Saar | A Goan Rasam

By the late 1990’s I was beginning to cook Indian food or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I expanded my love of Indian food to Tamil cuisine and South Indian in general.

Saar is similar to the Tamil dish Rasam, but with Goan twists. The recipe is from Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues. I picked it up on one of my early trips to Goa. It is like the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. I love to look through the book and remember my many visits to Goa over the years. I adore exploring the different areas of Goa, away from the tourist attractions, and dive into the different cultures. There were many times I travelled with a friend on his motorbike, exploring off-road areas and little-known beaches, as well as the local food markets, food stalls and tiny shops. Sleeping in thatched huts, eating at restaurants right on the beach, talking to women on the beach picking up inhabited shells to cook with rice. The smell of morning fires ready for cooking the day’s meals, the pink sands on the beaches, the sunsets, spice farms, hills, temples, music. Oh, Goa – I miss you!

Tickle My Senses has a wonderful description of Saar.

Well, saar needs to be eaten in the right way for maximum pleasure. Pour the piping hot tomato saar over your rice (for me the rice has to be swimming in the saar) then using your finger tips coat the rice with the piping hot saar, making sure you do not burn yourself ! then scoop mouthfuls of this delicious mixture into your mouth, accompanied with fried foods and vegetable. When all is done, lift up the plate to your lips and drink off any remaining saar, the orphaned bits can be polished off by licking your fingers….slurpp!!!

Note the Portuguese name of the author – there are at least 3 distinct cuisines in Goa – that heavily influenced by the Catholic Portuguese cuisine which is also non-vegetarian, that of the Hindu Goans which is more vegetarian and more traditionally South Indian. Finally there is the Muslim cuisine from the Muslim invaders and immigrants over the years.

Often Saar is described as a soup, which is a misnomer. While it is a thin but strongly flavoured broth, traditionally it is not eaten with a spoon from a bowl. See the description of Saar on the sidebar here. It really does capture the essence of Saar and Rasam.

We have a lovely collection of rasam recipes that we have put together as a collection. You can see the collection here.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes, Tomato Pepper Rasam, and Cumin Seed Rasam.

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

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can see more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Collection: Delicious Recipes with Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are one of our favourite nuts here in the kitchen and at the table. There is nothing that quite matches its nutty, slightly dry flavour and crunch. We have used them quite a lot in our recipes, so we’ve brought together a selection for you to try. Enjoy!

Similar articles include What to Do with Daikon Radish, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Green Mango Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Tulasyadi Phanta | Herbal Drink of Tulsi and Spices

There are several recipes for Tulasyadi Phanta. This is one that is not so common – perhaps more recent as it includes lemongrass. It is a infusion that is good for colds and fevers, and also if you are exhausted from work or illness, and need to feel comforted and rested.

The infusion is made with Tulsi, the Indian holy basil, seeped with lemongrass, cloves and cinnamon.Β  It really is relaxing – as you sip it in the afternoon you feel your body beginning to relax and your breath deepen. It is a gorgeous way to wind down.

Similar recipes include the Ginger Tulasyadi Phanta, Teas for Good Health, and Unusual Teas, Coffees and Infusions.

Browse all of our Infusions and all of our Teas. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Jeera Rice

Jeera Rice is the rice that is most commonly available in Indian restaurantsΒ  of a certain standard in Australia. Buttery and tasting of cumin, it really is a delight. It is easy to make – this version anyway – and is a perfect accompaniment to any Indian meal. There are versions with onions, and a lot more spices, but this one is a great partner with any other dish. When you over-complicate rice, it restricts the dishes it can pair with.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rice, Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice, and Black Pepper and Cumin Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and our versions of Jeera Rice. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Aloo Gobi

Recipes for Aloo Gobi, the much loved potato and cauliflower dish from India, are so various that there must be a different one in every household in India and beyond. Each is glorious in its own right.

Some have yoghurt sauces, some have tomato based sauces. This recipe has one based on tomato, cumin, ginger and coriander leaves. It’s pretty good. I like it with a cumin pepper rice or a simple jeera rice.

Similar dishes include Aloo Gobi with Yoghurt Sauce, Aloo in Aloo, and Simple Cauliflower Curry.

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

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Puy Lentils with Roasted Pumpkin, Sage and Feta

Don’t you love pumpkins especially as they appear with their gorgeous colours in Autumn? For me, they are the very best decoration for the table. Autumn colours, beautiful shapes, a reminder of the delights that Autumn brings.

But eventually it has to be cooked. What is better than a salad or warm dish based on lentils and roasted pumpkin? Butternut can be used.

This is also a very excellent Xmas dish.

This is a recipe from Ottolenghi’s Simple, but I played with it a bit. He recommends butternut, I used pumpkin; he uses dolcelatte, I used feta (as I keep an amazing creamy feta in stock almost constantly), he used Puy lentils, I used a similar one that is deep and delicious in taste – stocked by my whole foods store but unlabelled. It shows how Ottolenghi’s recipes are versatile, so flexible with the ingredients that you have at hand.

The salad can be served warm or at room temperature. It can be made in advance, up to 6 hours. If you want to use tinned lentils, go for it – just skip the cooking step.

Similar recipes include Salad of Butternut and Noodles, Grilled Butternut with Walnut Salsa, and Roast Pumpkin Couscous Salad.

Browse all of our Pumpkin Salads and our Puy Lentil recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Spring Onion (Green Onion) Salad | Kachumber

This is another chopped salad, a kachumber made in the food processor, so it can be done in under 5 minutes from start to table. It is a combination of spring onions (scallions or green onions), coriander leaves, green chilli, cumin powder and lime juice. Divine!

Similar recipes include Beetroot, Radish and Carrot Kachumber, Spring Onion and Pea Soup, Salad of Spring Onion Greens, and Indian Spring Onion Soup.

Browse all of our Spring Onion recipes and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Oh My Goodness! Polenta Chips. With a Charred Tomato Sauce

Polenta has been a love of mine since the time (decades ago) that my Italian hairdresser turned me on to wet polenta in a dish layered with tomatoes. We don’t use polenta enough in our kitchen though, obsessed as we are with Indian food and other dishes of Italian food.

Ottolenghi has a gorgeous polenta chips recipe and that was enough impetus for us to search for the polenta in the back of the pantry and make this delicious snack. We are still cooking our way through Plenty More but we are in the Fried chapter, and so have slowed down. You just cannot eat deep fried food each and every day.

Similar recipes include Chickpea Fingers, Paprika Oven Chips, and Cumin and Pepper Wedges.

Browse all of our Polenta dishes and all of our Chips. Or browse our Late Autumn recipes.

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Eat Your Greens! An easy way to include greens each day.

It is fascinating how traditional ways of composing meals have included what we now recognise as health-promoting elements. For example, the salad courses of France and the USA. And yoghurt included in every meal in parts of India. And in parts of Italy it is common to serve a green vegetable on its own as a pre-dinner course or snack.

The Italian greens course is so easy to bring together – simmer or toss some greens, dress, season, serve. It is a great practice – why not try it this month, for the whole month?

Similar recipes include Every Meal some Simple Greens, Steamed Mustard Greens with Mushrooms, and Puree of Greens.

Browse all of our Salad recipes and all of our Spinach dishes. Or simply explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Macerated Strawberries and Passionfruit

Maceration is a process of breaking down and softening various substances. In food preparation, the process most often occurs when soaking fruit in sugar, perhaps with a liquid such as fruit juice, alcohol or other flavoured liquid, so that the fruit softens and takes on the flavour.

Maceration changes a fruit’s taste and texture. It is used to improve the texture of hard, under-ripe fresh fruit and also to enhance the flavour of ripe fruit. When fruit is macerated, it softens and releases some of its flavours and also aroma and becomes something quite different – a complex mix of the various flavours and textures.

Today’s recipe does not require any added liquid –Β  strawberries and passionfruit release their own juice into a wonderfully delicious mix that provides its own liquid for maceration. But when macerating fruit you can, if you wish, add liquors, liqueurs, wine, fruit juice, vinegars, and infused water. And any of these can be infused with flavourings such as spices, herbs, tea, and coffee. Alcohol can include gin, vodka, whisky, brandy, rum. Flavourings also include vanilla bean, chilli, basil, lemon thyme, fresh ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, whole cloves etc.

The soft fruit and liquid combo has many uses: a tasty dessert on its own topped with a dollop of whipped cream or sweetened yoghurt; a sauce for ice cream, pudding or cake; or a filling for pie or cake where it adds flavour, colour and moisture.

Delicate fruit like strawberries and raspberries can over-soften, so maceration time is best from 30 mins to a couple of hours – tougher fruits can be macerated overnight and up to 2 or 3 days.

Similar recipes include Warm Rice Pudding with Orange-Star Anise Sauce, Cold Pandan Pudding with Lime Syrup and Fruits, and Cumquats Poached in Syrup.

Browse all of our Desserts and all of our Strawberry recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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