Kootu with Coconut

Kootu (or Koottu) is a simple, yet delicious dish that’s made in most Tamil homes in Tamil Nadu in South India.  While it can be made at any time, it is especially important during some festivals, such as Pongal.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal as the mix of ingredients is different. Each Tamil home has their own style of making this kootu and the vegetables chosen also differ from home to home. Kootu usually includes lentils and is similar to sambar and kuzhambu, but there is a variation that is similar to Aviyal in that lentils are not used but a variety of vegetables are included. Most kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and red or green chillies in a paste – sometimes spices are kept to a minimum and just a coconut paste is used.

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.

Similar dishes include Aviyal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and 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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Life-Changing Fried Cauliflower with Mint and Tamarind Dipping Sauce

Some vegetables that have a poor reputation because they have been over cooked or over-boiled in the past, have redeemed their reputations through roasting or frying. I am thinking of Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower particularly, also Broccoli. I do love Cauli and Broccoli steamed gently but I also have nightmare recollections of how my mother cooked them.

Today we have a life-altering Cauliflower recipe for you. This is REALLY GOOD, and you won’t believe it is vegetarian. Fool your friends!

In this recipe, cauliflower is deep fried in a spicy batter and breadcrumbs, then it is dipped in a sauce made from herbs and tamarind. The original recipe is one of Ottolenghi‘s from Plenty More, but I have changed the batter so that it does not contain eggs. Chickpea flour batter makes an excellent batter for deep frying and we have used that. I have also made the batter spicy and left the breadcrumbs plain. We always feel free to substitute ingredients in Ottolenghi recipes that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage them to suit what is available in our garden and pantry. Seek out his original recipe in the book to compare – I can’t find a version online.

Similar recipes include Cauliflower Roasted in Olive Oil, Cauliflower Fry, and Crispy Cauliflower with Capers.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here and here are the recipes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Turmeric Oil

Turmeric Oil is a great pantry staple, to drizzle over soups, new potato salads, baked vegetables, dals, fried snacks, in dressings, and so much more. Want a change? Make it with mustard oil.

Don’t forget that turmeric stains, so be careful when using the oil.

Similar recipes include Herb Oil, Parsley Oil and Chilli Oil.

Browse all of our Oils and all of our Turmeric recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Tomatoes Stuffed with Feta and Basil

An Italian beauty – stuffed tomatoes with feta, basil, olives and wine. Stuffed tomatoes are a bit retro, yes we admit, but that does not mean that they are without flavour. Classic Italian flavours make this a great addition to our several Stuffed Tomatoes recipes.

Baked feta is a classic dish too, baked in a terracotta dish (if you have one) with olives, tomatoes and olives. A variation on this recipe is to use a vegetable – capsicums, pimentos or tomatoes, for example – to hold the feta and accompaniments as they bake. Totally delicious.

Similar recipes include Baked Feta, Baked Dakos, Baked Pimentos with Feta, and Baked Ziti with Feta.

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.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Stuffed Tomatoes recipes  or you browse Italian recipes . Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes .

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A Huge Collection of the Best Ever Chickpea Recipes

Chickpeas, and the flour made from ground chickpeas feature strongly in our kitchen.  Today we want to share with you our most favourite chickpea and chickpea flour recipes. Many of these recipes have been on our kitchen’s menu for over 20 years! They have been shared via our previous blog Food Matters from 1995 – 2006, in person with friends, and through this blog that has been running from 2006.  The older recipes of course don’t show the fashionable food styling that is current today, but here we believe in food for sustenance, food for flavour, and healthy food to keep the body healthy. We are not so much about food for entertainment. I do hope you enjoy.

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Horse Gram Lentils (Kollu) with Feta and Tomatoes

Such a bang of wonderful flavours

Horse Gram is one of our more recent discoveries. Well known and used in rural India, it has not found its way into other cuisines. You will need to buy it at your local Indian grocer, or perhaps online.

It is a special lentil, full of protein, and will hold its shape well when cooked. This makes it ideal for salads. Its earthy tastes makes it pair well with ingredients like beetroot, walnuts and pomegranate molasses. It contrasts well with crisp greens and mild acidic or sharp tastes like onion, sumac, rocket, baby spinach, lemon, and preserved lemon.

In today’s salad we use the sharpness of feta, onion and vinegar, the beautiful flavour of semi dried tomatoes, and pomegranate molasses in this salad. Do search your Indian grocery for this lovely lentil. You can also use Matki (moth beans) instead, or use a mix of both.

The recipe douses the lentils with vinegar, onion, salt, pepper, garlic and oil as soon as they are cooked. When warm, they soak in the flavours and aromas properly. Feta, lots of herbs and semi dried tomatoes are mixed in at the end. The result in such a bang of wonderful flavours.

Read more about Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar recipes include Caprese Salad, and Horse Gram Vadai.

Browse all of our Horse Gram recipes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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MID AUTUMN – 30 Special INDIAN Dishes for Autumn | SEASONAL COOKING

By Mid Autumn we have unwound from the hecticness of Summer and are trying to get our head around the cold Winter ahead. It is definitely time for a lot of dishes from India. We have put these 30 recipes together for you to spice up your Mid Autumn table.

Also, enjoy these highlights from our Mid Autumn recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Autumn recipes:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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MID AUTUMN – Special Recipes for Relaxed Autumn Living | Seasonal Cooking

Celebrating Autumn

The weather begins its transition this month, and like all change, is a little chaotic and changeable. Autumn is the time for crisp leaves, knitted sweaters, and comfort food. Windy, stormy at times, the Autumn rains come. Cooler days intersperse the fewer warmer ones, and while it is hard to let go of cooling foods, dishes get somewhat heavier and more warming. We grieve the passing of Summer but look forward to what Winter brings.

Enjoy these highlights from our Mid Autumn recipe collection.

You can also browse other Mid Autumn recipes:

If you have difficulty with any links, please let us know. We would love to fix them for you.

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Mixed Vegetables and Yoghurt with Green Chilli Oil

A glorious mix of fried vegetables in yoghurt – indeed exquisite, and direct from Istanbul (via Ottolenghi). Most of the veg are deep fried, but don’t let that put you off as it is indeed glorious. It works well with baked, roasted  and grilled veg as well.

The original recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s from Plenty More, but I have changed the cooking times and included some Thai round green eggplants. We always feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage Ottolenghi’s recipes to suit our preferences and what is available in our garden and pantry. You can see the original recipe in The Guardian here.

Similar recipes include Avial, Winter Roast Veggies with Chickpeas, and Roast Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here and here are the recipes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes

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Dried Apricot Pachadi

Our local Afghan shop has the most gorgeous dried apricots. They are as hard as a rock and really uninviting, but once soaked, their flavour is sweet and intense. We make a range of dishes with them, often long, slow cooked dishes of a Middle Eastern style, but we also make a South Indian pachadi (pureed vegetable or fruit in yoghurt with spices).

You might expect this dish to be sweet, but the sourness of the yoghurt and the heat of the chillies counterbalances any sweetness that the apricots retain. You can also use apricots that you have dried yourself.

Similar recipes include Onion Pachadi, Bitter Melon Pachadi, Pomelo Raita, and Cucumber Pachadi.

Browse all of our Pachadi recipes and all of our Mango dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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