Kewra Sherbet | Pandan Cooler

Kewra, an essence made from the flower of the Pandanus plant (also called Screwpine) has an unusual but pleasant taste. It is used to flavour rice, drinks, and desserts in Northern India and South East Asia. The floral fragrance gives a calming influence and is said to help in mental relaxation. Kewra also combines well with other flower waters such as rose water and orange blossom water, and they can be combined in any recipe that uses one or the other.

You can read more about Kewra and Pandanus here.

Today we flavour a Summer Cooler with Kewra. Such drinks are common in North India, combining the base flavour with water and lemon juice. We use the Kewra Water, but you can use also use Kewra essence. Just add a 1 or 2 drops per glass.

Similar recipes for cooling drinks include Strawberry Frappe, Roasted Green Mango Drink, and Jal Jeera.

Browse all of our Coolers and Indian Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Baked Okra with Tomato and Ginger

You either love okra or hate it, but this dish is sure to convert all of the okra haters, or those hesitant to try it.

The okra is baked whole with a little olive oil until it is tender. Then it is mixed in a light and fresh tomato and ginger sauce. It is a surprise – the sauce with the okra is wonderful, and the baking of the okra gives a slightly different flavour and texture to it.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe, so of course the flavours are magical. It is from his first cookbook Ottolenghi. It is an easy dish, taking 15 mins to cook once you’ve prepared the okra.

Are you looking for more Okra dishes? Try Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Lemak Style Vegetables, and Avial.

You can browse all of our Okra dishes here, and all of our Ottolenghi recipes too. The dishes from Ottolenghi are here. Or take some time to enjoy our Late Autumn collection of dishes.

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Fava | Split Pea Puree

Fava is a puree or spread made from yellow split peas, not Fava Beans (Dried Broad Beans).  The naming of these Mediterranean dishes is a mine field! A puree made from dried Broad Beans is known as koukofava.

There are many versions of Fava, some with cumin and sumac, but this one is made from split peas which are topped with capers and caramelised onion, eaten warm and served as a starter dip. Ottolenghi, whose recipe this is, says the dish is soothing yet exciting. It is indeed. It is a delight to see Ottolenghi use white pepper in several of his recipes – a rare thing these days but an exquisite taste.

You know we love pastes, purees, dips and spreads here and this is a delightful addition to our collection.

Similar recipes include Green Olive Tapenade, Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse more of our Purees and Spreads. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Yellow Pumpkin Soup | South Indian Pumpkin Soup

Today, although it is Mid Summer, it is cooler and wet. It seems right to make soup, although Pumpkin Soup is usually reserved for Winter. This is a South Indian Soup, and the lightness of it suits our Summery wet weather.

Although the South Indian soups are not well known or recognised, I have a love of them which started when they were served each day for 2 weeks in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. Home made and delicious, it was instant love. Luckily the Cook and See series of books has a chapter on Indian Soups in Part 4 by Priya Ramkumar.

This soup is a little thinner than what you might expect from a European Pumpkin Soup, but has a creamy texture because the milk is condensed slightly by simmering for 10 mins. It is peppery indeed, but not as peppery as you might think from the amount in the soup. It also has a little sweetness from the pumpkin and from condensing the milk – that sweetens it a little. I love the soup garnished with coriander leaves.

You might like to have a look at other Indian soups. We have South Indian Cauliflower Soup, South Indian Beetroot Soup, and Tomato and Potato Soup. There is also a wonderful Indian Vegetable Stock to use as a base for soups or to slurp on its own. All of our Indian Soups are here.

We have some other Pumpkin Soups too. They include Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley, and Cream of Pumpkin Soup. See other Pumpkin Soup recipes here.

All of our Indian Soups are here for you to browse. Other Indian dishes can be browsed herePumpkin Soup recipes are here and all of our Soups can be found here. Or take some time and explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Buttery ANZAC Biscuits

Generally I use my Grandmother’s recipe for ANZAC Biscuits, but was curious about a recipe that increases the amount of coconut and butter. Other than that, the recipe is the same – a traditional one without the additions that the US variety of these “cookies” include. Good grief, USA, leave our beloved ANZAC biscuits alone.

The result of the slight alterations is a blonder biscuit, but otherwise a delightful one, perfect for a cuppa for afternoon tea on any day of the year. The biscuit is quite buttery with a definite coconut flavour.

It is the day after New Year, and it is likely to be one of my 2 or 3 baking efforts per year. I don’t have a sweet tooth, thankfully, and also do not use eggs in my recipes. Thus, the options for baking are limited on both accounts!

Originally, ANZAC Biscuits were made for the troops in the World Wars, and did not contain coconut (as it deteriorates rapidly, and possibly it was not readily available). The biscuits were “flat packed” for transport to the troops. Then, it seems, a little coconut was added to the recipe, and as times became easier, the amount of butter and coconut increased. Thus we have the buttery biscuits of today.

See this post for some notes about the use of bicarb soda in the recipes for ANZAC Biscuits. Don’t substitute the use of bicarbonate of soda with Self Raising Flour or Baking Powder, as its use is essential to the biscuit. The other essential element is Golden Syrup. There is no substitute, and this Australian ingredient gives these biscuits their beautiful caramelised taste.

You can read more about the history of ANZAC Biscuits here.

Similar recipes include Oatmeal Crackers, and Traditional ANZAC Biscuits.

Browse all of our Biscuits, and explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Rose Lassi

Hot days means lassi to me, the Indian thick yoghurt drink that is incredibly cooling. Served in long glasses and sipped in the late afternoons with a snack or a biscuit or three, it makes one feel on top of things, no matter how busy you are.

This lassi is a simple recipe and is flavoured with rosewater. It is blended with ice cubes to make it sufficiently cold for immediate serving. Garnish with rose buds if you have them (they can be bought in Afghan or Middle Eastern shops), or a sprig of mint.

Similar recipes include Banana and Berry Lassi, Sweet and Tangy Lassi and Mango Lassi.

Browse all of our Lassi recipes and all of our Coolers. Our Indian drinks are here, all of our Indian recipes here and the Indian Essentials Series here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Onion Sambar

Onion Sambar is a very popular South Indian and Sri Lankan sambar. It goes well with rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, upma and most other South Indian breakfast dishes.

This dish can be made with small onions (pearl onions or pickling onions) or with chopped, big onions. It will taste wonderful whatever onion you use. I like to use golden shallots as well – they add a slight sweetness to the dish.

Are you interested in other Sambar recipes? Why not try a Classic Seasoned Sambar? Or Moru Sambar. And read about whether Sambar should be Sour, Salty or Hot.

You can see all of our Sambar recipes here, and our collection of Indian recipes here. Specifically, out South Indian dishes are here and Sri Lankan are here. Perhaps you want Onion Recipes. Or try our collection of easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Norom Shada Khichuri | Latka Kitchari | Bengali Soft Kitchari

Bengalis love their kitchari, and love the rain. Often the two go together – as the rains come, the consumption of kitchari increases exponentially.

There are dozens of types of Kitchari. It is eaten in different forms all over India, but even in Bengal alone, many varieties exist. Kitchari style dishes can vary from pilaf/pulao-like dishes, to the more porridge-like Pongals of Tamil Nadu and the beloved Bisibelebath of Karnataka.

This kitchari is a well-cooked – that is, it is quite soft and moist, almost slightly soupy. It is delicious and it is perfect on a rainy day, any where in the world. The defining characteristics of this kitchari is that it is very soft (norom) and white, as well as healthy.  It is mostly tempered with onion and garlic. (It can also be served very soupy, almost like an Indian version of Chinese Congee. We will add a recipe for this version later on and add a link here.)

I have seen Kitchari referred to as Hodgepodge. My goodness! A hodgepodge is a random assortment of things — a group of things that don’t quite fit together. There is a dish from Nova Scotia called Hodgepodge but it is nothing like Kitchari. It is a collection of beans, peas and potatoes cooked in one pot. It is also common to call Kitchari as risotto. Again this is a great misnomer. Kitchari must be one of the most well known of Indian dishes outside of India, thus it is surprising to see Indian cooks give it other names. You can read more about that here.

Are you after other Kitchari dishes? Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Gujarati Kitchari, and Bengali Bhog Kitchari.

Or are you looking for other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Rice Kheer.  There are more Bengali dishes coming, so check back here.

Browse all of our Kitchari recipes and all of our Bengali dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our lovely Late Autumn dishes.

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Spiced Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves | Yaprak Sarma

Today we have a variety of Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), of which there are many types across the Mediterranean and Middle East. This Turkish recipe uses Burghul, which forms a bright red and a little firey stuffing for the vine leaves. I like to use a type of Burghul available in Middle Eastern grocers, where burghul is mixed with vermicelli. Its a delicious alternative.

Use fresh vine leaves (my preference) or preserved vine leaves, but rinse the preserved ones well to get rid of any saltiness.

The recipe, which I have altered a little, comes via the SBS site which credits the book Istanbul: Recipes From the Heart of Turkey, by Rebecca Seal, for the original. Vine leaves can be stuffed with a number of fillings, but rice and burghul are the most common. The vine leaves are wrapped around the filling, and the little fat cigar-shaped dolmas are simmered in water, olive oil and lemon until the vine leaves are tender. In Turkey they are often served for mezze with yoghurt.

Similar recipes include Vine Leaf Powder, Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf recipes and all of our Turkish dishes. Our Burghul recipes are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Sodhi | Coconut Milk Kuzhambu | Jaffna Style

Today’s recipe, Sodhi, is primarily a Sri Lankan and Malaysian-Indian dish, but it is also very famous in Tirunalvelli District of Tamil Nadu in India. This is a simple recipe for the dish which is a thin coconut gravy great for eating with rice or idiappam. Vegetables can be added – drumstick, beans, carrot, potato and the like, for a more filling dish.

The dish is slightly sweet, from the coconut milk, balanced with the tartness of the lemon or lime juice. It is so good it can be eaten as a soup. You might be slurping it long before the rice is cooked.

You might like to try some of our other Kuzhambu recipes – Moar Kuzhamu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Grated Coconut Masala Kuzhambu are great ones to try.

Browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. And explore all of our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Slightly Pickled Beetroot Salad with Mustard

Picking and cooking beetroot straight from the garden is so good – the beets have an intensity of that earthy flavour that is unbeatable. It is my favourite vegetable at the moment.

The beetroot is slightly pickled and mixed with mustard. You can make your own mustard if you like, it is rather nice, but do so a couple of days before making this salad. It needs to mature for a few days.

This dish can be served as a salad, or on a bed of spinach cooked with garlic and lemon juice, or as a vegetable side dish. The colour of the beets is quite delectable.

You might also like to explore Chilled Beetroot Soup, Beetroot Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing, or Warm Beetroot and Carrot Salad.

Take time to browse all of our Beetroot Recipes here, and our treasure trove of Salad Recipes. Or simply indulge in our easy Mid Summer dishes.

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Cumin Seed Rasam

This beautiful but very easy rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. The flavouring of this one is is definitely cumin seeds, with the cumin being toasted and ground along with with toor dal and curry leaves, before adding to a tamarind and rasam powder base.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Plain Dal Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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Fennel and Lemon Quick Chutney

I am writing this in early December, and I must have the last reasonable fennel bulb before Wintery cold weather comes again. Rather than make a salad from it, we thought that a fennel chutney would be nice. It is a quick chutney, one that you can eat almost immediately and will keep only a week or two in the fridge. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Guardian column.

We always regret not using Fennel enough. It seems to be a summery vegetable with that cooling aniseed taste, but in fact is difficult to find at decent prices once Winter is over – and by the end of Spring good fennel is definitely unavailable.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant Chutney, Onion Jam, and Cumquat Chutney.

Or for Fennel dishes, try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, Fennel and Apple Salad, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel recipes and all of our Chutneys. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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South Indian Fresh Radish Chutney

I have radishes galore in the Kitchen Garden, and I do love them straight from the garden, sliced and slightly salted. They look glorious and taste even better.

In India, as far as I know, the main radish used is the long white radish. Not quite daikon radish, it is smaller. But red radishes can be substituted – it is just the colour that will alter. Rather than being pale, the red radishes (unpeeled) will give dishes a slight pink hue. It’s rather nice.

This chutney has the bite of the radish, the tang of tamarind, the heat of the chilli and the crunch of the sauteed dal. There is nothing better. I love it with rice, but it is good with chappati and rice roti too.

Are you looking for other Radish recipes? There is a Fresh Mint and Radish Chutney, Spicy Radish Salad with Coconut Milk or Cucumber and Red Radish Slighlty Pickled Salad. All of our Radish Recipes are here.

If you are looking for fresh Chutneys, Indian style, try Spinach Thogayal | South Indian Spinach Chutney, Coriander and Coconut Chutney or Indian Style Apricot Chutney. All of our Indian Chutneys are here.

Also try Fennel and Lemon Chutney.

All of our Indian recipes are here, or take some time to explore our easy Mid Summer recipes.

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MID SPRING Vegetables for Healthy Spring Eating | Seasonal Cooking

What a special month this is, quintessential Spring. No matter where you are it is a month of change. Today, a few more dishes to sparkle in your kitchen during the month to come.

Celebrating Spring

Some gorgeous inspirational fruit and vegetables for you this Mid Spring. You can also browse

Other gorgeous Springtime posts include:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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