Tawa Baingan

Rasika and Rasika West End, Washington, D.C.

Vikram Sunderam made this stacked eggplant and potato dish at his 2010 Beard House dinner.
Yield: 4 servings


2 Holland eggplants, or 1 Italian eggplant, sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

Mashed Potatoes:

2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
Scant 1/4 cup chopped red onion
Scant 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sliced Thai green chile
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt to taste

Coconut Sauce:

2 ounces jaggery or 1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
Scant 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Salt to taste


To make the eggplant, combine the eggplant slices, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.

To make the mashed potatoes, grate the potatoes into a large bowl and set aside. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the cumin seeds. Toast until they start to crackle, about 1 minute. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and Thai chilies; cook until the tomatoes are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chile powder and chaat masala and cook until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the contents of the pan to the bowl of grated potatoes. Add the lemon juice and mix well. Season with salt.

To make the coconut sauce, melt the jaggery in a saucepan over a low flame. (If you are using brown sugar, you do not need to melt it first.) Add the coconut milk and chile flakes and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and mix in the peanuts, lemon juice, and salt.

Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Working in batches, sauté the marinated eggplant slices on both sides until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer the cooked eggplant to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain.

Heat the mashed potatoes in a medium pot.

Place an eggplant slice on a plate and top with a spoonful of warmed mashed potatoes. Continue adding alternating layers of eggplant and potato until you have at least 4 layers of eggplant and 3 layers of potato. Drizzle the warm sauce over the stack.

Orange Almond Cake

james Beard

2 large oranges (preferably seedless navels)
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
GARNISH: Thin slices of peeled orange sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and a touch of cinnamon, or fresh raspberries. Serve with whipped cream.

“A very unusual cake from the Middle East with a moist, dense consistency that makes an utterly delicious dessert. It will not rise very much, and you may wonder if it will ever bake firm. Don’t worry, it will.”
Yield: Makes 8 servings
Wash the oranges and boil them in water to cover, without peeling, until very soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, cut into quarters, and remove the seeds, if any. Process the oranges to a fairly fine purée in a blender or food processor or by putting them through a meat grinder. Don’t make it too fine. The little bits of skin, which will not be at all bitter after the long boiling, are pleasant to bite on.
Beat the eggs in a bowl until thick, then add the ground almonds, salt, sugar, baking powder, and orange purée, and mix well. Line a deep 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment paper. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake in a 400ºF oven for 1 hour or longer, until firm to the touch when pressed with the tip of your finger.
Remove the pan to a rack, allow the cake to cool, then turn it out of the pan onto a serving dish. Serve garnished with orange slices or berries, and whipped cream.

Huckleberry Cake

1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup huckleberries
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Yield: 1 cake
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Cream butter and sugar together until the mixture is very light. Add eggs, one by one, beating after each addition. Combine 1/4 cup flour with the huckleberries. In a bowl, mix the remaining flour with baking soda and then fold this into the egg mixture. Add vanilla and, lastly, fold in the floured huckleberries.
Pour the batter into a buttered, floured 8-inch-square baking tin. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is nicely browned, or when a tester inserted comes out clean. Serve the cake hot with whipped cream.

Gnocci Verdi

James Beard

Gnocchi Verdi:

12 ounces spinach, cooked, drained, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter
8 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Yield: 6 servings
Put the spinach in a saucepan with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, butter, and ricotta. Stir it over low heat for about 5 minutes to dry it out. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and flour. Set mixture aside to cool for 2 hours.
Dust a wooden board and your hands with flour. Pull off walnut-sized pieces of the spinach mixture, and form croquettes the shape of a cork. Roll them in the flour and, when they are all ready, drop them carefully into a large pot of very gently simmering water. Don’t let the water boil, the action may cause the gnocchi to disintegrate. If the mixture seems too soft, don’t worry, because the eggs and flour will hold the gnocchi together when they come in contact with the simmering water.
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
When the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, they are finished cooking. Skim them off with a slotted spoon, drain them well, and place them in an ovenproof baking dish lightly coated with butter. Pour the melted butter over them, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese, and heat the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Walnut Bread

From James Beard, Beard on Bread

I make the whole recipe, and freeze the dough I don’t need after the first rise.
To use again, defrost, mix in onion and walnut, and bake as directed.

This is an AMAZING recipe, you’ll eat all of it for sure.

Makes 4 small loaves.


5 c all purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 packages yeast
2 c warm milk
1 stick melted and cooled butter OR 1/2 c walnut oil
1/2 c chopped walnuts
3/4 c finely chopped onion


1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt.

2. Add yeast. Mix.

3. Add butter. Mix.

4. Add warm milk. Mix for 10 min on high speed in mixer.

5. Let rise 2 hrs.

6. Freeze unneeded dough in plastic yogurt containers (the big ones).

7. Punch down dough. Add onion and walnut.

8. Shape dough into rounds. Let rise on greased baking tray for 45 min.

9. Bake 400 degrees for 45 min.

10. Enjoy!

Sourdough Rye Bread

From James Beard, Beard on Bread

This is half the recipe. It makes two SMALL individual sized loaves.

4 days before:


1/2 package yeast (1.5 tsp)
1 c warm water
1 c all purpose flour

Cover starter, let stand at room temperature for 2 days.
Then fridge for another day at least.
This makes more starter than you need for the recipe.

One day before:

1/2 c starter
1 c rye flour
1/2 c warm water

Mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature overnight.

Baking Day:

2.5 tsp yeast
1/8 c warm water
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
3/4 tsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp sugar
2 c all purpose flour

Mix well into a stiff but workable dough.
Knead 10 min. Shape into a ball.
Place into buttered ball, cover and let rise until doubled in size, 2 hrs.

Punch down dough, divide into half.
Shape into two round loaves.
Let rise until doubled in size, 1 hr.

Brush with egg wash, bake 375 degrees for 30 min.


Best Herbed Bread

Best Herbed Bread

Makes 2 small loaves, enough for 2-3 people

Modification of James Beard “Beard on Bread” Basic Home-Style Bread Recipe (p.36)


1.5 tsp active dry yeast

1 c warm milk

1 tbsp white sugar

2 tbsp melted butter

1.5 tsp salt

2 c bread flour

1/2 c rye flour

1 tsp fresh rosemary, fresh basil, fresh garlic, minced

Corn meal (for dusting)

Pat butter (for applying on bread before baking)

1 small pyrex bowl of water (for putting in oven while bread is baking)

Directions: (No stand mixer, use your hands and a spatula)

In bowl, mix 1/4 c warm milk, sugar, and yeast. Let proof.

In warm milk bowl, add butter and salt. Mix well till butter melts.

Add butter mix to yeast mix. Mix well.

Add herbs. Mix well.

Add flours. Mix well.

Shape dough into ball until integrated. It will be a wet dough.

Cover bowl and dough ball with butter. (+1 tbsp)

Cover with oiled cling wrap, let rest for 2 hours until it doubles in size. (I put it in a 125 degree preheated oven and turn off the heat).

Deflate dough. Cut in half. Shape two loaves into long pieces, french bread style.  Add butter to keep from becoming sticky.  Add (1 tsp) flour to make sure it doesn’t stick on anything.

Put cornmeal on nonstick sheet lined with silpat.  Put two loaves on top of it.

Brush both loaves with melted butter (1 tbsp).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put loaves in oven. Put pyrex bowl of water near electric burners on bottom.

Let cook 20 min.  Take loaves out of oven and off of pan.

Put directly on oven rack and let cook 2 min more.

Eat and enjoy right out of the oven!! 🙂