Unlike certain other cookbook-writing doctors, Dr. Linda Shiue is not trying to sell a fad diet, a miracle cure, or any other sort of pseudoscientific quackery. She’s trying to get people excited about eating healthy foods, and the best way to do that is to feed them utterly irresistible things. After ten years as a respected internist, she realized that though the medical, nutrition, and culinary worlds are inexorably connected, it’s rare that people—including doctors—consider all three at the same time. So Dr. Shiue enrolled in the San Francisco Cooking School, staged at Michelin-starred restaurant Mourad in San Francisco, and received a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University before founding Thrive Kitchen, a teaching kitchen within Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco medical network, to teach patients how to embrace the practice of home cooking.
Now, Dr. Shiue is releasing her first ever cookbook: Spicebox Kitchen: Eat Well and Be Healthy With Globally Inspired,Vegetable-Forward Recipes. As befits a multi-hyphenate like Shiue, this is really five books in one. The first section (the aptly named “Healthy Cooking 101”) is a densely informational healthy-eating tome with a global approach to ingredients. The second, third, fourth, and fifth sections are mini-cookbooks, each focusing on the foods that shaped Shiue’s life: her home state of California, her Taiwanese roots and travels to Asia, the naturally healthy cuisine of the Mediterranean and Middle East, and lastly, Trinidad, her husband’s native country and home of this curried mango dish. A blistering balance of sweet, spicy, and salty, this mostly hands-free dish helps shed light on just how misinformed our attitudes toward healthy eating can be. With flavors like these, why did anyone ever think we had to limit ourselves to rice cakes and cottage cheese?
Excerpted from SPICEBOX KITCHEN: Eat Well and Be Healthy with Globally Inspired, Vegetable-Forward Recipes by Linda Shiue, MD. (Hachette Go)
This vegetarian curry is served as a savory and fruity side dish with other curries and can also be enjoyed as a main dish. Make sure you use only partially ripened mangoes, or it will be too sweet.
- 2 large partially ripe mangoes (about 2½ pounds), skin on, cut into 2-inch chunks and pit reserved (mangoes should be firm, mainly green with a slight orange blush in a few areas)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons Trinidad curry powder (see page 325 in book to make your own)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh culantro (shado beni) leaves or cilantro
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place mangoes, pit included, in a medium-size saucepan. Add water to cover, along with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside, reserving water.
Mix curry powder, turmeric, and cumin together in a small bowl with an equal amount of cold water, until you have a pourable slurry. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add oil. When oil is shimmery, add onion and sauté until translucent, about a minute, then add garlic and sliced Scotch bonnet pepper and cook for another 30 seconds. Add spice mixture and cook for 2 minutes, or until slightly reduced, then transfer cooked, drained mangoes to curry mixture. Stir to coat.
Add about ½ cup of reserved mango cooking water and culantro. Stir and simmer, uncovered, for another 10 to 15 minutes, until mangoes are tender and curry sauce has reduced. Add pepper and adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve with rice or roti. (Pit is included for flavor and is not meant to be chewed and swallowed, but can be savored by sucking off flesh by someone who knows their way around mangoes.)