Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate

There is a marriage made in heaven, and that is eggplant and tahini. Oh, goodness, how magic happens with that combination. There are a quadzillion recipes that feature that specific combination, and it is no wonder. We have quite a few on this site too. They tend to be Middle Eastern in origin, or in style.

This recipe is no exception – it is Middle Eastern, it is magic, and it is delicious. The combination features pomegranate molasses, and the usual garlic and lemon juice. You will adore it.

It is an Ottolenghi treasure, from his book Plenty. We have a small project at the moment, to cook from his books, and currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books altogether. I have to say, this is one of his simpler recipes, easy to make without too many processes. It can be made in just a few minutes after the eggplant is charred. This contrasts with the Persian Noodle dish we made yesterday, which contains 7 different processes and 5 different elements. Its a pleasure to cook such a simple dish after that one!

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. 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 Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Chilli-Garlic Kale, Babaganoush, Persian Style Eggplant, and Begun Pora.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

Continue reading “Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate”

Advertisements

Cucumber and Apple Salad or Salsa

Salsas are supposed to be sauce-like, even though they might be chunky. Ingredients are chopped small, there might be some liquid involved, and a salsa is generally eaten poured or spooned over another dish. However, in parts of the world away from Mexico and the US, the term salsa is liberally used for salads that consist of some finely chopped fruit or raw vegetables with, commonly, onion, garlic, lime juice, chilli and coriander. Gradually even those composition rules are being relaxed.

So this salad can be called a salsa, having spring onion, coriander, lime and garlic, but perhaps it is a little too chunky. And it has olive oil with the lime juice. So, to be on the safe side, we have kept the salad label. You can call it whatever you wish, and chop it more finely if you prefer.

The recipe combines crispy apple with fresh cucumber. It is crisp and cooling. You can remove the seeds from the cucumber, should you wish to, but I can never see the sense in doing this. There is a cooling sweetness to the seed area which I enjoy in Summer.

This dish is especially good with Falafel and Baked Beans.

This is an Ottolenghi dish and in fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest 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 dish is from his Guardian column. 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 Green Tomato and Pineapple Salsa, Beetroot Salsa with Yoghurt, and Green Guava Salsa.

Browse all of our Salsas and our many Salads. Our Apple Salads are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Cucumber and Apple Salad or Salsa”

Sunday Brunch Cucumber Salad

Brunch, that late breakfast or early lunch, really a replacement for both, gorgeous on long lazy Autumn weekends. It’s blend of 2 meals means that it has elements of both. Whether you are doing more lunchy elements for your brunch, or more breakfasty elements, a salad always goes down a treat. Think Avo on Toast with a Brunch Salad. Perfect.

This is a Bittman inspired salad from his 100 Salads. You might like to try some of his other salads – for example, Roasted Beetroot and Garlic Salad with Walnuts, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Garlic and Pine Nuts and White Beans, and Charred Tomatoes with Mint and Lime.

Are you after just Cucumber Salads – try Cucumber and Red Radish Slightly Pickled Salad, Lightly Pickled Cucumber Salad with Tofu, and Mozzarella and Cucumber Salad with Caperberries.

You can browse all of our Bittman Salads, and all of our Cucumber Salads. All Salads are here. Or simply explore our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Sunday Brunch Cucumber Salad”

Paprika Oven Chips

One of our favourite things to do with potatoes is to cut them into wedges, coat them in cumin powder, black pepper and oil, and bake until crispy. Ottolenghi has a variation on that theme in his book Nopi which are equally delicious. They are easy to make, a Friday night delight if you make a large plate of them. Munch in front of a streamed movie, perhaps with a salad, or some salsa verde. Of course they also go very well with any main dish or Summer lunch. Under the gum tree. Or just with some yoghurt or even pickle as a snack. Any which way.

These chips are SO amazing, if you haven’t made them yet, put them on the list for this week.

Similar dishes include Salt and Vinegar Kale ChipsCumin and Black Pepper Potato Wedges, and Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Creme Fraiche.

Browse all of our Potato recipes, and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer collection of recipes.

Continue reading “Paprika Oven Chips”

Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk

Okra features strongly in Indian and Sri Lankan cuisines. In Sri Lanka both the Singalese and Tamil communities have similar okra curries that feature coconut milk.

This one uses the common Singalese Sri Lankan Curry Powder called Badupu Thuna Paha – a simple roasted mix of somewhere between 3 and 8 spices depending on your household. It’s a great idea to make it yourself, but if you prefer, you can replace the Badupu Thuna Paha with any other roasted curry powder.

Are you looking for other Okra recipes? Try Vendakka Khichadi, Pickled Okra, Okra with Sambar, and Avial.

Perhaps you are browsing Sri Lankan dishes. Try Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Thattai Vadai, and Carrot Sambol.

Or browse all of our Okra dishes, all of our Sri Lankan dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. I know you will love them. Or simply take some time to browse our Mid Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk”

Green Tomato and Onion Subzi | Green Tomato Fry

Today’s recipe is another Green Tomato dish to add to our collection. Green tomatoes are generally available from Late Spring or Early Summer into Autumn, if you can find a green grocer who stocks them. This dish is a quick, spicy stir fry using just the tomatoes with onions and spices.

Similar dishes include Cauliflower Fry, Green Bean and Carrot Fry, and Cabbage Fry.

Green Tomato dishes include Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, and Green Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Green Tomato dishes, our Subzi recipes and our Vegetable Fry recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Green Tomato and Onion Subzi | Green Tomato Fry”

Green Papaya, Snake Bean and Tomato Salad

Celebrating tomatoes, we are making tomato salads each day this week. It is the middle of Autumn and the last of the best tomatoes are available – soon the less flavoursome winter tomatoes will be available. We have been making simple, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern salads, and some more unusual ones. Today we use cherry tomatoes with green papaya in a South East Asian style salad. I hope you enjoy it.

The salad incorporates the papaya with the tomatoes along with snake beans and shredded snow peas. The dressing is sweet and added texture is given with peanuts. I like to add some crispy fried onion too, the type you can buy from Asian and Middle Eastern shops. It adds a salty textural element.

Similar recipes include Longan and Green Mango Salad, Maharashtrian Cucumber Salad, and Locquat Salad.

Browse all of our Salads, Green Papaya recipes, and our S. E. Asian dishes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Green Papaya, Snake Bean and Tomato Salad”

Minty Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Sauce

If you are like us, you will love the different ways that sauces and dressings can be made with yoghurt. And yoghurt and tahini combine amazingly well. Today is another variation on this theme, making a beautiful Egyptian style sauce and dressing that is perfect with salads, falafel and other snacks.

It is very easy to make, the ingredients are simply whisked together.

Similar recipes include Garlic Yoghurt Sauce, Lemony Yoghurt Sauce, and Yoghurt with Cucumber and Mint.

Browse all of our Yoghurt dressings and sauces and all of our Egyptian food. Our snacks are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Minty Yoghurt-Tahini Dressing and Sauce”

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 Artichoke Hearts with Mozzarella and Candied Citrus, 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.

Continue reading “Mograbieh (Giant Couscous) and Artichoke Pilaf”

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 Green Papaya, Snake Bean and Tomato Salad, 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.

Continue reading “Na’ama’s Fattoush”

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.

Continue reading “Moringa Leaf Podi | Drumstick Leaf Spice Powder”

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.
Continue reading “Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios”

Stuffed Vine Leaves | Dolmades

Dolmas, or Dolmades, are little parcels wrapped in grape vine leaves and simmered until the filling is cooked and the vine leaves are tender. Although there is always a rush to make them in Spring as the vine leaves appear, they can be cooked right through to Autumn. Indeed, if you are diligent enough to freeze or preserve vine leaves, they can also be made in Winter. Of course, if home preserving is not your thing, you can always purchase preserved vine leaves (I’ve seen large jars of them). The leaves can be stuffed with many things, but rice, burghul, or a mix of the two, are common.

These dolmas are stuffed with burghul (bulgar, or cracked wheat) and rice in a typically Middle Eastern version with currants and pine nuts. They are delicious. Serve with lemon wedges.

Similar recipe include Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves, Grape Leaf Encrusted Rice Pie, and Grilled Pecorino Wrapped in Vine Leaves.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf Recipes, and all of our Dolmas. All of our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Stuffed Vine Leaves | Dolmades”

Sukku Malli Coffee | Chukku Kaapi

This is a recipe for a tonic (kashayam) that is like a tea, but is called a coffee. Indeed some recipes actually include coffee powder, but the version that we make will leave that as an option. The reason that it is called a coffee, we believe, is that a powder is made and then a teaspoon or so of the powder is used to make the hot drink. Just like making instant coffee.

It is a South Indian recipe, and is excellent to drink at any time (once per day), and 2 or 3 times a day if you are ill. It is good for a number of ailments – colds, nasal congestion, fever, headaches, and digestion issues.

The amount of dry ginger (Sukku) in the drink may be too much for first time users. The Malli (coriander seeds) tempers it, but reduce the amount of powder used until you get used to the heat.

Similar recipes include Yogj Chai, Ayurvedic Chai, and Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

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

Continue reading “Sukku Malli Coffee | Chukku Kaapi”

Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus

This is a recipe for the days when you light your BBQ. No joke. The deal is this: after finishing your cooking on the BBQ, turn up the heat and cook as many eggplants as you can muster, until they are blackened. Allow to cool, and remove the skin. The flesh will keep well in the refrigerator for several days. During that time make any of the dozens of eggplant dips, spreads, purees, and salads – they are all delicious.

This particular recipe roasts eggplants and pairs their beautiful flesh with steamed or grilled asparagus, and dresses them with a Chinese 5-Spice Powder dressing. It is glorious for Summer weather and warmer Autumn days. Japanese eggplants are preferred, but if you do not have those, never fear – the more common globe eggplant will work just as well.

Similar recipes include Steamed Thai Eggplants, Babaganoush, Grilled Eggplant Salad, and Marinated Eggplants for the BBQ.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Purees and Spreads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus”