Collection: Delicious Chilli Pastes and Sauces

Where would we be without Chilli Paste? Our kitchen boasts 2 or 3 different ones at any one time, plus of course red and green chillies in the freezer, chilli flakes and 3 different chilli powders. We love a touch of heat in the kitchen, but not everyone has to go this far! A good chilli paste will be your godsend when you are looking to spice up a soup, sauce, pasta dish, dip, avocado mash, even a potato crush!

Browse all of our Chilli recipes, or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Vendakkai Puli Kootu | Okra Tamarind Kootu

Okra is so very good in the shops right now, as I write, so I grabbed some from the Asian market in my last shopping trip. Lovely thin, tender, long spears of goodness – how we love them.

You will love this recipe. It is as simple as Indian cooking can get. The okra is sliced and cooked with tamarind, green chillies and a little toor dal. Other recipes will add tomatoes, onions, garlic, sambar powder or other spices, coconut, etc, but I prefer this simple, honest preparation from the Palghat (Palakkad) area of Kerala. I have made it quite thick, as you can see, as I prefer it that way, but you can have more sauce if you prefer. I found this approach in the book Classic Tamil Brahman Cuisine by Viji Varadarajan.

Similar recipes include Okra Patia, Bhindi Bhaji, and Okra Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Okra dishes and all of our Kerala recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Chana Masala | Channa Masala

My notes on the recipe for this dish say beautiful, hot, deep complex layers of flavour. We’ve been making this for many years, so I am not sure how we missed posting the recipe for you.

Chana Masala is a spicy Punjabi dish where chickpeas are simmered in a sauce made with tomatoes and 11 spices that are perfectly balanced to provide an experience of each spice, should you care to be aware of them.

Is it chana or channa? Transliteration of any other script is always contentious around spelling and pronunciation, let alone in India where different languages and scripts abound. For decades I have called it channa but the consensus online now seems to be chana. Here, on my blog, you will see both. Chana from now on, but older recipes will be channa.

BTW, anardana seeds are dried, sour pomegranate seeds, available from your North Indian grocery.

Similar recipes include Turkish Soup with Chickpeas, Roasted Eggplant with Crushed Chickpeas, and Chickpea Fingers with Tomato Salsa.

Browse all of our Punjabi dishes and all of our Chickpea recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Simple Indian Potato Crush

One way that villagers all over India cook potatoes is to mix with a mash of green chilli, onions and salt. It is that simple, but so delicious. It doesn’t really need a recipe, but where would you be if the post ended here?

The flavour of the chilli and onion are infused into the potatoes by grinding them coarsely with salt with a mortar and pestle (don’t use a spice grinder or processor, you need a pounding not a grinding action to do this successfully.

Similar recipes include Indian Mashed Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Garlicky Potato Mash.

Browse all of our Mashed Potato recipes and all of our Potato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Puli Keerai | Amaranth Greens with Tamarind

Oh the joy of Amaranth. Spectacular in the garden, a delight in the rays of sunset, and absolutely delicious in the kitchen. Today we are cooking Amaranth leaves with tamarind in a simply spiced dish. The leaves are mashed a little but not completely.

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. In Vol 1, she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.

Similar recipes include Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kootu, and Spinach Chutney.

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

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Brussels Sprout and Ginger Slaw

Like many families, Brussels Sprouts never appeared in our kitchen very often. Blame childhood memories of bitter, over-cooked little packages of fear on our plate. Thankfully, we are all wiser now, and our favourite ways of using Brussels Sprouts are raw and roasted.

Today’s salad is a lovely slaw of sprouts and carrots with ginger and chilli, dressed with yoghurt and mayo. How special! But who could create such a recipe, combining all of those flavours? It is of course from Ottolenghi. As much as I rant andΒ  carry on about his recipes, I am truly in love with his flavour combinations and his sheer inventiveness. Good on you, Yotham – continue to challenge our thinking about food and stretch us outside our comfort zone. This recipe is from The Guardian.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – a day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books and articles – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. 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.

Similar recipes include Brussels Sprouts Salad, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomelo, and Brussels Sprouts Risotto.

Browse all of our Brussels Sprouts recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Rocket Salad with Penne Pasta

Rocket, or arugala as it is called in some parts of the world, goes so well with pasta. This salad, quite simple to make, mixes the two with a lemony dressing.Β  It is a more filling salad than those that we have made lately, so very suitable for cooler weather during Late Summer and Autumn, and also as Winter approaches.

Are you looking for other Pasta dishes? Try Pasta with Zucchini, Pasta with Cauliflower, Light Pasta Salads for Lunch, and Orzo Pasta with Wilted Spinach and Feta.

Browse all of our Pasta recipes. This is a Bittman Salad, and others can be browsed here. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Apple and Celery Creamy Yoghurt Salad

Yoghurt is used in salads all over the world, except, it seems, in cuisines such as English based countries. Let’s remedy that by mixing yoghurt and cream (yum!) and using it to dress apples and celery. It is delicious.

Add some fresh walnuts if you wish. They go really well with celery and apples.

Similar dishes include Bondhi Yoghurt Salad, Celery Yoghurt Salad, and Cucumber Yoghurt Salad.

Browse all of our Salads and all of our Yoghurt dishes. Our Apple recipes are here and Celery dishes here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Amaranth Plain Masiyal | Thandukkeerai – Araikkeerai Plain Masiyal

It is quite fun exploring the use of Amaranth Leaves in both Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Right now we are focused on Indian uses (of course) but will explore the uses in Middle Eastern and other cuisines as long as our season of Amaranth lasts. Luckily the plants are self-sowing, so there will be another amaranth forest next year, no doubt.

This dish is another Masiyal with Amaranth Leaves – the third one we have made. 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. In Vol 1, and she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.

Generally masiyal is made with toor dal but less commonly it is made without dal, as in this recipe. TheΒ  vegetables generally are mashed or finely chopped, and there are (generally) no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices.

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 Puli Keerai, Ridged Gourd Masiyal, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kootu, and Spinach Chutney.

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

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Indian Spiced Teas (Infusions) for Good Health

We love iced spiced infusions in Summer and hot, warming infusions in Winter. We call them Teas, even Herbal Teas, but there is hardly a herb in site in these, and there are no tea leaves to be found. In India, any label that includes “Tea” indicates the presence of tea leaves, so to call an infusion a tea is very confusing there. Here, we call anything that is infused and sipped a tea.

These infusions can be consumed hot or chilled over ice. As I write it is 42C here in down town outer Adelaide. We have a spice mix infusing in the large tea pot. When it is cool it will be refrigerated and served over ice in the heat of the afternoon. It might be garnished with lemon slices and lemon verbena leaves, or maybe mint leaves.

The thing about spiced infusions is that they do have Ayurvedic properties. I have listed doshas here, but if you haven’t heard of doshas, then ignore them and just enjoy the spice combinations. Please note that I am not am Ayurvedic practitioner, so if you need health advice, please consult a professional.

I collect recipes for different Ayurvedic infusions and chai – these are ones that I’ve come across recently.

Similar recipes include Tulsi Tea, Ginger Cooler, and CCF Tea.

You can see our Ayurvedic related posts here, and all of our teas and infusions here. Or browse our recipes for hot, Mid Summer weather.

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