Spicy Chai

When I said last week that I love cardamom, I wasn’t lying. I remember when I fell in love with cardamom. It was during my first trip to India when I was in college and everywhere I went, we drank little cups of sweet chai. This chai wasn’t the watered-down, cinnamon-milk nonsense I remembered having in the States. This was thick, concentrated, so sweet and strongly perfumed with the scent of cardamom– it was like liquid candy in a cup. I drank chai morning, noon and night and in between. I’ve stuck with the very basic chai recipe I learned in India, just milk, tea, sugar and cardamom but over the years, I’ve developed this amazing chai recipe that incorporates more spices and I’ve made this recipe extra fire-y spicy with black peppercorns and ginger. A small cup will warm you from your head to your toes! I love my chai thick and rich so the liquid is mostly milk, and although you could adjust to low-fat milk or less milk, trust me when I tell you that using whole milk here makes a huge difference. Chai is also enjoyed in small portions so using whole milk and sugar here isn’t necessarily unhealthy here in these small portions. If you love this chai recipe, stay tuned later this week for more chai love!

Homemade Spicy Chai Tea Blend by HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Homemade Spicy Chai Tea Blend by HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)


Cardamom White Chocolate Bark with Rose, Pistachio & Gold

How much do I love cardamom? Very, very, very, very, very, very, very much. I don’t like to play favorites with my spices, but lately cardamom has been making an appearance in everything I’m able to sneak it into. Its aroma is so fragrant and sultry it almost feels like cheating. Cardamom pairs well with almost everything too. I like to use it as I would vanilla extract. It provides a subtle compliment but you can turn up the flavor of cardamom for a really unique flavor. For Valentine’s Day, I’ve made this super easy white chocolate bark with ground cardamom and topped the bark with beautiful edible rose petals, pistachios and edible gold leaf. The combination of cardamom, rose and pistachios is so incredible. I guarantee whoever you celebrate Valentine’s Day with will swoon over this white chocolate bark.

Cardamom White Chocolate Bark with Rose, Pistachio & Gold | HonestlyYUM

Cardamom White Chocolate Bark with Rose, Pistachio & Gold | HonestlyYUM READ MORE

Lu Dan (Soy Eggs)

Today, I get real. I don’t often get personal on HonestlyYUM, but this time things are different. This time, I feel as though I can’t keep quiet. Yes, this post is political, but the events that have unfolded in the past two weeks cut beyond politics to a deeply personal level. I have the same story as many other people in this country: I am the daughter of two immigrant parents, who came to this country for a better life and sacrificed everything they had so that my sister and I could have every opportunity to become the people we wanted to be. My mother and grandmother were refugees that narrowly escaped a government regime that would have put them in a labor camp or worse. Life could have been tragically different or not at all for me and my family. Some of you may not know that HonestlyYUM is not my full-time job; I work as an attorney during the day and have represented children refugees that have risked death to escape horrible conditions in their countries. When I asked one of my clients what he liked most about living in America, he answered going to school without fear. So when I say I am impassioned and heartbroken over where our country appears to be headed, I say that from the perspective of having seen what the American dream is for the many people who were not born in this country.

Despite these dark times, there’s been a ray of light. Every day, I am so inspired by the growing community that has mobilized to protect our rights. I’ve made a commitment to myself to do my part and today’s post is small part of that commitment. This post is also part of a growing group of food bloggers that are choosing to channel their activism through food. Throughout the week, I’ll be updating this post so you can see what others have shared and why this movement is so important to us. Beyond reading our stories, there are so many ways to get involved and to fight the good fight, from calling your congressional representative to donating to organizations fighting on the ground like the ACLU. Whatever you choose, do not choose to stay quiet. Big or small, every march counts, every word counts, every act counts.

Other #immigrantfoodstories:

Lu Dan (Soy Eggs) | Recipe by HonestlyYUM #immigrantfoodstories

A little more about the recipe here, lu dan (soy eggs) are one of my favorite Chinese recipes because they are so easy and versatile. These were practically a staple in my diet as a child and I can eat a terrifying amount. You can eat them as a snack or add them to a rice or grain bowl or noodles— they’re pretty much fantastic with anything. Soy eggs are typically prepared as hard boiled eggs, but I like to undercook them so that after they’ve marinated in the refrigerator the yolks are thick and viscous.

Lu Dan (Soy Eggs) | Recipe by HonestlyYUM #immigrantfoodstories READ MORE

Sweet Potato Nachos

I have no idea why I hadn’t thought of making nachos with potato chips sooner. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that nachos should be made with tortilla chips but making them with potato chips means a saltier, oily-er, crunchier and unexpected alternative. Swap the regular potato chip for a sweet potato chip and you have a serious crowd pleaser. Perfect for your Super Bowl Sunday party! I’ve topped these chips with cheese, avocados, bacon, cilantro, green onions, jalapenos, black beans and radishes, but you could really top them with anything you want. That’s the beauty of this dish- super versatile and super delicious!

Sweet Potato Nachos | HonestlyYUM

Sweet Potato Nachos | HonestlyYUM READ MORE

Tomato Coconut Curry Soup

Which Angeleno has been super-stoked about all the rain and cold weather we’ve been getting in California? Me! And which Angeleno got a rude awakening when she discovered her newly-remodeled master bath was starting to flood? Ugh, me. This was the downside to home ownership everyone warned me about. Clay and I spent all last night Googling “how to prevent mold after flood” and frantically calling our contractor. Nevertheless, I am still pretty happy with the cold weather and as a result, have been eating my weight in soups. I’ve never been a huge soup person. I’m definitely a broth person but soups just never did it for me until I started making my own. They’re so easily customizable, great taste-and-season as you go recipes. There’s always leftovers and they’re usually pretty forgiving (i.e., generally no measuring required and you can get away with swapping ingredients pretty easily). Now, this tomato coconut curry soup is for the person who wants bold summer flavors in the dead of winter. It’s vegan too (assuming you get curry paste without shrimp or fish like the one I use here)! I love this soup so much I’ve made it 3 times in the last month. It’s that perfect combination of sweet, savory, spicy and coconut and it’s so easy to make. I use real tomatoes here which are easy to peel with a simple boil. I really hate using canned tomatoes and usually avoid them at all costs so don’t mind the extra step. But, if you really insist, you could  make this with canned . . . although, don’t. This soup is all about the richness and freshness of a few simple ingredients!


Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines

Have you ever had an, “I have to make this” moment? You know, when you’re out to eat and you order something new. You casually take that first bite, freeze, and you think to yourself, “OMG . . . that’s delicious! I MUST figure out how to make this!” And there you sit, deep in thought, pondering food-relevant expletives, as you slowly begin to chew. Perhaps you’re sitting alone, or like me, out for lunch with your 2-year-old daughter, who’s now staring at you like you’re some sort of possessed stranger. 

Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Yep, this all happened to me just a few weeks ago when I first tried the butter bean and roasted Delicata squash toast at Bartavelle Cafe. Avocado toast is out of season, so I thought I’d give this one a try. Boy am I happy I did!! It’s one of those dishes that tickles your pallet a dozen different ways – the heartiness of the butter bean, the sweetness of squash, the zing of the lemon, the savoriness of the marjoram oil, the spice of the chili flakes, all dancing together with each bite atop a thick, crispy slice of levain. Ahh, I love it! Here’s my attempt at recreating this magical toast. I tried my best to do it justice, but I still highly recommend you try the original if you find yourself in Berkeley. Oh, and make sure you invite me along if you do! 😉

Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com)

Butter Bean & Roasted Delicata Squash Tartines

Crisp levain toast topped with hearty butter bean spread, sweet delicata squash, savory oregano and lemon, and spicy chili flakes.
Servings: 3-4 toasts



  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, lightly toss squash slices with a bit of olive oil and salt. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, flipping about halfway through, until golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, add butter beans, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of water, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a food processor, and process until smooth. Add more water if necessary, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the minced oregano with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a small pinch of salt. Set aside.
  5. Toast the bread. I used the broiler on my oven to get a nice char after the squash was done roasting, however, you can use a toaster if preferred.
  6. Assemble the toast: spread a layer of the butter bean puree on the toasted bread, top with roasted squash, then drizzle with a hefty amount oregano oil. Sprinkle with Aleppo chili pepper flakes to taste, and top with finishing salt. Enjoy, preferably while ingredients are still warm.

(images by HonestlyYUM)

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