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 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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Buttery Dal, with Urad and Tomatoes

In Northern India, there is a deep love for urad lentils, those hard back bullets that are white when skinned. Recipes vary from deeply spiced and complex, like Dal Makhani, to gentle, subtle and glorious, like Urad Tamatar, and Amristari Dal.

What all (or most) of them have in common is an enrichment with butter and/or cream. Urad lentils are particularly comfortable with surprising amounts of this dairy fat, so there is a need to get over any qualms – just dive in and add. After all, you are not eating it every day, right? This is a restaurant style dish (ie lots of butter and cream), but if you do want to minimise the quantities, you can get by with adding about 1/2 or 1/3 of the amount. In homes similar dishes are made for breakfast, particularly in the countryside and probably with smaller amounts of butter and cream.

The recipe is one of the gentle, subtle, earthy urad dishes. You will adore it. I have added a chilli-cumin finishing oil which is gorgeous, but optional.

Similar recipes include Amristari Dal, Dal Makhani Nilgiri, and Urad Dal with Onions.

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

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Puy, Beluga or Horse Gram Lentil Stew with Aubergine

For this divine Wintery lentil stew, an earthy, dark lentil is called for. Puy lentils are a common choice, and the dark Beluga is excellent. I also love to make it with either Horse Gram or Matki lentils – brown, earthy and delicious lentils that you can get from your Indian shop. How good these are.

Despite the very familiar ingredients, the result is a bit magic and unexpected. It is an O. M. G. dish. The texture of the lentils with the silkiness of the eggplant. The pop of the tomato flavour, the way the sour cream enhances the dish, the heat of the chilli and the Greekness of the oregano.

Serve as it is, for a light meal, or bulk it up by spooning on top of rice, on slices of grilled or toasted sourdough. You can serve the stew either as a hearty starter or a side, or as a main served with any grain you like. It can be made up to three days ahead and kept in the fridge–just warm through then add the creme fraiche, oil, chilli flakes and oregano before serving. It’s at its best served warm, but is also very good at room temperature.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe – or at least it was until I, naturally, played with it a little. The key change was in the lentil used, but if you like you can check the original recipe. We always feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area, or to massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Beluga Lentil Salad with Pomegranate Molasses, Citrusy Beetroot with Puy Lentils, and Horse Gram Dal.

Browse our Horse Gram, Puy, Beluga and Aubergine recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Aloo Matar | Potato and Peas

This beautiful and classic Indian dish is sauce-rich. The peas and potatoes sit in a luxurious gravy of pureed onions and tomatoes with chilli and spices. They are simmered together to produced this much loved dish from North India (especially in the Punjab and in Gujarat). Its popularity has spread and it is even adored in South India.

Each person will have their own particular version of this recipe. Some will add cream to the final dish. Some versions have no onions, some include garlic, and some recipes make a dry curry.  Still others will add fenugreek leaves, black mustard seeds and/or Garam Masala.

Our recipe is relatively simple but definitely full of flavour – our favourite type of dish.

Similar recipes include Sesame Potatoes, Milkman Potatoes, and Aloo Bhindi.

Browse all of our Potato Curries. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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

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Red Rice – Rice in Tomato Juice

Remember Rice-a-Riso? It seems it is still being made and sold in supermarkets, but only in Chicken flavour. As a teenager and young adult I loved the tomato one. Imagine my surprise when I first made this dish and it tasted exactly like tomato rice-a-riso. It was a nostalgic moment.

This recipe is very simple, but because it is versatile I need to walk you through a few things first.

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Indian Soup with Drumstick Leaves

We have a drumstick leaf fest going on in our house. I brought home two bunches of them when there are fewer of us here than normal, so it is drumstick leaves each day. Not that this is a problem as they are the new “super food”, although outside of India it is more likely that you will find them in a pill rather than as a delicious bag of greens in your Green Grocer’s shop.

We have had Sambar and Dal and Thoran with the leaves, and so today we are making an Indian style soup. These soups are simple, and allow the wonderful tastes and textures of the vegetables to shine through, enhanced and supported with a few spices.

Similar recipes include Moringa Leaf Thoran, Indian Pumpkin Soup, Indian Baby Corn Soup, and Indian Beetroot Soup.

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

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Fig and Roasted Onion Salad

Mid Summer to Early Autumn are peak time for figs. Boy, do we look forward to that time. And even luckier that we have a green grocer 30 – 40 mins drive from us, who stocks figs from the first moment of ripening until the last fig of the latest fig variety falls from the tree. We make the trip if there are no local ones, to grab some and indulge (they are not cheap). Also, there is a Pick-Your-Own place we visit at least once during the season, especially if we want to make jam (fig jam is my favourite jam).

This is an Ottolenghi recipe – we have been working with all of his Salads from his book Plenty More. It pairs figs with hazelnuts, which we have used before – it’s a great pairing. He also adds the sweetness of roasted onions to the salad, and it’s a great innovation. That sweetness of the onions and figs bounces off the bitterness of the radicchio and watercress. (Add some purslane too, if you have it.) Not only does the salad look terrific, it works well flavour-wise too.

A great fig should look like it’s just about to burst its skin. When squeezed lightly it should give a little and not spring back. It must be almost unctuously sweet, soft and wet. Once you’ve managed to find a fig that meets all these criteria, I guarantee a heavenly experience. – Ottolenghi

The Salad is best made directly before serving. It makes a great entree (starter dish), and also a fantastic salad for bring a plate lunches with the girls, or BBQ family gatherings.

You might like to try some more fig recipes. Try White Fig and Rocket Salad, Figs with Blue Cheese, Baked Figs with Thyme, and Figs with Rosewater and Almonds.

Browse all of our Fig recipes, and all of our many many Salads. All of the Ottolenghi dishes that we have tried are here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu

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.

Kootu usually includes lentils and is perhaps 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. We have made this one with Amaranth Leaves.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal style 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.

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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How to Make Quince Molasses

We now have a collection of molasses recipes that we cycle through year-round in our kitchen – pomegranate molasses, tamarind molasses, cumquat “molasses” and quince molasses. They are easy to make and divine with the sweet-sour flavours that can be used in spoon sweets, drizzled over sweet and savoury dishes, and mixed into dressings, soups, bakes and braises. They are essential accompaniments in our kitchen.

Here is the Quince Molasses we’ve been making for some time. It already appears on our Sister site, along with other quince recipes, but we are including it here too as part of our collection of molasses recipes.

Similar dishes include How to Use Quinces, Quince Molasses and Tahini Dip/Sweet, Turnips with Quince Molasses, and Quince Pickle.

Browse all of our Quince Molasses recipes, and our Molasses recipes (more to come). Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce

How we love the eggplant and its versatility. This recipe sautés the eggplant until it is golden and then immerses it in a tangy, spicy tomato sauce before serving garnished with herbs. It is easy to make and the perfect side dish or dish to eat just with rice for a light lunch, snack or supper.

Similar recipes include Smoky Roasted Eggplant in Yoghurt, Smoky Eggplants and Tomatoes, and Babaganoush.

Browse all of our Eggplant recipes. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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