Archive for the ‘veggies’ Category


a better butternut squash with nigella seeds (sorry, ottolenghi!)

December 6, 2022

yotam ottolenghi. a man who creates brilliantly unique and fantastic flavor combinations… with the most unnecessary techniques. don’t worry – i am here to simplify and affordable-ify.

i do pick on ottolenghi, but it’s out of love. the man has *tons* of unique recipes – maybe thousands – and googling any vegetable on earth + his name will return a host of fantastic, even novel flavor combinations. he is not even in my top ten most irritating food celebrities. i would call this man “extra” – but i respect and admire him, even in the face of fusion that i might call “painful clickbait” (sicilian-sichuan fusion? please don’t put pine nuts and raisins in your mapo tofu.)

this recipe – one of his many, many, many winter squash recipes – tastes just like it looks. absolutely delicious.

as has become tradition around here, i will share his exact recipe, as well as my version, describing all the techniques i find absolutely unnecessary. i will make the recipe not only more accessible, but more affordable. come on, it’s 2022, who among us can afford to waste food?

the original: yotam ottolenghi’s roasted butternut squash recipe, courtesy of the blendergirl


  • 1 1/2  tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced (1½ cups/170 g)
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/4-inch/3-cm chunks (2 3/4 lb/1 kg)
  • 3 1/2  tablespoons  raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/4  teaspoon  nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 1 green chile, halved lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon  super-fine sugar
  • 1 scant cup (200ml) vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup (150g) vegan Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon  finely chopped cilantro
  • Celtic sea salt, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. Place the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 8 minutes, until soft. Add the squash, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to color. Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon of the nigella seeds, the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, chile, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and transfer to a baking sheet large enough to hold the vegetables in a single but snug layer, about 10 by 12-inches/25 by 30-cm. Pour the stock over the squash and roast for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Set aside for about 10 minutes: the liquid in the pan will continue to be absorbed.
  3. Serve warm, with the yogurt spooned on top or on the side, along with a sprinkling of the cilantro and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon nigella seeds.

Recipe from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi (and discovered thanks to the blendergirl‘s write-up of yotam ottolenghi’s roasted butternut squash recipe – check out her lovely photo and write-up!)

friedsig’s version of ottolenghi’s roasted butternut squash w nigella seeds


  • 3/4 T. butter or margarine
  • 1/2 T. olive oil or neutral oil
  • half of any onion, sliced thin
  • a medium-sized butternut squash, or any winter squash, sweet potatoes, or anything similar (about 2 lbs. – frozen is fine)
  • a tablespoon or more pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 t. nigella seed (or substitute maybe 1/2 t. or so of garlic or onion powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • a pinch of turmeric, or more if you love turmeric like me
  • 1 or 2 cardamom pods, crushed, skins removed
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • sprinkling of red pepper flakes, or half a small minced chili pepper
  • a pinch of sugar, or more if you like sweet
  • 1 scant cup (200ml) broth or stock
  • salt, to taste
  • a little plain yogurt to top it with (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. Place the butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry for about 8 minutes, until soft. Add the squash, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to color. Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon of the nigella seeds, the cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, chile, sugar, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and transfer to a baking sheet lined with tinfoil large enough to hold the vegetables in a single but snug layer, about 10 by 12-inches/25 by 30-cm. Pour the stock over the squash and roast for 30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Set aside for about 10 minutes: the liquid in the pan will continue to be absorbed.
  3. Serve hot. If you want, serve with plain yogurt. Or chicken. Or whatever you like.

alterations – and why

  1. while sauteed onions are delicious – do you really want to wash a skillet AND a sheet pan? the whole point of a sheet pan dinner is you have one pan to wash. sure, you can saute the onions in a skillet and brown the squash – if you want to wash twice as many dishes! unless you have a house full of kids who will wash your dishes, it’s just… extra.
  2. half a cinnamon stick?! whole?!? on a sheet pan?!? roasting released the cinnamony aroma – my apartment smelled amazing – but just a half-hour in an oven is not sufficient to infuse the entire sheet pan with cinnamon. whole cinnamon stick is amazing in applications where something is simmering for a long period of time. of course you’ll want a whole cinnamon stick in your Glühwein – in your lu rou fan with its two-hour braise – maybe even in your moroccan chickpeas and apricots. but a whole cinnamon stick on a pan of roasted vegetables just makes zero practical sense. you could grate even a sixteenth of that cinnamon stick and get way more cinnamon flavor. i tried it his way – you have to give a world-famous chef the benefit of the doubt sometimes (unless it’s david chang). but i found it to be a total waste of the ingredient. save yourself a few bucks – grate the thing instead.
  3. ditto on the chili pepper. maybe not the most expensive ingredient – but what on earth is the point of leaving the chili whole? is it like “button, button, who’s got the button” or the baby in a king cake? like, “hey dinner party guests, the meal is mild for everyone except for one person. who will get the whole chili pepper?!” it’s a totally irrational choice, and the spice did not permeate through the sheet pan. better to sprinkle just a bit of red pepper flakes. hell, even hot sauce would be a smarter choice.
  4. the tinfoil. if you could see my sheet pan covered in burnt vegetable stock…
  5. the sugar. a tablespoon of sugar on something as sweet as butternut squash? i mean, i won’t stop you. but why? okay, yes, in the photo, the stock and sugar melted down into a glaze that looks absolutely lovely. extremely photogenic. if you’re making this recipe for social media clout, then by all means, glaze your squash. however – and i say this as a person who loves a khatta meetha (sweet and sour) meal – butternut squash is naturally sweet enough.
  6. celtic sea salt? my guy. bless your heart. i don’t own a single grain of celtic sea salt. i promise the salt you have in your cabinet is just perfect for this recipe.

It tastes like a slightly more affordable/easy/westernized version of kaddu ki subji (Indian sweet and sour squash). If you are a fennel/licorice disliker, cooking for someone picky, or on a budget, this Ottolenghi version is a fantastic (and flavorful enough) version. It really does taste good – just not the wild flavor bomb of a kaddu ki subji. I definitely recommend this recipe for anyone who likes squash, especially for someone who is a bit intimidated by the sheer quantity of spices that an authentic Indian recipe calls for. Which do I prefer? No contest; the unhinged amounts of fennel in the kaddu ki subji is my top choice. However, I might prefer to cook Ottolenghi’s for company – not only because I am on a budget, but there are so many fenugreek and fennel dislikers out there, and I think almost anyone could get down with Ottolenghi’s version.

If you love an Ottolenghi recipe with a bit of a more affordable and easy spin on it, check out my better miso butter onion (sorry, Yotam Ottolenghi!). Of course, check out the people who brought you this recipe, Yotam Ottolenghi and the Blender Girl. If you are in the market for something fun to do with winter squash, check out soup joumou (haitian pumpkin soup), vegan pumpkin (or squash) gnocchi, or a simple and hearty curried red lentil, squash, and coconut soup.


zucchini and green apple salad

August 26, 2022

Without a doubt my favorite new recipe so far this summer! This is beyond “a keeper” into the territory of “one of my favorite salads of all-time”! Happy to share this recipe from Didem Şenol‘s Aegean Flavours, which I read on a wonderful Turkish food blog called Pantry Fun. I’ll include both the original, and the version I made with what I had.


1 large zucchini
1 large sour green apple like Granny Smith
a few spikes of garlic chives and a handful of mint leaves from my garden
half of a small container of goat cheese, crumbled
just a tiny bit of vinegar and olive oil
half a lemon, juiced
a sprinkle of nigella seeds, salt, and pepper

I sliced the zucchini and apple on a mandoline, tore the herbs by hand, and then added the other ingredients and mixed everything together.


2 green courgettes/kabak

1 green apple/yeşil elma

½ bunch of dill/dereotu

1 spring onion/taze soğan

a handful fresh mint leaves/nane

150g lor peyniri OR goat’s cheese/keçi peyniri

20g nigella seeds/çörekotu

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

juice of half a lemon

100ml vinegar/sirke

extra virgin olive oil/sızma zeytinyağı

Slice the courgettes and apple as finely as possible. I used a mandolin slicer. Place the apple slices in water with lemon to prevent them from discolouring. Finely chop the dill, spring onion, and mint and mix with the courgette, apple and cheese. Add the nigella seeds. Add the vinegar and salt, and then finally the olive oil and mix together. The recipe states that if you add the olive oil first, the salad won’t absorb the vinegar. I would say, go carefully with the vinegar and taste the salad as you add it. You don’t want it to be overpoweringly vinegary.

write-up by Claudia at Pantry Fun – original recipe by Didem Şenol

Absolutely wonderful, fresh, delicious, and healthy. August is the perfect time of year for a no-cook recipe! The goat cheese and lemon are tangy, and the garlic chives and nigella seeds add just enough interesting flavor while still allowing the apple and zucchini taste to shine through. I didn’t have any dill in the house, but I can only imagine that the addition of fresh dill would make this salad almost too delicious to eat. I plan to eat this again and again!

Looking for more healthy plant-based summer recipes? If you like fresh raw salads, fresh fennel and cucumber salad in yogurt sauce is a favorite of mine. Cucumber salads are so budget-friendly and infinitely adaptable, and of course cooling, refreshing, and hydrating in increasingly hotter summers. I love a charred onion and cucumber salad (vegan!) and a Sichuan style cucumber salad and, if you love the mint and lemon in the zucchini and green apple salad, you’ll love this five-minute healthy cucumber, lime, and mint salad.


a better miso butter onion (sorry, Yotam Ottolenghi!)

November 26, 2021

The photo of Yotam Ottolenghi’s miso butter onions (printed in TASTE, from his new book Ottolenghi Flavor) is extremely compelling. Just the slightest bit of char, visible umami flavor, and a visibly softer onion than one can achieve with high-heat roasting. Who wouldn’t want to try them?

The recipe is simple, yet the technique is surprisingly finicky for a three-ingredient side dish.

Preheat the oven to 500F (yes, 500F.)

Melt butter into a baking dish, and whisk in miso and warm water.

Nestle some small onion halves into the baking dish.

Roast for 35 minutes, flip, and continue roasting for another 45 or 50 minutes, basting every ten minutes.

(Check out Taste, or Ottolenghi’s book, for more detailed instructions.)

Are the onions tasty? Sure. Miso adds umami, butter adds fat, onions cooked until soft add sweetness. If you like miso and you like onions, of course you’ll like this.

Here’s why I think it’s not worth it.

First of all, your oven is on for a MINIMUM of an hour and a half, longer if, like me, you have an ancient oven that takes a while to heat up.

Onions are a very affordable and humble primary ingredient for a side dish, and this would be a very accessible recipe if it wasn’t for this finicky technique. Who has time to baste onions every ten minutes? Who can afford to leave their oven on for two hours just to roast some onions?

Also, is your favorite onion texture “mush”? Predictably, braising onions gives them the same consistency as an onion simmered in a pot of chicken broth for six hours. That is, “soft” is an understatement. These onions could be spread on toast if you wanted to. (Actually, that doesn’t sound half bad.) It eliminates much of the bite and flavor of an onion, making them maybe ideal for someone who’s horrified by a caramelized or roasted or raw onion, someone looking for a way to conceal an allium. If you like the flavor and texture of an onion, this is, let’s say, not an ideal way to highlight either.

—-> My alteration, with apologies to Yotam Ottolenghi? Cut some small onions into chunks, then toss in melted butter and miso paste, then roast onions on a baking sheet. No simmering them in water until they’re mush. Just roast them as you would garlic. Will the texture be identical? No, instead of insipid mush, they’ll become a slightly savory version of the onions you probably already roast along with your sheet pan of veggies or chicken. Hell, toss a bunch of chicken parts and chunks of potatoes and garlic in the same miso butter, and make a whole meal out of it!

Onions are a smart side dish for folks like me who love flavor but have a limited food budget. The flavors are on point here, but the technique is unnecessarily complicated. I’ll recommend this exact recipe and technique IF you’re already planning to keep your oven on 500F for several hours. Otherwise, just roast onion chunks in miso butter, and ditch the constant basting. They’ll be done in less than half the time, and you may just prefer the texture, too.


fagiolini con pomodoro, aglio, e basilico (green beans with tomato)

June 29, 2021

SUPER healthy, vegan, fast, easy, affordable. No fancy techniques here – and yet, the best green beans I’ve had in as long as I can remember. This is the kind of simple recipe you want to use when you have delicious, fresh ingredients, and you want the flavor of the ingredients to be the star of the dish.

I got this recipe from the Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens, but this is actually a Marcella Hazan recipe from her 1986 book Marcella’s Italian Kitchen.

“The proportions Hazan recommends are one pound of fresh ripe tomatoes, a pound-and-a-half of green beans, a half-cup olive (ed: oil), two teaspoons of chopped garlic, salt, pepper and one cup of fresh basil leaves.  For pasta sauce, increase the tomatoes to a pound-and-a-half and the garlic to three teaspoons.

In a skillet large enough to hold everything, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until it’s golden, add the peeled, roughly chopped tomatoes, and cook at high heat for about five minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium, add salt and pepper to taste and the beans, whole or sliced and cook until the beans are tender.  If, when the beans are done, there’s still some watery tomato juice in the skillet, remove the beans and turn up the heat to reduce the extra liquid.  When the sauce has reduced, return the beans to the skillet, add the basil and serve either as a side dish or on pasta.”

recipe created by Marcella Hazan, from her 1986 book Marcella’s Italian Kitchen, discovered thanks to the Lopez Island Kitchen Gardens

I got some musica pole beans and a huge tomato from the farmer’s market. Never tried those flat green beans before, and was worried about how thick and fibrous they seemed when raw, but this recipe was beyond delicious. This would work just as well with round green beans as thick flat green beans.

For (cough) some of us (Americans), it can be hard to get used to cooking with delicious, fresh ingredients, because we are accustomed to cooking with the flavorless veggies we can actually afford. We use the most flavorful techniques, like sprucing up a $2 head of broccoli with cheese or a ton of lemon, so that they are edible.

This is the polar opposite. You’re not creating a sauce or a tadka to camouflage the flavorless veg. You’re creating a symphony of flavors where the lead singer (I hate this metaphor) is the green bean (why would a symphony have a lead singer?)

I really can’t speak highly enough of this recipe. This tastes nothing like what you’re picturing, with bits of flavorless green bean floating in a tomato-paste-based tomato sauce from a jar. This tastes so sweet and fresh and perfect. You’ll eat the whole thing. If you are fortunate enough to have the space for a garden, this recipe is extremely affordable, too!

Just make sure you’re using garden (or farmers market) ingredients for this one. If you’re using industrially produced tomatoes and beans, or if it’s off-season, can I recommend Sichuan blistered green beans or green bean salad with olive and sun-dried tomato?


savory bread pudding (strata) with spinach, mushrooms, and roasted garlic

April 8, 2021

savory bread pudding (strata) with spinach, mushrooms, and roasted garlic

Your new favorite make-ahead-of-time breakfast!

This is one of those great “no recipe” recipes, thanks to epi’s “How to Make Strata”. They recommend a ratio of 1 part milk + 1 part eggs + 1 part cheese + 1 part add-ins (optional) + 2 parts bread. Today’s add-ins are sauteed mushrooms with sauteed baby spinach and roasted garlic. But you can add almost ANYTHING. What about leftover stewed greens with leftover jerk chicken? Or leftover jambalaya with andouille sausage and bell peppers? Chorizo and salsa with roasted tomatillos or serrano peppers? Make sure to cook your add-ins ahead of time, unless it’s a fresh herb or something delicate and fresh. If you’re using something with high water content like spinach, make sure to squeeze it before adding it so the strata isn’t soggy. I’ll share my recipe, but don’t be constrained by this: almost any cheese, any meat, any veggies would be amazing in this!

1 part milk + 1 part eggs + 1 part cheese + 1 part add-ins (optional) + 2 parts bread

1 loaf bread, cut into bite-sized cubes

milk and/or cream (can even add cream cheese! I did, because I had some in the house, inspired by Melissa Roberts for Gourmet magazine)

soooo many eggs (I used maybe 9)

1 pack mushrooms

1/2 head garlic

1 pack spinach

3/4 brick of Swiss (or cheddar, or whatever,) or to taste, shredded

a little blue cheese, grated parmesan, or whatever you have in the house

thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, seasoned salt, or whatever you like

salt and pepper

toast bread in a 250 degree oven until crispy, ~5-10 minutes

roast garlic at 450 until paper is burnt, remove cloves from paper

saute mushrooms and spinach. season

butter your baking dish, and begin to layer ingredients. pour custard mixture over the ingredients. top with cheese, if desired. cover baking dish with foil, and rest between an hour and 24 hours.

preheat oven to 350. bake ~20 minutes wrapped in foil, then remove foil and continue baking for another 15 to 30 minutes depending on the size of your strata. epi says it’s set when the center no longer jiggles.

recipe by epi


savory bread pudding (strata) with spinach, mushrooms, and roasted garlic

This is REALLY good. Not only was it easy to make, it was very affordable, kept wonderfully in the fridge all week, and made me excited to eat my veggies! I can’t wait to try this with broccoli and sharp cheddar, or fresh dill and asparagus. & I think the Serious Eats suggestion for a French onion strata sounds incredible… but it is just begging for some veggies….

You are only limited by your imagination here. The internet suggests ham-and-cheese stratas, as well as some really wild-sounding variations like tomato-and-basilbutternut squash and prosciutto, and, believe it or not, a reuben strata with sauerkraut and pumpernickel bread. What’s your favorite savory bread pudding?


crispy salt and vinegar cauliflower

March 15, 2021

This recipe didn’t turn out how I expected – but it was still good!

  • 1 large head cauliflower, outer leaves removed
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, divided

  • Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a cookie sheet (olive oil is great, or whatever you have,) or if you’re lazy, line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Cauliflower will be crispier if it touches the baking sheet directly.
  • Cut the head of cauliflower into small, bite-sized florets (approximately 1 inch across or smaller).
  • Whisk together the oat flour, sea salt, and black pepper in a large airtight container.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to a large, nonreactive mixing bowl. Pour 1/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar over the florets and toss to coat. If you have an extra 15 to 30 minutes, let it marinate in the vinegar. If not, no worries, you can move straight to the next step!
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower florets into the container with the oat flour. Secure the lid and vigorously shake the container to coat the florets. Dump the florets onto the lined pan and spread them out into a single layer.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, flip the florets over as best you can, and bake another 15 to 17 minutes or until crisp and golden.
  • If you want a bit more vinegar tang, use your fingers to spritz the cauliflower with the remaining tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Season with a bit more sea salt and black pepper, if desired.
  • Serve warm.

recipe by blissful basil and adapted by friedsig


I let the cauliflower SOAK in the vinegar, because I was picturing a super-zingy, super-tangy puckery vinegar taste. I love salt and vinegar chips. But I could barely taste the vinegar! (Obviously, I tried this recipe before my ulcers, haha.) If you want this to be REALLY vinegary, definitely soak the cauliflower for a minimum of 30 minutes, and spritz the finished cauliflower with plenty of extra vinegar!

I used apple cider vinegar, but I wonder if nasty white vinegar would give an even more intense tang. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

I think this is my first time breading raw cauliflower before roasting it – it was a nice change from “regular” roasted cauliflower. More obnoxious to clean up, but worth it for a nice switch-up to the roasted vegetable routine.

I’ll definitely make this again. Use the leftovers in some roasted cauliflower and carrot soup!


sweets and beets (ulcer diet/GERD-safe!)

March 1, 2021

One of the BEST meals since my diagnosis!

+ sweet potatoes and yams – roasted, boiled, steamed, or otherwise cooked
+ beets – roasted, boiled, steamed, canned, or otherwise cooked
+ fresh herbs (I used dill, but anything would work here)
+ plain non-fat yogurt (if you’re not on a restricted diet, I think sour cream, normal plain yogurt, or even bits of goat cheese would be perfect here!)
+ (optional) if you’re allowed to eat lemon, squeeze some fresh lemon juice! (I can’t, so I didn’t, and it was still great!)

Prepare this just as you’re imagining. Combine cooked, cooled ingredients with herbs and yogurt, and serve.


based on this dilled beet salad, which was in turn inspired by the incredible cold Ukranian style borscht at Gene’s sausage shop on the far west side of Chicago (RIP GENE’S <3) as well as a recipe from a defunct food blog called Lime and Barley


Used cheap sweet potatoes from Aldi, white yams from the Chinese grocery store, and Aldi canned beets (canned in water, not pickled in vinegar) with cheap bulk fresh dill ($1) from the Chinese grocery store. This entire salad cost maybe $4 for about 10 servings. It doesn’t get much more affordable or easier than that!

My doctor has me on the most restrictive diet possible since my diagnosis of duodenal ulcers. The pain is intense and severe, but nothing compares with the emotional torture of this restricted diet! Among the forbidden foods? Onions, garlic, vinegars, all alcohol including cooking wine, lemons, grapefruit, oranges, tomatoes, peppers, all spices including black pepper, processed meats, oils and grease, fried and fatty foods, all sauces and dressings including mayo ketchup and mustard, chili, carbonated drinks, chocolate, teas, coffee, sugar, mint, and full-fat dairy like cream, milk, sour cream, and cream cheese, AND MORE.

This salad is fully compliant with the ulcer diet, so it’s also great for people who struggle with GERD or other gastro symptoms. (Obviously, ask your doctor.) It also keeps really well. The yogurt will turn pink as it sits, but that’s not a bad thing unless the men in your life refuse to eat pink foods, in which case you may want to invite better men into your life.

Highly recommended. Delicious enough that I’d even recommend it to people without ulcers!


kaddu ki subji (Indian sweet and sour squash) – 500TH RECIPE!

December 18, 2020

Want a fantastic vegan recipe that is stunningly delicious, with a kick of sour and savory, and unlike any squash recipe you know?

  • 4 cups cubed winter squash (acorn, butternut, or similar)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/8 tsp asafetida (hing) [or garlic/onion powder]
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder (dhania)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds coarsly ground (saunf)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi)
  • 1 tsp chili powder, or less if you like mild
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt  (I used closer to a half-teaspoon)
  • 4 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 tbsp shredded ginger
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp mango powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro (hara dhania)


  1. Peel and cut the squash into cubes. Save about ¼ of the squash peel and chop them.

    In a small bowl, mix the shredded ginger, coriander powder, funnel, red chili powder, paprika, turmeric, and ¼ cup of water to make a paste.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if seed cracks right away oil is ready. Add cumin seeds and asafetida after seeds crack add fenugreek seeds and red chilies and stir for a few seconds.
  3. Add the spice paste and stir-fry for a minute until spices start leaving the oil.

  4. Add the squash, squash peels, salt, and ¼ cup of water. Mix well. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium heat until the vegetables are tender. Squash will be semi mushy.

  5. Make sure to stir gently every 3 to 4 minutes. Check if more water needed.

  6. Lastly, add the mango powder, sugar and chopped cilantro. Mix everything and cover for a minute. Adjust the salt to your taste.


another winning recipe written and created by Manjula – check out Manjula’s kitchen for the full recipe with video and photo!


I was honestly blown away by this recipe. I can’t think of any recipe that calls for A TABLESPOON of ground fennel seed, and I was worried this would be overly licorice-y. It’s truly perfect, though.

I modified this recipe by leaving out the cilantro (don’t have any,) and the amchur powder (couldn’t find mine after reorganizing my spices a few months ago). I added extra fresh lemon and lime juice to compensate and get that sour kick. I also replaced the asafoetida with onion and garlic powder.

It’s hard to describe this recipe. This is the perfect FIVE HUNDREDTH recipe on fried sig because it’s everything I love. It’s affordable, it’s easy to prepare, it keeps well (the leftovers only got better each day,) it’s savory and sour and sweet, it’s healthy, and it’s very different than my typical squash recipes.


If you’re looking for other creative and healthy ways to use butternut, acorn, or other winter squash, consider squash and red lentil soup, or callaloo!


Thanks so much for reading friedsig! Yes, this is the 500th recipe posted on friedsig! Can’t believe this blog is still truckin’ on, FIVE HUNDRED recipes later.

500 recipes, and still hungry….


eggplant and tomato high summer puff pie

September 16, 2020

August garden abundance? This pie was one of my favorite meals this summer.

Onions and/or garlic
Salt and pepper, and your favorite herb (fresh basil from the garden?) or seasoning (I used fresh mint)
Puff pastry
Yogurt and feta (or pesto, or leftover tomato sauce…)
(optional) Melty cheese for the top, like brick mozzarella or pepper jack

The goal is to get the moisture out, so the crust doesn’t go soggy. I went all out with this and pan-fried slices of eggplant after a salt soak, and then slices of zucchini. To save time, you could just roast everything until it’s mush, and then layer it in the pie. Might not look as pretty, but it’ll do the trick!

I used slices of fresh raw tomatoes – way too moist for the crust. Remove seeds and goopy parts, and then roast or broil slices of tomatoes, or pan-fry slices on a medium-high heat.

I used a zwiebelkuchen technique on the onions. I sauteed them on a super low heat for about 45 minutes, until they got caramelized, and then added a splash of apple cider vinegar to make them sweet and tart! Recommended, but not necessary. Added a little minced garlic right at the end, too.

I loved a Mediterranean style filling: crumbled feta mixed with yogurt and salt. But it would be great with a layer of sour cream, creme fraiche, yogurt cheese, pesto, leftover strained tomato sauce, bechamel… My mom made one this week, inspired by my recipe, with just fried zucchini and sour cream, and she said she loved it with sour cream.

If you want it super-cheesy, feta isn’t necessary. You could make this with mozzarella, sharp cheddar, even swiss. Whatever floats your boat.

Or leave the dairy out completely and add a layer of pesto. This is a very flexible pie!

You can definitely make this with any kind of crust. Puff is tricky about moisture – next time I plan to try the just-a-layer-of-tomatoes “crust” from posh in progress.

preheat oven. (maybe 350 if your pie is deep and heavy, or 375 if you’re using a traditional, shallow pie dish?)

prepare pie crust. if using a homemade crust, blind bake the crust. if using frozen puff, defrost and roll out. if using frozen phyllo, brush sheets with melted butter and layer in a casserole dish.

add a layer of the driest eggplant to the bottom of the dish.

next, add a layer of zucchini slices and a layer of tomatoes. (or. you know. whatever order you want to layer them in is fine.)

pour on a layer of your filling, making sure that you strain the excess moisture if you’re using a very wet sauce.

repeat til you reach near the top of the dish, or until you’re out of ingredients. top with a melting cheese if you like.


Recipe by me, sig at friedsig and inspired by a zweibelkuchen and a typical summer pie


Absolutely one of my favorite things to happen during this long and difficult summer. Sending love to (almost) everyone reading this.


mast o khiar (persian yogurt and cucumber dip)

September 3, 2020

This is good. I mean, this is really, really good. & it’s actually healthy.

My favorite snack last week. Scooped this up with some rice-and-nut crackers. A little sweet, a little savory, and very cooling from the mint and yogurt. Perfect snack for a hot August day!


4 cups plain yogurt
2 cups chopped or grated cucumber
2 tbsp dry mint
1/2 cup chopped nuts, like walnuts (pecans were good, too)
1/2 cup raisins
salt and pepper, to taste
(optional: sprinkle dried rose petals over the top for a floral flavor and/or a fancy look)

mix, refrigerate at least 30 mins, and serve with anything to dip, like lavash or pita bread, crackers, or veggies.


adapted by friedsig from unicorns in the kitchen


Unicorns in the Kitchen says that the raisins and nuts have a warming nature, and the yogurt and mint has a cooling nature, so this dish is balanced. (She is from Iran and lived in Turkey, so she knows what she’s talking about, unlike me!)

Of course, once I made this recipe and thought, “How have I never heard of this before?!” I realized I HAD posted a very similar recipe to this five years ago, as abdoogh khiar (5-minute cold cucumber yogurt soup). I am not sure that I think of this as a soup, but what differentiates a soup and a dip? Is it consistency? Is this veering too close to the “is a hot dog a sandwich?” debate?

Thanks to Unicorns in the Kitchen for this amazing recipe. Definitely my new favorite way to use endless summer cucumber gifts from the coworkers whose gardens weren’t completely destroyed by a freak hail storm!

If you’re one of those people with the incredibly lucky “problem” of working from home during COVID-19 and being allowed to snack all day, this is the kind of healthy snack that you can chomp on mindlessly all day. (Also… if this is a problem for you… is your job hiring?)


What if you don’t like fruit and nuts? If you’re into the cooling, high-summer “cucumber and plain yogurt” vibe, this fennel and cucumber salad is delicious. If you are looking for something warming, though, I highly, highly recommend this Sichuan cucumber salad! If you want something that tastes like a Jersey sub sandwich, and has a mixture of those cooling and warming flavors, this charred onion and cucumber salad has that flavor that would be perfect on a sandwich!