Crispy Cauliflower with Capers

This dish of deep fried cauliflower is from Spain. The cauliflower is dusted in chickpea flour (gram flour) and deep fried  until crisp. Then, like the old fashioned beach-made fish and chips, sprinkled with plenty of salt and vinegar. In a modern day twist, capers are added. It makes a great snack, mezze dish, entree (starter) or side dish.

There are a range of traditional dishes that deep fry cauliflower. Think of Cauliflower Pakora, for example. Even Ottolenghi makes a salad or side dish of deep fried cauli with a tahini sauce. There’s Southern Fried Cauliflower, Fried Cauliflower Steaks, Moroccan Fried Cauliflower, Cauliflower Tempura, and many more such recipes. There is a simple reason for so many dishes. It tastes very very good. This recipe will knock your socks off.

Similar dishes include Cauliflower and Okra Pakora, Roasted Cauliflower Soup, and Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean Puree.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes. All of our Snacks are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Onion Sambar

Onion Sambar is a very popular South Indian and Sri Lankan sambar. It goes well with rice, idli, dosa, vada, pongal, upma and most other South Indian breakfast dishes.

This dish can be made with small onions (pearl onions or pickling onions) or with chopped, big onions. It will taste wonderful whatever onion you use. I like to use golden shallots as well – they add a slight sweetness to the dish.

Are you interested in other Sambar recipes? Why not try a Classic Seasoned Sambar? Or Moru Sambar. And read about whether Sambar should be Sour, Salty or Hot.

You can see all of our Sambar recipes here, and our collection of Indian recipes here. Specifically, out South Indian dishes are here and Sri Lankan are here. Perhaps you want Onion Recipes. Or try our collection of easy Mid Summer recipes.

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Norom Shada Khichuri | Latka Kitchari | Bengali Soft Kitchari

Bengalis love their kitchari, and love the rain. Often the two go together – as the rains come, the consumption of kitchari increases exponentially.

There are dozens of types of Kitchari. It is eaten in different forms all over India, but even in Bengal alone, many varieties exist. Kitchari style dishes can vary from pilaf/pulao-like dishes, to the more porridge-like Pongals of Tamil Nadu and the beloved Bisibelebath of Karnataka.

This kitchari is a well-cooked – that is, it is quite soft and moist, almost slightly soupy. It is delicious and it is perfect on a rainy day, any where in the world. The defining characteristics of this kitchari is that it is very soft (norom) and white, as well as healthy.  It is mostly tempered with onion and garlic. (It can also be served very soupy, almost like an Indian version of Chinese Congee. We will add a recipe for this version later on and add a link here.)

I have seen Kitchari referred to as Hodgepodge. My goodness! A hodgepodge is a random assortment of things — a group of things that don’t quite fit together. There is a dish from Nova Scotia called Hodgepodge but it is nothing like Kitchari. It is a collection of beans, peas and potatoes cooked in one pot. It is also common to call Kitchari as risotto. Again this is a great misnomer. Kitchari must be one of the most well known of Indian dishes outside of India, thus it is surprising to see Indian cooks give it other names. You can read more about that here.

Are you after other Kitchari dishes? Try Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Gujarati Kitchari, and Bengali Bhog Kitchari.

Or are you looking for other Bengali dishes. Try Bengali Rice Kheer.  There are more Bengali dishes coming, so check back here.

Browse all of our Kitchari recipes and all of our Bengali dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to explore our lovely Late Autumn dishes.

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Fennel and Lemon Quick Chutney

I am writing this in early December, and I must have the last reasonable fennel bulb before Wintery cold weather comes again. Rather than make a salad from it, we thought that a fennel chutney would be nice. It is a quick chutney, one that you can eat almost immediately and will keep only a week or two in the fridge. The recipe is from Ottolenghi’s Guardian column.

We always regret not using Fennel enough. It seems to be a summery vegetable with that cooling aniseed taste, but in fact is difficult to find at decent prices once Winter is over – and by the end of Spring good fennel is definitely unavailable.

Similar recipes include Roasted Eggplant Chutney, Onion Jam, and Cumquat Chutney.

Or for Fennel dishes, try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, Fennel and Apple Salad, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel recipes and all of our Chutneys. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette

This year it is a long cold start to Summer. As I write, I sit here in a jumper in January, thinking of putting a rug over my legs rather than turn the heater on. So, needing something to warm the kitchen, I popped some roast veg in the oven.

Not any roast vegetables – this is an Ottolenghi dish, one that takes a common dish and makes it extraordinary. It is a favourite, and I don’t know why I haven’t posted it before. My note in the cookbook is “Magnificent” pencilled in the margin.

It takes sweet potatoes and parsnips and roasts them with garlic and (later) some cherry tomatoes, before dressing them with a tangy vinaigrette that is both sweet and sour, full of capers for a saltiness. It’s the perfect dish for any festival, celebration, Sunday lunch or any day of the week is born.

Ottolenghi says “The addition of a vinaigrette to freshly roasted vegetables gives them a freshness and juiciness they don’t normally have; the acidity brings out new shades of flavour, too.”

You might also like Roasted Beetroot with Cumin Seeds, Perfect Roast Potatoes, or Hot Roasted Carrot Salad.

Try some Parsnip recipes too: Roughly Mashed Parsnip with Parmesan and Olive Oil, and Parsnip and Carrot Mash.

Take some time to explore the Ottolenghi recipes we have tried. Our Sweet Potato recipes are here and our Parsnip recipes here. Or browse our Mid Summer collection of easy recipes. (You might prefer our Mid Winter recipes!)

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MID WINTER: Don’t miss these Warming Winter Recipes | Seasonal Cooking

Goodness, it’s cold! Put on another jumper and enjoy these highlights from our Mid Winter classic recipes.

You can browse all of our Mid Winter recipes here:

Please let us know if you find links that are not working. We would love to fix them for you.

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Bhuna Khichuri | Bengali 5 Lentil Kitchari with Toasted Mung Dal

The warm weather disappeared and our thoughts turned to kitchari as it rained and rained and rained. Researching Bhuna Kitchari, I came across a very interesting recipe, one that took time and extraordinary care over the making of this dish.  Bhuna Khichuri is a richer version of Kitchari and injects flavours not only through the spices used but also by the slow frying of onions, the roasting of the mung dal and the frying of the other lentils and rice. There are 5 lentils used in this dish. The word Bhuna actually comes from the roasting of the moong dal and the frying the rice as the kitchari is made.

It is true that this recipe for Bhuna Khichuri is fussier than others – more steps and an attention to detail. But the end result justifies the means. Often at our house Kitchari is made in the rice cooker, and it is pretty fast and pretty good. But when time allows, more complex variations yield wonderful results. The recipe isn’t difficult – let me reassure you – it just has a few more steps. I have followed the original recipe fairly closely, with just a few alterations.

The secret to this dish, which I recommend that you note, is the frying of the onions – caramelise them – the quality of your ginger-garlic paste, toasting of the mung dal and the frying of the rice. The texture of the dish is wonderful! Also, on occasion I have used urad dal and matki (moth) beans when I have been out of masoor or mattar dal. Both need to be in the longer soaking.

Similar dishes include Norom Shada Khichuri, Bengali Vegetable Kitchari, Maharashtrian Masoor Sprouts Kitchari,  and Gujarati Kitchari.

Browse all of our Kitchari Recipes. Browse our Indian recipes here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Bhindi Subzi | Stir Fried Okra with Spices

This subzi is a quick okra dish, ready in less than 20 mins, and layered with spices. Its a great tiffin dish and can be served with rice and a chutney for a quick meal. Or afternoon snack.

Are you after similar recipes? Try Okra with a Cumin and Yoghurt Sauce, Stir fried Okra with Sesame Seed, Okra with Onions and Ladyfinger Masala.

You can browse all of our Okra recipes and all of our Subzi dishes. All of our Indian dishes are here and Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Mid Winter dishes for warming inspiration.

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Three Cheese Risotto

Risotto is such a comfort dish, packed with flavour. For us it is a Wintery night time dish that we love to eat in relaxed style with the fire going and the talk about family and life.

This risotto is creamy and beautiful, with heaps of cheese including some Gorgonzola. You know how you love that Four Cheese Pizza? You will love this Three Cheese Risotto. It really is white on white on white on white  on white (onion, rice, milk, cheese, plate).

One thing that is a must read if you are cooking your first few risottos. How to Cook Risotto – it also explains which rices to use for the best results in making risotto.

Are you looking for other Risotto recipes? Try Beetroot RisottoRisotto with Mushrooms, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin Risotto.

Or are you after Cheesey dishes? Try Cheese and Eggplant Torte, Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Torte, and Melted Cheesey Toast on the BBQ.

You can browse all of our Risottos, or all of our Italian dishes. Or explore all of our Late Autumn dishes.

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Cream of Roasted Swede (Rutabaga) Soup

It might be Spring, but some days are cold and windy, and we want the oven on to warm our living area, and we still long for soup with crusty bread.

Today it is Swede Soup – the swede is roasted and pureed with other vegetables to make a creamy beautiful soup. Swede is not a vegetable we use very often but we are working on changing that. It is an interesting vegetable with an undeservedly poor reputation. I would say that it is a shy vegetable, a little rough and ugly when uncooked, but when heat hits those babies, it brings out a sweet, nutty taste. Delicious!

In parts of the world, Swede is called Rutabaga, and in other parts it is called Neeps.

Similar recipes include Pumpkin Soup, Roast Parsnip Soup, and Roasted Carrot and Apple Soup.

Browse all of our Swede recipes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Daikon Dal | Moolangi Tovve

This delicious dish using daikon radish is from Karnataka in South India. Tovve is a mild lentil dish cooked with ghee in a tamarind based gravy (or lemon juice is used) with a simple spice combination. It is similar to dal or rasam (depending how thick the dish is made). Tovve is a versatile recipe and can be prepared with many kinds of dal and vegetables.

Similar dishes include Daikon Radish and Pumpkin Curry, and Daikon Salad.

Also try Kancha Mung Dal, Mung Dal with Ghee and Spices, and Mung Dal with Coconut Milk.

You can browse all of our Radish recipes and all of our Dals. Our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Winter dishes.

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Parsnip Risotto with Rosemary

Parsnips – perhaps Winter’s best vegetable. So sweet, and they keep their flavours whether boiled, steamed or roasted. They take to many different pairings and treatments. Today, a risotto, and the recipe comes from the multi-continented Ilva, the great food photographer and the author of a beautiful blog that sadly no longer exists, Lucullian Delights.

I am very grateful that, before Ilva closed her blog, she allowed me to save my favourite recipes. I like to think that some of her recipes will live on now. This is one of her wonderful risotto dishes – subtle, divine. I have made a few minor adjustments to suit our tastes and availability of ingredients.

I love the use of white pepper in subtle dishes (Asian foods, cauliflower dishes, with parsnips, for example). In this recipe I have layered pepper flavours by using both white and black pepper.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101.

Similar recipes include Three Cheese Risotto, Risotto with Mushrooms, Tomato Risotto, Asparagus Risotto with Basil, and Caramelised Pumpkin Risotto.

Also try Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potato with Caper Vinaigrette.

You might also like our Parsnip dishes, our Risotto recipes, and our Rice recipes. Our Italian dishes are here. Check out our easy Early Spring recipes too.

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Vendakkai Thayir Pachadi | Crisipy Okra in Yoghurt

Okra in Yoghurt is popular across South India, and it is surprisingly good – more than might be expected if you are used to okra cooked with tomatoes as is common in the Mediterranean, Middle East and the US. This recipe is a Tamil version – the Kerala version is similar but also contains coconut.

This is usually made for festival days or other special occasions, although it is wonderful to eat on any day. It is easy to make, taking no more than 20 mins. You will love it.

Are you after more Okra dishes? Try Bhindi Raita, Okra with Apricots and Lemon, Okra in Mustard Oil, Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seed, and Fried Okra.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or find some wonderful recipes to make in our Mid Winter collection.

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Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad with Pomegranate

In this memorable salad from Ottolenghi and Tamimi’s Jerusalem, roasted Cauliflower, Celery and Hazelnuts are combined with Pomegranate, fresh Parsley, and warming spices. A sweet-tart vinaigrette finishes it off.

When we roast cauliflower, we make a whole lot, often 2 – 3 trays, and it is used for Cauliflower Soup, Crispy Cauliflower with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing, and this salad. Roasted cauliflower is one of the best ways to use this gorgeous winter vegetable.

Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower, Grape and Cheddar Salad, and Slow Cooked Cauliflower with Spices and Lime.

Browse all of our Cauliflower recipes, all of our Ottolenghi dishes and all of our Salads. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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MID WINTER Salads, Dips and Preserves for Healthy Variety | Seasonal Cooking

We move into the cold months where nothing much stirs in the garden. Oranges and other citrus are plentiful, pears too. Mid Winter vegetables arrive. Vegetables are more limited in range but beautiful in flavours.

Here are some suggestions for Salads and Preserves in season or available in Mid Winter – Carrots, Potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, Beetroot — and much more. Dips too, and Winter Preserves.

Enjoy some Healthy Salad Inspiration for Mid Winter. You can also browse:

Please let us know if you find links that are not working. We would love to fix them for you.

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