Winter Pilau With Beets, Cauliflower and Cilantro Chutney

Serves 4.

Note: From "East" by Meera Sodha.

• 1 2/3 c. basmati rice

• 1 1/2 lb. cauliflower (1/2 a large one), broken into bite-size florets

• 1 lb. raw beets, peeled and cut into wedges

• 1/4 lb. rutabaga (1/2 a small one), peeled and cut into 1/2-in.-by-1-in. slices

• 2 1/2 tsp. garam masala

• Canola oil

• Salt

• 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk, divided

• 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

• 3/4  in. ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

• 2 serrano chiles, divided

• 1 tsp. ground turmeric

• 1 medium onion, finely sliced

• 2 1/2 c. (about 3 1/2 oz.) cilantro, roughly chopped

• 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1 tsp. sugar

• 2 handfuls pomegranate seeds


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the rice in a mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until water runs clear, then leave rice to soak in cold water.

Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan in a single layer and place the beets and rutabaga on another sheet pan in a single layer. In a small bowl, combine the garam masala, 5 tablespoons of canola oil and 3/4 teaspoon of salt, then drizzle mixture over the vegetables in both pans and toss to coat. Roast until tender and caramelized in places, about 25 to 30 minutes (the beets and rutabaga may take a little longer).

While the vegetables are roasting, place 1 1/4 cups of the coconut milk in a blender. Add garlic, ginger, 1 chile, turmeric and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Blitz until smooth.

In a large frying pan with a tightfitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium heat. Fry the onion for 10 minutes, then add the coconut sauce and cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the drained rice with 1 2/3 cup freshly boiled water, and bring to a boil. Put on the lid, reduce the heat to a whisper and cook until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, fold in the vegetables, replace the lid and leave the rice to steam for 10 minutes.

While the rice is steaming, prepare the chutney. In the blender, combine the remaining 1/2 cup coconut milk with the cilantro, the remaining chile, lemon juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth and then scrape into a serving bowl.

Transfer the rice to a platter, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and serve with the chutney.

Powdered Donut Cake

Makes 1 cake.

Note: This cake mimics the classic bakery doughnut, but in neat little squares. If you prefer a cinnamon sugar doughnut, sprinkle a combination of 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. ground cinnamon over the top instead of powdered sugar. Any shape of pan can be used: The baking time is the same for a round pan; if using a loaf pan, bake for 40 to 50 minutes; for a Bundt pan, double the recipe and bake 50 to 60 minutes, cool for 10 minutes and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely, and quadruple the topping. From "Snacking Cakes" by Yossy Arefi.

For the cake:

• 3/4 c. sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1 c. sour cream

• 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

• 1 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

• 1/4 baking soda

For the topping:

• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

• 3 tbsp. powdered sugar


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the pan with a strip of parchment paper that hangs over two of the edges.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until pale and foamy, about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, butter, nutmeg, vanilla and salt. Whisk until smooth and emulsified.

Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake the cake until puffed and golden, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Then use the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and set it on the rack to cool almost completely.

While the cake is just warm to the touch, brush the top with the melted butter and dust with the powdered sugar. You should have a nice thick layer of powdered sugar — more than you think might be necessary.

Store the cake, covered, at room temperature for up to three days. The cake will absorb the sugar on top, so it might need a fresh dusting of powdered sugar after the second day.