100 Vegetables (and Fruits): #83. Persimmon

Persimmons are so divine, and a beautiful, Autumnal colour. We don’t use them much, preferring to eat them just as they are. But I have one recipe for you – look at that colour!

You can browse all of our Persimmon recipes. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Fried Tomatoes in Garlic Infused Oil

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.

Similar dishes include Peppers Stuffed with Tomatoes, Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice, and Red Rice cooked in Tomato Juice.

Browse all of our Tomato dishes. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Urad Tamatar Dal | Urad Dal with Tomatoes and Purslane

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.

Browse all of the Urad recipes and our Indian recipes. Check out our Indian Essentials. Our Dal dishes are here. Or explore and be inspired by our easy Late Autumn recipes.

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Cucumber Pachadi (or use Snake Gourd, Ridge Gourd or Chow Chow)

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.

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Tomato Carpaccio with Spring Onion and Ginger Salsa

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.

Similar recipes include Tomato Salad with Ginger and Lime, Tomato Salad with Parsley Oil, and Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad.

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.

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Indian Melon and Tamarind Kuzhambu with Brown Chickpeas | Kadalai Puli Kuzhambu

This is a delicious dish that can be made with Ash Gourd, Winter Melon, Bottle Gourd, Green Squash, Pumpkin, drumsticks or a mix of vegetables. It includes brown chickpeas (kala chana) cooked with toor dal for both silky smoothness with the chunky chickpeas. It is a dish from Tamil Nadu.

Similar recipes include Curry Leaf Kuzhambu, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind.

Or browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes.

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3-Cheese Eggplant Bake

This is a gorgeous baked dish with eggplants, cream and 3 soft cheeses. It is made without eggs and the result is an addictive dish with a thick set custard-like consistency.

The recipe is an adapted version of Ottolenghi’s Eggplant Cheesecake from Plenty More. I have made it egg-free. If you want to check the original recipe have a look here.

Like all good cheesecakes, tucking into this is so effortless and soothing that it’s easy to forget yourself and just gobble up more and more. And, like a sweet cheesecake, it’s also a bit of a no-brainer that yields very impressive results.

This is a soft dish, so is best spooned from the baking dish onto serving plates. A rustic alternative would be to bake it in a casserole and spoon out portions at the table.

Serve as a starter or for lunch with a lemony salad of bitter leaves and fresh herbs.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree, Eggplant, Beetroot and Potato Bake, Noodles with Fried Eggplant and Walnuts, and Roasted Eggplant with Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.

Or browse our Eggplant recipes and our Ottolenghi dishes.

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Purslane Salads | How to Use Purslane in Salads

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.

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Nethu Kottu Flour Pachadi | Kottu Maavu Pachadi

There are a couple of pachadi recipes that are healthy and delicious and also perfect for the times that you don’t have any vegetables to add. One is Daunker Pachadi, made with powdered urad dal, and this one, Kottu Mauva Pachadi, made with powdered mixed dals and grains.

It is quite easy to make if you have a spice grinder – the roasted dals and grains are ground to a powder with turmeric and pepper.

This is a recipe from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See Volume 1. We love cooking these 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 Okra Pachadi, Poha Yoghurt Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi, Tri Colour Pachadi, and Bitter Melon Pachadi.

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Roasted Red Capsicum and Feta Dip and Spread

I love recipes that are endlessly versatile – dips and spreads that can use a variety of vegetables, bread recipes into which you can knead different flours, herbs, and liquids, soups that take almost anything that you have on your kitchen bench. These sorts of dishes are the lifeblood of the kitchen, using up what you have, what has arrived, what you’ve been given, what has ripened.

A great base for a dip is formed from any combination of feta, yoghurt, cream cheese, ricotta, and/or tahini. Into that puree can go some lightly cooked vegetable and flavourings. Nuts can be added to thicken and flavour the mix. It is endlessly malleable.

Today it is roasted red capsicum, feta, yoghurt and walnuts.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Spread, Horseradish Dip, and Beetroot and Yoghurt Dip.

Or simply browse all of our Dips and Spreads.

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