Rocket, or arugala as it is called in some parts of the world, goes so well with pasta. This salad, quite simple to make, mixes the two with a lemony dressing. It is a more filling salad than those that we have made lately, so very suitable for cooler weather during Late Summer and Autumn, and also as Winter approaches.
Yoghurt is used in salads all over the world, except, it seems, in cuisines such as English based countries. Let’s remedy that by mixing yoghurt and cream (yum!) and using it to dress apples and celery. It is delicious.
Add some fresh walnuts if you wish. They go really well with celery and apples.
It is quite fun exploring the use of Amaranth Leaves in both Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Right now we are focused on Indian uses (of course) but will explore the uses in Middle Eastern and other cuisines as long as our season of Amaranth lasts. Luckily the plants are self-sowing, so there will be another amaranth forest next year, no doubt.
This dish is another Masiyal with Amaranth Leaves – the third one we have made. The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes. In Vol 1, and she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.
Generally masiyal is made with toor dal but less commonly it is made without dal, as in this recipe. The vegetables generally are mashed or finely chopped, and there are (generally) no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices.
This is one of the simplest ways of enjoying beetroot, so simple indeed that everyone must surely already know its joys. If memory serves me correctly, it was the deciding factor in my falling in love with this vegetable. My Mother was not a good vegetable cook – they would be boiled to nothingness and then served without any accompaniment. No dressing, no seasonings, no beautiful black pepper to go with the ruby globes. And, truth be told, most of our beetroot experience was with pickled beetroot – always a bit tart for my tastes back then.
There is indeed a great affinity between beetroot, butter and black pepper. Who can deny it? And this is exactly what this recipe is. For completeness, and because I love simple cooking, I am including it.
Koshambari Salads are perfect Summer “round out the meal” salads as they contain both cooling vegetables and lentils for protein. So often the advice given to vegetarians is written by non-vegetarians and therefore includes only vegetable-based dishes without lentils, grains, soy products, nuts, seeds and so forth, in sufficient proportions for a balanced vegetarian diet.
The great thing about traditional Indian vegetarian cuisines is that they are naturally balanced in all sorts of ways – nutritionally, texturally, flavour-wise, ayurvedically, …. Forget the current Western style fashions in India, like the addiction to Oreo biscuits and too much street food (how can I criticise either of these!), the combinations of grains, lentils, paneer and vegetables is naturally balanced.
Koshambari is the perfect Summer salad, with cooling ingredients and the surprising inclusion of soaked but raw lentils, either chana dal or mung dal. Today we use chana dal with carrots, cucumber and green mango. Delicious. While raw foods are not common in India, the occasional Kosumalli makes an appearance. Raw food is not sanctioned by Ayurveda – so there are versions of this salad that lightly saute the ingredients. You can do this too, should you desire.
We have compiled 30 Great Mid Summer Salads for you, so it is very easy to vary your salads each day.
Rice is of course a feature of our kitchen. Not every day, as we mix cuisines a lot, but often enough. Here is a delicious common South Indian rice dish that is rather divine. It does take a kitchen pantry full of ingredients, but they are all usual items in a kitchen that cooks a lot of South Indian dishes. So it should not be a bother.
Cooked rice is added to a spicy mix of tomatoes, onions and spices. Dal is added to the tadka for texture and crunch. This is a dish that will bring applause at the table.
Here is a tip. If you want to enjoy this dish in the middle of winter without using tinned, processed tomatoes, place some of the best of summer tomatoes in the freezer – you can freeze them whole – and use them for tomato rice in the colder weather.
What’s not to like about Roasted Cauliflower? In this house it is considered one of the best ways to treat cauliflower. This recipe rubs florets with cumin powder and sumac (for a delightful tang) and roasts them slowly until golden and tender.
The cauliflower can be cooked whole, of course, and we sometimes do that. When there are not so many of us for lunch or dinner, we break it into florets to avoid excessive left-overs. I have included instructions for both whole baked and floret-baked.
This is such a good dish.
Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower, Grape and Creamy Cheddar Salad, Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.
When you are on your own (or not), and you have some left over red peppers in the fridge, and you are thinking, quick and easy eating for supper, take the red pepper (or two) and slow cook it in olive oil with some thyme (oh the aroma!).
Similar recipes include Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Salad, and Roasted Red Peppers Salad.
Pineapples are ripening at the moment, and along with all of the other magnificent produce in the shops, they are abundant, cheap and delicious. I am not a fan of peeling pineapples with all those eyes to cut out (some have more than others), but the occasional recipe is worth it. Today we are making a Pachadi – a side dish – from pineapple. This dish from Kerala is quite unusual. Commonly, Pachadis from Tamil Nadu and Kerala have a yoghurt base for the vegetable component, or include an amount of coconut. This one has some coconut, but it cooks the pineapple, grapes and plantain to the point that it is jammy, almost like a halwa. But don’t be fooled, it is spicy with sweet and sour tastes. It tastes a little like a pickle, or a cross between a pickle and a pachadi. It is definitely a dish where less is more when serving – a couple of Tblspns along with rice, thorans and other Kerala sadya dishes. It is delicious, I am sure you will come back for seconds.
There are two versions of Madhura Pachadi, this one flavours the pachadi with powdered mustard seeds, and another which cooks the pineapple in tamarind. The recipe today is based on one from Elephants and Coconut Trees. You can chop the pineapple into pieces that are about 1 – 1.5 cm and they will retain a little bite when cooked (yummy) or chop smaller and it will melt into a halwa type consistency (also yummy).
There are advantages and disadvantages to living in downtown outer-suburban capital city. It is countrified living, but the access to specialist products such as good cheeses, excellent olive oils etc is limited. I found out the other day that I can’t buy Bitter Lemon around here – there goes my Gin and Bitter Lemon. Is that out of fashion now?
What I am eternally grateful for, you don’t know how much, is the range of fruit and vegetables that are common in my area but not seen in the inner-suburban groceries and supermarkets where I used to live. Plantains. Mangoes all year. Pomelo. Mustard Greens. Chilli Leaves. Betel Leaves. Pea Eggplants. Apple Eggplants. Okra. Green Mangoes. FRESH PINEAPPLES FOR $1!! I could go on and on. This availability has radicalised our kitchen’s menu. Every trip I want to bow down to the owners of the Vietnamese grocery in particular. Total gratitude.
So today the dish is a quick curry of plantain, stir fried and then simmered in spices to make a Poriyal from Tamil Nadu in South India. It is very very delicious with some rice (mix with a little ghee and a pinch or two of poppy seeds), some sambar (plantain can be a bit dry in texture, so it is good to have it with a wet dish) and some chutney. Finish with some curd/yoghurt if you wish.
Similar dishes include Plantain in Tamarind Gravy (make this dish with plantain instead of eggplant in the recipe), Plantain Pulissery (make this dish with plantain instead of pineapple in the recipe), and Carrot and Bean Poriyal.