Salsa Verde Pizza

The other day, my husband and I were taking a walk, discussing what to make for an upcoming pizza night (a weekly tradition in our home,) when we passed by a Mexican restaurant with outdoor seating. Catching a glimpse of the delicious food being served, I thought: why not make pizza with Mexican flavors? I wanted something simple and … Continue reading Salsa Verde Pizza

Bolani: Afghan Turnovers

These pan-fried turnovers, called bolani in Persian and perakai in Pashto, are filled with fresh herbs and potato, pumpkin, or spinach. Though traditionally prepared for special occasions, they are a staple at many Afghan restaurants in America. The first time I made bolani dough, I followed a recipe I found on an Afghan food blog.  I had help from a friend whose parents … Continue reading Bolani: Afghan Turnovers

Maamoul: Middle Eastern Holiday Cookies

In the Levant region of the Middle East, both Easter and Eid are celebrated with date-and-walnut-filled shortbread cookies called maamoul.  I first learned about these delicious treats from a Palestinian coworker, who pointed out that maamoul are very similar to Russian tea cakes, one of my favorite cookies to bake. The tea cakes, which also happen to be … Continue reading Maamoul: Middle Eastern Holiday Cookies

Masala Challah

Challah, a traditional braided bread made of egg-and-oil-enriched dough, is prepared much the same way in Jewish communities around the globe. But that hasn’t stopped modern cooks from putting a personal spin on it. Take Leah Koenig’s delicious pumpkin apple butter challah, or Deb Perelman’s fig and sea salt variation. Five years ago, on a whim, I added garam masala, an Indian … Continue reading Masala Challah

Tibetan Tsampa Snacks

  Last year, I spent five months tutoring children at a community center for Himalayan immigrants in Queens.  I taught academic enrichment classes, and learned all about Tibetan cuisine from my students and coworkers. Located high up on a plateau in the Himalayan region, Tibet has a harsh climate. Wintertime temperatures often drop below zero, so traditional foods tend to be hearty, like momo (meat-filled … Continue reading Tibetan Tsampa Snacks


Parathas are a South Asian flatbread, typically served with eggs (unda in Hindi/Urdu) for breakfast. Flaky and somewhat thick, paratha dough is layered with oil or ghee and folded multiple times, much like puff pastry. Sometimes, the dough is stuffed stuffed with potatoes (aloo) or cheese (paneer.) I first attempted to make parathas in college, using a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s World-of-the-East … Continue reading Parathas

Homemade Bagels

Even if homemade bagels weren’t so delicious, they’d be worth making for the experience alone. They’re an especially fun project for kids. I taught a group of elementary school students how to make bagels once, and they delighted in shaping dough by spinning it around their thumbs, cooking the bagels in simmering water, and sprinkling the … Continue reading Homemade Bagels