Secret Spice Suprise

Jessie Made: Eggplants with a Nigella Seed Sauce

Serves 4 to 6


4 tablespoons olive oil

1/8 teaspoon ground asafetida

1/2 teaspoon urad dal

1/2 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon whole nigella seeds (kalonji)

1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 pounds Japanese or regular eggplants, cut into 1″ chunks, so that each chunk has some skin on it

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1. Pour the oil into a very large frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the asafetida and the urad dal. As soon as the dal turns a shade darker, add the mustard, cumin, nigella, and fennel seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop like popcorn, add the onions. Stir-fry for a minute. Add the garlic and eggplant. Stir-fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onions are a bit browned. Add the tomatoes, stock, salt, and cayenne. Stir to mix and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to bring the contents of the pan to a simmer, and cook about 40 minutes, or until the eggplants are soft, stirring now and then. Serve over basmati rice with raita.

Adapted from

Kelli Made: Szechuan Eggplant Lo Mein

1 1/2 pounds eggplant
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons chili bean paste
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark rice vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow rice wine
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns, ground
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish

1 lb. of lo mein noodles, boiled

Slice each eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each length into quarters.

In a small bowl, mix together chicken stock, chili bean paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, rice wine, and sugar. Set aside.

In a wok, heat oil until just smoking. Add eggplants and stir-fry until outsides become golden brown and insides begin to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and Szechuan peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour in stock-sauce mixture and mix well. Allow sauce to simmer for 2 minutes and eggplant to absorb sauce. Stir in cornstarch mixture to thicken sauce. Add boiled noodles and stir to combine.  Garnish with scallions.

Tore made: Mediterranean Venison Tacos

The venison should be cut into strips and cooked in a crock pot for at least six hours.  Season with red wine, garlic, salt and pepper.  For tortillas, buy the best brand in town: La Providencia.  Cook them on high heat on a cast-iron skillet or comal for twenty seconds on each side.  Serve with shredded red or white cabbage and green onions, and HARISSA – the real key ingredient to the meal.  Harissa is easily made at home – combine Sriracha hot garlic sauce – not the smooth stuff that comes in the bottle but the plastic jars with lots of seeds in there – along with two parts fennel and coriander and one part cumin, all ground together, and blended with the Sriracha to taste.  Combine inside a taco and enjoy!

Sakura made: Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup


  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans canned coconut milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 (1 inch) piece galangal, thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks lemon grass, bruised and chopped
  • 1 lime bruised and cut in quarters
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the shrimp until cooked, about one minute. Drain shrimp, and set aside.
  2. Pour the coconut milk and 3 cups of water in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer. Add the galangal, lemon grass, and lime leaves; simmer for 15 minutes, or until the flavors are infused. Strain the coconut milk into a new pan and discard the spices. Simmer the shiitake mushrooms in the coconut milk for five minutes. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Season to taste with curry powder.
  3. To serve, reheat shrimp in the soup, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with green onion and red pepper flakes.

Galangal Cocktail

14 oz shochu
4 oz lemon juice
6oz galangal simple syrup

Galangal Simple Syrup:
For Galangal syrup, add one cup sugar to one cup water in a small saucepan. Add shredded 1 chopped galangal root, 1 stalk lemongrass, and some lemon rind to the mixture. Slow cook for 5-10 minutes until sugar has dissolved completely and let sit over night or until completely cool. Strain well. Refrigerate.

Zach Made: Black Cardamom and Pepper Ice Cream


4 black cardamom pods

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, whole

2 tsp black pepper, ground

3 green cardamom pods, crushed

1 1/2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

6 eggs yolks

2/3 cup sugar


  1. Heat milk and cream over a low flame with spices for 30-40 minutes. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow in color. Temper the egg yolks into the hot milk and cream, and cook until thickened and the mixture holds a line on the back of a spoon.
  2. Chill overnight in the fridge and spin in an ice cream machine. Serve with some fresh cracked pepper, for a spicy, smoky dessert unlike any you’ve ever tasted.

Cardamom Salted Hot Fudge


7 cloves

4oz unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup of butter

1 tsp salt

7 black cardamom pods

1 can of evaporated mile

3 cups of turbinado sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 crushed black cardamom pods

2 crushed green cardamom pods


  1. Heat

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