Lemongrass Chai

Lemongrass grows freely in my garden, as it does in India, and it is used to add fragrance and that beautiful lemon flavour to salads, rice and S.E. Asian dishes. But in India its use in cooking is limited despite its availability. It features mainly in drinks and soups, such as this fragrant tomato soup.

Here it is used in a simple but elegant chai – a lemon grass bulb and an Indian tea bag or loose leaf tea. Jaggery or rock sugar is used to sweeten the tea, and it can be taken with or without milk. It is a wonderfully refreshing tea on a warm Summer afternoon or evening. I encourage you to try it.

Similar recipes include Fiona’s Beautiful ChaiTim’s Chai, and Tulsi and Mint Chai.

Browse all of our Chai recipes and all of our Indian drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Smoky Eggplant with Coriander

I found a new way of making a smoky eggplant. Well, really, I rediscovered a common method that I had relinquished for convenience. Charring eggplants in the covered gas BBQ gives eggplants that are so very easy to peel, and so that is the way that I have been roasting them for years. Recently I ran out of gas for the BBQ just as I needed to roast eggplants, so I roasted them on the gas stove.

The difference is enormous. First, it is more difficult to peel than those roasted on the BBQ, sigh. But the smoky flavour is so enhanced that the trouble is worth it when only 1 or 2 eggplants need to be char-roasted.

This recipe is for a mash of eggplant, onion and coriander leaves. You can call it a salad, but it works just as well as a dip with corn chips, a spread, and in wraps. You will love it. It is even good on toast!

Similar recipes include Smoky Aubergine with Tahini and Pomegranate, Smoky Eggplant and Asparagus,  and Smoky Eggplant and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Eggplant dishes and all of our Eggplant Salads. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Collection: Delicious Pachadi Recipes from South India

What is a pachadi? For many people, it is equivalent to a raita, and indeed there are curd or yoghurt based pachadi dishes that have similarities with the raitas of the North of India. They are both yoghurt based dishes that contain mashed, pounded or diced vegetables, less often fruit, and seasoned with spices. Pachadis vary from raitas in the flavourings and spices used. Typically a yoghurt based pachadi will contain coconut and be seasoned with mustard seeds, ginger, curry leaves and chillies. Raita is typically seasoned with coriander leaves, roasted cumin seeds, mint, chillies, chaat masala and/or other herbs and spices.

It is these yoghurt based pachadis that are the most well known variety of pachadi throughout India. Even Wikipedia believes these are the only pachadi varieties in some regions like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

But my goodness, there are quite a few variations of Pachadi, from the ground vegetable and green ones of Andhra Pradesh, to the mashed vegetables of the South, to ones that contain cooked vegetables or fruits in a white, non-dairy sauce, to the sweet pachadis of Kerala (also without yoghurt). Then there are pachadis with sago, bhoondi or poha. North Karnataka cuisine has some Koshambari varieties without yoghurt or curd which are also called Pachadis.

You can read more about different Pachadi types here. Today we bring you a collection of Pachadi recipes for your enjoyment.

Similar articles include Hearty Dishes for Early Winter, What to Do with Daikon Radish, and A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes.

Browse all of our Pachadi Recipes, and all of our Collections.  You can browse our Indian recipes, and our Indian Essentials series. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Poritha Rasam

Poritha Rasam is a rasam without any souring agent – no tamarind, lime juice or kokum, for example. Many recipes do contain tomatoes (considered a souring agent in India) and of course coconut (a defining feature of Poritha Sambar and Rasam).

The Queen of Tamil Food, Meenakshi Ammal, has a Poritha Rasam that contains no tamarind, lime, coconut, tomatoes, mustard seeds or chillies. It is indeed a simple rasam, but is still very very tasty. It has a toor dal base which helps. It is similar to her Lime Rasams, but without the lime juice.

We are working through the Rasams Chapter in Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See as they are traditional Tamil recipes. Although we are not afraid to step away from the tree, going back to very traditional recipes (that can still be made in the modern kitchen) is an important way to get the hang of traditional as well as modern methods and flavour combinations. I hope you feel the same. There was a really lovely article on her and her books published recently.

See all of the Lime Rasam dishes here. Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, and Pepper Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following article:

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

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Life-Changing Fried Cauliflower with Mint and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Some vegetables that have a poor reputation because they have been over cooked or over-boiled in the past, have redeemed their reputations through roasting or frying. I am thinking of Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower particularly, also Broccoli. I do love Cauli and Broccoli steamed gently but I also have nightmare recollections of how my mother cooked them.

Today we have a life-altering Cauliflower recipe for you. This is REALLY GOOD, and you won’t believe it is vegetarian. Fool your friends!

In this recipe, cauliflower is deep fried in a spicy batter and breadcrumbs, then it is dipped in a sauce made from herbs and tamarind. The original recipe is one of Ottolenghi‘s from Plenty More, but I have changed the batter so that it does not contain eggs. Chickpea flour batter makes an excellent batter for deep frying and we have used that. I have also made the batter spicy and left the breadcrumbs plain. We always feel free to substitute ingredients in Ottolenghi recipes that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage them to suit what is available in our garden and pantry. Seek out his original recipe in the book to compare – I can’t find a version online.

Similar recipes include Cauliflower Roasted in Olive Oil, Cauliflower Fry, and Crispy Cauliflower with Capers.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here and here are the recipes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Collection: Incredible Slaw Recipes

Coleslaw is part of the Australian vernacular – a ubiquitous dish that appears at every buffet, BBQ and feast. Thinly sliced cabbage with grated vegetables in a delicious creamy dressing. I admit a good coleslaw is worth hovering over.

But slaw, without the cole, can come in many forms. The word comes from the Dutch sla, a shredded or chopped salad of raw vegetables, coated in a dressing (and cole comes from kool which means cabbage).

Crisp vegetables that can be shredded easily are best for slaw.  What comes to mind, in addition to cabbage (green, red, savoy and Chinese or Napa), are carrots, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes (especially long white daikon), celery, celeriac, kohlrabi, onions, zucchini, fennel, turnips, capsicum, snow peas, asparagus, jicama, radicchio, witlof, beetroot, green mango, green papaya and even apples and Asian pears. A true farmer’s market collection.

We have some exciting slaw recipes for you, and only three of them contain cabbage! They are salads for all seasons – don’t restrict yourself to Summer slaws.

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Slaw Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Zucchini Carpaccio with Parmesan

Today we bring you another beautiful yet simple salad, Italian in style, featuring zucchini and parmesan. The zucchini is marinated in oil and lemon juice then placed on a bed of rocket with slivers of parmesan. The salad is then scattered with a toasted breadcrumb mixture of onion, olives and feta. Perfect. Easy. Delicious.

Similar recipes include Grilled Zucchini and Fennel, Zucchini, Lemon and Dill Salad, and Salad of Zucchini and Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Zucchini Salads and all of our hundreds of Salads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Caprese Salad | Insalata Caprese

This is one of the most awesome Summer Salads, and, better still, it takes just a minute to two to prepare. Of course it is awesome, it originates from the Italian island of Capri, and you can just feel the summer sea and breezes in this salad. So simple – great tomatoes, sweet basil and fresh mozzarella. In Italy it is usually served as an antipasto, not a contorno (side dish).

The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo as a light lunch for regulars. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cow’s-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products. Elsewhere in Italy it takes the form of just tomato, mozzarella and basil.

The dressing is always only a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Vinegar is thought to destroy the delicate flavour of the cheese and is never used in Italy. Because this salad is so simple, top-rate ingredients are necessary – floury tomatoes, rancid oil and rubbery processed mozzarella are unacceptable.

In fact this is so good that it is worth making double the amount, and using the remainder to pile onto flatbread, garlic toast or just on slices of fresh beautiful bread. Or turn it into another classic Italian salad by adding cubes of dried or crispy baked bread.

Similar dishes include Salad of Rocket and Radicchio with Parmesan, Ensalada, and Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato.

Browse all of our Tomato Salads and all of our Italian recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Onion Pachadi

This Pachadi is a lovely one, flavoured with sauteed onions, green chillies and creamy coconut. Delicious! The play of flavours and textures – I know you will love it. It is another recipe to add to our Raita and Pachadi series.

You might like to read What is a South Indian Pachadi?

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Tomato Raita, Pomegranate Raita, and Carrot Pachadi.

Browse all of our Raitas and all of our Yoghurt dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

We’ve been making this Mung Bean Soup for decades, and it is cross-posted on our Heat in the Kitchen site as well. It appears there as part of our retro recipes – recipes from our 1996-2005 blog.

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A Huge Collection of the Best Ever Chickpea Recipes

Chickpeas, and the flour made from ground chickpeas feature strongly in our kitchen.  Today we want to share with you our most favourite chickpea and chickpea flour recipes. Many of these recipes have been on our kitchen’s menu for over 20 years! They have been shared via our previous blog Food Matters from 1995 – 2006, in person with friends, and through this blog that has been running from 2006.  The older recipes of course don’t show the fashionable food styling that is current today, but here we believe in food for sustenance, food for flavour, and healthy food to keep the body healthy. We are not so much about food for entertainment. I do hope you enjoy.

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