Cooking Diary: February 1 – February 16

Cooking Diary:  February 1 – February 16

I would like to tell you we’ve finally kicked the winter virus streak but that would be a lie. Both my husband and I were sick for most of last week through the weekend. Despite that, we’ve still managed some reasonable momentum when it comes to home cooking.

What we made at home

Note: Dishes that we made for the first time are italicized

  • Dumpling Noodle Soup (by Hetty Lui McKinnon for the New York Times)
  • Aloo Tikki Chaat (based on many sources)
  • French onion baked lentils and barley (minimally adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
  • Lots of toast
  • Rasam (adapted from multiple recipes and people)
  • Enchiladas
  • Whole urad daal, saag and ajwain paratha
  • Kale sauce pasta (Josh McFadden for the New York Times)
  • Roast sweet potatoes and broccoli drizzled with tahini sauce
  • Roast cauliflower topped with lemon tahini sauce, almonds and fresh herbs
  • Zaatar manaeesh (adapted from multiple recipes and people)
  • Frozen mushroom ravioli
  • Pasta with store-bought red pepper pesto
  • Quesadillas
  • Dosa
  • The “I Want Cake Chocolate Cake” Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)
  • Lemon Olive Oil Cake (from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi) with home-concocted passion fruit glaze


A Follow Up: Brothy Vegetarian Soups

Given the continued illnesses in the family, I leaned into my craving for broth soups by making Hetty Lui McKinnon’s Dumpling Noodle Soup and worked on my rasam!

Rasam is a lighter, often brothy but incredibly flavorful South Indian soup. My Tamil friends all tell me that “jeera milagu rasam” is their go-to when they’re sick which is why I decided to try making it. So far, I’ve tried making it twice and while I still haven’t hit the perfect sippable rasam, I’m getting closer. It’s certainly a soup style I want to perfect. There is something incredibly warming about the combination of black pepper, cumin, ghee, mustard seeds, curry leaves and tamarind that meets my cravings for a flavorful thin soup. I’m still adding too much tamarind paste (I know, I should use fresh pulp but the Indian store is far away) but I am getting closer to the right balance of flavors.

For the next iteration, I’ll either try a tomato-based “toddler rasam” which is both milder and less sour OR try winging a passionfruit rasam, inspired by what’s in my freezer (passion fruit juice cubs) and the incredible rasam puri I had at Copra.


  • Revisiting classics and old makes
    • Coconut Egg Curry – We’re a huge fan of egg curry and this Keralan style egg curry by My Heart Beets never ceases to fail us. We enjoyed it for both dinner and breakfast the following morning.
    • The “I want chocolate cake” cake by Smitten Kitchen that my son and I made for his birthday came out beautifully. He loved it and so did everyone else. Leftovers didn’t even last 24 hours.
    • Roast veggies with tahini lemon sauce – This past week reminded me how much I love a well roasted vegetable drizzled with a tasty sauce. Yum. Inspired – we have two sheet centered meals on the docket.
  • Dumpling Noodle Soup – We were huge fans of Hetty McKinnon’s vegetarian dumpling soup. The soup itself was incredibly flavorful which is no small feat for a vegetarian brothy soup. As part of this, we learned my son is a huge fan of bok choy (along with noodles and soup) although all of us were a little more ambivalent on the dumplings themselves. This meal did veer on the light side.
  • The “Kale Sauce Pasta” was a surprisingly successful weekday pasta enjoyed by the entire family (including the toddler who became so covered in kale sauce that he looked like Oscar the Grouch by the end)

Works in Progress

  • Aloo Tikki – This is one of those wedding app / street food dishes that is much harder to perfect than it looks. My first version of this (complicated with all sorts of additives to make it crispy and bind it) led to tikkis disintigrating in the frying pan. For the second version, I went back to the basics (frying up plain mashed potato cakes) which came out much better if not perfect. Still, fried potatoes topped with green chutney and sweet chutney will never cease to fail.
  • Rasam (see above)

Less Successful

  • Lemon Mushroom Cream Sauce – This was an absolute disaster of a home-invented sauce. I used too much lemon juice and it caused the whole sauce to curdle and I had to throw the whole thing out. It came out so badly there was nothing I could do but laugh.
  • Passion Fruit Glaze – I used too much juice and it made the entire lemon cake soggy but not in a Mary Berry lemon drizzle type of way.

As a meta comment, I have a new found respect for dishes that manage to capture the sourness of lemons. Between this and last week’s lemon pudding disappointment, they’re much rarer than I thought and harder to execute than I expected.