Mango Palettas


It’s summer and the Mexican popsicle is a fabulous treat


1 bag of frozen mango (I used Trader Joe’s), 2 limes and enough simple sugar syrup (1 part sugar 1 part water – microwaved till sugar dissolves) to make the whole thing delicious – I needed half a cup


Blend and freeze!! Rinse and repeat

Vegetarian Steamed Baozi Buns

Even before I became a vegetarian- my severe shellfish allergy limited the Asian food I could eat which was depressing because it is my absolute favorite cuisine. A few years ago, I was in Hong Kong for the world glaucoma congress and had vegetarian steamed buns at a Buddhist monastery and they were a revelation. They are surprisingly easy to make – here is my own recipe which took me a while to develop.

Dough buns :

Dough ingredients :2 cups all-purpose flour,1 teaspoon instant yeast, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 4 tablespoons sugar, ½ tsp salt, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, ½ to ¾ cup lukewarm water

I use my kitchen aid mixer with the dough hook to get this dough together. After it comes together- knead on high for 5 more minutes. It’s a soft elastic dough

Rest in a warm place for 2-4 hours till doubled or more in volume

Bao filling:

1 small cabbage shredded and steamed for 5 minutes. Drain the cabbage to remove all the water.

Additions: corn, tofu, cooked mushrooms, anything really. I used corn today – they are in season and I steamed the cob and removed the kernels

2 tbsp oil (sesame or olive or a mix)- add 1 tbsp ginger and 1 tbsp garlic. Cook for a few minutes.

Add to the cabbage corn mixture with 1 tbsp of soy sauce

Divide raised dough into 16 equal parts. Treat the dough gently – like you would pizza dough – don’t beat the air out of it

Make the baos- be generous with the stuffing. The dough is easy to work with- the yeast and the kneading makes it very elastic.

Rest for 10 min- steam on parchment for 15. They really puff up- don’t crowd them.

Serve with your favorite sauce. Today I made a gochuang, soy and vinegar sauce and a hoisin and vinegar sauce.

Frozen ginger

It’s easy to preserve ginger – blend it to a paste with water (my vitamix makes it easy) and freeze into tablespoon measures. Remove ginger cubes and store in a ziploc bag. It lasts for months without any flavor change at all. This new ice cube tray makes a slightly bigger portion. Ginger is one of the few foods that taste exactly the same fresh or frozen. Tamarind works well with the same treatment


Chole is a spiced chickpea dish that is ubiquitous in India. They say there are as many chole recipes as there are North-Indian families. I’m not North Indian and I’ve been searching for a good chole recipe for a long time.

This variation of a recipe by “your food lab”- the Tasty videos of India (link below) comes very close to what I think are perfect chole. A trip to the Indian store for the spices is essential. I had to buy the Chana masala (I got the MDH brand).

Pressure cook- on high for 30 min

1 cup chickpeas soaked for 24 hours- drained

In a tea ball or cheesecloth – 1 tsp peppercorns, 3-4 cloves, 1-2 Black cardamon pods, 2 bay leaves, 1 inch cinnamon

2 tea bags

4 cloves garlic – crushed

½ cup onions- sliced

1 tsp ajwain (carom seeds)

1 tsp baking soda

Add 2 quarts of water

In a pan:

Melt 2-3 tbsp butter

Add 3 tbsp of Chana masala and 2 tbsp of cumin-coriander powder

Cook for 3 min or so

Add 1 can of tomatoes – puréed

1tbsp of ginger

Cook for 10 min or so

Add pressure cooked chickpeas with their water (removing the tea bags and the spice bouquet)

Cook for 20 minutes

Stir in 1 tsp of amchur powder (dried mango powder) and 1 tsp of garam masala and 1 tbsp of kasuri methi (crushed fenugreek)

Salt to taste – this recipe needs a lot of salt

Garnish: raw onions, chopped preserved lemon, slivers of garlic

Serve with roti or naan or rice or griddled multigrain pizza dough (store bought) which tastes a lot like naan except its whole grain.

Mushroom Barley Burgers

This is my favorite vegetarian burger – the barley makes it particularly toothsome. Mollie Katzen’s “the heart of the plate” is a fabulous vegetarian cookbook.This recipe is adapted from a recipe in that cookbook.

Start with 1.5 cups cooked barley (boil barley with plenty of water for 30 min to cook and then drain-use the water to make barley water lemonade). Cook ¾ cup onion, ¼ lb finely chopped mushrooms and 1.5 tsp garlic in olive oil till dry and slightly brown. Deglaze with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and add to barley. Mix in ½ packed cup shredded mozzarella, ½ cup finely chopped cashews, 2 eggs, 6 tbsp all purpose flour, salt and pepper and mix well

Add some oil to your non stick griddle and use non stick spray on your measuring cup and on your spatula. Measure out ¼ cup of the batter onto the griddle- flatten with the spatula into burger shape. Cook for around 5 min each side till brown.

These are great in burgers with your favorite toppings and in tacos in place of meat