Saar | A Goan Rasam

By the late 1990’s I was beginning to cook Indian food or at least attempting to make a fair representation of some dishes. Many of my early attempts came from Goa as that was my first port of call on my first trip to India. Later I expanded my love of Indian food to Tamil cuisine and South Indian in general.

Saar is similar to the Tamil dish Rasam, but with Goan twists. The recipe is from Tasty Morsels; Goan Food Ingredients and Preparation by Maria de Lourdes Bravo Da Costa Rodrigues. I picked it up on one of my early trips to Goa. It is like the Green and Gold of Goan Cuisine. I love to look through the book and remember my many visits to Goa over the years. I adore exploring the different areas of Goa, away from the tourist attractions, and dive into the different cultures. There were many times I travelled with a friend on his motorbike, exploring off-road areas and little-known beaches, as well as the local food markets, food stalls and tiny shops. Sleeping in thatched huts, eating at restaurants right on the beach, talking to women on the beach picking up inhabited shells to cook with rice. The smell of morning fires ready for cooking the day’s meals, the pink sands on the beaches, the sunsets, spice farms, hills, temples, music. Oh, Goa – I miss you!

Tickle My Senses has a wonderful description of Saar.

Well, saar needs to be eaten in the right way for maximum pleasure. Pour the piping hot tomato saar over your rice (for me the rice has to be swimming in the saar) then using your finger tips coat the rice with the piping hot saar, making sure you do not burn yourself ! then scoop mouthfuls of this delicious mixture into your mouth, accompanied with fried foods and vegetable. When all is done, lift up the plate to your lips and drink off any remaining saar, the orphaned bits can be polished off by licking your fingers….slurpp!!!

Note the Portuguese name of the author – there are at least 3 distinct cuisines in Goa – that heavily influenced by the Catholic Portuguese cuisine which is also non-vegetarian, that of the Hindu Goans which is more vegetarian and more traditionally South Indian. Finally there is the Muslim cuisine from the Muslim invaders and immigrants over the years.

Often Saar is described as a soup, which is a misnomer. While it is a thin but strongly flavoured broth, traditionally it is not eaten with a spoon from a bowl. See the description of Saar on the sidebar here. It really does capture the essence of Saar and Rasam.

We have a lovely collection of rasam recipes that we have put together as a collection. You can see the collection here.

Similar recipes include Mysore Rasam with Tomatoes, Tomato Pepper Rasam, and Cumin Seed Rasam.

Browse all of our Rasam recipes and all of our Goan dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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.

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Jeera Rice

Jeera Rice is the rice that is most commonly available in Indian restaurants  of a certain standard in Australia. Buttery and tasting of cumin, it really is a delight. It is easy to make – this version anyway – and is a perfect accompaniment to any Indian meal. There are versions with onions, and a lot more spices, but this one is a great partner with any other dish. When you over-complicate rice, it restricts the dishes it can pair with.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rice, Clove, Cardamom and Cinnamon Rice, and Black Pepper and Cumin Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and our versions of Jeera Rice. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Aloo Gobi

Recipes for Aloo Gobi, the much loved potato and cauliflower dish from India, are so various that there must be a different one in every household in India and beyond. Each is glorious in its own right.

Some have yoghurt sauces, some have tomato based sauces. This recipe has one based on tomato, cumin, ginger and coriander leaves. It’s pretty good. I like it with a cumin pepper rice or a simple jeera rice.

Similar dishes include Aloo Gobi with Yoghurt Sauce, Aloo in Aloo, and Simple Cauliflower Curry.

Browse all of our Potato recipes and all of our Cauliflower dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Tamarind Suran and Arbi | Elephant Foot Yam and Taro with Chilli-Tamarind-Mustard Sauce and Crispy Curry Leaves

Fasting recipes are common in Hindu India. Fasting is often undertaken 1 day per week, and at auspicious times such as the holy periods and festivals. Fasting is a little different –  in India fasting can mean 1 or 2 small meals per day consisting of light food that adheres to numerous restrictions.

The rules about fasting vary from region to region, festival to festival, and family to family, and involves the grains, lentils, vegetables and spices that can/cannot be used.

But fasting recipes are not restricted to times of fasting – they are delicious in their own right and can be made any time!

This recipe is a fasting one based on arbi (arvi) and suran, cooked in tamarind. It does include chilli and mustard seeds which might be restricted for some. They can be left out. The vegetables cooked simply in a tamarind base are delicious too! It is a very simple recipe without onion or additional spices. It is quick and easy to make.

This is a fairly bland dish, so if not fasting serve it alongside punchy curries with layers of complex flavours.

Similar recipes include Elephant Yam Masiyal, Yam Masiyal with Fenugreek Seed, and Sweet Potato Subzi.

Explore all of our Fasting recipes, Elephant Foot Yam dishes and Arbi dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Collection: Chai Recipes with Love

Chai is the comforting drink that we all need every day. It is made from tea, usually an Assam tea, spices, milk and sugar. The spices are simmered in water and milk with the tea for some minutes to infuse the flavour, and it is sweetened before serving. The tea is simmered with the spices – a different way of brewing it when we consider the dunk-in-dunk-out method of the British and others.

Learn how to make Chai properly here.

Enjoy these 20 or so different Chai recipes.

Similar articles include 30 Soups for Mid Autumn, A Collection of Kitchdi Recipes, and Delicious Recipes with Green Tomatoes.

Browse all of our Chai Recipes, and all of our Collections. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Dried Fava Beans with Garlic | Ful Bit-Tewm

This is a dish that is made in Spring in Malta and the Middle East with fresh broad beans. For  the rest of the year it is made with dried broad beans. There are two types of dried broad beans (generally called dried Fava beans). The first, commonly available here, are large, darker coloured beans. Huge, really. They are not peeled, so require soaking and peeling before cooking. Despite the work, I do love the intense earthy flavour of these large beans.

The second type is a more delicate dried fava bean, small in size and golden in colour. These are generally already peeled, and so less work in the kitchen before cooking. They are more difficult to find, and I had to search them out in a large Greek grocery.

Today, I am using the smaller variety, as I think that they are better suited to this dish, but note that the larger beans or fresh broad beans can also be used. It is just the cooking time that will vary.

Similar dishes include Dried Fava Bean Soup, Fava Bean Puree with Herbs, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes, and our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore all of our Mid Spring dishes.

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Aama Vadai

Aama Vadai (also called Paruppu Vadai or Masala Vadai) is a traditional snack that is made during Tamil New Year and also Ramnavami. Made from a variety of lentils and spiced with chillies, asafoetida, curry leaves and coriander, it is a delicious snack. It is also a very popular street food snack in South India.

Aama means tortoise in Tamil. But never fear, they do not contain tortoises, it is named this way because of the hard crispy outer shell of the vadai.

Similar recipes include Vadai with Yoghurt, Broad Bean and Mint Vada, Thattai Vada, and Pea and Mint Croquettes.

Browse more Vadai recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Aamti with Drumsticks and Coconut | Maharashtrian Dal

Aamti is a lentil dish from Maharashtra that is made with toor dal and defined by its souring agent – tomato or tamarind – as well as cumin, chillies or chilli powder and fenugreek. Aamti also contains Goda Masala or, if that is not available, Garam Masala can be used.

This is the second of our Aamti recipes. In this one we have included drumstick vegetables to add texture and flavour. If you are not familiar with Drumsticks, they are long, thin and tapered vegetables that grow on a tree. Their outer skin cannot be eaten as it is fibrous and tough. It is the inner pulp and seeds that are delicious and add flavour to dishes. Consequently, the pieces of drumsticks are sucked between the teeth to extract the inner goodness. It might sound strange, but I know that once you have tasted drumsticks you will be addicted.

Aamti is very easy to make if your toor dal is already cooked (I keep cooked toor dal in the freezer), and your drumsticks are already cooked (our friends provide us with drumsticks and I freeze them too). If so, it will take under 10 minutes. This recipe comes from Sukham Ayu, a book by Jigyasa Giri on Auyrvedic cooking at home. I have added my own tweaks, of course.

Similar recipes include Aamti Bhaat, Poritha Kootu, and Dal Tadka.

Browse all of our Dals and all of our Maharasthrian recipes. 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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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 Aloo Gobi, 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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Five More Winter Dishes I Love

What comfort our list of go-to recipes bring us. In the Five Dishes series we are bringing you some of our most love dishes. We explore our recipes, some of them going back decades.

Today I am bringing five of my favourite dishes of Winter. I do hope you enjoy them.

You can also browse all of our Winter dishes – ones for Early Winter, Mid Winter and Late Winter.

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