Winter White Parsnip and Hazelnut Soup


Spring is almost here but winter is still lingering; last week we finally had some snow, which is what we call icy rain and slush in North Carolina. Gloria came over for another lovely Sunday in the kitchen. We’ve decided to get together about once a month and master a new skill; last month it was deboning a chicken and making Pollo a la Brasa. This month I requested we make soup (because jaw surgery) so we chose the complimentary skill of making nut milk for the soups, and baking with the pulp!

Making nut milk is devastatingly simple: it’s just a matter of soaking the nuts overnight (we did a batch of hazelnuts and a batch of pecans), straining them, blending them with water, and straining them again. I’ve done it before through a cloth, but this time used a fine mesh strainer. You could probably squeeze out just a little more with a cloth and get the pulp a little drier, but it’s also so much messier, so search in your heart whether it’s worth it. My heart is lazy efficient.

The soups we made with the nut milks were a sweet potato casserole soup that Gloria dreamed up (spiced roasted sweet potatoes, apple juice, pecan and coconut milks – I have some in the freezer I can’t wait to eat!) and a parsnip and hazelnut soup from Diana’s Food Adventures in Ficiton blog. It’s inspired by Rapunzel, which thrilled my daughter. You can read all about it on Diana’s blog, or even listen to us discuss it on our Grimm’s Fairy Tales episode of Fiction Kitchen!

The only thing I did differently was to add some of the hazelnut pulp to thicken the soup. The way she prepares it is more elegant, but as I’m mostly eating soup nowadays, I’m trying to make them as hearty as possible – so mine is the rustic version.

Winter White Parsnip and Hazelnut Soup

For the hazelnut milk (makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 cups blanched and skinned hazelnuts
  • 4 cups water

Soak the hazelnuts in 2 cups water overnight. Strain, and blend with 2 more cups water. Strain through a cheese cloth or a fine mesh strainer. Reserve the nut pulp.

For the soup

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 leeks, sliced (white parts only)
  • salt & white pepper
  • 2-3 small parsnips (the smaller the sweeter), peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut pulp
  • 2 cups hazelnut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • crushed hazelnuts for garnish

In a soup pot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute until nice and wilty. Season with salt and white pepper, and stir for a minute. Add the parsnips, hazelnut pulp, hazelnut milk, and vegetable broth, and simmer until parsnips are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Pour into a blender and puree (hold a tea towel over the lid). Pour back into the soup pot and gently warm back through; taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve hot garnished with crushed hazelnuts.


Zoeya helped Gloria make pecan milk.


Cheers! Gloria added a little sorghum to the pecan milk for a subtle smoky sweetness.


With the pecan pulp she made a variation of these Buttered Pecan Biscuits from Joy the Baker…


…and I made this Flourless Lemon Almond Cake from Simply Recipes! With hazelnuts of course.


Soups look so cute and cool in mason jars.


Oh yeah I also made a (nut milk-less) Minty Split Pea Soup for our Arabian Nights episode of Fiction Kitchen podcast!

Jaw Surgery – the Menu

A little over a week ago I had corrective jaw surgery to fix my crooked face! The first couple of days were really difficult; painful (not too painful, they give you good drugs) and a little scary when I felt like I was so swollen I couldn’t breathe. My husband and sister have been wonderful taking care of me and the kids though, and luckily the worst is over.

I was worried about eating, considering that during my overnight in the hospital I couldn’t even manage a sip of water through a syringe, but once I got home I got in a good routine of soups and smoothies.

Everything I’ve been eating is very nutritionally dense which has helped a lot with energy levels, and I must be eating well because I’ve only lost a few pounds (I’m not super skinny, but I don’t have a lot of weight to lose either). My advice to anyone undergoing this procedure is to eat as healthy as you possibly can, including drinking a lot of water, because you’ll feel better and recover faster.

Also, eating’s not easy, but try eating from a spoon and drinking from a cup as soon as you can, because not only is the syringe a pain but you’ll have a hard time eating enough. You may prefer to eat alone, I did. I’d escape up to our room with my little mugs and mason jars, scream “don’t look at me, I’m hideous!” while slamming the door, then enjoy my concoctions in bed, draped with a tea towel, watching Netflix.

Here are some ideas if you have to be on a liquid diet for some reason, or even if you don’t!


Rainbow of soup.


Green juice through my syringe.

  • Soups

    The weekend beforehand I cooked a bunch of soups and froze them: butternut squash and carrot; potato and parsnip; beet, tomato and beef broth (basically borscht); roasted cauliflower with spinach and coconut milk. I’ve been thawing them out to eat little by little, and since I hate to eat the same thing over and over, making even more variety by blending in sundried tomatoes, cooked lentils, fresh spinach or steamed broccoli. I thinned my soup the first day with a lot of almond milk so I could use the syringe, but after that I could use a spoon.

  • Smoothies

    I’ve been making various combinations of blueberries, cherries, banana, and avocado with almond milk or coconut milk. Sometimes I’ll blend in a spoonful of almond butter…or Nutella.

  • Storebought stuff

    I got a pack of Boost – some people live on these after jaw surgery! I have been having one a day; I think it’s been good for some extra protein, but I wouldn’t want more than that because of the sugar. My husband also brought me some green juices, smoothies, and coconut water which have been nice to change it up a little.


Avocado, banana, and coconut milk smoothie.


Butternut squash soup with sundried tomato, and blueberry, banana, almond milk, and Nutella smoothie.

So I’m pretty happy with my liquid week, but this week I got the go ahead to eat some (soft) solid food. Yes please. Tonight I ate two sardines with olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt and it was awesome.

Pollo a la Brasa with Green Sauce and Cauliflower Rice


A couple weeks ago, my friend Gloria came over for a lovely afternoon of butchery – she taught me how to debone a chicken! I had never even broken down a chicken, never even spatchcocked a chicken, so I was a little intimidated – but I successfully leveled up my kitchen skills, huzzah.


Gloria, vegetarian and yet self-proclaimed lover of cracking bones.

Me, with the appropriate expression to have when holding a backbone.

With our boneless birds, we made this delicious copycat dish from a Peruvian restaurant in Chapel Hill, served with a spicy dipping sauce, and lime and cilantro cauliflower rice because it was still January and all food is mandated to be low-carb because New Years or something.

Pollo a la Brasa with Green Sauce and Cauliflower Rice

Recipe courtesy Gloria

For the chicken:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 4-5 drops liquid smoke
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 whole chicken (3-5 lbs, with bones or deboned)

Mix all ingredients together well and spread over the chicken. If using a deboned chicken, roll it up. Place chicken in a baking pan, covered, and leave in fridge at least an hour or up to overnight.

Roast at 425° for 15-20 minutes, then lower temperature to 375° and roast until chicken reaches 155°-160° on a meat thermometer (mine took about 20 more minutes).

Alternately, you can sliced up the chicken and marinate, then saute in small batches for 3-5 minutes or until sauce has thickened and coated seared chicken.

For authentic method – grill over charcoal fire.

For the Spicy Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 jalapeño peppers (for mild sauce, deseed and roast; for spicy, keep seeds and leave raw)
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor – chill before serving.

For the Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste

Sauté onions, poblano, garlic, and cumin in large pan w/olive oil until soft

In food processor, pulse cilantro with half the head of cauliflower until it resembles rice.
Pour into pan and saute with pepper and onions. Pulse remaining half head of cauliflower into small bits but larger than the bits with the cilantro. Add to pan and cook until softened.

For better texture, cook quickly over high heat to toast the outside of the cauliflower. Season with salt & pepper

Serve chicken over bed of cauliflower rice, with green sauce for dipping!

You of course could make this with a whole chicken, or pieces, but if you’ve never deboned a chicken and want to try, go for it! Here’s a pretty good video:

Pindi Chana



I saw this recipe and was eager to try it for several reasons:

  1. Cooking with tea – from chamomile cupcakes to Tea Eggs, I’m always excited to cook with tea. In this recipe it stains the chickpeas a deep brown.
  2. Cooking with pomegranate seeds (anardana) – I acquired these for making chapli kebabs, and like adding these little tart and unexpected additions.
  3. Named for Rawalpindi! I’ve been there!

It turned out quite nice! I love to make a big pot of chickpeas or lentils to have around for a day or two, will definitely add these to the rotation.

Pindi Chana

Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor, mostly because cooking with dried chickpeas require forethought that I don’t have

For the chana masala

  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons amchoor powder
  • pinch turmeric

Lightly toast the spices in a dry pan, crush lightly with a mortar and pestle, then set aside

For the pindi chana

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teabags
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons ghee, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 4-6 green chilies, trimmed and slit
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

In a medium saucepan, heat the chickpeas, teabags, a good sprinkle of salt, and water to cover. Simmer for 10 minutes and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, karahi or wok, heat 3 tablespoons of ghee. Add cumin seeds and heat until they sizzle, then add onions and saute until they are golden brown, stirring often and being careful not to burn. Add garlic paste, ginger paste, cumin, coriander, red chili, and turmeric powders, and saute for another minute or two.

Add the chickpeas along with a cup or two of the cooking liquid (I started with about a cup and added more as it got a little dry – you want some sauce, but not for it to be soupy).

In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon ghee. Heat tomato and chilis with a good sprinkle of salt for a minute (crush the tomatoes slightly as they start to break down), then add chana masala and garam masala. Toss the mixture for another minute, then stir into the chickpeas.

Mix well and cook at a low simmer for 10-15 minutes until it thickens, adding more cooking liquid or water if necessary.

Tomato Rice Soup


This month’s MENA Cooking Club is hosted by Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz. This month’s country was Jordan, and the recipe I chose was Jordanian Tomato and Rice Soup – although it veered into desi territory as I used ghee since I have a fresh made batch, and I ended up adding a few more spices (I opened up the cabinet for a cinnamon stick and…well, you know how it goes).

This soup is warm and wintry: spiced tomato broth thickened with basmati rice, and it’s completely simple, made from ingredients I mostly have on hand – which is great, because we are having a streak of frigid weather (how do you Canadians/Chicagoans/etc. do it?!) and I am happy warm and cozy over the stove and refuse to venture out for procurement. We are out of coffee, my life blood, that’s how much I don’t want to go to the store.

Anyway, the kids loved it and so did my husband (and me too of course!), so thank you Evelyne for the lovely suggestion!

Tomato Rice Soup

  • 1/3 cup basmatic rice
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • red chili (just a pinch because kids…you can add a little more if you like)
  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • limes for serving

Rinse the basmati rice well and soak as you prepare the rest.

Heat ghee on medium high in a heavy-bottomed pot, and saute onions until they are beginning to turn golden. Add garlic and saute a minute or two, being careful not to burn, then add cumin, paprika, garam masala, turmeric and red chili and saute for a minute. Add tomatoes and a good couple pinches of salt and cook until they are well broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Add about 6 cups of water, scraping the bottom of the pot and stirring well, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

Bring back to a boil and add rice. Keep at a high simmer for about 15 minutes, gently stirring often. Add more water if necessary (I didn’t need to).

Lower the heat, adjust seasoning if necessary (another pinch or two of salt), and serve brightened up with limes.

Homemade Ghee


Well, 2014 is drawing to a close. This has been another lovely year for our family; we live a truly charmed life and are excited about what the new year has to offer. We’ve got goals, we’ve got plans – I love the crisp, clean energy this time of year, and get completely swept up in the resolving to change my life for the better.

Reflecting on Witchy Kitchen in 2014, it’s been great to revive this site after baby, and October in particular was a delicious, spooky, and fun month.

For the coming year, I’m working on a couple projects, one being Fiction Kitchen Podcast, which launched this November with Diana from Food Adventures in Fiction. I’ve mentioned it here before – we’re combining our love of cooking with books, movies, and TV for some great discussion and yummy recipes – and feel like we are hitting our stride, so am excited to see what we come up with in 2015.

I have one somewhat related secret project that I’m planning to launch in January, and some plans for this site as well…but more about that later!

Although I’m branching out as far as projects go, with cooking in general I’m starting to reel it in a little. I’ve always been an adventurous cook, eager to try new dishes, ingredients and techniques. Lately though I’ve been feeling a shift. The more I cook, the more I notice how often I return to the same preparations, and how they begin to feel natural and ingrained. I’ve also noticed how easy and peaceful I feel cooking from the same cuisine because most of the ingredients are already in the kitchen, and my pantry isn’t having an identity crisis, filled with ingredients I used for one recipe, didn’t master, then forgot about. Also, as I cook dishes over and over again they start to feel like they are truly mine, a part of me.

This year, of course I’ll still try new and exciting things – I’m enjoying learning about Middle Eastern food, and I have some other interesting menus planned – but on the day-to-day I am slowly but surely simplifying. I always joke with Shan when I’ve been on a streak of experimenting that I need to “return to my roots” of Pakistani food (not my roots by the way!), but it’s true. I’ve loved cooking for a long time, but ever since I’ve been cooking with everyday regularity for a family it’s been mostly Pakistani food, and that’s what my life feels like nowadays.

Which brings us to this ghee. I love using it, but this is the first time I’ve made it at home; I’d thought to for awhile but had hesitated for two reasons: I had worried about burning it and wasting a lot of butter, and I had though that the milk solids were more of the volume than they actually are, again, wasting a lot of butter. However, I have found that making it could not be simpler – it’s not that easy to burn unless you just abandon it, and the milk solids are only a small portion of the volume so you end up with a good amount. It’s a little cheaper than the ghee at desi stores and way cheaper than the small containers they sell at mainstream grocery stores, so this is not just something I annoyingly make from scratch that’s otherwise easy to buy. It’s fully worth making at home.

Homemade Ghee

  • 2 pounds (or however much) butter

Melt butter on medium to medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or pot; medium is fine, just be careful not to burn, medium-low is better if you’re feeling first-time nervous but will take longer, obviously. Some people make it in the crock pot – much less risky but takes way longer. Choose as you see fit.

Cook until it become foamy, then most of the water has evaporated. Pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove the milk solids. Pour into clean glass containers, cool, and store.

Pics above are helpful to know what to expect. The ghee will be light yellow in color and a little grainy looking once it cools.

I’m saving one in the fridge, and keeping one on the counter. It gives a lovely nutty undertone to a dish. My favorite way to use it is simple, just a tarka (mostly with cumin and onions, but sometimes with garlic, chilis, tomatoes, etc.) for a big pot of plainish lentils.

Happy New Year everyone, and best wishes for 2015.

Smokey Cardamom Ginger Molasses Cookies


The day December hits, right on schedule, visions of Christmas cookies are dancing in my head. I love peanut blossoms, pretty linzer squares, chocolatey chili cookies – and especially a wintery spice cookie.

I don’t have one that in particular that I normally make, so this caught my eye when I saw it: Carey Nershi’s Smokey Cardamom Ginger Molasses Cookies on Food52. It had me at black cardamom; which if green cardamom is the Queen of Spices, black cardamom is the sophisticated, mellowed, and camphorous Queen Mother. This recipe not only uses the seeds as part of the spices but infuses the butter with the pods.

I have adapted nothing about this recipe – I EVEN procured bread flour when AP would probably suffice, but after some light Googling I learned bread flour is higher in protein and therefore yields chewier baked goods – but I wanted to share it because it’s spicy and lovely and will likely become a regular part of my Christmas cookie repertoire.

Smokey Cardamom Ginger Molasses Cookies

From Smokey Cardamom Ginger Molasses Cookies on Food52

  • 14 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 black cardamom pods
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for rolling)

Crack open cardamom pods and remove the seeds. Grind seeds with a mortar and pestle and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and empty cardamom pods and heat on medium low until butter is melted and slightly foamy. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove the cardamom pods and transfer butter to a mixing bowl; let cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, reserved cardamom and the rest of the spices.

Add the sugar to the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the egg. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.

Prepare a baking sheet with silpat or parchment and preheat oven to 375° F. Put 1/2 cup sugar for rolling in a small bowl. Scoop heaping tablespoons of batter, form into balls, and roll in the sugar. Place two inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake cookies in batches for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

These were delicious straight from the oven, but chewier and even more delicious after a couple of days. Happy holidays!


Salmon with Pomegranate and Sultana Sauce


I am happy to participate in another month of Mena Cooking Club, this month Iraq hosted by Maryam of Maryam’s Culinary Wonders – (she has an impressive recipe index, I’ve bookmarked quite a few to try).

I jumped on this suggested recipe for two reasons, 1. I need more fish in my life and 2. POMEGRANATE, which I both love, and had some homemade pomegranate syrup (just reduced pomegranate juice, you can also buy it at Middle Eastern markets) leftover from Thanksgiving that I was looking to use. I was a little apprehensive of the sauce, which contains 1/2 cup of raisins along with the spicy and savory ingredients. I personally like raisins but was almost sure my husband would hate them, but to my surprise he really enjoyed the spicy sweet sauce and this dish was a hit.

I’d definitely make this again, although I would probably either pan-sear the salmon or get it closer to the broiler (it wasn’t hot enough where I had it and I missed that crispiness). Also I’d plate it on top of the sauce but that’s a minor thing. The sauce that I was scared about I’d keep exactly as is.

The rice was lovely and fragrant – cardamom is my most favorite spice.

Salmon with Pomegranate Sauce, with Yellow Rice

Adapted from The Boston Globe

For the Yellow Rice

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 1/2 cups hot water (note, my rice came just a little soggy, so I may reduce to 3 1/4)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Rinse the rice well and soak for at least half an hour. In a pot over medium heat, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon and stir for a few seconds until fragrant. Stir in the rice, hot water, and salt. Raise the heat to high and boil the rice until visible moisture is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to low, and simmer rice, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn the rice gently with a wooden spoon 2 to 3 times while simmering to allow it to fluff.

For the Pomegranate Sultana Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 a poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate syrup
  • 1/2 cup sultanas/golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat oil in a pan (I used a nonstick wok), and saute onions with a pinch of salt until very soft and golden. Add garlic and chopped pepper and saute for a few minutes, then add spices (cumin, turmeric, red chili, ground coriander) and stir for a minute. Add tomatoes and another good pinch of salt and saute until tomatoes are completely broken down and almost jammy. Stir in pomegranate syrup, raisins, and 1/4 cup water, and cook for a few minutes until thick. Reserve warm.

For the Salmon

  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 pounds skinless fillet of salmon, divided into 4 portions
  • olive oil
  • Coarse salt, for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds or chopped pistachios, for garnish

Turn on the broiler. Line a flat baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease with olive oil. Arrange the fish pieces on the pan, leaving space between them.

Combine mustard, honey, and a tablespoon of olive oil, and brush the fish with the mixture. Sprinkle with salt. Broil 3-5 minutes each side until fish is lightly cooked through and surface is crisp and golden (like I said, mine wasn’t close enough to broiler, so will make sure to do this next time).

Spread the warm sauce on a platter and arrange this fish on top. Garnish with almonds or pistachios, and serve with the yellow rice.

Bhuna Gosht (Beef Short Ribs in a Spicy Yogurt Sauce)


I’ve been cooking a lot of simple food lately – roasted veggies, plain lentils, pan-fried chicken or fish, everything seasoned with nothing more than salt, pepper, and lemon. It’s easy dinner on a weeknight, easy for husband and I to remix into lunch salads, and most importantly, easier to feed the kids who eat a wide variety but like boring flavor profiles.

Not that there is such a thing as kid food, but my 18-month-old is coming off a stint where he insists that he’s picky. I assure him he’s not, and explain that there are lovely foods besides bananas, and that this is just a phase, control, testing boundaries, etc. Sometimes I just get tired of cleaning up green beans that were hurled to the floor because I dared taint them with soy sauce.

But I refuse to let this baby tyrant rule our lives! I will cook something complex and rich and spicy if I want!

Hence this bhuna gosht – melt in your mouth short ribs (although you can make it with other types of meat) in a spicy yogurt curry. I referred to a couple of recipes for this, including those from Simply Reem and Chef Gulzar. My cooking method was a little different, and I also used the trick of adding a little besan to the yogurt to help stabilize it, because I am the worst about curdling it, but it’s optional.

Bhuna Gosht

  • 4 beef short ribs on the bone (about 1 3/4 pounds)
  • salt & pepper
  • flavorless cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 2 inches of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon each: red chili, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric and garam masala
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon besan (optional)
  • for garnish, small handful cilantro and small handful mint, mixed and pretty finely chopped, and julienned ginger

Trim some of the fat from the short ribs (but you don’t have to be super thorough about it) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat about a tablespoon of oil on high, and sear the ribs on both sides. Remove to a plate.

Lower the heat to medium, and drain off the fat. Add back 1 tablespoon of the fat and 1 tablespoon oil, and saute the onions until they are soft and very golden brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for a few minutes, then add the powdered spices and a good pinch of salt, cooking and stirring for another minute. Add a splash of water and stir, scraping the bottom to make sure nothing’s stuck.

Add the ribs back into the pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours until the meat is very tender, almost falling off the bone. Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt and besan, and allow to come to room temperature.

When the meat is done, uncover and turn up the heat a little and cook, stirring, until the liquid has dried up a bit (it should still be fairly wet, but thickened up some). You can smash the meat a little with a wooden spoon so it starts falling apart. Lower the heat and add in the yogurt, combining well. Adjust seasoning if necessary and cook 5-10 minutes more.

Sprinkle liberally with cilantro, mint and ginger, and serve hot with roti or naan.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I love hosting Thanksgiving. The decorating, the menu planning, the cooking frenzy, the not having to pack and haul my kids places.


I don’t make any traditional family recipes since my family’s traditional “recipes” are stuff like store bought stuffing mix or can of asparagus + can of mushroom soup + Ritz crackers crumbled on top. Instead, over the years I’ve collected a bunch of recipes, most of which I’ve made at least three times which I believe legally constitutes a tradition. I usually make a base meal (an app, turkey of course – although last time I hosted my brother-in-law made a fried turkey which was awesome, gravy, several sides including potatoes, a green vegetable and a salad, and a dessert) and let people add to that if they want.

I’m actually NOT hosting this year which is it’s own set of perks (way less stress, my cousin is a fantastic cook who maybe will give me some tips, and all I have to make is a pie), but here’s what I’d make if I were.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Warm brie with honey and walnuts
Served with crackers or baguette.

Sage Butter Roasted Turkey with Cider Gravy
From Bon Appetit

Cranberry Sauce
From Alton Brown. None of that canned jellied – ugh, I can’t even. Plus the cranberries popping when they cook are fun.

Scalloped Potatoes and Fennel
From Bon Appetit. I think both the turkey and potato recipes are from the same issue, from the year that I hosted my first Thanksgiving.

Haricot Verts with Walnuts and Walnut Oil
From Amanda Hesser. This is quick yet still special, and doesn’t take up valuable oven space.

Arugula, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
On Food 52. I love this salad, I also make it for holiday potlucks.

Probably Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
Which we had at our friend’s house last year, was delish. I’ve also got these Pomegranate Brussel Sprouts which are great as well, but there’s already a pomegranate salad so…

Some kind of roasted squash

Some kind of dessert


But this year, all I’m making is this Maple Cream Tart that I’ve had my eye on for awhile.

Happy Thanksgiving!