Herby Masala Vadai with Tomato Mint Chutney

We are here, munching some Masala Vadai for afternoon tea. These vadai are chock-a-block full of  herbs – coriander and dill. Dill is an uncommon (but not unusual) herb in Indian cuisine, but its use here is wonderful.

The recipe is adapted from one in the book Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas. We’ve been enjoying reading from it and now want to cook the recipes. The original includes flax seeds which is a very healthy addition, but we have left them out this time.

The recipe is very adaptable. The paste is made from urad, channa and toor dals with the herbs, onions, chilli and ginger added. I can imagine these made with slightly mashed broad beans (the Western type of broad beans), for example, or a coarse mash of peas. Finely chopped capsicums or finely grated carrots would  be a variation if you were sick of the herbs.

The Tomato Mint Chutney is delightful and pairs well with the vadai. Sometimes  I will use sweet chilli sauce, or a herby yoghurt dip, or an Indian green chutney.

A high speed blender like Vitamix is best for grinding the lentils if you don’t have an Indian grinder. Use one that has a tamper if you can, to minimise the number of times you have to scrape the sides down. One of the modern high speed food processors might also work well. Remember that you want a coarse mix, not a fine paste. Also the mix needs to be shaped into patties, so do not add water unless absolutely necessary.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Falafel, and Tattai Vadai.

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

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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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Monk’s Ayurvedic Dal with Green Peppers

One can’t overemphasise the delicious and nourishing qualities of mung beans. Use the whole green beans for delicious, grounded, darker flavours, and the hulled yellow split mung dal for lighter, summery yet nourishing flavours.

This dal comes again from The Monk’s Cookbook by the beloved Monks on Kauai. A very simple dish but one packed with flavours. Their recipe feeds 20, and I have modified it down to a family meal size. It takes no more than about 45 mins to cook – 35 – 40 for the dal and the rest for the tadka.

Similar dishes include Monk’s Bhindi Subzi, Simple Monk’s Dal, and Fenugreek Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our recipes from the Monk’s Cookbook, and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essential Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Rajasthani Spiced Green Tomatoes | Green Tomato Chutney

Green tomatoes are very special, and how wonderful it is to have a green grocer who knows this and stocks them. To be able to find them easily is exciting, and several always make it into our shopping bag.

This time we made this delightful Spicy Green Tomato dish, and it is a cracker! It can be used either as a Indian style Chutney, or a spicy side dish. It is a Rajasthani recipe that is very easy to make – simply cook the tomatoes with the spices. No complicated procedures involved.

Similar recipes include Green Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, and Green Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Green Tomato recipes, and all of our Tomato dishes. Our Indian Chutneys are here, all of our Indian recipes here, and the Indian Essential Series here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Persian Love Tea | Saffron Tea

Years ago, on my first trip to India, I had the most beautiful tea of Saffron and spices. I still make that often, but it is also very nice to pare the tea back and make an infusion with only saffron, or with saffron and rose buds. It is an amazingly relaxing tea which can be consumed hot or chilled.

While this is commonly called a Persian recipe it is also found all through India which is not surprising given the attention to spices in that sub continent. We prefer saffron from Saffron Only – it is excellent quality with long threads. (I love this saffron, and do not receive any remuneration for mentioning them.)

Similar recipes include Saffron Spice Tea, Ginger Cooler, and Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea.

Browse all of our Chai recipes and Herbal Teas. Explore all of our Drinks. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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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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Algerian Eggplant Salad and Spread | Betanjal M’charmel

We love our pastes, purees, spreads, dips and powders, and the kitchen is always full of them. On a cold and rainy early Summer day, we wanted tea and snacks, so two spreads were created for the crusty bread from our Italian fruiterer, and life was good again. We no longer cared about the rain.

This spread (or side salad, mezze style), is made from sliced eggplant which has been baked until soft and mashed with spices. It is then gently fried until all moisture is lost, and served with harissa. Delicious! Sometimes it is referred to as a jam, rather than a salad or spread.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Puree with Chilli Oil, White Bean, Sage and Roasted Garlic Spread, and Green Olive Tapenade.

Browse all of our Spreads, Dips, Pastes and Purees. Our Salads are here. Or explore our Early Summer 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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Turmeric Chickpea Hummus

Hummus is pretty common in everyone’s home and in many a Middle Eastern restaurant. We make it a lot, whizzing it up in the food processor in a matter of minutes. There are many variations on hummus, but we now have our favourite way of making it, so it is a no-fuss, no thinking dish that can be on the table in under 5 minutes (if you have cooked the chickpeas ahead of time – we keep bags of them in the freezer).

Recently I came across Turmeric Chickpeas – chickpeas that have been soaked and cooked with a lot of turmeric. You can read about our experiments with them here or jump straight to the recipe (you will need it for the hummus).

For this recipe we use Turmeric Chickpeas instead of plain, ordinary chickpeas. It is the same recipe as our usual hummus, just that we are adding this twist. BTW, if you are interested in reading about the different thoughts about how to make the best hummus, check our usual recipe. It also has some variations that you can incorporate.

Similar dishes include Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas, Celeriac Hummus with Cauliflower Tabbouleh, Smashed Chickpeas with Dukkah and Brocolli, and Creamy Pearl Hummus Salad.

You might like to browse all of our Dips and all of our Chickpea recipes. Explore our Middle Eastern recipes. Or take some time and browse our Mid Spring recipes.

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