Ramps Rasam

This year Mother’s Day coincided with a sniffles bout (for me). Celebrating seasonal ramps, I cobbled this together to recreate the Southern Indian thin soup- rasam. It turned out as delicious and as cold-busting as the original. Enjoy!




  • 1 bunch ramps: thinly slice and separated the bottoms from the leaves
  • Sputtering base:
    • 2 tbsp oil
    • whole spices: 1 tsp whole mustard+2-3 stalks curry leaves+ 2 red chillies + 1/2 tsp whole black pepper (optional)
  • Ground spices: 1 tsp rasam powder (or sambar powder) + a dash of heeng
  • Flavorings: 1 tbsp tamarind paste (+ optional: 2 cubes of sugar)
  • Veggies: 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups water (or, more as per taste)
  • salt to taste
  • Garnish: coriander leaves


On medium heat, place the sputter base ingredients till mustard seeds begin to pop. Reduce heat to minimum and add ground spices (so that they dont burn). After a minute or so, add the bottoms of the ramps and let saute for a minute. Then add the tomatoes, turn up the heat to medium and cover and let soften in its own juice (3 mins or so). Add the flavorings and water and salt to taste. Cover. As it comes to a slow simmer, add the sliced tops of the ramp. Cover and turn off heat.

Serve hot, with garnish.


  1. The use of sambar powder in rasam may shock the purists. But, I have used this in a pinch, and, it has served me well.
  2. Feel free to add other veggies of your choice. Just remember that this is not meant to be a thick soup- so do retain its thin consistency.
  3. Instead of heeng– you could use 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced. Mix it in with the sliced ramp bottoms and follow the above steps.
  4. Lacinato Kale Rasam: Kale instead of ramps. Separate the stalks from the leafy parts. Chop the stalks very fine. Stack and roll the leaves, then chiffonade into thin slivers.

A twist on Pickled Veggies

Inspired by OG Veggies of Island Fin Poké, this marinated dish is stunningly simple to stir up. If you are in the neighbourhood, you must give this place a try– not just for its healthy offerings, but also its warm, cheerful and welcoming owner (who also happens to be a good friend!).

Just a little knife skill and a few stock pantry ingredients is all it takes to whip this pickle up. Enjoy!


Mandolin or a sharp kitchen knife; Mason jar.


  • Marinade: 1/4 cup soy sauce + 1/4 cup brown rice vinegar + 1 tbsp sesame oil + 1 tbsp hot EVOO
  • Organic Veggies (mandolined or sliced thin):
    • 2 shiitake caps + 1/2 white onion + 1 small zucchini + 1/4 turnip + 1 jalapeno


Place the sliced veggies in a mason jar and pour the liquid marinade. Marinade for 24 hours.


  1. Turn the mason jar around, in intervals, so as to distribute the liquid uniformly around, as much as possible. The marinade is rather strong and so the small amount is enough for the whole jar.
  2. I used hot EVOO– which broke the usual veggie monotony with some heat.

Spirulina Rolls

A page from Rajasthani Bati, another from Chinese Mooncakes, a dab of nutritional blue-green algae and voilà! A superfood roll.

The spirulina powder by itself is reminiscent of the beach, but dressed in the roll is quite neutral. I adapt Moringa Bati here using the the mooncake technique of wrapping dough around the spirulina stuffing. Tastes even better than it looks. Enjoy!


An oven or just a toaster oven; mooncake stamps.


  • Dry ingredients:
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour (atta)
    • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste) + 1/2 tsp ground pepper
    • Leavener: 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/4 tsp baking powder
    • 2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano + leaves of 2 fresh Rosemary stalks
  • Wet ingredients: 4 tbsp yogurt + little (2-3 oz) water to make a dough
  • 2 tsp Spirulina powder
  • EVOO to brush the mooncake stamp


Mix all the dry ingredients and divide into two parts and add the spirulina powder to one. Make two separate doughs using the wet ingredients. Rest the two doughs (one light and the other dark) for 30 minutes.

Divide each dough into 8 portions. Roll the light ball into a thin disc of about 3.5-4 inches in diameter, place the dark ball in the center; wrap the dough around it and place on silicone silpat, crease side down. Similarly make a roll with the dark dough as the wrapper. Make the 8 balls and press with the mooncake stamp.

Bake at 375 F for 15 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve hot.

  1. The EVOO of the stamp also brushes the rolls with oil. Use the best EVOO you have.
  2. If you don’t have a mooncake stamp, leave them as balls like in the bati (and brush with cold water).

Christmas Murukku

A giant murukku is fun to serve at a cozy gathering, as a communal snack. This unusual size takes a little dexterity to pull off but worth the effort. Enjoy!

Special tools:

Murukku (extrusion) mould; Silicone silpat or wire rack with the baking tray.


  • 1 cup rice flour + 1 cup besan
  • 1 tbsp ajwain (carom) + 1 tbsp white sesame seed + 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper + 1 tbsp EVOO + salt to taste

Make a hard dough using a little cold water (about 3 oz). Divide the dough into two equal halves and shape each into a cylinder to fit the mould. I used one half to make a gigantic swirl and the other half to make about a dozen small ones (see picture). Gently place the swirls using spatula on a wire rack or a silicone silpat.

Bake at 275 F for 30-45 mins till crisp (and oak colored). Cool and serve or store in airtight container.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. Note the traditional murukku is deep fried.
  2. Use rice flour from Indian grocery stores, not SouthEast Asian stores. The latter is usually not preprocessed and is glutinous– this will not work for this recipe.
  3. If the dough is soft, it will not retain the tiny spikes (from the star-shaped hole in the disc of the mould) while extrusion, so make sure the dough is pliable but on the hard side.
  4. Lie the mould flat on the edge of the counter and use the lever handle (as you would a pasta roller). This technique is unorthodox but effective.

Kimchi Potato Galette

Hannukkah brings potatoes to the forefront with its iconic latke. But here is an apostatic version, without the frying oil but bursting with flavor from kimchi, scallions, sesame seeds… Enjoy!!

Special tools:

Parchment paper or silicone silpat; Food processor or grater.


  • 1 cup kimich + 1 tbsp gochujang (if kimichi is not already too hot), finely diced in processor
  • 1 lb potato (if organic, no need to peel), coarsely grated
  • 4 scallions + 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup besan + 2 tbsp oil + salt to taste + pepper
  • Filling: 1/2 cup goat cheese + 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Garnish: microgreens

Mix all the first four ingredients well. Line a baking tray with parchment or silpat: you need this to help you roll.  Make a mat of the mix on the parchment, about 1 cm in thickness. Loosely pat it down and level off the edges. Bake in the middle rack, at 400 F for 25 mins.  Check on it for the last 10 minutes, to rotate the sheet or pull it out of the oven if already done.

Dot with goat cheese and sesame seeds. To serve either just cut into squares, or, roll and slice. Sprinkle with microgreens and serve with sour cream or yogurt.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. The combination of kimchi and potatoes is inspired from The Week’s latke recipe by Evan Bloom. I am not sure if fermented kimchi is kosher, but nevertheless.
  2. Besan is chickpea flour and is available at Asian (Indian) groceries, or you can simply order over the internet.
  3. You can use eggs instead of besan.
  4. I simply use the processor bowl as the mixing bowl by first using the blade to process the kimchi; then the coarse grater to grate the potatoes. For the classical latke, one laboriously squeezes out the water from the potatoes– here I don’t and I simply use besan to absorb the excess liquid while providing an additional layer of flavor.

Shishito Eggplant

Lightly blistered with a sprinkling of sea salt, Shishito has rapidly become a popular finger food. At this time of summer, the weekly CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) supply always has a generous bag of these Japanese peppers. Here I change the shishito playbook by using it with CSA Japanese eggplant, for an equally simple and delightful result. Enjoy!

Special tools:



  • 4-5 Japanese long eggplants, chopped into chunks, soaked in plenty of water
  • 8-10 shishito peppers, destemmed (use kitchen scissors)
  • 2-3 garlic pods, chopped very fine
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • salt to taste


Heat the oil with the finely chopped garlic. Drain and sdd the eggplants and salt. Mix well and then cover to let it cook in steam for 5-7 minutes, under medium heat. Mix in the shsishito and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. I use the Japanese chopping technique of chopping the eggplant into irregularly shaped chunks, by chopping at an angle.
  2. The kitchen scissors is very convenient for the peppers, to slit and remove the internal seeds.

An even easier microwave version: Mix all the ingredients well and place in a microwave-proof bowl and covered with moist kitchen paper towel. Nuke for 6 mins+3 mins (check and adjust appropriately).