Radish Salad with Soy and Sesame

A quick salad you can toss together, for one person or for a multitude. A salad with a lovely little bite from the radishes, softened with the coriander and sesame.

We love a salad each day, and some are as simple as this one. But simple does not mean flavourless. Once you commit to a salad a day, it is quite outstanding the combinations you can come up with. Radishes are perfect for a whole range of salads, and they are so easy to grow in your garden.

Are you looking for other Radish dishes? Try Radish and Green Mango Salad, Tofu Salad with Radishes, and Wombok Salad with Radishes and Peanut Dressing.

Or other types of Salads? Try Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo, Chickpea “Tabbouleh”, and Hot Roasted Carrot Salad.

You can also explore all of our Bittman Salads, or the complete set of Salads (there are a lot). Try all of our Radish dishes, or simple explore our Mid Autumn recipes. Enjoy!

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Thai Inspired Red Lentil Soup with Aromatic Chilli Oil

When Autumn arrives, the first thing I make is Rice Pudding. For Ottolenghi it is this Thai inspired soup that he makes when the arrival of autumn is officially announced. And what a way to celebrate Autumn! It is fresh, creamy and loaded with flavour. Great choice, Ottolenghi!

Making this soup with split red lentils (masoor dal) will give you a brighter coloured, but it can also be made with whole red lentils. The recipe does not specify which one. Whole lentils provide a deeper flavour and darker colour, and they won’t blend to as smooth a soup, but are just as fine to use if you prefer to. I have made today’s soup with whole lentils.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Red Lentil Soup with Thick Yoghurt, Red Lentil Soup with Spices, Ginger and Garlic, and Masoor Dal with Green Peppers.

Browse all of our Red Lentil dishes and all of our Soups. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Mograbieh (Giant Couscous) and Artichoke Pilaf

Fregola, Mograbieh, Israeli Couscous, Moftoul, Ptitim, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, Kabyle Abazine – no wonder you are confused. These are all variations of couscous used through the Middle East, around the coast to Sardinia, and into Israel. They vary in size and shape, construction and ingredients but are generally larger couscous/pasta with either a round-ish or rice-like shape.

Although the different types can generally be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. These have a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. Another type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls. It was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls. When cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy as they cook, and are excellent at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type (labelled Israeli Couscous!), but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh.

While Ottolenghi uses Fregola for this dish, I suggest using any of the above large couscous types that you have at hand or that are easy for you to purchase. It will still be excellent!

Yes, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More. In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

This dish is an unusual one – hearty yet fresh. It is best served just warm or at room temperature.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Browse all of our Large Couscous dishes, and all of our Pilafs. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Roasted Beetroot with Maple Dressing

The aroma of beetroot roasting! It is one of the quintessentially Autumn vegetables, earthy in taste and aroma. This recipe is a warm salad or side dish where the warm roasted beetroot is dressed with maple syrup, vinegar and olive oil. The balance of sweet, sour and salty is lovely against the earthiness of the tender, roasted beetroot. We love beetroot.

In this dish, I’ve used tiny mixed leaves from the garden, but use baby spinach or rocket leaves by all means. You could leave them out, but I think they freshen and liven the dish.

The original recipe is from Ottolenghi’s first book, Ottolenghi. We’ve tinkered with it a little, although transcribed it pretty much as it is in the book. We never have chervil here, so I used the spindly coriander that develops as coriander plants go to seed. It is delicious! You could also use the tenderest of celery leaves (the young, yellow ones) or young lovage leaves. In fact, most soft herbs will go well with beetroot. See the notes below the recipe for other changes.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely (This one is from Ottolenghi). Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Browse all of our Beetroot Salads, and all of our Beetroot dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Na’ama’s Fattoush

Fattoush, as its simplest, is another tomato and bread salad – a common combination around the globe. And as tomato and bread is a very very good basis for a salad; it is no wonder that it is popular.

But mention Fattoush to anyone from the Middle East to Israel, and  you are likely to find yourself in a discussion (argument?) about the composition of the salad.  Is sumac essential? Should other spices be included? Is garlic necessary? Is the bread to be toasted? Or fried? What is the dressing made of? What herbs are included? How big should the pita pieces be?

It is one of THOSE salads, loved and protected by all who eat it regularly. It is a type of chopped salad with tomatoes and includes pita. A salad that is best when all ingredients are the freshest and best quality available.

Arab salad, chopped salad, Israeli salad – whatever you choose to call it. Wherever you go in the city, at any time of the day, a Jerusalemite is most likely to have a plate of freshly chopped vegetables – tomato, cucumber and onion, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice – served next to whatever else they are having. Friends visiting us in London always complain of feeling they ate ‘unhealthily’ because there wasn’t a fresh salad served with every meal.

Ottolenghi and Tamimi, in their book Jerusalem, have a recipe that comes from Sammi’s mother. Sami can’t recall anyone else in the neighbourhood making it. this way She called it fattoush, as it includes chopped vegetables and bread. She soaks the untoasted or fried bread in a kind of home-made buttermilk, which makes it terribly comforting. It is a gorgeous salad and the home made buttermilk dressing is wonderful. It does make it quite different to other versions of Fattoush.

Try to get small cucumbers for this as for any other fresh salad. If you need to use the larger, long cucumbers, perhaps remove the seeds before using, if you wish.

Summer purslane, a tangy succulent with fleshy leaves and something of the lamb’s lettuce about it, is commonly found in fattoush in its homelands, and is well worth adding for its lovely lemony flavour. I have included it as we have it growing.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. (This recipe is from Jerusalem.) Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Simple Tomato Bread Salad, and Tapenade Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Mozzarella.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Israeli recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Jerusalem are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Red Rice and Quinoa with Orange and Pistachios

Quinoa seems to be out of fashion now, but it still has a place in our pantry. This is such a healthy salad, in fact it balances the best of the healthy world with the tasty world of food. Quinoa tastes great, has a satisfying, bouncy texture and is one of the healthiest foodstuffs going. It is said to have more protein than any other grain and the perfect set of amino acids.

This salad combines the quinoa with rice. I have made this salad with both the skinny variety of red rice and also with black rice. Both are amazing, with a wonderful nutty flavour. I have also seen recipes for this dish made with Indian red rice (see comments below), and will experiment with that combination in the future. It is certainly more cost effective.

This is another amazing Ottolenghi dish, from his first book, Ottolenghi. in fact, today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking mostly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Hence this salad from Ottolenghi. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Interestingly this same recipe is included in Chris Manfiled’s Tasting India, as a recipe from the Himalayan regions of India where red rice (patn1) and red quinoa are grown. The recipe differs in the rices used – she uses patna and Ottolenghi uses French rice – and Ottolenghi adds pistachios. Chris also uses red rather then white quinoa. While (to my mind) it sits uncomfortably in Chris’ book, the book is a collection of recipes given to her by people across India, so it is conceivable that the recipe provided (without provenance) was Ottolenghi’s. To be fair, we are not given the origins of the recipe in Ottolenghi’s book either, and the combination is probably common to areas of the Middle East and Mediterranean. For example, see Cypriot Grain Salad.

Today, instead of using rocket which will never grow well in our garden, we used a combination of three greens to give that sour and peppery taste that rocket has – purslane, watercress and nasturtium leaves.

Similar recipes include Cypriot Grain SaladQuinoa, Parsley and Lemon Salad, and Sweet Pepper and Rice Salad.

You can browse all of our Quinoa dishes and all of our Rice recipes. The Ottlenghi dishes that we have made are here. Or explore all of our Early Winter dishes.

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Burnt Aubergine with Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers and Red Onion

Eggplants are wondrous vegetables, and it is great to watch them grow in the garden. They have a special purple flower, then the globe forms, and it swells and grows until it is ready to be picked. You can never really fail with eggplant dishes, they are very special no matter whether you grill, roast, saute, simmer, steam or roast them.

Today we are taking burnt (charred) eggplants and combining them with yellow or green capsicums and red onion, to form a dish perfect for eating with flatbread as part of a mezze spread. It is an Ottolenghi dish from his first book, Ottolenghi.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Salad, and Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes.

Browse all Eggplant Salads and all Mezze dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Ottolenghi are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Moringa Leaf Podi | Drumstick Leaf Spice Powder

One last item we are making in this particular focus on Moringa leaves is a podi, or South Indian spice powder. For this, the leaves are dried quickly and then powdered. Simple, easy and quick.

We like to make our own seasoning from Moringa Leaves. Moringa Leaves are the next big superfood to come to the West from India, but available mainly in pill form. Many will never have seen a fresh Moringa Leaf! We love to cook with them, dry them, and use them as a seasoning in a powdered form. Our Moringa tree is growing well and we hope to have our own leaves next season.

Similar recipes include Moringa Leaf Thoran, Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, and Sambar Powder.

Browse all of our Moringa Leaf recipes and all of our Podis. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Spinach with Roasted Sesame Seeds

Since beginning a vegetable garden around 11 months ago, we have been eating far more greens. All sorts of greenery thrives in the garden – dozens of herbs, lettuces, spinaches, chards and other spinach-like greens. Salads have become de rigueur, and delicious concoctions of green leaves appear more often on our table. I make a mean Spinach Rice, for example, a wonderful 1-pot dish that cooks itself in the rice cooker, and a beautiful Spinach Thoran from the West Coast of India.

But the recipe today is quite a straight forward dish that mixes Spinach with a dressing of soy and sesame seeds. It is really quite delicious and goes well with any meal. For meals at home on my own, I will even pair this with rice and eat it with chopsticks while watching my favourite night time TV drama. I must admit to often adding chilli as well. Sometimes I even forget the rice.

Are you after other Spinach recipes? Try Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Madras Sweet Potato, Spinach and Eggplant Curry, and Mung Dal with Spinach and Cumin.

What about Sesame Seed recipes? Try Steamed Japanese Eggplant with Sesame Seeds and Spring Onion, Warm Cucumber Salad with Sesame, and Dukkah and Zaathar.

Or you might like to browse all of our Spinach Recipes, or all of our Sesame recipes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Sambal Tomat | Vegetarian Version of Balinese Tomato Chilli Sambal

This is a great Balinese Sambal based on tomatoes and shallots. It has been vegetarianised, using miso and seaweed flakes to add the salty sea taste to the sambal. This is not so unusual as miso, tofu and tempeh are made in Bali backyards. You can add other items to this sambal, such as diced eggplant, ginger, curry leaves, even watercress and nuts. This is the basic version, and it can be served with any meal e.g. white rice, nasi lemak (Balinese Coconut Rice), nasi minyak (Balinese ghee rice), thosai, roti chanai.

Similar recipes include Chilli Jam, Chilli PasteSweet Chilli Sauce, and Balinese Sambal Iris.

All of our Chilli dishes are here, or you might like our Balinese recipes. We have some Sambals here too. Or explore our Early Autumn collection of dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Amaranth Leaves Masiyal | Dal with Amaranth Leaves, Green Chillies and Cashews

Masiyal is a South Indian dish made from dal and vegetables. It can be made with toor dal or mung dal, or a mixture of both. It can contain tamarind (but not always) but will always include lots of vegetables. There are no ground or powdered spices, it is only seasoned with a few selected spices.

The recipe is another from the doyen of TamBram cooking from South India, Meenakshi Ammal, in the first volume of Cook and See. It is in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu, and is one member of the family of toor-dal based vegetable dishes.

This same recipe can be made with a range of green leaves –  fenugreek leaves, radish tops, etc, or with ridged gourd. I guess in these modern times we could use beetroot leaves too. You can make it thin as a Kuzhambu, or thick as a Koottu, depending on personal preference.

You could also try these other dishes from Meenakshi Ammal that are very similar –  Brinjal Chidambaram Gothsu, Pitlai, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Or alternatively, check out all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes that we have made. All Indian recipes are here. You might like to browse our Indian Essentials. Or take some time to explore our Early Autumn collection of recipes.

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Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios

We are so in love with our long stranded saffron from Saffron Only. With our delivery we also received several recipe cards including the recipe for this rice dish which has also been mentioned by an Irani work colleague. As beautiful soft barberries are available at the local Afghan shop, the recipe was added to our must-cook list.

The recipe simmers long grained rice until al dente, then steams it on a bed of potatoes or pita bread (optional) until the bottom is crispy and the rice is perfectly cooked. It is then served with saffron water, the toasted barberries, almonds and pistachios.

Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large shrub that has yellow flowers and red or blue-black berries. The berries, rich in vitamin C, have a distinct sharp acid flavour. The country in which they are used the most is Iran where they are used in rice pilafs.. Due to their inherent sour flavor, they are often cooked with sugar before being added to rice. Iranian markets sell barberry dried. In Russia they are sometimes used in jams and extract from them is a common flavouring for soft drinks and candies/sweets. They are rarely used in Europe in modern times. (Thanks wikipedia.)

I notice that Ottolenghi has a similar recipe on his website. I mention it only as we have an Ottolenghi Project happening, cooking from his book Plenty More. You can check his recipe out, but I like this one better. 🙂

Barberries are also such a beautiful colour that they make a great garnish to any rice dish or salad.

Similar recipes include Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Golden Saffron Tea.

Browse all of our Saffron dishes and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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Fig and Halloumi Salad

Fig season is mostly over, but I have a green grocer who knows where to get the latest of varieties of figs. You might know of a shop or tree that still has some sweet fruits as well.What a joy fig season is!

Pairing figs with halloumi makes a beautiful and substantial salad. The sweetness of the figs with the saltiness and rubbery texture of the halloumi is delightful. I know that you will enjoy it.

Are you looking for other Halloumi Recipes? Try Halloumi and Orange Salad, Halloumi Pizza, and Halloumi and Watermelon Salad.

Or perhaps you are looking for Fig recipes. Try Fig Salad with Almond Butter Dressing, Gorgonzola and Figs, and Figs and Fresh Pecorino Salad.

Perhaps you would like to browse all Halloumi dishes, and all Fig dishes. Explore all of our Salads. Or simply spend some time browsing our Mid Autumn dishes.

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So Easy Tomato Risotto

We know that we are slipping into Autumn when we begin to cook more rice dishes. Rice puddings and risotto begin to feature at the table, just as long sleeves and light jackets begin to feature in our wardrobe.

Risotto is so easy to make – about 10 mins max prep time, and 20 mins to cook. One pot, little action, just stirring stirring stirring. It is relaxing and meditative. Heaven. Autumn. The pace of life is slower this month.

Similar recipes include Radicchio Risotto, Risotto with Mushrooms, and Parsnip Risotto with Rosemary.

Browse all of our Risotto recipes and all of our Tomato dishes. Our Italian recipes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Sutta Kathirikkai Thayir Pachadi | Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt

As I mention often, my preferred way to char or roast eggplants is on our covered BBQ. It cooks them so much better than over a flame on a stovetop or in the oven. And recently I have started smoking vegetables while they cook in the BBQ, using some rice, tea and herbs – it gives the eggplants a smoky flavour, just as though they have been roasted over a wood fire. To do this, layer some rice, a Tblspn or so of tea leaves and some herbs in a foil pan, and allow to heat with the BBQ. When it begins smoking, add the eggplants. If it smokes too much, add a sprinkling or two of water. Remove the smoking pan from the BBQ after 10 – 15 minutes. It can be left for longer if only smoking a little.

This recipe is Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, a typical South Indian dish, one of many Tamil Pachadi recipes which are generally a cooked and mashed vegetable mixed with yoghurt and spices. It is a South Indian version of the North Indian Raita. Eggplant pairs particularly well with yoghurt. Use it as a side dish or like you might use a salad, for any meal, particularly South Indian meals.

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tomatoes and Sweet Peppers, Crispy Okra Pachadi, Boondhi Pachadi, and Cucumber Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes and all of our Eggplant dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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