Simple Monk’s Dal

Dal is a generic term for a dish made with lentils, sometimes with vegetables. It is probably a term coined outside of India to incorporate the wealth of different thick and semi-thick dishes made with lentils. Within India, lentil dishes that fit into that category are infinite in variety, varying in the lentil used, the spices used, the consistency and the vegetables incorporated. Each will have a different name, and even the change of 1 spice or 1 other ingredient (e.g. whether coconut is included or not) might change the name of the dish completely.

However, the recipe for this dish came to me with only the title Dal. It is probably Sri Lankan influenced, and is as simple as an be. But all dishes from this source are both simple AND amazingly flavoursome. It comes from the monks of the Kauai Aadheenam.

The monks used this dal for lunch and served it just with rice and a vegetable dish. It is made with toor dal, that beautiful creamy, slightly sweet dal that is also used for sambar, pitlai, kothsu and other related dishes, which is cooked with a little coconut mik. Toor dal can take a while to cook, depending on its age and quality, so allow enough time.

Are you after other Dal recipes? Try Urad and Rajma Dal, Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, and Mung Dal with Ghee.

Or are you looking for other Toor Dal recipes? Try Brinjal Chidambaram Kothsu, Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, and a Classic Seasoned Sambar.

Try some more Sri Lankan dishes. Try Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Sweet Pongal, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Carrot Sambol.

Have a look at all of our Dal recipes and all of our recipes made with Toor Dal. Or explore all of our Sri Lankan dishes and all of our Indian Recipes. Alternatively, have a look at our Late Autumn collection of recipes. Continue reading “Simple Monk’s Dal”

Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs | Dried Broad Bean Soup

Dried Broad Beans (Fava Beans) are a great substitute for fresh broad beans once their season has finished. They don’t exactly taste like the fresh version, but are pretty good in their own right and make the smoooooothest divine puree for a dip or spread. But today we are making an Autumn soup. If you think of fresh broad beans as being quintessentially Spring, the dried incarnation of them are the essence of Autumn.

The downside is that they need to be peeled before cooking. They say that dried, peeled Broad Beans are available, even split ones, but I have been unsuccessful in my search for them. Thus it is necessary to soak the dried beans for 12 – 24 hours beforehand, then slip the peels from them, and only then put them on to cook. Not every recipe you see will tell you this trick – it seems to be rather a secret. I will usually soak the beans for around 24 hours, and sit peeling them at night while I am watching TV or talking to the kids.

We have one other recipe for Dried Broad Beans – it’s a Turkish recipe, Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil. There are more on the way, so check back here.

Are you looking for fresh Broad Bean recipes? Try Thirteen Treasure Happiness Soup, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

What about other Soups? Try White Bean Soup, Turtle Bean Soup and Red Lentil Soup.

You can find all of our Soups here, or browse all of our Broad Bean recipes. Or simply take some time to explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Chickpeas and Beetroot Greens with Chilli

I LOVE this dish. Simple, but flavoursome and healthy. Mop up juices with some home made focaccia. Although Beetroot Leaves have been used here, it can also be made with Spinach.

The chickpeas are soaked with bicarb soda to make them achingly tender when cooked. The greens are cooked with a tomato base with some wine (see the notes below the recipe for an alternative) and mixed with the chickpeas.

Are you looking for more Chickpea recipes? Try Green Salad with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon, Smashed Chickpeas with Broccoli and Dukkah, and Hummus.

Or perhaps some Spinach dishes? Try Mushroom, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, and Potatoes and Spinach.

You might like to browse all of our Chickpea recipes and Spinach recipes. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes here.

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Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices

There are many variations of mung dal, ghee and spices. Mung and Ghee are like a match made in heaven. It can be as simple yet heavenly as Neiyyum Parippum, as complex as a Dal Tadka, or even more complex. Each, although very different dishes, are divine. The simplest variation of spices can make all the difference.

This Mung Dal with Ghee adds cumin, fenugreek (optional), green chilli and garlic to a simple Neiyyum Parippum. Now it must be said that Cumin is the third partner in a trinity that is amazing – Mung Dal, Ghee and Cumin. The fenugreek, which can be left out, adds a slight bitterness. The chilli adds flavour and texture without bite, and the garlic a little groundedness.

This recipe comes from Kerala where it was shown to me by a local chef. This comes from my quickly scribbled notes. I hope you enjoy it.

Are you looking for similar Mung Dal dishes? Try Neiyyum Parippum, Mung Dal with Cumin and Spinach, and Simple and Gentle Mung Dal.

Feel free to browse our other Mung recipes and our Kerala recipes are here. Or have a look at our Indian Collection of recipes. Finally, explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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South Indian Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup is less common than, say Onion Soup, but it isn’t unusual. It is delicious with a different taste to the long-cooked onions in Onion Soup. The base of the soup is made with potatoes which gives the soup some texture. This recipe also uses cream and a flour roux to add body to the soup, sticking with the usual simplicity of the soups from Vol 4 of Cook and See, the addendum to Meenakshi Ammal’s triology, this one written by Priya Ramkumar.

I do love exploring the soups in this volume. Theoretically, reading them op paper, they should not be worth making. Compared to other Soups that we usually make, they are so very simple, sort of 1950’s simple. But they are always amazingly good. Simple, unspiced or simply spiced, their flavours are unusual and unexpected.

I have spoken about South Indian Soups before – so gentle, just with the flavour of the vegetable, no chilli and little other spice. I am even more convinced that they are a left-over from the time of the British occupation (I have just read The Complete Indian Housemaker and Cook, written for British women spending time in India during the time of occupation). But nevertheless, I love these soups because of their quaintness, and perhaps because they remind me of the soups my mother made when I was but a wee girl.

Are you after other South Indian Soups? Try South Indian Beetroot Soup, South Indian Summery Tomato Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or a Spring Onion recipe? Try Steamed Eggplant with Sesame and Spring Onion.

If you want to browse all Indian Soups, they are here. Or have a look at our Spring Onion recipes.  Perhaps you would like to explore all Indian dishes. Or maybe all of our Soups. Or simply take some time to have a look at our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Celery Yoghurt Salad

India knows the secrets of yoghurt used in dishes that are used as a salad might be used outside of India. Yoghurt is mixed with vegetables and spices and the dish accompanies the meal to add nutrition, cool the heat of spices and add a creamy texture to the meal.

Here we take the idea and create a Western salad with a yoghurt base. I am sure that you will enjoy it. The salad makes a great addition to BBQs.

It is quite a tart salad, and so goes well with dishes that look for something tart to cut through their flavours – fried dishes, perhaps. But most of all, I love it with a rice dish, a pulao for example. Or for a simple lunch, just with some hot rice mixed with ghee.

Are you looking for Yoghurt dishes? Try Beetroot with Yoghurt Tahini Dressing, Sweet and Sour Mango Yoghurt Curry, and How to Make Thick Thick Yoghurt.

Or perhaps you are after Celery dishes. Try Spicy Celery Salad, Simple Celery Salads, and Pear, Celery and Fennel Salad.

You can also browse all of our Yoghurt dishes, and all of our Celery dishes. All of our Salads are here. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu | Eggplant Tamarind Kothsu | Roasted Eggplant in a Spicy Tamarind Sauce

This Kothsu (Gothsu, Kosthu) is a tamarind based South Indian (Tambrahm) curry that is made by roasting and mashing eggplant and popping it into a spicy tamarind gravy.

Some people get this dish confused with Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu, but it is different. Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu is made with toor dal and without tamarind. This Brinjal Kothsu is made without any dal, and includes tamarind. There is only a little gravy which is thickened with some rice flour, so it just coats the eggplant. You can see that the two dishes are quite different.

It is a quick dish to make once the eggplant is roasted. The aroma of the roasting is a wonderful smell. I do it outside on the BBQ grill, and I am sure that all neighbours must suddenly become hungry, due to the aroma.

Are you after other Kothsu recipes? Try Chidambaram Brinjal Kothsu. Others will be posted shortly, and you might like to check back.

Or would you like other Eggplant dishes? Try Baingan ka Salan – Eggplant in a Creamy Gravy, Sampangi Pitlai, and Eggplant Makhani.

Or browse all of the Kothsu dishes, and all of the Eggplant dishes. Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes are available here, and all of our Indian recipes are here. Or simply explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Brinjal Tamarind Kothsu | Eggplant Tamarind Kothsu | Roasted Eggplant in a Spicy Tamarind Sauce”

Fettuccine con Cacio e Pepe | Fettuccine with Cheese and Pepper

Simple is great, yes? Less is more. In this pasta dish, as with many others, it is the simplicity that shines and makes for a spectacular dish.

I have made it here with some home made eggless pasta that combines flour, semolina flour and chickpea flour and uses ground sesame seeds as a binding agent. It is pretty good, but of course this recipe can be made with any fettuccine or spaghetti.

Are you looking for Pasta dishes? Try Pasta with Zucchini and Parsley Pesto, Simple Pasta with Chilli and Olive Oil, and Pasta with a Cauliflower Sauce. Don’t forget that home made eggless pasta.

Or perhaps you are after Italian fare? Try Risotto with Mushrooms, White Bean Soup and Grilled Fennel with Mozzarella.

You can browse all of our pasta dishes here, and all of our Italian recipes here. Or simply take some time to explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed | Okra Fry with Sesame | Vendaikkai Nuvala Podi

This is an Andhra style dish, a poriyal that is deliciously sesame flavoured using powdered sesame seeds (Nuvala Podi). The dish is also called Bendaikaya Nuvvala Podi, and Lady Fingers Fry. You may also see it under different names.

Firstly, the Sesame Seed Podi is made by toasting and powdering sesame seeds with spices. Then the okra is fried with more spices and optionally onions, and finally the sesame podi is added to the dish. It is served hot as a side dish. It goes well with sambar, rasam and dal. It is also good as a tiffin brunch or lunch.

Are you after Okra recipes? Try Rustic Greek Okra with Tomatoes, Kukuri Bhindi (Crispy Fried Okra), and Cooking Okra for Sambar.

Or you can browse all of the Okra dishes here, or all of the recipes from Andhra Pradesh. All of our Indian recipes are here. Or simply take some time to browse all of our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Kanda Poha | Onion Poha | Flattened Rice with Onions

Such a delicious snack from Northern India

Poha, a steamed and flattened rice (“steamrolled” I call it) is a great base for Indian snacks. In this poha recipe, it is teamed with onions and peanuts. Kanda Poha goes great mid afternoon with a cup of milky sweet tea (chai). Or it can be a great quick supper dish when you arrive just a little too late home from work.

There are several thicknesses of poha – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). This recipe uses medium or thick poha, which you can buy from your Indian grocery. Thick is preferred. Thin poha is not suitable for this dish.

Are you looking for other Poha dishes? Try Poha with Potatoes and Peanuts, Kolache Poha, and Poha with Banana, Honey and Coconut.

Browse all of our other Poha recipes and all of our Indian recipes. All of our Snacks are here. Or simply explore our easy Early Winter recipes.

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Onion Jam | Onion Marmalade | Confit d’Oignon

The deep richness of this onion jam with its spicy undertones is a perfect winter condiment.

Onion Jam (aka Onion Marmalade or, as the French call it, Confit d’Oignon) is a great condiment to have on hand. Rich and deep with a spicy undertone, it is a great accompaniment to cheese, baked dishes, curries, roasted vegetables and more. It is a rich, gutsy mixture, great added to soups, on sandwiches with layers of grilled vegetables, or in a vegetable stack with lasagne sheets, at BBQs, or in toastie cheese sandwiches –  you will find lots of uses.

Are you looking for other Onion recipes? Try Onion Salad with Sesame Oil, Farinata with Tomato and Onions, Kanda Poha and Onion Pakora.

Perhaps you are looking for recipes for Relish? Try this Roasted Red Pepper and Apple Relish and Caponata Siciliana.

Feel free to browse our Onion recipes and Relish recipes. Or you might like to browse Sweet and Savoury Jam recipes. Check out our easy Early Winter recipes.

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Chilli Cabbage

Cabbage doesn’t feature often on our menu, and there is no real reason that that should be the case. I love it raw and cooked (if cooked properly).

Cabbage is much more than what English-influenced cuisines tend to recognise, and it matches well with chilli, coconut, ginger, mustard seeds, fennel and other flavourings more common in other cuisines.

In this recipe we take some of those flavourings in a dish that will lift your respect for this green vegetable, and, can I say it? Make your winter a little brighter!

Are you after Cabbage recipes? Try Simple Cabbage Thoran, Kimchi and Cabbage and Radish Salad with Peanut Dressing.

Or browse all of our Cabbage dishes, and explore our Mid Autumn collection of recipes.

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Fava Bean Puree With Dill and Olive Oil | Turkish Fava | Dried Broad Bean Puree

It seems that no matter how you cook broad beans, they need peeling. Except perhaps for the extremely young fresh beans, you need to get your long thumb nail working and peel that outer skin off of the individual beans.

This applies also to the dried beans. I have heard that you can buy pre-peeled, dried broad beans, but I have not been able to find them. So trust me, it is not worth cooking the dried beans without peeling first. The dried skin is like a suit of armour, hard and tough even when the inner flesh has boiled away to nothing.

To peel these little battle beans, cover with boiling water, and leave to soak for 12 hours, no less, and up to 24 hours. The peels may have split a little, allowing you to peel the skin off. Once peeled, you can cook them as desired.

This recipe is a Broad Bean Purée with Dill, a Turkish dish. Turkish Fava is made with Fava beans (broad beans), unlike the Greek Fava which is made with yellow split lentils. Confusing, I know, but how great diversity is! The purée is left to set, then unmoulded or cut into cubes. It is then drizzled with olive oil, lemon, and some fresh dill.

Continue reading “Fava Bean Puree With Dill and Olive Oil | Turkish Fava | Dried Broad Bean Puree”

Chai Masala for Relief of Colds

Chai Masala – how beautiful at dawn on cold mornings, in the evenings of cooler days, and at any time with friends and a biscuit.

Chai can be made with a huge range of spices, herbs and tea leaves, so selecting one to meet your need, the weather, the time of day or your health concerns is quite easy. Check out our range of recipes.

This one is gingery and peppery, right up my ally! It is perfect for cold mornings – both of these spices will warm you up. But it is also perfect for helping you through your coughs and colds of winter. Drink it with abandon.

Are you looking for Chai recipes? Try Peppery Chai, Cardamom Chai, and Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

You can browse all of our Chai recipes, and all of our Teas. Or simply explore our collection of Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Chai Masala for Relief of Colds”

Pomegranate Molasses

This year I have a surfeit of Pomegranates from a wonderful friend that has a prolific tree. Juice, Pomegranate Honey, Pomegranate Vinegar and other such goodies emerge from our kitchen, including this Pomegranate Molasses.

Are you looking for Pomegranate recipes? Try Pomegranate Salsa, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, and Green Olive, Walnut, Pistachio and Pomegranate Salad.

Browse all of our other Pomegranate recipes. You might also be interested in our Preserves. Or browse our easy Early Winter recipes.

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