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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South Indian Palak Soup

Another Indian soup for you – this time a Spinach (or other greens) soup.  It is a gentle one, similar to many of the other Indian Soups we have here. In this recipe a spinach stock is made, and it is served thickened and with cream. Delicious. A very good Spring soup. It is gentle, without spicing – a common feature of South Indian soups.

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. This one is from Vol. 4.

Similar recipes include 30 Beautiful Soups, Spinach Bhaji, and Aloo Palak Subzi.

Browse all of our Indian Soups and all Spinach recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Cucumber Kosumalli | Indian Cucumber and Lentil Salad

Kosumalli is delightful Indian salad generally made with cucumber, but other vegetables can be used. There are many variations of this salad – this is our sixth version.  It is an easy salad to make, once the dal is soaked.

You might like to read What is Kosumalli aka Koshambari.

Similar recipes include Cucumber and Lentil Kosumalli, Cucumber Salad with Sesame, and Cucumber Koshimbir.

Browse all of our Kosumalli dishes and Cucumber Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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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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Baked Fennel Stuffed with Feta, Rosemary and Honey | Gratinéed Fennel with Feta

A long time ago I fell in love with Gratin dishes when I was working in Nancy in France. There was an art theatre there that often showed films in English, so I was a regular visitor. Close by, maybe even next door, was a little cafe that served only gratin style dishes. It was very convenient to have a meal and then pop next door to the theatre, so it became routine for me to visit. It was so good, I still remember it fondly, especially its Poire Belle Helene Dessert.

We have a number of gratin dishes here as a result of that little cafe, and today it is a Fennel Gratin made utterly delicious with feta and honey. The recipe comes from Ilva Berreta, food photographer and former food blogger. I miss her blog, it was full of the most delightful stories and recipes.

Similar dishes include Goat’s Milk Feta with Pine Nuts and Preserved Lemon, Potatoes and Cheddar Gratin, Gratinéed Sweet Potato, and Pasta Bake with Cheddar and Cheese.

Similar Fennel dishes include Slow Baked Fennel with Garlic and Orange, Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Gratin recipes.  Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Roasted Carrots with Coriander Seeds and Garlic

Ottolenghi’s book, Nopi, has an undeserved reputation of being to chefy, too difficult for a home kitchen. While that is sort of true for some recipes, there are also so many dishes in this book that are either simple to make, or can be adjusted to suit your kitchen and pantry.

This recipe falls into the first category. It is just roasted carrots, but the mixture that the carrots are tossed in makes all the difference. Quite divine. We ate a plateful each.

For this dish I did three things differently. I used some Quince Honey that I made earlier this year – quite divine in its own right. I layered white and black pepper in the dish – using both in dishes is my current obsession, as it gives layered peppery flavours. And thirdly, our garlic cloves here are large and fat and luscious, so I avoid mincing or dicing them. They have a right to be present in the dish, front and foremost. So I slice them whenever I use them, but you could also use them whole.

Similar dishes include Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, Carrots Glazed with Honey and Ginger, and Hot Roasted Carrot Salad.

Browse all of our Carrot dishes, all of our Ottolenghi recipes and our collection of Late Spring recipes.

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Chai Wallah’s Chai

This recipe is another in our large Chai recipe collection, and it is claimed that the recipe is from a Chai Wallah – a road side person serving small cups of chai to thirsty passers-by. They are the best people, and there is nothing like your daily chai. I so miss those piping hot cuppa’s.

Who does not like chai? I have a deep love for this comforting and nourishing drink. A jar of my chai mix-of-the-moment sits permanently on my kitchen bench.

Similar recipes include Spring Chai, Garam Chai, and Peppery Chai.

Browse all of our Chai recipes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Chakkotha Salad | Pomelo Salad

Pomelo comes in light yellow flesh, rather like a lemon or grapefruit, and a pink fleshed variety. I was surprised recently that when I peeled a Pomelo, it revealed beautiful salmon pink flesh. Rather gorgeous, like a ruby grapefruit.

This salad has its  genesis in an Indian salad, which, I hear, is traditionally smoked using food-safe charcoal and oil. Use your smoke gun if you have one (I don’t), but it is gorgeous even without that.

Similar recipes include Pomelo and Green Mango Salad, and Pomelo and Avocado Salad.

Browse all of our Pomelo recipes, and all of our Salads. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad with Spring Onions and Yoghurt

Broad Beans with yoghurt is a common dish in the countries of the Middle East, and this simple recipe makes a nice salad – or eat with flatbread for a snack, light lunch or part of a mezze spread.

The taste of the beans – lightly green – against the yoghurt is beautiful. Fennel herb is a classic pairing with broad beans, although in the Middle East dill is probably more common. Use either herb.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Salad with Asparagus, Olives and Black Garlic, Salad of Broad Beans, Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, and Pan Fried Broad Beans with Chilli and Lime.

Browse all of our Broad Bean Salads and all of our Broad Bean recipes. All of our Salads are here and our Middle Eastern dishes here. Or explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Salty Battered Broad Bean Pods

Towards the end of the season, broad beans will often grow pods without seeds – the flowers have failed to germinate. I still use these pods – they are great chopped into vegetable fritters or patties, simmered and served with a yoghurt or tomato sauce, or, like today’s recipe, battered and deep fried (SO DELICIOUS). I make a standard batter with plain flour with a little eno or baking soda added to lighten the batter and make it quite crispy.

You don’t have to wait to the end of the broad bean season to make these – they can be made any time you are shelling broad beans. Don’t waste the pods if they are in good condition. If you’ve grown your own beans the pods are likely to be tender during the whole season. If you are buying pods, use your own judgement as to when during the season the pods become too tough. Cut larger pods into smaller pieces.

You will thank me for this recipe, it is delicious, and uses parts of the vegetable usually discarded. Always go for no-waste where possible.

Similar recipes include Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives, Crispy Battered Okra, Crispy Battered Onion Rings, and Pea and Mint Croquettes.

Browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Snacks. Or explore our Late Spring dishes.

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