Five-Star Indian Butter Chickpeas for No-Energy Nights

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Hello, everyone! Mia here, back from some time in Japan and filling in for Melissa Clark (who herself is back next week). What I ate: plush pickled plums the size of walnuts and thick, downy slabs of shokupan slathered with anko. Tuna in all degrees of fattiness, tender pieces of conger eel encased in impossibly crisp tempura, soba noodles stained faintly pink from cherry blossoms. Okonomiyaki, monjayaki, takoyaki, taiyaki, dorayaki. I’ve returned inspired after all that eating, ready to get into my kitchen and get cooking.

To a point, of course. As you might guess, jet lag has left me fuzzy-brained and hungry at odd hours. I want — need — a big batch of these Indian butter chickpeas, a five-star vegetarian standby. Melissa’s recipe boosts canned staples (whole peeled tomatoes, coconut milk, chickpeas) with robust, warming spices and aromatics; all that’s required of the cook is some lazy tomato-mashing and pot-stirring. These will be good for any week you’re feeling out of it.

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Indian Butter Chickpeas

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Two more easy meals for foggy-headed times: Eric Kim’s microwave-steamed eggs, a soft-set, delightfully wobbly hybrid of Chinese zheng shui dan, Japanese chawanmushi and Korean gyeran jjim, and Ali Slagle’s yogurt-marinated roast chicken. Ali’s recipe draws inspiration from everyone’s favorite buttermilk-brined roast chicken, using plain yogurt and salt to give the bird extra richness, tang and deeply caramelized skin. The chicken pieces can soak up to 24 hours in advance, meaning you can solve the problem of tomorrow’s dinner today.

If anything’s going to snap me out of my post-travel haze, it’s the promise of, well, snappy seasonal produce. Spring is springing! Time for lemony orzo with asparagus and garlic bread crumbs, a crunchy, clover-green dinner from Ali that’s delicious both warm and at room temperature.

Because the sight of those sturdy, blushing stalks at the market zaps me to attention, here’s Melissa’s rhubarb upside-down cake. I love any upside-down cake — pineapple, peach, berry, banana — and, knowing Melissa, I’m positive this cake tastes as good as it looks. (And it looks very, very good.)

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Call me an iconoclast: I like ice cream in winter, hot coffee in summer and pineapple on my pizza year-round. So even though the weather’s warming, I’m eyeing this easy and economical one-pot braised pork ragù from Kay Chun. It stretches one pound of pork shoulder into a lot of sauce; the easy part is that the oven does all the heavy lifting. Bookmark it for one of those April nights that’s a lot chillier than you expected.

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