Plantains are delicious, a variety of banana that is eaten while green. India uses them a lot, far more than Western cuisines which tend to ignore them completely. Enjoy these spicy dishes and snacks.
From the moment that pineapple hits the shops in late Spring or Summer, it is a regular feature in our kitchen. Salads of course, or just wedges to suck at. But then there are curries, grilled when BBQing, and endless cooling juices.
One of the dishes that I grew up with is tomatoes, halved, and seared in a frying pan, cut side down, until soft and caramelised. Is it an Australian thing? or maybe a rural Australian thing? These were served as a side dish or with a breakfast spread. They are really great with baked beans, for example.
Today I love them just as they are. Great tomatoes, good olive oil, some crunchy bread and a little salt. Perfection. They are also great on flatbread type bases – use wraps, tortillas, socca or pudla. Squish them, or not, and use on toast, in salads, on nachos type dishes and pizzas, or spread a puree and top with these yummy tomatoes. They can also be squished into a pasta sauce, or normal sauce, or Indian style chutney. Which ever way, scatter with lots of chopped herbs and spring onions (scalliions).
The flavour of this dish belies its simplicity.
This dish is also an excellent one for the BBQ.
A favourite of our family
Purslane is abundant in our garden even in Autumn. All season, since early December, it appears in different parts of the garden. We have followed it around, pulling out the plants and using the leaves. A nice way to keep it under control.
Today we have used it in an urad dal, and it turned out to add that beautiful lemony flavour to the dish as well as a little texture against the creamy urad. I hope you like this dish.
Are you looking for similar Dal recipes? Try Ghol Takatli Bhaji, Urad Dal with Onions Four Ways, Simple Monk’s Dal, Urad with Tomato, Coconut and Coriander, Urad Dal Sundal, and Urad Dal Garlic Rice. Or try Moolangi Tovve (Daikon Dal).
Also browse How to Use Purslane in Salads.
We have a few ways of making Cucumber Pachadi, varying just a little in ingredients. This is one of the simplest and one of the favourites.
It is of course, from Meenakshi Ammal and Vol 1 of her Cook and See books.
Similar recipes include Okra Pachadi, Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Chow Chow Kari, Vellarikkai Thayir Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi, and Bitter Melon Pachadi.
Or browse all of our Pachadi recipes.
This beautiful salad is one of Ottolenghi’s simplest dishes. Appropriately, it is from his book Simple. You can make it in just over 5 minutes – perfect for a weekday evening, and spectacular at a weekend BBQ, picnic or lunch.
The quality of the ingredients make this dish, so you’ll need the best tomatoes – preferably home grown ones if possible – as well as the best sherry vinegar you can afford.
The salsa is glorious spooned on all sorts of dishes, from toast topped with mozzarella and/or avocado to lentil salads and pasta dishes. So double or triple the quantities when you make it. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.
As I mentioned, this is an Ottolenghi dish from Simple – note that we feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. If you want to check his original recipe, see his books and Guardian column.
Browse all of our Tomato Salads, and all of our Ottolenghi dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.
We are so blessed that we get good quality okra locally at a cheap price. Move closer to the city and it is rare and expensive. Our local shops stock it by the barrel load, a testament to the local Indian, Nepalese and Middle Eastern communities. I had never used Okra as much before I shifted into this area. It shows just how much that the stock in our shops influences our behaviour.
This is another Pachadi, a South Indian dish of yoghurt, okra and spices, a cooling and healthy dish. I have a few other Okra raita dishes – each one is a little different.
Similar recipes include Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi, Methi Sprouts Tambuli, Okra Tamarind Pachadi, Zucchini, Lime Leaf and Yoghurt Salad, Sauteed Okra with Ginger and Garlic, Roasted Okra with Tomato, Aloo Bhindi, and Bhindi Raita.
It is orange season and so all of our orange recipes come out to add delight to our kitchen menus again. This beautiful pilaf is so good – full of orangey flavours and a visual delight.
We made this recently in one of our late night COVID-19 lockdown cooking sessions, around 10pm after endless zoom meetings. Luckily the rice had been soaked and dried, so the cooking was not a chore. There are no photos for this recipe yet – almost a travesty in this visual era. But we wanted to share it with you and keep it on our blog as a record of our best loved dishes.
Purslane, Portulaca Oleracea, is an edible succulent plant that spreads vigorously. The leaves are crunchy with a tangy lemon-peppery flavour. It pops up in gardens here from December (early Summer) through to Autumn. It is prolific in my garden, so much so that I can pull the whole plants out when young, nip off the root and use the stem and leaves. For larger plants, stems are picked and leaves removed. You should always wash it really well as it is such a ground-hugging plant.
Pick them early in the day for best flavours. If I need to pick them later in the day, I will cover them in water for an hour or so until they perk up and lift their heads. Don’t soak any longer, they turn to mush (being a succulent).
In some parts of the world you can buy Purslane in green groceries but in Australia that is not the case. So you can forage alongside footpaths and in parks and green areas, but always be careful that it has not been sprayed. The best way is to purchase some seed, or gather it from flowering foraged plants, and grow in your own garden. Once you have planted it in your garden you will always have it. It grows best in warm to hot, dry climates.
It is used around the world, from Greece to Mexico, South Africa, India and Turkey. It is a nutritional medicine cabinet in a plant with remarkable amounts of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It is mainly used raw but is also cooked in some places, such as India.
We’ve put together some of our favourite salads using Purslane to inspire you. Be sure to let us know how you use it and which salads are your favourite. Don’t forget that you can use Purslane to replace other sour or lemony ingredients such as sorrel in salads and other dishes.
Kuku , sort of like a Persian omelette or frittata, comes in many forms. I love this one that I make at home without eggs. Because it doesn’t have eggs I tend to make it looser than a frittata but it can be cooked more omelette-like and I include instructions below. It is packed with herbs, and I love the tart barberries with the crunch of the walnuts.
Kuku is traditionally served with flatbread, crunchy items like radishes, acidic pickles and feta. Today I have served it on a Cauliflower Puree as well. It is a great mezze dish.
The inspiration for this dish originally came from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. But as his is an egg-based dish, we have made significant alterations. It is delicious, though, retaining the original flavours of barberries and herbs. I like that Ottolenghi’s version is a “wet version” – it sort of justifies my take on this dish. His recipe is here.