Grape Raita

Grape Raita

Note: recipe adapted from Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran and Stephanie Lyness.


3 cups plain yogurt

1 1/2 cups seedless grapes, halved

2 tsp ground, toasted cumin

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika

Tempering oil: 

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 tsp cumin seeds or black mustard seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

6 fresh or frozen curry leaves, torn

salt to taste


Whisk the yogurt in a bowl until smooth. Stir in grapes, followed by cumin, sugar and cayenne or paprika. For the tempering oil, heat the oil with the cumin or mustard seeds in a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the seeds darken and begin to crackle, 1 to 2 minutes. Add fennel seeds and curry leaves and cook, uncovered, stirring, 5 to 10 seconds. Pour hot tempering oil over the yogurt and chill. Just before serving, stir in the salt.


Broccoli with Beech Mushrooms and Roasted Chile Paste

Broccoli with Beech Mushrooms and Roasted Chile Paste
Recipe adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan
3 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon roasted chile paste
1/2 cup beech mushrooms (or shiitake, just about any mushroom will do)
2 tablespoons rice wine
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli florets and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water until cool. Set aside. (I have omitted this step in the past with great results).
Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the oil, garlic, chile paste and mushrooms; toss well to coat and let cook stirring, 30 seconds.
Add the broccoli and toss well, then add the rice wine, chicken stock and fish sauce and cook, stirring, until the liquid  reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and serve immediately.