Making Paneer at Home Is Totally Doable, Promise

Considering that India is one of the largest milk producing countries in the world, it is rather surprising that it doesn’t have a major cheese-making culture. You won’t find stinky and moldy cheeses in the shops that line India’s busy, narrow streets …

Considering that India is one of the largest milk producing countries in the world, it is rather surprising that it doesn't have a major cheese-making culture. You won't find stinky and moldy cheeses in the shops that line India's busy, narrow streets —but almost every dairy shop carries paneer, an immensely popular fresh cheese. 

Paneer is such a dominant culinary symbol in India because, unlike other cheeses, it doesn’t require animal rennet. This makes it perfect for the predominantly vegetarian Indian diet. Paneer makes a great meat substitute in most Indian recipes, but even non-vegetarians like myself love it. From sweets, to fried snacks, to cream-drunk royal curries, paneer is used in North Indian dishes extensively. Its mild taste, texture (similar to that of halloumi or tofu), and capability to soak in flavors and withstand high cooking temperatures make it a household favorite. 

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12 Sweet, Savory & Delightful Diwali Dishes

Everyone loves a good Diwali meal. It’s a coming together of rich colors, textures, and flavors—a celebration of light. To help you plan for your own feast this season, we’ve put together this handy guide outlining some of our favorite refreshing salad…

Everyone loves a good Diwali meal. It’s a coming together of rich colors, textures, and flavors—a celebration of light. To help you plan for your own feast this season, we've put together this handy guide outlining some of our favorite refreshing salads, hearty mains, and clever sweets and drinks, all perfect for Diwali (or anytime!).


1. Lentil & Basmati Salad With Tamarind, Coconut & Cilantro

No Indian festival is complete without a rich, rice-based dish on the dining table. Biryani can sometimes be too labor-intensive to cook for a small crowd, and this rice salad offers a light yet festive alternative. With add-ons like unsweetened coconut, Le Puy lentils for protein, and a tangy tamarind dressing to toss everything in, this south Indian dish is a winner.

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The Unlikely Resilience of the Calcutta Chop

The Bengali chop might be the perfect metaphor for the British colonial era. The British forged an Empire that sought to impress its culture upon India, but was so heavily influenced by the colonized that a hybrid new form emerged. The chop traveled fr…

The Bengali chop might be the perfect metaphor for the British colonial era. The British forged an Empire that sought to impress its culture upon India, but was so heavily influenced by the colonized that a hybrid new form emerged. The chop traveled from English kitchens to Indian ones gathering spice, egg wash, mince, breadcrumbs, and chickpea flour until it had only the faintest resonance with its original. Along the way, it paused at that most British of institutions—the Club—which was crucial in disseminating it through Bengal.

Once the British subjugated India, they began prospecting for a simulacrum of home for the "preponderance of single British men, or married men living singly in India, especially in the early decades of colonial rule," writes Mrinalini Sinha in her essay, “Britishness, Clubbability, and the Colonial Public Sphere.” Clubs fulfilled this purpose splendidly, banding together to form a community. Unsurprisingly, these mirror kingdoms of Britishness functioned on exclusion and racial homogeneity. Club members—largely upper class, male, white European colonials—cupped the power of the country firmly in their hands; it was at these old seats of power that deals were brokered, policy was decided, and social connections were started or scuppered.

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A Love Letter to the Vastly Underrated Kidney Bean

One unexpected consequence of this year and a half of relentless home cooking is that I’ve developed an affinity for ingredient deep dives. It usually goes as follows: I’ll stumble upon a new-to-me or long-overlooked ingredient, and spend a week or so …

One unexpected consequence of this year and a half of relentless home cooking is that I’ve developed an affinity for ingredient deep dives. It usually goes as follows: I’ll stumble upon a new-to-me or long-overlooked ingredient, and spend a week or so cooking it in as many ways as possible using (mostly) what I have on hand.

A few months back, while sleepwalking through my weekly grocery store trip, an unassuming bag of dried kidney beans jolted me to attention. Why do I almost never cook with kidney beans when I’ve never met a bean I don’t like? I wondered, hopefully not out loud.

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The Star of My Kitchen? This Do-Anything Plant-Based Protein

Vegetarians spend a large part of the day trying to figure out ways to add more protein to their diet. Even for an Indian vegetarian, whose average meal is more or less balanced—carbohydrates from roti or rice, vitamins and minerals from sabzi, and pro…

Vegetarians spend a large part of the day trying to figure out ways to add more protein to their diet. Even for an Indian vegetarian, whose average meal is more or less balanced—carbohydrates from roti or rice, vitamins and minerals from sabzi, and protein from dal—it can be exciting to move beyond lentils and sprouts in search of more protein.

Beyond the everyday staples above, the most obvious vegetarian choice of protein across the country is paneer, followed by tofu and soy granules. I like to crumble ample amounts of tofu in my morning burji (a spiced scramble of sorts) and make keema out of soy granules, sometimes stuffing it into a samosa to make a quick snack. I turn chickpea mash into kebabs, saving paneer for rich vegetarian kormas and saags. But with so much noise around dairy (for reasons related to human health and animal welfare), the lack of availability of homemade tofu, and the fact that soy granules always come out of a cardboard box, meeting tempeh has changed the game for me.

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A Round of Applause for This Contest-Winning Crunchy Kale Chaat

Our latest recipe contest, Your Best Restaurant Inspired Recipe, gave us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the hard-hit restaurant industry that has continued to make us superb meals infused with love and passion through the struggles of the last…

Our latest recipe contest, Your Best Restaurant Inspired Recipe, gave us the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the hard-hit restaurant industry that has continued to make us superb meals infused with love and passion through the struggles of the last year.

With a massive outpouring of delicious recipes paying homage to favorite local restaurants and eateries, our work was certainly cut out for us. Deciding on the final five was challenging, but after testing and tasting and tasting some more, we were able to narrow the field to our two finalists: Shri Repp's Crispy Kale Chaat and Meredith's Sweet & Spicy Piloncilo Cheese Spread.

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The Legendary Story of Thangam Philip: Food Scientist, Nutritionist, Chef & Mentor

Thangam Philip has crosshatched my life in the most curious ways. My uncle studied catering under her (very) stern supervision. My mother once took a class at the Dadar Catering College, where Philip reigned as principal—in fact, we still have a stack …

Thangam Philip has crosshatched my life in the most curious ways. My uncle studied catering under her (very) stern supervision. My mother once took a class at the Dadar Catering College, where Philip reigned as principal—in fact, we still have a stack of her recipes, typed on sheaves of yellowed, raspy pages, all carefully filed away in a blue plastic folder. As for me: I own newer, glossier, books on baking, but it is The Thangam Philip Book of Baking, with its infallible madeleine and sponge recipes, that I unfailingly turn to.

Whichever way you spin it, Philip was a food legend.

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Sweet Potato Chickpea Coconut Curry

This delicious Sweet Potato Chickpea Coconut Curry recipe is super simple to make, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it’s simmered with the coziest creamy coconut curry flavors.  Perfect with rice and/or naan bread! On chilly winter nights that call for cozy comfort food…this sweet potato chickpea coconut curry is sure to hit the spot. […]

This delicious Sweet Potato Chickpea Coconut Curry recipe is super simple to make, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan, and it’s simmered with the coziest creamy coconut curry flavors.  Perfect with rice and/or naan bread!

Sweet Potato Chickpea Coconut Curry with Cilantro in Saute Pan

On chilly winter nights that call for cozy comfort food…this sweet potato chickpea coconut curry is sure to hit the spot. ♡

We’ve been making versions of this recipe all season with whatever leftover veggies we have in the house, but this simple combination of sweet potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach has definitely been our favorite.  These basic ingredients are all simmered together in a silky, creamy, coconut curry broth that is brightened up with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Then I highly recommend serving the curry piled high with lots of fresh toppings (hello, fresh cilantro and thinly-sliced red onions) over either rice, rice noodles, and/or homemade naan bread.

It’s a quick, easy, vegetarian (also vegan), gluten-free, flavor-packed meal that’s easy to customize with whatever veggies and greens you have on hand.  And, bonus, it also makes for fantastic leftovers the next day.  So go rummage through that crisper drawer and let’s make some cozy coconut curry together!

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South Indian Filter Coffee Is Like No Coffee You’ve Had Before

In April, my stainless steel coffee filter ran dry. Which is to say, I ran out of my favorite coffee—in the midst of a lockdown, no access to my Indian grocery store, and broken supply chains (both retail and by way of visiting aunties loaded with gift…

In April, my stainless steel coffee filter ran dry. Which is to say, I ran out of my favorite coffee—in the midst of a lockdown, no access to my Indian grocery store, and broken supply chains (both retail and by way of visiting aunties loaded with gifts). Anyone whose day begins with the certainty of that one precisely made cup would understand when I say: I was sad.

In the end I substituted, managed, survived. (Okay, I may have begged a friend across town to mail me the dregs of her stash.) There were certainly far bigger worries to wade through, but its absence was felt. In a shaky world, it was the reassurance of that morning routine that I craved.

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