and spicy (coconutty, tomatoey, curry), this one is packed with umami (earthy, mushroom, miso). I die.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 400 ml water
  • 1 piece of kombu (get the one with white crusty stuff on it), cut into small slivers
  • 4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 in piece of daikon, sliced
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 head of roasted garlic (bake it in the oven for 40 minutes at 205 C, wrapped in an aluminum sachet with olive oil drizzled over the nipped tips)
  • 1/2 inch of ginger, minced
  • 1 freshly sliced Bird’s eye chili (or equivalent)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp miso paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • cooked ramen noodles (I don’t cook the noodles until I’m ready to serve the soup)
  • 2 bunches of bok choy, sliced
  • your choice of fresh tofu skin or pan fried tofu
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • 1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
  • 2 sliced scallions
  • Chili Oil to taste
  • 1 tbsp dry roasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, simmer the water, kombu, capers, daikon, and shiitake mushrooms for about 30 minutes. This is our dashi.
    • Once the mushrooms are rehydrated, I like to slice them
  2. In a soup pot, caramelize the onion using the sesame oil (cook it low and slow for 30 minutes, until it browns)
  3. Add ginger, miso paste, soy sauce, garlic, and fresh chili
  4. Crush the sesame seeds with a mortar and pestle, set aside
  5. Add the mirin to loosen the browned bits in the soup pot
  6. Add the dashi and soy milk to the soup pot
  7. Bring to a low simmer
  8. Add bok choy and bean sprouts, cook until the boy choy is wilted, about another 5-10 minutes
  9. For each serving: place an egg and a few pieces of tofu over the cooked ramen noodles, and pour the ramen broth on top
  10. Garnish with scallions, chili oil, sesame seeds

Mor Kulambu

One of my favorite flavor profiles is creamy, sour, and spicy – this dish hits all those nodes. I guess you could describe this as a classic South Indian yogurt soup, that takes a versatile range of vegetables, and sometimes features some mouth watering vadas (fried doughballs). Every household has a slightly different recipe, and here is just one variation.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

Mor

  • 2 cups of plain yogurt at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp white rice, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup water

Tempered spices

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Ginger paste

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 fresh, sliced Asian chilis (Bird’s eye will do just fine)
  • 1 tbsp toor dal, soaked for 2 hours
  • 1/2 in piece of ginger, sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves (10 leaves)

Set this aside

  • Your choice of cooked vegetables (blanched, boiled, etc.) – e.g. zucchini, eggplant, okra, or vada
  • cilantro for garnish
  • some cooked rice

Directions

  1. Churn the Mor mixture well
  2. Add the tempered spices to the Mor mixture, adding some water to thin it (up to 1/2 cup)
  3. Separately blend the ginger paste with a blender or food processor
  4. Mix the Mor and the ginger paste well in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil
  5. Add the vegetables, cook for about 5-6 minutes, until tender
  6. Add salt to taste
  7. Garnish with cilantro
  8. Serve with rice or rotis