Herby Masala Vadai with Tomato Mint Chutney

We are here, munching some Masala Vadai for afternoon tea. These vadai are chock-a-block full of  herbs – coriander and dill. Dill is an uncommon (but not unusual) herb in Indian cuisine, but its use here is wonderful.

The recipe is adapted from one in the book Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas. We’ve been enjoying reading from it and now want to cook the recipes. The original includes flax seeds which is a very healthy addition, but we have left them out this time.

The recipe is very adaptable. The paste is made from urad, channa and toor dals with the herbs, onions, chilli and ginger added. I can imagine these made with slightly mashed broad beans (the Western type of broad beans), for example, or a coarse mash of peas. Finely chopped capsicums or finely grated carrots would  be a variation if you were sick of the herbs.

The Tomato Mint Chutney is delightful and pairs well with the vadai. Sometimes  I will use sweet chilli sauce, or a herby yoghurt dip, or an Indian green chutney.

A high speed blender like Vitamix is best for grinding the lentils if you don’t have an Indian grinder. Use one that has a tamper if you can, to minimise the number of times you have to scrape the sides down. One of the modern high speed food processors might also work well. Remember that you want a coarse mix, not a fine paste. Also the mix needs to be shaped into patties, so do not add water unless absolutely necessary.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Falafel, and Tattai Vadai.

Browse all of our Vadai and all of our Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Collection: What to do with Daikon Radish – From Salads to Curries

Daikon Radish (aka White Radish) is another underused  vegetable. There are two varieties, the Japanese and the Korean White radishes. They vary in size, but the tastes are the same.

Daikon is most popular in Salads where its radish-like heat shines through. I use it a lot in home made juices – just a small chunk so that the heat does not overpower the juice – and it adds a spark to the juice that is not otherwise there.

But when cooked – steamed, simmered, sauteed, baked, roasted, fried – it loses its heat and becomes mild and delicious.

Enjoy our collection of Daikon recipes. You can also browse them all here.

Other Collections include:

Browse all of our Gratin, or explore our Mid Winter dishes.

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Sautéed Butternut and Spinach with Roasted Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic

Spinach is often paired with butternut pumpkin and it is a perfect match. We’ve been cooking this recipe for ages. Over time it has changed, simplified, adapted to the food fashions of the time. But the main ingredients have stayed the same – spinach or similar greens, butternut or jap pumpkin, mushrooms and a couple of spices. In this recipe, any greens that cook up like spinach or chard and can handle spices can be used – try some of the Asian greens and Indian greens also.

At our place we often need a quick way to use up greens from the garden – spinach, bok choy, chard, silver beet and others. Our garden can get over-run with these! This is a great dish to use them up.

The butternut pumpkin is sauteed until almost cooked before the greens are added, and the finished dish is topped with roasted or sautéed mushrooms and some roasted garlic. Delicious.

Similar dishes include Eggplant, Spinach and Sweet Potato Curry, Daikon and Golden Pumpkin Curry, Sweetcorn and Spinach Bhauri, and Chinese Style Greens.

Or browse all of our Spinach recipes and our Pumpkin dishes. Explore our Mid Spring collection of recipes.

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Tomato Rasam with Lime Juice

Tomato Rasam has to be one of the most loved Rasams of South India – it certainly is mine. We have a number of different recipes for Tomato Rasam, as well as variations on Lime Rasam, and today I am bringing you Meenakshi Ammal’s recipe. It is an interesting one, using lime juice as the souring agent instead of tamarind. There is no chilli in this recipe, rather black pepper is used to provide some heat. The top water of cooked lentils is also used for added flavour (and nutrition), akin to using stock in Western soups. It is a good practice, one I adopted years ago – when there is flavoursome water in which lentils have been cooked, make rasam. Or at least use in soups. I surprised a friend once – we were on holidays in Hawaii and had cooked some lentils for a lunch dish. I saved the water and whipped up a tasty rasam with some snacks for our afternoon tea. She adored it.

Back to our recipe today. This particular Tomato Rasam 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 Cumin Seed and Pepper Rasam, Kottu Rasam, and Tomato Rasam.

Browse all of our Tomato Rasams and all of our Rasam recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Peppery Multi Coloured Salad | Kachumber

Chopped salads are so easy to make with a food processor. Simply add the ingredients and pulse until a perfect texture is achieved. This salad is a breeze with the food processor, and can be made in 2 minutes once the vegetables have been peeled.

The recipe is an Indian salad – salads of this sort are not common but also not unusual. They are a spicy take on English food no doubt. In this one we add black pepper and chilli powder to the salad, and it is dressed with lime juice.

You might like to read What is a Kachumber?

Similar recipes include Chopped Salad, Brown Lentils Sundal, Daikon, Carrot and Coconut Salad, and Maharashtrian Cucumber Salad.

Browse all of our Indian Salads, and our Coleslaw recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Rösti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives | Potato Rosti

Thanks to the Swiss for beautiful, versatile, easy rösti. Beautiful. I don’t claim this as a traditional Rosti – my Swiss friend rolled his eyes in horror. However, I do claim that it is delicious.

I make small rösti, rather rustically – ragged and straw-like around the edges – but that is my nature. Using raw potatoes for the rösti is easy, though I hear that is typical only in the Zurich area – the rest of the country insists upon parboiling them first.

This can be used as part of a main meal, or as an any-time snack.

Similar recipes include Potato Bhaji, Deep Fried Potato Strings, and Cumin and Pepper Potato Wedges.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Tamatar Shorba | Indian Tomato Soup

Around the world tomato soup has a special place in the heart of people. My mother rarely made her own – we ate tinned tomato soup, and it was  wonderful! With piles of well buttered toast, butter made from fresh cow’s milk, we ate the soup in front of the wood fire on cold winter nights, slurping bowl after bowl.

While tomato based gravies and sauces are common in India, the idea of soup has not been common until more recent times. And my guess is that the British invasion had a lot to do with the growth of the popularity of Indian Tomato Soup. Derived from other dishes, Indian Tomato Soups (there are lots of different recipes) has gained a place in the heart of many inside and outside of that country.

We have another Indian Tomato Soup, one filled with cream (or use coconut milk) and gentle aromatic spices including lemongrass. It is a great recipe, but this one is different. This one is punchy and spicy, and totally gorgeous. On top of that, it is very easy to make.

North Indian soups are called Shorba and they are packed full of warming spices that help fight off colds and sniffles. In North India when the weather turns chilly you will find the shorba carts rolling into the streets. A traditional shorba is more of a consomme (a thin, watery soup that is very, very flavoursome) rather than the thick soups we are used to in the West. They tend to be served as drinks in small clay cups which warm your hands, your insides and your soul. They can also be served with rice as a winter warmer. Spicy shorbas originated from the Mughal cuisine. The spices used are all about warming your insides so lots of ginger, garlic, chilli and masalas.

Similar recipes include Creamy Indian Tomato Soup, South Indian Tomato and Potato Soup, Cream of Potato and Tomato Soup with Leeks, and Tomato Rasam.

Browse all of our Indian Soups, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Keerai Masiyal | Amaranth Leaf Masiyal

There are a number of Amaranth greens available in South India – Mulaikkeerai, Muli Thandu or Thandukkeerai, and Arikkeerai. The most common variety of amaranth that is grown here, Foxtail Amaranth, is Thandukkeerai, but it is grown for ornamental reasons in gardens, not culinary ones. It is very difficult to find the  different varieties in shops unless you search the Asian markets.

The different varieties do have different tastes and properties – for example, some are heating to the body and some are cooling to the body. In India, the crops of Amaranth are also dependent on the season – the cooling ones in the hottest parts of the year, the heating ones in the coldest times of the year. Here, there is no such availability, information or attention to detail. Do use whichever amaranth is available to you.

We generally think of Masiyal as being made with toor dal or a mixture of toor dal and mung dal. However Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See has several recipes for Amaranth Masiyal (in Vol. 1) that do not contain any dal. This one mashes the leaves, and I have to say it is very delicious. One of the defining characteristics of Masiyal is that there are no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices. It allows the ingredients to shine rather than being overwhelmed with spices, onions or garlic. That is the beauty of all traditional Tamil food.

Similar dishes include Poritha Kootu, Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth.

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

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Hara Mung Dal Fry with Fenugreek Leaves

Whole Mung beans feature a lot in our kitchen as we love the earthy taste. They are comforting and nourishing and we will cook up a large pot of Mung Soup or Dal in times of stress or tiredness.

This recipe is a North Indian style Green Mung Dal (Hara Mung Dal Tadka with Methi) that is great with chapatti or roti, and rice. Boondhi Raita, Kachumber, or vegetable dish can be added. The dal is cooked and then mixed with a paste of tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and spices. It is particularly good.

Similar recipes include Khar (Garlicky Mung Beans), Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth Greens, and Sprouted Mung Sundal.

Browse all of our Mung recipes, and all of our Dals. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Summer recipes.

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A Collection of 30 Soups for Mid Autumn | Seasonal Cooking

The weather suddenly turns cold around the middle of Mid Autumn, whether that is April in the Southern Hemisphere or October in the Northern Hemisphere. Rain sets in heating is turned on, jackets and raincoats come out of the closet. Scarves, gloves and hats are at the ready.

In the kitchen, citrus fruit is beginning to ripen, root vegetables take pride of place, and lentils and beans begin to appear on the table again. We bake, because the oven warms the kitchen. And hot soups and broths again appear, to bubble away on the stove top.

Enjoy our 20 Soup Suggestions for this month that heralds the colder weather to come.

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