Tulsi Karha | Tulsi Tea with Spices

Winter comes, and the rains too,  and colds and flu inevitably do the rounds. In India it is the monsoon time that is the worst. Luckily there are a range of drinks – chais and infusions – that at least alleviate the symptoms, and perhaps even shorten the length of the suffering.

A Karha, or Kadha, is an Ayurvedic drink made with herbs and spices that are simmered in water to extract their benefits. Karha are generally made with whole spices, herbs and other ingredients found in all Indian households, so they are inexpensive ways to strengthen immunity and fight infections.

One such herb is Tulsi, or Indian Holy Basil. It is a powerful herb in many respects. We have a number of recipes that make use of the properties of Tulsi.

In this recipe it is combined with the classic trio of spices called CCF – cumin, coriander and fennel, and it adds some cloves and cardamom as well. I know you will enjoy it, and it will help your cold if you have one. It also makes you feel incredibly warm and toasty. May you get well soon.

Similar recipes include Tulsi, Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea, Tulsi Rasam, Ginger and Tulsi Tea.

Browse all of our Chai recipes and all of our Indian drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and the Indian Essentials Series is here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Tulsi Karha | Tulsi Tea with Spices”

Advertisements

Rustic Spicy Butter Beans

Beans, grains and lentils feature a lot in our kitchen once the cold weather sets in. I was recently shopping at the huge Greek warehouse, stocking up on olives, cheeses, cook ware and dried pulses, including the large lima or butter beans. They are great additions to salads, and the Greeks also bake them in terracotta pots. They would use the fabulously large Gigantes bean, but I have not yet been able to find them here. Butter Beans (Lima Beans) are great substitutes.

This recipe isn’t really a Greek one, and it isn’t really baked – it is stove cooked. But it keeps the sweet-sour-dark flavours of beans that have been oven baked, and it is pretty delicious.

The genesis for this recipe is one by Ottolenghi in his Guardian column, but I have altered it somewhat, to use what I have on hand and to simplify the processes just a little.

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books and articles – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking mainly from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books and his column recipes completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup, Florentine Beans, and Baked Lima Beans with Celery.

Browse all of our Butter Bean dishes and our White Bean recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Rustic Spicy Butter Beans”

Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh

This dish is a fabulous, heart warming and thick soup from the Middle East – it seems like it is an Iranian echo of Minestrone or perhaps of the noodle soup your mother served you as a child when you were poorly. In Iran it is called ash-e reshteh, and it is the sort of soup that makes you feel happy, wholesome and nourished, all at the same time.

You might find resteh noodles at a Middle Eastern grocery, but if not, use linguine or Asian flat noodles. Japanese noodles will work too. In fact the noodles can even be left out and the soup will still be deliciously amazing.

Make sure that you purchase the type of reshteh noodles that are specifically for soup – there is another variety that has been toasted for use in rice dishes. My local Afghan grocery has the soup noodles called Pottage Macaroni even though they are long noodles rather than the short tubes we usually think of as macaroni. The instructions for cooking are cute. It directs you to:

Add the content of package to the stuff of cooking and boiling pottage. After nearly 10 mins of your favourite time, eat the prepared pottage.

Another alternative is to make your own noodles. They are made from a wheat flour dough without eggs, and cut flat and not very wide.

This is an Ottolenghi recipe from Plenty More. It combines chickpeas, lima (butter) beans and yellow split peas with noodles, herbs and spices for a filling, interesting soup that even has an aroma of the Middle East. In fact this soup can be made with a variety of lentils and legumes – red kidney beans are very common.

Today it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often slightly massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

Similar recipes include Hot and Sour Soup, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Spicy Chickpea and Burghul Soup, Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Zaatar, Dried Fava Bean Soup, and Parsnip and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Soups, Noodle Dishes, Chickpea Dishes and Butter Bean Dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Chickpea and Butter Bean Noodle Soup | Ash-e Reshteh”

Pearl Mushrooms with Thyme

We cook some Pearl Mushrooms today. It is such a simple dish, but wonderful as a snack, side dish, stirred into risotto or piled on top of pasta. Pearl Mushrooms are tiny oyster mushrooms. They are easy to cook, thrown in a pan with butter and thyme, and even more delicious to eat.

If you can’t find Pearl Mushrooms at your Green Grocer, try your Asian market. Or use Shimiji if they are available.

Similar recipes are Risotto with Mushrooms, Mushrooms a la Grecque, and Caramelised King Oyster Mushrooms.

Or browse all of our Mushroom dishes, and our Mid Winter recipes.

Continue reading “Pearl Mushrooms with Thyme”

Fancy Pants Coleslaw

If you are of a certain age in Australia, you grew up with Coleslaw, a creamy dressed salad of shredded cabbage. Well, Ottolenghi has taken Coleslaw to the next level, of course he has, with this Fancy Coleslaw. It shreds carrots, fennel, cabbage, red capsicum and radicchio for a very special salad.

After all of that shredding and chopping, you’ll have a huge bowlful of fresh and refreshing vegetables – the ideal antidote to all the fats, carbs and general debauchery of the holiday season. It is a healthy and nourishing salad, but also over-the-top delicious.

The creamy dressing for this salad is made with mayo and yoghurt. NOTE that I make an Eggless Mayo which is already mustardy and sweet, so I adjust Ottolenghi’s dressing accordingly (less or no extra mustard and only a little honey).

It is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest round of posts featuring recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely.

Similar recipes include Waldorf Salad, Wombok and Radish Salad, and Chilli Cabbage.

Browse all of our Cabbage Salads, and all of our Salads. Our Ottolenghi dishes are here. Or browse our Mid Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Fancy Pants Coleslaw”

LATE WINTER – Don’t Miss these Recipes for Warming Winter Living | Seasonal Cooking

Late winter brings thoughts of Spring, although the weather is still freezing and we still look for nourishing and warming dishes. The oven is used a lot as it warms the kitchen and the heart.

Celebrating Beautiful Winter

You can also browse other Late Winter recipes:

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

Continue reading “LATE WINTER – Don’t Miss these Recipes for Warming Winter Living | Seasonal Cooking”

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!)

Continue reading “Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes with Caper Vinaigrette”

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Nuts or Zaatar

How good a whole head of cauli looks, sitting in the crisper drawers of the fridge. Such an unassuming vegetable, not assertive at all even with that fascinating form. But it elicits feelings of joy and comfort. Mostly a winter vegetable, it has uses well into Spring time. And here we are, a week from Summer (as I write), making soup from roasted cauliflower. The weather is cool.

The cauliflower could be roasted in the oven, of course, but it is Spring time, so we light the covered BBQ, and roast it in a large pan until really caramelised. The stock gets made while the cauli cooks, and finally it is all blended together. Today, we topped the soup with zaatar, but you could top it with toasted and chopped hazelnuts or walnuts, croutons, or slices of garlic that have been crispy fried.

Similar recipes include Cream of Mushroom Soup, Indian Style Roasted Cauliflower, Crispy Cauliflower with Capers, Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, and Cauliflower Walnut Cream Soup.

Please browse our other Cauliflower recipes, and our Soups. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Nuts or Zaatar”

Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin

Normally cheesy gratin dishes would be Winter fare in this house, but it is late Spring as I write, and we have the heating on and three layers of clothes. It is cold and wet. It might be 10 days from Summer but it feels like mid Winter. It HAS to be potatoes and cheese. Plus the oven warms the kitchen nicely.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Pommes de Terre Maxim, Parmesan Potatoes, Pasta Bake with Cabbage and Cheese, Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini, and Gratineed Sweet Potatoes.

Other Potato dishes include Saag Aloo.

You can browse all of our Gratin dishes and all of our Potato recipes. Or simply explore all of our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin”

Pearl Barley and Porcini “Risotto” | Pearl Barley and Porcini with Parmesan

Well, I have been known to be quite pedantic about what makes a risotto and what does not. I have this in common with Nigel Slater. It is a constant surprise the lengths some recipes go to, to be called a risotto.

But ok, this recipe is not a real risotto, that is why the quotes are there. But is is a dish with beautiful flavours, cooked with pearl barley which is stirred while it simmers, to cook it slowly. It is beautifully flavoured with red wine, porcini, pecorino, and, would you believe it, currants for a dark musky note and a hint of sweetness.

The amount of liquid needed to soften barley can vary, so stir in more liquid if the specified amount is not quite enough.

Similar recipes include Risotto with Radicchio, Charred Okra with Spiced Tomato Barley, Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, and Parsley and Barley Salad.

Browse all of our Barley recipes, all of our real Risottos and our Mushroom dishes. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Pearl Barley and Porcini “Risotto” | Pearl Barley and Porcini with Parmesan”

Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi | Dried Pea Eggplant, Spice and Lentil Mix | Dried Turkey Berry Spice Powder

Sundakkai Vathal are dried pea eggplants (also called turkey berries), and they have a salty, slightly bitter taste. They are quite addictive, but are an adult taste. You have to grow into them. We adore them.

One way to use them is to grind them into a powder. Sometimes we do this without mixing them with anything else – saute them in a tiny bit of ghee until the puff a little, then grind into a powder, and sprinkle on rice and into dishes. It is amazing!

This recipe is a podi, or a South Indian spice mix, which includes lentils, pepper and chillies. You can add cumin as well. Curry leaves are crisped and ground with the other ingredients. It tastes great with hot rice mixed with ghee, and used to make Sundakkai Vathal Kuzhambu.

Other Spice Mixes include Garam Masala, Chaat Masala, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, and Sambar Powder.

Browse our other Podi recipes. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Sundakkai Vathal Paruppu Podi | Dried Pea Eggplant, Spice and Lentil Mix | Dried Turkey Berry Spice Powder”

Fiona’s Beautiful Chai

A recipe that has formed a chain as it goes from one person to another

Fiona was a twitter friend some time ago. As often happens, life changes, and it had been some time since we have connected,. But a quick search located her in Berlin! Today I came across her recipe for Chai which she sent to me in 2009! It seems so long ago. Fiona made a note that this recipe was given to her by her friend Peta. I love how food and recipes create this chain of people across the world. I am now making you a link in the chain!

So, with great memories of Fiona, I made her chai again this afternoon. The recipe is for a mix, which you can then use to make your chai each day. It is unusual in that it includes dried orange peel and a vanilla bean as well as the usual spices.

Are you looking for more Chai recipes? Try Sri Lankan ChaiChai Masala for Relief of Colds, Peppery Chai, and Illaichi Chai.

You might like to browse our other Chai recipes – we have a few. Or explore our Indian recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. You might also like to browse our easy Mid Spring recipes. I hope you enjoy them.

Continue reading “Fiona’s Beautiful Chai”

Beetroot Risotto

Beetroot Risotto is something very special. Bright ruby red, luscious, creamy, just perfect with a glass of wine and a salad. Enjoy!

We have been making this risotto since 1999 – that’s such a long time. Risottos for us are a wonderful Friday night meal if we are eating and relaxing at home. The week is done, we can take our time, chat, listen to music, drink a little wine if we are in the mood.

I love to make this when I can find beetroot straight out of my garden. The first time I made it, all those years ago, was with fresh beetroot straight from an organic Clare Valley vegetable garden. The difference in taste to store-bought beetroot is amazing. Right now, we try to keep our own beetroot growing in our garden.

The risotto is such an beautiful colour. Serve on white or green plates for maximum effect.

If this is the first time that you are making risotto, read Risotto Basics 101 first. If this is the first time you are roasting beetroot, have a look here.

Similar recipes include Risotto with Radicchio, Parsnip Risotto, Asparagus Risotto, Beetroot and Pinot Risotto, and Risotto with Mushrooms.

You might like our other Beetroot recipes or our other Risotto recipes. Check out our easy Late Spring recipes here.

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

Continue reading “Beetroot Risotto”

Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque with Tomatoes and Herbs

This is a beautiful Autumn and Winter dish that can also be made with Spring vegetables. Today it might be Spring here, but leeks and carrots are still on the menu on the colder days of this transitional season. We have had such cold weather this year, even breaking records for the coldest November day in 50 years.

You can vary this dish. For example, use leeks only, or carrots only.  Potatoes on their own are also very very good.

Read about Cooking a la Grecque Style.

Similar recipes include Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, Mushrooms a la GrecqueCauliflower a la Grecque, and Fennel a la Grecque.

You might like to browse our Leek recipes, and our “a la Grecque” recipes. Also check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This dish is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

Continue reading “Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque with Tomatoes and Herbs”

Sri Lankan Yellow Rice With Yoghurt | Aromatic Sri Lankan Turmeric Curd Rice

Turmeric Rice, Sri Lankan style

Off to Sri Lanka today for a popular Sri Lankan rice dish, rich in flavour, aromatic and colourful on the table. There is a secret to this dish – chopped coriander and natural yoghurt is added to the rice just before serving.

Sri Lankan food is dominated by spices, and while many dishes are similar to those in neighbouring countries, especially South India, their use of spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit is distinctive and makes their cuisines unique.

I love rice and the endless varieties of Indian and associated rice dishes. Similar recipes include Aromatic Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice, Sri Lankan Ghee Rice, Green Mango and Coconut Rice, Spicy Eggplant Rice, and  Turmeric Rice.

You can browse all of our Rice dishes and our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or you might explore our Late Spring dishes.

Continue reading “Sri Lankan Yellow Rice With Yoghurt | Aromatic Sri Lankan Turmeric Curd Rice”