Making Indian Food At Home

Back in April, Andrew and I attempted to make Indian food for the first time… and it turned out awesome! Much better than we expected, haha.

Andrew made Chicken Tikka Masala and I made Palak Paneer. Interesting fact I learned along the way: the difference between palak vs. saag paneer are the greens that are used. “Saag” can be cooked with multiple types of greens, while “palak” is only puréed spinach.

We were nervous how the curries would come out because most of the recipes online seemed… inauthentic? But the most difficult thing about Indian food is that there really are no “true” recipes. When I ask any of my Indian friends how they cook Indian food, it’s always “Oh, a little bit of this spice, add a little bit of that. My mom never wrote it down… Just grab a whole bunch of stuff, throw it together, and usually it’s awesome.”

Thanks Indian friends, that’s really helpful for those of us who did not grow up cooking or eating Indian food.

As I was following the online recipe for palak paneer, I realized what my friends meant. Sometimes, you just had to go off-recipe by adding more cream because the texture did not turn out creamy enough or the spinach needed more spices because the purée was bland. I suppose there’s just so many regional differences or taste preferences that it makes it hard to write down an exact recipe to follow. Just like everyday cooking, I had to make it my own.

The thought of making Indian at home is intimidating for many of us when you can buy a jar of pre-made curry from your local Whole Foods or frozen palak paneer from Trader Joe’s (which is SO yummy), but if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s definitely one of the more challenging (and fun!) cuisines to make at home. Definitely have a lot of respect for Indian chefs who know these recipes inside and out.

Oh, your clothes might smell like Indian food for a while, haha.

Korean Dinner Night: Japchae Recipe

There is a family-run Korean market that is a ten-minute walk from my house. And whenever I shop there, I am always reminded of the awesome Japchae my friend’s mom made for us. So when Jonathan suggested making Korean barbecue for a dinner party, I saw an opportunity to learn how to make Japchae.

Of all the recipes I found online, the one from Maangchi (link to recipe) seemed the most authentic. The directions were slightly confusing, so I had to reference a few other recipes to make sure I was doing it right. Since I have the legwork done already, here’s some simplified/aggregated tips for the recipe:

  • When cooking your vegetables, you can cook them all in one skillet. Just be mindful of how long it takes certain vegetables to cook. For example, if you are using carrots, make sure to add them to the pan first because it takes longer from them to soften.
  • Lots of the recipes call for different amounts of sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Instead of measuring the ingredients, I recommend adding to your taste preference. The soy sauce serves as the salt; sugar for the nice balance of sweet and salty; and the sesame oil provides the umami. Stir fry the vegetables with a little bit of the soy sauce and sugar so the vegetables can absorb some flavor, but add the sesame oil when mixing the noodles with the vegetables. If you decide to cook the ingredients with the sauces initially, you will find that you will be adding more of the ingredients to mix in at the end.
  • You can also serve it cold. When cold, the Japchae works really well like a noodle salad. Great when eaten with warm rice!

We finally had a nice day in Boston, so we decided to grill the Korean barbecue outside and eat on the backyard picnic table.

It was a perfect evening with good company and good food. Definitely looking forward to more delicious outdoor meals!

How do you like your crepes?

I love making breakfast because it’s such a versatile meal: banana pancakes, omelets, steak and eggs - it really can be eaten at any time of day!

One of my favorite breakfast go-tos is crepes. These thin pancakes allow even more versatility because they can be served sweet or savory, which is especially helpful when you have a handful of random ingredients in the fridge…

For a quick, delicious, and simple crepe recipe, I just use the Basic Crepes Recipe from You can find it here. Super easy to prepare and has a neutral flavor, so you can make both sweet and savory crepes in the same meal.

My favorite part of making crepes is figuring out what to put in them. Of course there’s the typical combinations…

  • Nutella/peanut butter/jam and [fruit] for a sweet crepe
  • Eggs/[Meat], Vegetables, and [cheese] for a savory crepe

But if you start thinking out of the box… there are so many other ingredients that can brighten those basic recipes! Here are some suggestions:

  • Fresh herbs - love using fresh mint, basil, and lavender
  • Puréed ingredients like sweet potato or garlic spread
  • Honey, goat cheese/greek yogurt (yum…)

Jonathan suggested Doritos… to each their own I guess, haha.

Do you have any suggested combinations to try? What are your favorite crepe fillings?