Okra Curry

Finally. A curry with taste! I have been crap at making truly flavorful curries in general – I find recipes either too light in the spice for my taste, or just generally falling flat of the kind of deeply layered taste thing I love when enjoying my favorite delivery curries.

This is a step in that direction. It’s complex, flavorful, and wholly satisfying.

A word of caution for this recipe: I served mine with just a side of basmati rice, and I was still hungry. Either the carb ratio was off, or the meal needed some protein or fat to be truly filling.

Note: This recipe uses some of the Good Standard Curry I posted last week. That curry is a fantastic base for all number of other curries – I’m hoping I’ll get one more shot at transforming it into something else before I run out. Luckily, it freezes beautifully in batches.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Okra Curry

1/2 yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

1 green chili of your choice

400-500g can diced or crushed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. ground coriander

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1.5 c. chopped okra

1 bell pepper

1 c. of the Good Standard Curry I posted a recipe for last week

Your favorite cooking oil

Salt & pepper

Chop your onion and garlic. Mince the chili. Fry in a little oil until just beginning to brown.

Add about a quarter cup of water, let simmer about 5 minutes while you are prepping the next step.

While the aromatics are softening, in another pan, fry the coriander, cumin, smoked paprika and tomato paste in a little oil about a minute, or until fragrant.

Add the canned tomatoes, stir well, and simmer 10 minutes.

While the tomatoes are simmering, Whiz the onion mixture to form a paste. Chop the okra and bell pepper.

Add the onion mix, okra, bell pepper and curry base. Simmer 20 minutes, season well with salt and pepper and serve.

I served mine with basmati rice cooked with a little butter – you do you.

Serves 4-6

A Good Standard Curry

This curry makes a great jumping off point for a whole world of sauces. It’s based on this British-style sauce from Great Curry Recipes, but with amped-up spices, since I just can’t help myself. I also turned it into a full vegetarian meal, and it was delicious

gluten-free, vegetarian

A Good Standard Curry

2 yellow onions

Neutral oil

4 cloves garlic

1/2 inch ginger

1 carrot

2 bell peppers

1.5 cups crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. + ghee

1 Tbsp. curry powder (your favorite style)

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. coriander

1 Tbsp. asofetida (fenugreek was called for in the original; I used what I had)

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. turmeric

To turn this into a meal:

2-3 potatoes

1 carrot

1 can chickpeas

1 c. water

Lemon juice

Finishing salt

Basmati rice

Thinly slice your onions. Add to a medium- large pan over medium heat where you’ve heated enough oil to cover the bottom till slightly bubbly.

Fry about 20 minutes until really soft and clear with a little color.

While the onions are working, chop the peppers & carrot. Mince the ginger and garlic and make a paste out of them by crushing with the back of a knife or grinding in a mortar & pestle.

When the onions are ready, add the peppers and carrot. Fry 5 minutes to get working.

Add the ginger, garlic and all spices but the turmeric.

Add to tomatoes and enough water just to cover.

Simmer :30, and remove from the heat. Cool until safe to whiz.

Whiz to make a mostly smooth mixture.

Add the ghee to the pan over medium heat and fry the turmeric :30 – 1 minute to bloom. Add the sauce back into the pan and simmer over low for 20 – 30 minutes.

Now to turn this sauce into a meal.

Set the sauce aside, and add a Tablespoon of oil back into the pan. Chop and add the potatoes, second carrot, and can of chickpeas (drained). Let sauté a couple minutes to warm up a bit. I had intended on putting a little color on the chickpeas but I lost patience with life.

Add a cup or two of the sauce and 1 cup of water. Simmer :30, covered.

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a liberal sprinkle of finishing salt over basmati rice.

The dinner portion serves 4 easily, with enough sauce leftover to make at least 1 more big meal

Note: This curry is unsalted on purpose. The original recipe was unsalted as well, and I think that’s a good idea since it’s supposed to be used as a base for additions. I’ll be taking this curry and adding some fire next meal – along with more peppers and a deeper taste with tomato paste.

Fresh Shakshouka

This version of shakshouka makes a great topper for crusty bread, uses a good blend of fresh + pantry ingredients – and makes a bonus second meal if you swirl some of your leftover sauce in with noodles.

It’s also DH approved, and he’s not a fan of skin-on tomatoes. He could live without the spinach, but we had greens and needed chlorophyll.

This would also be great with chickpeas for added protein and either scrambled or poached eggs/substitute cooked in the sauce. I wanted to keep my eggs separate to maximize leftovers. Scrambled soft tofu would be fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, halal

Fresh Shakshouka

1 small jar fire roasted peppers in oil

2 hands cherry tomatoes

1 large onion

4 Tbsp. zaatar

1 Tbsp. smoked paprika

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 c. tinned tomatoes (I used crushed but use what you have)

2 tsp. sambal olek (this is my favorite)

1/2 c. parsley

Baby spinach

Eggs

Crusty bread

3 – 4 cloves garlic – 2-3 minced and 1 or 2 whole with the end sliced off

Thinly slice the onion and sauté on medium in 1 Tbsp. of the oil that comes from the jar of peppers until soft and lightly brown in spots.

Add the sambal and 2 – 3 cloves minced garlic. Sauté a minute or two more to meld together.

While that is working, remove the peppers from the oil and roughly chop.

Add the tomatoes and peppers and sauté until the tomatoes burst.

While the tomatoes are doing their thing, roughly chop the parsley, slice the bread into thick slices and drizzle with some of the pepper oil.

Broil the bread until your desired toast level has been reached. Remove from the oven and rub with the cut end of the reserved garlic clove. Set aside.

When the tomatoes have burst (with or without a little help), add the Zaatar, smoked paprika, salt & pepper. Stir to combine and let sauté a minute or so to meld.

Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and half a cup of water. Bring up to a boil, reduce the heat, add the spinach + half the parsley on top, and simmer 7 – 8 minutes. As soon as that spinach wilts and can be thoroughly mixed in is the time to add eggs if you are cooking them like a traditional Shakshouka.

If you are not, fry your eggs separately in a little of the pepper oil to your desired doneness.

Serves 2 for a light dinner + makes enough sauce to be used for another night’s pasta

Quick Spinach Rice Lunch

I make this – or a variation on this – quite often for lunch later in the week, when I’ve got leftovers kicking around in the fridge, am out of my main protein, and still have some of this week’s spinach hanging around that is quickly going to age itself right out of my fridge.

For this version, I resisted the temptation to go Southeast Asian like usual (this dish 99.9% of the time turns out vaguely Japanese), and went Indian instead. I’m glad I broke out of my comfort zone a little and I think I’ll make this again on purpose for dinner some night.

gluten-free, lacto-ovo vegetarian

Quick Spinach Rice Lunch

1 cup leftover basmati rice

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons sesame or mustard oil

1/2 inch fresh ginger

1 clove garlic

1 big hand full spinach

Turmeric

Crispy chickpeas (these are my favorite)

1 green chili

To reheat your rice – any rice – without it drying out, add a Tablespoon or two of water, put the lid back on really loosely and zap in the microwave for :45 to 1:00. Boom. Steamed and refreshed rice.

Fry the eggs to your liking in the oil, seasoning with salt and pepper and adding a liberal sprinkle of turmeric when you flip. Add the spinach on top of that to wilt a couple seconds while the yolks finish setting to your desired doneness (I love a good runny yolk, so I separated my whites from yolks, scooted them to the side and added the spinach more to that side so I could see to yank the yolks when they were just barely set).

Grate the ginger and garlic into the rice.

Mince the chili (de-seeding if necessary) and add to the rice.

Add the eggs on top, along with a small hand of the crispy chickpeas.

Stir to combine.

Serves 1 for lunch

Basil Lime Pumpkin Salad

This is a surprisingly light tasting salad for having not only chewy pearl barley but roasted pumpkin. I think it’s the dressing and all the fresh spinach.

If you make extra dressing, and I suggest that you do – it pairs great with a more traditional salad, simple cold noodles, and even as a dip for chicken or shrimp. It’s delicious.

vegetarian, vegan

Basil Lime Pumpkin Salad

1 big wedge pumpkin or a butternut squash

Baby spinach

2 large scallions

1/2 cup basil

2 cloves garlic

4 Tablespoons lime juice

2 green chilis

1/2 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup stock

1.5 cups water

Olive oil

Neutral oil

Smoked paprika

Garlic powder

Cumin

Salt & pepper

Optional: crispy chickpeas (this is one of my favorite brands)

First, get your pumpkin and barley working.

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F and prepare a baking sheet.

Peel the pumpkin and chop into bite-sized pieces.

Toss with a few good glugs neutral oil and liberal sprinkles of the smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

Roast 25 mins or until soft and your desired brownness is reached. I could have let mine go another 5 – 10 mins, but I was impatient so mine turned out soft and only a little browned.

Put the barley in your cooking vessel of choice with the stock and water + a liberal sprinkle of salt. If your stock doesn’t have any fat in it, a Tablespoon of olive oil is good here. Cook according to package directions. I cooked mine in a rice cooker by hitting the ‘rice’ button.

While both those are working, slice the scallions thin. Add half to your blender or food processor.

Add the spinach, basil, garlic cloves, lime juice, chilis (rough chopped and de-seeded if necessary), 5 Tablespoons olive oil, and liberal sprinkles salt and pepper. Whiz to combine, adding a few Tablespoons of water if your mixture is too dry for your appliance. I ended up adding about 3 Tablespoons.

Taste for seasoning and add more acid or salt if needed.

To assemble, toss the pumpkin and second half of the scallions together. Add the spinach and toss. Add the barley to the top while still warm to semi-wilt the spinach. Toss, adding the dressing halfway through.

Taste the whole mix together, adding any salt or pepper if necessary. I added a big sprinkle of finishing salt to mine. I also finished each serving with a generous sprinkle of crunchy spiced chickpeas. This salad makes an excellent chickpea delivery service. Bonus: added protein!

Makes enough to serve as a side for a party or for 4 for dinner

Sheet Pan Miso Bowl

This is a simple and quick sheet pan dinner with a nice, light taste for nights when you *want* some super unhealthy Japanese takeout, but don’t want a bunch of grease – or to wait for delivery.

gluten-free

Sheet Pan Miso Bowl

1.5 Tbsp. miso

1.5 Tbsp. brown sugar

1.5 Tbsp. date molasses (or a smaller amount of honey or other sugar)

3 Tbsp. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

3 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 bell pepper

2 – 3 carrots

2 – 3 chicken breasts or other protein

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F and prepare a baking sheet.

Combine all the wet ingredients together, mashing the miso with the back of a spoon to break it up better. Set aside.

Chop the chicken, carrots and pepper into bite-sized pieces, placing all onto the prepared baking sheet.

Pour 2/3 of the sauce over top and toss well to combine.

Spread the chicken & veggies out in a single layer over the baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Take the last third of the sauce, zap it in the microwave about 20 seconds to ensure the sugar is melted. Add a Tablespoon of water to thin the sauce a bit. Stir well to combine and toss with the cooked chicken & veggies before serving.

Serve with rice, cauli rice, noodles, or alone.

Serves 4

Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri

This recipe was inspired by a Tasty video for crispy onigiri that popped up on my Facebook feed, and turned out really well, though it’s not *technically* teriyaki sauce, since it doesn’t include mirin. Mirin isn’t available where I live, and this recipe makes a great halal alternative.

gluten-free

Chicken Teriyaki Onigiri

1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts

1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1/4 c. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

2 cloves grated garlic

1 Tbsp. honey

1 tsp. sesame oil

1 Tbsp. sushi vinegar (I used this as a replacement for mirin)

1 medium carrot, grated

1 bell pepper, thinly sliced and then chopped fairly small

Neutral oil, salt & pepper

Sushi rice

Nori sheets

Green onion (optional)

Sesame seeds (optional)

1 Tbsp. mayo

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

Mix the cornstarch with enough water to form a slurry. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, honey, sesame oil and sushi vinegar. Stir to combine.

Chop the chicken into small chunks and add half the marinade. Marinate for :30 – 1 hour.

While the chicken is marinating, cook your rice (I make mine simply with 1c. sushi rice + 1 Tbsp. sesame oil + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, a big pinch salt + 2c. water cooked on the rice setting of my electronic cooker).

When your rice is done, remove to a bowl to cool a bit.

Reduce the other half of the marinade until thickened over low heat and set aside.

Grate the carrot and chop the pepper thinly. Set aside.

Thinly slice the green pepper and set aside.

Mix the mayo and remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce in a small dish and set aside.

Add 1 Tbsp. neutral oil to a medium pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté, moving frequently so the sugar in the sauce doesn’t burn, until cooked through. Sprinkle with a little salt and a generous amount of white pepper (or less – or black pepper – you do you).

Set the chicken aside. Add 1 Tbsp. neutral oil to the pan and put back over the heat.

Add the carrot and pepper and sauté until soft. Add 1 Tbsp. of the reserved and reduced marinade. Stir to combine and let cook another minute or two. Set aside.

You’re ready to assemble your onigiri, and this process goes pretty quick.

I made myself an assembly line – a little dish of water to coat my hands in so the rice doesn’t stick, rice, the dish of soy sauce mayo, chicken, veggies, sliced green onions, sesame seeds, and nigiri sheets that have been cut in half.

To assemble: dip your hands in the water, grab a small hand full of rice, and press into a flat (ideally triangular shape but I couldn’t make that happen) shape. Make a small dent in the middle of the rice. Spread some of the flavored mayo all the way to the edges of the rice. Add a couple chunks of chicken (I used 3), about a Tablespoon of veggies, and a couple slices green onions. Fold your fingers up, turning your hand and the rice into kind of a cup. With your other hand, push the chicken into that cup as you continue folding your fingers up, enclosing the chicken and veggies into a rice case. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and lay on one of the halved nori sheets. Roll up into a burrito looking roll, wetting one end of the nori to seal everything together.

I know this sounds really awkward, but you’re basically doing what you would do to stuff a burger with cheese, if that makes sense. I went gentle and slow and didn’t worry too much about overstuffing each ball. Needless to say, I had a bunch of leftover chicken; enough for dinner for two + lunch the next day.

Serves 2+

Roasted Veggie Pizza

This is a dead simple dinner that’s quick to prepare and easy to make in bulk for meal prepping.

It’s also healthy – according to my DH, *too* healthy, and can’t be classified as ‘pizza’. 😆 Call it a flatbread, then.

I was a big fan, and ended up eating the leftover hummus & veggies in a bunch of different ways throughout the week.

vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Veggie Pizza

Mixed veggies: I used a combo of zucchini, eggplant, peppers, carrots and onions

Hummus

Some sort of pizza base: I used bran pita, but naan would be great here, as would tortillas or pizza dough flats

Edamame, cooked and shelled

Black olives

Sun dried tomatoes

Red pepper flakes

Zaatar

Oil, salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F. Chop your veggies into bite-sized pieces, and arrange on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Drizzle some oil over and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread back out in a single layer.

Bake 15 minutes, flip, and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until your desired brownness is reached. Remove and set aside.

The rest is simple. Prep your edamame if it came shelled like mine did. Set aside.

To assemble, spread hummus out in a thin-ish layer on your flatbread like you would marinara on a pizza. Arrange your roasted veggies on top, adding a sprinkle of edamame, olives and sun dried tomato to Zhuzh up your pizza a bit.

Sprinkle spices over top.

Bake on a cookie sheet 10 minutes or until crisp. Pull and slice.

Serves a few

Hot Mustard Chicken with Carrot Fries

What to do with some rapidly wrinkling carrots and an abundance of hot sauce? Spicy chicken with carrot fries. Yum.

Hot Mustard Chicken with Carrot Fries

2 medium carrots

2 – 3 chicken breasts

2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

2 Tbsp. your favorite hot sauce (I used a garlic variety)

1 Tbsp. Maggi chicken seasoning (I used Magic Sarap, but this isn’t strictly paleo – regular chicken seasoning would work just as well)

2 tsp. garlic powder

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1 – 2 Tbsp. fat of choice

2 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. chipotle seasoning

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F.

Halve and slice your carrots into roughly fry-shaped pieces. Toss with the oil, cornstarch/arrowroot powder, chipotle seasoning and salt & pepper.

Spread out in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet.

Bake 15 minutes, flip, and bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes or until your desired crispness is reached.

While the fries are working, chop your chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Toss with the mustard, hot sauce, maggi, garlic powder, lime juice, salt & pepper.

When the fries are ready to flip, scoot them all to 1 side of the baking sheet. Add the chicken to the other side in a single layer and bake.

The fries serve 2, the chicken 3

Dairy Free Tortilla Wrap

It seems like the entire Internet has lost its collective mind recently over these wrapped tortillas. I must admit … I was intrigued. I’d never thought to wrap a tortilla like I would a crepe and it sounded like the kind of magical lunch I needed in my life that week.

And then I started looking at recipes. Crunchwrap came to mind first, but the glue was cheese. Whelp, that’s out. I can’t do cheese cheese, and even store bought vegan melting cheese + my GI system are currently on the outs.

A YouTuber I follow (who actually introduced me to this fad; I’m not one of the cool kids on Tik Tok) made a sushi roll version that looked delightful and had rice as the “glue” (I tried recreating it for y’all and have thus far failed in my efforts). Which got me thinking … I’ve got leftover potatoes, and I want Indian. What can I do with that information?

Turns out, I can do a lot. I’m going to give you guys a full meal recipe here, with instructions on how to turn it into one of those cool kids wraps. Which is awesome, but you’ll have leftovers. Just slap the rest in a bowl and call it an Indian harvest spectacular.

Note: This recipe uses mustard oil, which may be difficult to source. I’ve included an Amazon (affiliate) link to help. I also included a link for the chicken seasoning I’ve been using recently and loving, as well as for the condiments.

Gluten-free if you use a gf wrap, vegetarian and vegan if you sub the chicken

Dairy Free Tortilla Wrap

This recipe is written a little weird. I’m laying it out in quadrants in the order you’ll wrap them. More on that later. I cooked mine in kind of reverse order, starting with the potatoes, moving through the protein, and ending with the veg. You may wish to do the same.

Protein Quadrant

Protein of choice (I used chicken cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 Tbsp. mustard oil (like this one)

2 tsp. mustard seeds

1 Tbsp. curry powder

Salt & pepper

Cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces (or a little smaller – ground chicken could also work)

In a medium pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and curry powder and cook until fragrant and the seeds begin to pop.

Add the protein and cook through, hitting with salt and pepper a time or two during cooking.

Set aside.

Condiment Quadrant

I used combination of two here: Bombay Sandwich Chutney and sweet spreadable mustard pickle. Indian pickle would be lovely here, but it’s definitely an aggressive taste.

Healthy Veg Quadrant

1 package broccolini, chopped

2 tsp. mustard oil (like this one)

2 tsp. curry powder

2 tsp. chicken seasoning (your favorite – I use Maggi)

In a medium pan over medium heat, bring your mustard oil up to temperature. Chuck your curry powder in and cook, stirring, until fragrant.

Add the broccolini, chicken seasoning and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until crisp-tender, adding a shot of water if the pan looks too dry.

Set aside.

Potato Quadrant

1 lb. baby potatoes

1 Tbsp. mustard oil (like this one)

2 tsp. mustard seed

2 tsp. turmeric

1 small onion, chopped fine

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 Tbsp. butter, butter substitute or ghee

Salt

Set your potatoes to boil in a large pot with a generous amount of salt. Boil until cooked through and soft.

Drain and set aside.

While the potatoes are working, chop the onion and garlic fine.

In a medium pan over medium heat, bring the oil up to temperature. Chuck the mustard seeds and turmeric into the oil and heat until fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop.

Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened and a little brown.

When the potatoes are done and drained, add back to the big pot and mash roughly with a potato masher or beaters. Chunky is fine – I wanted my potatoes to have a bit of heft to them like my favorite Indian restaurant potatoes. Add the onion mixture, the butter, and a healthy pinch of salt. Combine well, taste, and add more salt or fat if needed.

Set aside.

Cut the bottom half down the middle. To assemble, wrap the lower left up, then both of those to the right, then the three to the lower right quadrant.

Assembly

Wrap a large chapati (Mission makes a decent one), roti, tortilla or other flexible and foldable bread in a paper towel. Sprinkle with water and nuke for 15 seconds so it’s bendable.

If you think of your chapati as a wheel with 4 quadrants, you want to cut up the center bottom until you hit the horizontal equator.

Wow, that was some mixed metaphor ish; hopefully followable.

In your lower left quadrant, arrange a little protein. Not overfull – think burritos, here. You don’t want to over fill those, either.

In the upper left quadrant, spread a little condiment.

In the upper right quadrant, add a little veg.

In the lower right quadrant, spread some potato. This quadrant will act as our glue.

To fold, carefully fold the lower left quadrant up (I kind of held the chicken in place as I carefully flipped the chapati up), fold the left side to the right (this went easier), and the top down so the 3 folded sections rest on the potato section.

You should have what looks like a folded crepe sandwich.

Pan fry until golden on both sides, kind of smooshing a bit as you do so it sticks together.

Cut in half and enjoy!

Makes a bunch