Eggplant and Kale Pakora

Pakora are a favourite street food in India, and one that can easily be made at home. Recipes use a chickpea flour batter into which vegetables are dipped and then deep fried. I like to serve these Pakora with sea salt and lemon juice only, but they are commonly eaten with Indian sauces and chutneys.  One word describes them. Delicious. Incredibly delicious. Have a glass of chai with them – I also love them with a small cup of spicy rasam.

In frying the pakora (also called pakoda, bhajji and bhajiya) the aim is to cook the vegetable in the same amount of time that the batter takes to become crispy. It is about temperature, so it is a good idea to test-fry a few pieces before cooking the whole batch.

The types of vegetables that can be used include potatoes, onion rings, eggplant, sweet potatoes, softer pumpkins, lotus root, cauliflower and greens such as spinach, kale and amaranth leaves. Make sure that any greens are really dry before using.

Similar recipes include Red Onion and Green Chilli Pakora, Okra and Cauliflower Pakora, and Vegetable Fritters.

Browse all of our Pakoras and all of our Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Purslane Salad with Tomatoes

Purslane is that lemony tart succulent-leaved plant that is considered a weed. In fact, for many years, I hounded it from the gardens that I had the pleasure to work in. But, well hello!, the leaves are beautiful in salads and even in cooked dishes.

This is a very simple salad, but delightful. It features Purslane, whereas we usually just added it to other salad ingredients. It also makes a great substitute for rocket and sorrel in your salads, if you don’t have any of those ingredients at hand.

Similar recipes include Purslane Salad with Radish, Peas with Purslane and Mustard, and Purslane Salad with Burrata.

Browse all of our Purslane dishes, and all of our Salads. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Black Barley with Mushrooms and Roti-Style Yoghurt Flatbreads

Black barley is a terrific find, it is nutty and dark in flavour and cooks easily in 35 – 45 minutes. I came across it at Goodies and Grains in Adelaide Central Market while I was stocking up with a few items. It is an African barley just becoming available more locally. It is excellent in soups, salads, vegetarian “stews” (let’s call it a ragout) like this one and even with tostadas and such like. As a base for other ingredients, it is excellent – try Black Barley with this Charred Okra dish.

Today we are using it to replace pearl barley (you can do that in any recipe). Ottolenghi has a recipe for Barley and Mushrooms in his book Plenty. We first made this around 2011, when my daughter and her family came back from London. There was much celebration. Barley and mushroom is a soothing combination. It’s mainly a textural thing, with the barley both gently breaking and enhancing the mushroomy gloopiness. The recipe uses 3 types of mushrooms, and today we used porcini, shiitake and pearl mushrooms, as I had pearl mushrooms left over from making a Soba Noodle and Mushroom dish.

Ottolenghi’s recipe also has some roti-like flatbreads made from wholewheat flour and mixed with yoghurt. These are rolled out and cooked on a tawa, flat griddle or frying pan. They are super easy to make and go with any dish similar to this one. You can also use any Mexican or Middle Eastern flatbread to compliment the barley if you are out of time to make your own. Or some frozen roti from your Indian Grocery.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

It is a very wintery dish – perfect for brisk Autumn days through to Winter.

Similar recipes include Charred Okra with Barley, Barley and Porcini Risotto, and Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms.

Browse our Black Barley recipes, all of our Barley dishes and our Mushroom recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through his Plenty More book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
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Boondi Salad with Chickpeas and Coconut Dressing

For a change we bring you a salad that features either boondi or puffed rice. You can buy these easily at your Indian grocer. If purchasing puffed rice from the supermarket, make sure that you are not buying sweetened cereal. You need an unsweetened one for this dish.

Boondi are a deep fried, pearl sized, crispy Indian snack food prepared from gram flour (chickpea flour) and few spices. Make sure you have the unsweetened variety of these also. They are available from Indian groceries. Boondi often comes with its own prepared spice mix included in the packet. You can add it to the salad.

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Brinjal Rasam | Eggplant Rasam | and Eggplant Rasam with Rosewater

Brinjal Rasam is a type of Mysore Rasam, but with eggplant added. It is a delightful combination – whether in sambar or Rasam, toor dal and eggplant are a match made in heaven. It is another recipe from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See.

One of the interesting notes that Ammal Auntie makes in Mysore Rasam is that the addition of Rose petals (or rose water) to Mysore Rasam (the second method) brings out the flavour and provides a nice rose scent. She is right! If you are going to try this, best leave out the asafoetida. The rose water has a tang of its own, and it tames some of the rasam’s spiciness. The scent is certainly there and it is not unpleasant, as strange as it may seem. It does go well with the eggplant.

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Easy Tomato Pepper Rasam

Sometimes, particularly when cooking large batches of dishes, we skip corners and the steps that enhance the complexity and sophistication of the dish go by the wayside. And this is Ok – it still tastes jolly amazing.

This rasam is in that category. The recipe is for 2’ish cups (four small serves or 2 large ones), but it can be scaled up. This is the way that rasam is often cooked when 30 or so people need to be fed, and in our house, it might be made this way when it is 15 mins to dinner time and we just need to get it on the table.

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Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Pasta is back in fashion! The supermarket shelves are bowing under the weight of the multitude of different types and brands of pasta. Italian shops are extending their shelves to stock the increased range. Customers are querying staff about the different sorts and the differences between brands.

The local Italian shop is amazing, their staff very knowledgeable, and the range of pastas outstanding. Using a good quality pasta makes quite a difference.

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Peanut Noodle Salad with Coriander, Mint and Thai Basil

A herby noodle salad with a sauce that combines the creaminess of both peanut butter and coconut milk, bringing an Asian island flavour to this salad. It is fresh and inviting with a touch of heat and it deserves a place at your table.

Are you looking for other Noodle dishes? Try Broth and Dipping Sauce for Noodles and Tofu, Fox Noodles, and Sesame-Ginger Sauce for Noodles.

Browse all of our Noodle dishes here, and use our basic pasta/noodle recipe to make your own noodles. All of our salads are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Soba Noodles, Cucumber and Wakame Salad with Sesame Seeds

Ah, the wealth of noodles from all parts of Asia – Korea, Japan, China, South East Asia and India. An infinite number. Our local Asian grocery alone must stock over 100 different noodles. While traditional uses make fabulous dishes, using them in other ways is also delicious. For example, build salads around them.

Today’s salad is takes soba noodles as its basis and adds cooling cucumber, Japanese seaweed, miso and toasted sesame seeds. It’s a beauty!

Are you after other Noodle dishes? Try Peanut Noodle Salad with Coriander and Mint, Broth and Dipping Sauce for Noodles and Tofu, Fox Noodles, and Sesame-Ginger Sauce for Noodles.

Browse all of our Noodle dishes here, and use our basic Pasta/Noodle recipe to make your own noodles. All of our Salads are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Summer Roll Salad

Who does not like Summer Rolls, the South East Asian dish of crunchy ingredients wrapped in rice wrappers and served with a peanut sauce? They are so summery, refreshing and cooling.

This recipe deconstructs the Summer Rolls and turns it into a Salad. It is from Bittman’s 100 Salads. We are working our way through these and doing so has changed the way we eat quite significantly. Salads are definitely a part of our day now.

Are you after some South East Asian dishes? Try Lightly Pickled Cucumber and Tofu Salad, Deep Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce, and Spicy, Crunchy, Herby Salad.

Browse all of our Bittman Salads, or all of our many many Salads of all types. All of our South East Asian recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Jicama Salad with Cucumber and Lime | Yam Bean Salad

This is a simple Jicama Salad, easy and quick to make, which matches its crispy apple taste with the Summery freshness of cucumber.  A little heat from chilli and a tang from lime juice, and a gorgeous salad is born.

Jicama, or Yam Bean, is a funny little vegetable, with papery brown skin that can be pulled off in layers. There is nothing there to suggest the beautiful white flesh below which is so crisp, juicy and a little sweet, with a taste hinting at apples. It is versatile, perfect in salads, making wonderful pickles, and can be cooked as well.

Are you looking for other Jicama recipes? Try Jicama and Green Mango Salad, Pickled Jicama, and Jicama Salad with Coconut Milk.

Or perhaps Cucumber recipes? Try Sunday Salad, Cucumber Salad with Japanese Dressing, and Cucumber Yoghurt Salad.

Browse all of our Jicama dishes, our Cucumber recipes, and all of our many many salads. Or take some time to explore our Late Summer recipes.

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Pudalangai Thayir Pachadi | Snake Gourd Yoghurt Pachadi

Snake gourd is commonly available in our Indian and Asian grocery shops, so it appears periodically in our kitchen. This is an easy dish to make with the snake gourd – the ginger-coconut yoghurt a wonderful foil to the green crispiness of the vegetable. It is another of the wealth of yoghurt pachadi dishes (vegetables in yoghurt) of South India, Tamil Nadu in particular.

Similar dishes include Bitter Melon Pachadi, Tomato Pachadi, Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, and Crisp Okra Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi dishes and our Snake Gourd recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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Dried Turmeric Okra | Vendaikai Vathal

Ah Fryums. Dried vegetables that are then fried and served in sambar or kuzhambu, with yoghurt as a pachadi or raita, or as an accompaniment to rice.

To make these Okra Fryums they are soaked in yoghurt for 2 days and then dried. Traditionally they would be dried on rooftops in the hot sun, but as that is not possible here, a dehydrator will substitute. I used Vidhyas Home Cooking as a guide for making these.

Are you after other Vathal? Read this article about them and then try Mango Vathal and this other recipe for Okra Vathal. We also have Dried Mung Dal Nuggets.

Or perhaps other Okra dishes? Try Baked Okra in Dukkah, Spicy Dried Okra Snack, Pickled Okra, and Goan Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Vathal. Have a look at our Autumn Preserving article. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Gorgonzola and White Bean Salad with Chickpeas

For a huge amount of time, gorgonzola was not available in Australia. It was a source of huge frustration for any foodie, particularly those who love cheeses. But over the years, the restrictions have been relaxed and gorgonzola now appears even on supermarket shelves.

Need I say that we love this cheese? Here is another salad that uses it. It is one of our simple salads and combines the cheese with some tomatoes and Chickpeas and/or White Beans. I like to use cannelini or haricot beans. If you can’t get gorgonzola, there are more cost effective Australian Blue Cheeses that are also divine.

Are you looking for other Gorgonzola Salads? Try a Gorgonzola Snack, and Gorgonzola Torte.

Or other White Bean Salads? Try Roasted Red Pepper Salad with White Beans and Mozzarella, Grilled Eggplant Salad with White Beans, and Easy White Bean Salad.

Or perhaps Chickpea Salads? Try xBoondi Salad with Chickpeas and Coconut, Green Salad with Chickpeas and Feta, Chickpea Tabouleh, and Chickpea and Carrot Salad with a Curry Dressing.

Browse all of our Gorgonzola dishes, all of our White Bean recipes and all of our Chickpea recipes. All of our many many Salads are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Tomato Salad with Lemon or Lime

Tomato Salads can be quite simple yet pack a flavour punch. In this world of complex recipes, it is worth having dishes that you can get onto the table in less than 5 minutes – dishes that will compliment the rest of your meal.

Recently we have been making tomato salads – we love to make them in Autumn as Autumn tomatoes are so flavoursome. Today’s recipe is a reminder that simple is often the best. Oh yes.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Tomato Salad, Tomato Salad with Green Olives, and the Best Tomato Salad.

Browse all of our Tomato salads and all of our Salads. Or browse our Mid Autumn recipes.

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