Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce

It is interesting to compare the Madhur Jaffrey version of Kerala’s Aviyal (delicious) with this traditional Tamil version from Meenakshi Ammal (also delicious). Madhur Jaffrey wrote for Western audiences, and used commonly available ingredients and vegetables, while Meenakshi Ammal wrote for Indian wives using locally available produce. There will also be regional differences. The first thing I noticed is that Ammal specifically excludes okra from the recipe list, while Jaffrey includes it. (I did put a few in this time, I quite enjoy them.)

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.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Avial can be made with a liquid sauce of coconut and yoghurt, or the sauce can remain thick and just coats the vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice.

The word aviyal (aka avial) is also used to denote ‘boiled’ or ‘cooked in water’ —this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. They say that the origins of this recipe is from the Nambudiri cuisine but it is now common throughout South India.

Similar recipes include Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

Browse all of our Aviyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Cluster Beans Kootu

This kootu recipe is one that can be made with cluster beans alone or with added cooked bean seeds or whole cooked chickpeas. It is easy and quite versatile. I love the taste of cluster beans with their gentle bitterness, and make it most often with them alone.

Sambar vadams can be used in this dish, but they are difficult to find here. Add them if you wish.

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.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Cluster Bean Dal Kootu, Sambar, and Mango Kootu.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Cluster Bean dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Vegetable Cutlets

I simply cannot keep away from Indian snacks.

I’ve been feeding my love of these snacks by slowly reading Rukmini Srinivas’ book Tiffin, and cooking my way through the recipes. Both activities, reading and cooking, are mouth-watering. The cutlets are packed with goodness (even though they are deep fried – ssshhhhhh). They are addictively crisp on the outside and soft and textured within.

Vegetable Cutlets are very popular snacks. They are often crumb-coated and always fried or deep fried for that great crisp texture. Cutlets are best served hot with chutney or sauce.

This recipe is the one that her Appa used to make, grinding the vegetables in an old meat grinder. When my father passed away, my brother inherited his old grinder – now I wish I had kept this ancient machine. The food processor does not quite match up to the quality produced by these (but I am nostalgic with memories. Of course the food processor will work, and does a surprisingly good job.)

You MUST have these with strong coffee and the Orange-Green Chilli Relish that I published a couple of days ago. It has a refreshing burst of citrus and is a sweet-spicy sauce. You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.

It’s interesting how the Indian cuisine has adopted the words cutlet and chop for vegetable based dishes – not doubt (I assume), replicating the non-veg versions of their English invaders.

Similar recipes include Falafel, the Huge Vine Leaf Pakora, and Broad Bean Vada.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Nimbu Sherbet | Indian Lemonade or Limeade

Traditionally India has not had a strong culture of alcoholic drinks, except for a few pockets where naturally fermenting products meant some developed a taste for it (and a reputation, no doubt).

Consequently India has such a rich variety of non-alcoholic drinks, a seemingly infinite variety of all types of drinks – hot, cold, juices, milk based, fruit based, yoghurt based, infusions, coffees, chais, with seeds, without seeds, … It is fascinating to those of us who grew up in countries where choices are limited to water, coffee, tea, wine and beer. Perhaps some soft drink and orange juice. Maybe apple juice. But not much beyond that.

Additionally, the weather is hot in India, rivalling our own temperatures of 40C – 45C in Summer, with the additional humidity in India. Right before the monsoon is when the heat is the most unbearable–daily extreme temperatures and 100% humidity. There is no choice but to adapt, and until more recently, electricity was not available everywhere for aircon. So shady houses and verandahs can be common, people stay out of the heat in the mid day, roof tops are used at night for cooler breezes, and refreshing drinks are made in the afternoons.

Also, many drinks contain salt. It makes the drinks very tasty, but there is also a health reason for this – in heat we lose salt from our bodies through our perspiration. So rehydrating drinks in the afternoon provide water, salt and also sugar for energy in the heat. How sensible!

Already we have posted (and made) a range of Indian drinks, especially Lassi (great for Summer mornings!) and Chai (excellent afternoon and evening cold weather cuppas), and a few cold drinks (Summer sipping). Today is definitely a hot weather drink – Nimbu Sherbet, Indian Lemonade (or Limeade).

Similar recipes include Panakam, Jal Jeera, Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, and Cumin, Coriander and Ginger Iced Tea.

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

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Orange and Green Chilli Relish

Chutneys, pickles and relishes define Indian food. Today we have an unusual one, and Orange Relish with Green Chillies. It is pretty good – sweet, spicy and sour-tangy all at the same time. It is cooked like a jam but with savoury spices with the oranges. The idea came from Tiffin, the book by Rukmini Srinivas, but we have altered it just a little.

The relish goes really well with Vegetable Cutlets (which are also very divine). It can be used with any snack, or in sandwiches and wraps, over rice, and with a nice, hard cheese on crackers.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato Chutney, Radish and Mint Chutney, and Roasted Tomato Chutney.

Browse all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Cucumber Kosumalli | Indian Cucumber and Lentil Salad

Kosumalli is delightful Indian salad generally made with cucumber, but other vegetables can be used. There are many variations of this salad – this is our sixth version.  It is an easy salad to make, once the dal is soaked.

You might like to read What is Kosumalli aka Koshambari.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Lentil Kosumalli, Cucumber Salad with Sesame, and Cucumber Koshimbir.

Browse all of our Kosumalli dishes and Cucumber Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Tomato Rasam with Lime Juice

Tomato Rasam has to be one of the most loved Rasams of South India – it certainly is mine. We have a number of different recipes for Tomato Rasam, as well as variations on Lime Rasam, and today I am bringing you Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe. It is an interesting one, using lime juice as the souring agent instead of tamarind. There is no chilli in this recipe, rather black pepper is used to provide some heat. The top water of cooked lentils is also used for added flavour (and nutrition), akin to using stock in Western soups. It is a good practice, one I adopted years ago – when there is flavoursome water in which lentils have been cooked, make rasam. Or at least use in soups. I surprised a friend once – we were on holidays in Hawaii and had cooked some lentils for a lunch dish. I saved the water and whipped up a tasty rasam with some snacks for our afternoon tea. She adored it.

Back to our recipe today. This particular Tomato Rasam 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. You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Cumin Seed and Pepper Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and Tomato Rasam.

Browse all of our Tomato Rasams and all of our Rasam recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Grilled Pineapple with Chilli, Basil and Green Tomato Dressing

Pineapples are very cheap here at different times of the year, often selling for under $1. At these times we like to grab a couple and make juices and cook our favourite dishes. This is one of them – pineapple grilled on the BBQ – so Summery! – and them mixed with chilli, herbs, lime, and another Summer favourite, a dressing made from Green Tomatoes. Wowee!

You can make this salad with halved, stoned peaches too (Divine!), some partially roasted red grapes (oh my!), roasted figs (drool!) and even sweet plums! Think about using honey dew melon or rockmelon (perhaps without grilling). Or change the dressing for a herbaceous, chilli-garlic-spice dressing.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Pineapple Kachumber, Chilli Pineapple Salad,  and Green Tomato and Pineapple Salsa.

Browse all of our Pineapple recipes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Sea Spaghetti, Ginger and Carrot Salad

I have been looking for seaweeds in my local neighbourhood, and have been surprised at the scarcity and price! The range seems to be dictated by the “superfood” label rather than considering them as ingredients. The range is also limited to Dulse, Nori and Wakame, with nare a piece of kombu in sight (one shop owner even asked me what kombu was!). Sigh. A quick search online finds them at half the store price but the range remains the same in most cases. I found an online shop stocking Seaweed Spaghetti (The Essential Ingredient) and quickly ordered some.

It is a pity that it is not more common, as this recipe, one of Ottolenghi’s in Plenty More, makes great use of Sea Spaghetti. It looks like dark fettuccine and has a similar texture. Perhaps it should be called Sea Fettuccine, to be more precise. If you are keen to try this, but find it is impossible to find Sea Spaghetti, and if you have wakame in the pantry, use that. Or use any seaweed that you have or can find locally. You will just have to prepare it specifically for the type of seaweed, rather than cooking it as described in this recipe.

Similar recipes include Pomelo and Carrot Salad, Mung Bean and Carrot Salad, and Chickpea and Ginger Salad.

Browse all of our Carrot Salads and all of our recipes from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Rösti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives | Potato Rosti

Thanks to the Swiss for beautiful, versatile, easy rösti. Beautiful. I don’t claim this as a traditional Rosti – my Swiss friend rolled his eyes in horror. However, I do claim that it is delicious.

I make small rösti, rather rustically – ragged and straw-like around the edges – but that is my nature. Using raw potatoes for the rösti is easy, though I hear that is typical only in the Zurich area – the rest of the country insists upon parboiling them first.

This can be used as part of a main meal, or as an any-time snack.

Similar recipes include Potato Bhaji, Deep Fried Potato Strings, and Cumin and Pepper Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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