12 Things to Cook in May 2024


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

Goan Crab Curry

This is Mom’s crab curry, which she made when she visited us in Oakland. It’s best eaten steaming hot with plain steamed rice or bread and the kachumbar salad.

The Flavor Equation : Sumac and Saffron Refresher

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be giving you little snippets from my upcoming book, The Flavor Equation, and share a new recipe for you to try until my book goes on sale October 27. This week it’s all about Emotion and Taste and their role in Flavor. Our emotions help influence our taste and taste in turn helps influence our emotions. When I’m happy and want to celebrate I often turn to lemon, lime, or passion fruit based sweets. I find them extremely comforting. When I’m feeling down, I lean towards food that I ate as a kid when I was feeling sick or sad; kanji/congee is a dish that does that for me. Think about the last time you were happy or sad, what did you crave or what did you avoid eating and drinking?

Caramelized Date and Fig Oatmeal Cookies

Caramelized dates and figs come together in these crispy and chewy spiced oatmeal cookies. Eat them warm or cool but be warned, one cookie is never enough!

Chaat Masala Cauliflower Tacos

Tossed and roasted with chaat masala and served with a cool herby yogurt sauce, these tacos pack a lot of flavor with minimum effort. Add your favorite garnishes to add your signature to these tacos. Use my special Chaat Masala Blend made with Oaktown Spice Shop to amp up the flavor.

madras beef curry

I recently cooked this recipe and shared it in my Instagram stories and some of you emailed asking for the recipe. It’s an old recipe that I’ve tweaked quite a bit over the years and is loosely based on Julie Sahni’s Savoring India (Time Life Books). This version has a stronger coconut flavor, for those of you that have access to fresh coconuts and make your own, use that.

Cabbage and Chicken Salad with Curry Leaf Vinaigrette

In this salad recipe, the curry leaves are first infused into oil, which forms the basis of the vinaigrette. The flavor is delicate, yet it still stands up to the bright taste of the vinegar and the flavor of mustard. Overall, this recipe is very flexible and you don’t need to use chicken, roasted veggies are a fantastic alternative. This is a very good place to use up leftover proteins and vegetables.

Veg-Table/Roasted Fruit + Arugula Salad

The fresh fruit lover in me adores this salad. Gooseberries and stone fruit like peaches, apricots, and nectarines are also good choices, but to be honest, you can use any kind of fruit that can withstand roasting, so use what’s in season and easy to get your hands on. The poppy and sesame seed combination adds a delightful texture, and the hint of orange zest at the end is a sweet kiss.

The full recipe for this dish is available in my cookbook, Veg-Table

Ranch-Style Potato Salad

This Ranch Potato Salad is easy to make, tastes fantastic, and is perfect for any occasion that calls for a potato salad. Tender potatoes are tossed in Primal Kitchen Ranch dressing with crispy bits of pancetta and fresh dill.

I adore Primal Kitchen because they carry a wide selection of condiments, sauces, and dressings, including this buffalo sauce crafted with high-quality ingredients and made without artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, and high-fructose corn syrup. You can find Primal Kitchen products at your local grocery store, or head to Primal Kitchen and use my code SHARMA20 at checkout for 20% off your entire online order.

Three Cup Chicken/San Bei Ji

This classic Taiwanese dish is marvelous and simple to make. The recipe is named so because the chicken is cooked in a cup of soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, and toasted sesame oil. Fresh Thai basil leaves are added right at the end to tie all these wonderful flavors together. While chestnuts are not a part of the traditional recipe, I like to add them in for an extra- crunchy note. 

The recipe was adapted from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by Kian Lam Kho (Clarkson Potter 2015)

Mango Kefir Ice Cream

This simple 4-ingredient mango ice cream relies on good ripe mangoes for the best flavor. Kefir and cream cheese give the ice cream a creamy note, while the cream cheese also helps create a softer frozen texture and eliminates the need for eggs.

Mango Lassi

One of the most refreshing drinks to order at Indian restaurants, mango lassis are creamy, smooth, and full of fruity goodness. It’s also really simple and relies on the quality of your ingredients, so look for good mangoes, preferably Indian, like the Alphonso or Kesars (fresh ones are sold in Indian stores from April to May, while canned ones will be available year-round). I prefer the consistency to be less thick but if you want it thicker add more mango or yogurt.

Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Cake

I love chocolate and hazelnuts; in my mind, this is one of the most perfect combinations on the planet. This birthday cake exemplifies that. Both the frosting and the cake are made using a food processor. To create a speckled chocolate texture in the frosting, I don’t melt the chocolate with hot water, but if you prefer it smooth, by all means, do it. The hazelnut praline is a throwback to all those delicious nut candies I ate as a kid, and here it becomes the topping for the cake but is also ground and mixed in with some of the buttercream to create a surprise layer of hazelnut goodness in the middle. 

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