Aromatic Lemon and Curry Leaf Rice

This rice dish, very delicious I must say, is cooked in the oven. This method is  very handy if you are cooking a large meal and want to leave the stove top for other dishes. The general method can be used without the addition of the aromatics. Ottolenghi has this recipe in his book Plenty More but I have tarted it up just a little. As much as I love Yotham and crew, they need to get a better handle on Indian ingredients (IMO), so I have added or changed out a couple of things in this dish.

Try to get hold of fresh curry leaves on the stem for this dish – they freeze or dry well, so don’t worry if you end up with a big bunch. One of the ways in which curry leaf flavour is layered into a dish is to use them in several different ways in the same dish. Flavour a broth with them, as Ottolenghi does, saute/fry them in ghee or some other oil because the flavour is most easily transported by oils, and add crushed leaves to the final dish. I have used the last two methods in my version of this dish.

Serve the dish with an Indian pickle and a vegetable or lentil curry.

We have several ways of cooking rice, and this oven method is one more. Also try Oven Finished Rice, Buttery Steamed Rice, and The Absorption Method.

Similar recipes include Turmeric Rice, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Carrot Rice, and Lemon Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, and our Indian Recipes. Our Indian Essentials are here. All of the Ottolenghi dishes we have made are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Chilli Soy Sauce and Dipping Sauce

Our garden features several well-bearing chilli bushes, and we do a number of things with them. Firstly, we freeze some, whole, for use during winter. We use them in our cooking of course, especially Indian dishes. Some red ones are dried for use as dried chillies in Indian food during the year. Chilli jams, sauces and pastes are made. And we pretty much use them in everything else.

Today’s recipe is a very simple, Asian condiment, which soaks fresh chillies in soy sauce, to be drizzled over, well, pretty much everything. I love a good stirfry and rice, and with abundant amounts of this condiment to drizzle and to dip. Imagine dipping some deep fried tofu in this sauce! Also good over noodle dishes and vegetables. Try it with samosas, or Chinese Scallion Pancakes.

Similar recipes include Preserved Sweet Chillies, Balinese Sambal Iris, Tomato and Chilli Jam, and Chilli Pastes. Also try Onion Jam, and Zhug.

Browse all of our Chilli dishes and all of our Sauces and Condiments. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Celery Salad with Sour Grapes and Burrata

They say that Burrata is the best thing since sliced bread. And certainly it is very very good. A delicious mozzarella shell filled with thick cream. Has your mind gone to heaven? Indeed. It is simply the dreamiest. Creamy, luscious – burrata is Italian for butter, if that gives you any clues on how beautiful it can be.

Burrata is quite difficult to find here, in our little outback town of Adelaide. Not so in other cities, where it perches on the shelves of every supermarket. I had to search hard to find it within reasonable driving distance of my home. It took some time – distributors and cheese makers were not willing to help – I contacted several – but persistence paid and I found a reliable source not far from my work. That is Adelaide for you.

One of the great things about Burrata is that it is perfect for replacing coddled or poached eggs in salads. Thus for those who, like me, avoid cooking with eggs, the creaminess of the interior with the soft mozzarella coating brings that something that soft cooked eggs give to salads and baked dishes.

Celery salads are so rare, but I love one particular recipe, it is my favourite use of celery. I have modified it here to include the burrata. I hope you enjoy it. The origin is an Ottolenghi salad but the recipe keeps morphing into a dish that is appearing more and more often on our table.

Oh, and the other ingredient that is introduced in this salad, is Sour Grapes. Yes, I know, you all know those who are always full of sour grapes. But, it is also an exciting ingredient. Preserved sour grapes can be found in jars in Middle Eastern and Afghani groceries. They taste sour and briney, and a little like capers and caper berries. They are great in salads and in dishes where a sour taste is called for to balance other flavours. Pick some up today (or use capers in place of the grapes).

Similar recipes include Purslane Salad with Herbs and Burrata, Celery Yoghurt Salad, Nashi Pear and Celery Salad, and some Simple Celery Salads.

Browse our Celery Salads and all of our Celery dishes. Our Burrata dishes are here.  Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Green Chilli and Coriander Paste | Chilli, Garlic and Coriander Chutney

This recipe is for a chilli, garlic and coriander paste that can be used as an accompaniment to dishes and full meals (like an Indian style chutney), and as a flavouring for food. Stir it into steamed rice, for example, or into any curry. It works particularly well with coconut milk based spicy dishes. Have it on the side of rice or curries, drizzle it into soups, spread a tiny amount on a sandwich, smear a little onto a snack.

Keep it handy too for spreading on your sandwiches and toast (try it with cheese!), and as a dip for snacks and finger food. It also goes well with idli, vada and other Indian snacks. We are claiming this as an Indian style chutney, although it does vary a little. Nevertheless, it is every bit as delicious as any Indian green chutney.

The paste keeps well in the fridge if tightly covered and avoid using a wet spoon when using the paste.

Similar recipes include Coriander Paste, Zhug, Chilli Jam, and Chilli Paste.

Browse all Chilli recipes, and all Pastes and Purees. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Mango and Pineapple Salad

In India, on one trip, a travelling companion remarked that India did not have dishes of fresh vegetables and greens, like salads and simply cooked vegetables. It was a surprising statement from a person who was not unused to India, but it does show that the most commonly publicised dishes are not the fresh, uncooked or quickly cooked dishes. I may have been more fortunate that that person, eating in the homes of friends in India and spending time in their kitchens. Salads are eaten all over India – they are different to Western tossed or composed salads, but they are fresh and beautiful.

An Indian salad will contain raw or briefly cooked vegetables, fruits, sprouted lentils, and spices. They can also contain grains such as puffed rice or poha (flattened rice). Cooked lentils and beans can be briefly stir fried with spices, coconut and herbs. Vegetables and fruits can be stirred into yoghurt and dressed with sautéed spices.

Salad dressings are not used per se, but flavours are balanced with spices and coconut.  When fruits are used, or vegetables like cucumber and jicama, it can be simply spiced by mixing with chaat masala, black pepper and some lime juice.

So today, a salad of fruits with spices and peanuts. It is gorgeous, spicy and with a tang of mustard. I came across the recipe somewhere some time ago, and make it when pineapples are sweet and mangoes are available. There are many different types of mangoes in India, pineapples too. Today, I have used a sweet, green mango, but others with firmer flesh and tarter flavour can also be used. It is a great salad to serve with fiery food, or as part of a Summer lunch outside under the gum trees.

Similar dishes include Black Gram Sprouts Sundal, Cucumber Pachadi, and Kachumber.

Browse all of our Indian Salads, and all of our Salads. Our Mango dishes are here, and our Pineapple dishes are here. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar

Occasionally the local Asian shop has Drumstick Leaves (also known as Moringa, Mungarai Keerai and Murungai Keerai) and we are always excited to bring a bunch home. One of our favourite ways to use them is to make a Drumstick Leaf Sambar. It is a standard sambar with an onion tadka, into which the cooked leaves are stirred. The flavours are allowed to develop and the sambar is served with rice.

The leaves, unless very tender, are quite tough to digest, so make sure you cook them well.

This recipe can also be made with the various types of Amaranth leaves.

Similar recipes include Sundakkai Sambar, and Classic Sambar.

Browse our Sambar recipes, and Drumstick Leaves dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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Sticky Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu

Sadly, many people believe tofu is boring. Perhaps recipes like this one are secret, locked away from view unless you have the password or know the secret phrase to say. An easy dish to make, the tofu is marinated in tamarind, kaffir leaf and lemongrass with sweet soy sauce for half an hour, and then sauteed until it forms a crust on the outside. The marinade is reduced to a sticky sauce which coats the seared tofu.

Similar recipes include Black Pepper Tofu, Baked Marinated Tofu, and Deep Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce.

Browse all of our Tofu recipes and all of our Asian dishes. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Masoor Gram Dal with Green Peppers | Whole Red Lentil Dal

I usually turn to mung beans when I feel like a bit of comfort and nourishment, but today it is whole red lentils, masoor gram. This recipe is very simple, very easy, very home-cooking style, and very delicious. It has the taste of coriander and cinnamon, and has green capsicums added for additional flavour and texture. This is uncommon, but not unusual, and we love the taste and texture.

Similar recipes include Masoor Dal with Green Chillies, Masoor Sprouts Rice, and Daikon Dal.

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

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Watermelon Salad with Mint and Olives

Well, watermelon has this household hooked in the Summer hot weather – that luscious pink colour going looking so good in the heat, and the juices running down onto one’s plate (or down one’s chin). Eaten with a sucking noise, to extract every piece of juice, it cools and supplies a sugar energy boost at the same time.

It is so good to slice it, take it outside and eat with ones hands, the rind still on, gnawing at it to get the last of the pink bits. Or cut into cubes, more delicately eaten with a fork, popping ice-cold cubes into our mouths with regular automatic movements of fork to cube to mouth and back again.

Today we mix it with feta, such a good mix, some onion, mint and olives, for a quick salad. I have some creamy feta from the local Afghan shop, so creamy it can be spread onto flatbread for quick snacks. But today I managed to save some for the salad.

We have a collection of Watermelon Salads for you to explore – we brought together all our favourite salads in one post.

Similar recipes include: Watermelon Juice with Ginger and Mint, Watermelon and Peach Salad with Basil, and Haloumi and Watermelon Salad. All of our Watermelon Salads are here, and all of our other Watermelon recipes are here.

You might like to look at other Feta recipes. Perhaps try Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes, Du Puy Lentils with Feta and Tomato, or Rustic Tomato Soup with Feta.

You could browse all of our many Salad recipes. Or take some time to browse our Mid Summer dishes.

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Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns | Pineapple Curry with Green Peppercorns

In one episode of Master Chef last year, the contestants had a mystery box that contained pineapples and green peppercorns. We were yelling at the TV screen “Kerala Pineapple Curry!!!”. Sadly, they could not hear, and I don’t recall that anyone paired them together. Kerala uses pineapple a lot in savoury ways, and this is one of them. So, Master Chef contestants, here is how you enhance the flavour of pineapples with chillies, coconut and green peppercorns.

Similar recipes include Pineapple Pulissery, Kerala Cooking, and Green Mango in Coconut Milk.

Browse all of our Kerala dishes and all of our Pineapple recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Fava | Split Pea Puree

Fava is a puree or spread made from yellow split peas, not Fava Beans (Dried Broad Beans).  The naming of these Mediterranean dishes is a mine field! A puree made from dried Broad Beans is known as koukofava.

There are many versions of Fava, some with cumin and sumac, but this one is made from split peas which are topped with capers and caramelised onion, eaten warm and served as a starter dip. Ottolenghi, whose recipe this is, says the dish is soothing yet exciting. It is indeed. It is a delight to see Ottolenghi use white pepper in several of his recipes – a rare thing these days but an exquisite taste.

You know we love pastes, purees, dips and spreads here and this is a delightful addition to our collection.

Similar recipes include Green Olive Tapenade, Cauliflower and White Bean Puree, and Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil.

Browse more of our Purees and Spreads. Our Greek dishes are here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Rose Lassi

Hot days means lassi to me, the Indian thick yoghurt drink that is incredibly cooling. Served in long glasses and sipped in the late afternoons with a snack or a biscuit or three, it makes one feel on top of things, no matter how busy you are.

This lassi is a simple recipe and is flavoured with rosewater. It is blended with ice cubes to make it sufficiently cold for immediate serving. Garnish with rose buds if you have them (they can be bought in Afghan or Middle Eastern shops), or a sprig of mint.

Similar recipes include Banana and Berry Lassi, Sweet and Tangy Lassi and Mango Lassi.

Browse all of our Lassi recipes and all of our Coolers. Our Indian drinks are here, all of our Indian recipes here and the Indian Essentials Series here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Spiced Burghul Wrapped in Vine Leaves | Yaprak Sarma

Today we have a variety of Dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), of which there are many types across the Mediterranean and Middle East. This Turkish recipe uses Burghul, which forms a bright red and a little firey stuffing for the vine leaves. I like to use a type of Burghul available in Middle Eastern grocers, where burghul is mixed with vermicelli. Its a delicious alternative.

Use fresh vine leaves (my preference) or preserved vine leaves, but rinse the preserved ones well to get rid of any saltiness.

The recipe, which I have altered a little, comes via the SBS site which credits the book Istanbul: Recipes From the Heart of Turkey, by Rebecca Seal, for the original. Vine leaves can be stuffed with a number of fillings, but rice and burghul are the most common. The vine leaves are wrapped around the filling, and the little fat cigar-shaped dolmas are simmered in water, olive oil and lemon until the vine leaves are tender. In Turkey they are often served for mezze with yoghurt.

Similar recipes include Vine Leaf Powder, Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Grape Vine Leaves.

Browse all of our Grape Vine Leaf recipes and all of our Turkish dishes. Our Burghul recipes are here. Or explore our Early Summer recipes.

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Cumin Seed Rasam

This beautiful but very easy rasam recipe is another from Meenakshi Ammal’s books Cook and See. The flavouring of this one is is definitely cumin seeds, with the cumin being toasted and ground along with with toor dal and curry leaves, before adding to a tamarind and rasam powder base.

Are you interested in other Rasams? Try Pepper, Chilli and Cumin Seed Rasam, Mysore Rasam, Tulsi Rasam, Tomato Lentil Rasam, Garlic Rasam, and Plain Dal Rasam.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

Our simply explore all of our Rasam recipes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or take some time to browse our Late Summer recipes.

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Baked Yoghurt Encrusted with Vine Leaves

Ottolenghi believes that Turkish cuisine is one of the most exciting and accomplished in the world. I would argue that Indian is, but the cuisines between Indian and the Mediterranean definitely come close. Ottolenghi’s Book Plenty contains this unusual savoury cake (perhaps a pie) from the Turkish part of Northern Cyprus (where it is called Kibris Böreği).  A version of this dish is also known in Greece, being made in the Drama Region of Greece’s Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, where it’s known as Asmapita. The name comes from the Turkish word Asma, which means grapevine.

Ottolenghi credits a book Classic Turkish Cooking by Ghillie Basan, so I borrowed the book to browse through. It is a great book if you are looking for Turkish recipes. I recommend it.

The recipe caught our attention because we have a Vine Leaf thing going at the moment, using them in a number of ways. We haven’t made dolmades yet, but they are on the list. Have a look at what we have made so far. There are more to come.

This is a dish where a shallow layer of yoghurt mixed with herbs and thickened with rice flour is baked wrapped in vine leaves! Grape leaves impart their exceptional flavour and aroma to the filling as it bakes. The breadcrumbs and sesame seeds add a crunchy layer to each slice. How very delicious! This recipe comes together in minutes, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.

Have I mentioned too, how the grape vine leaves are scented, and the kitchen begins to smell like a grape arbour. As you scald them, they release the fragrance. As I dry them in the sun the outside deck is scented with grape vines. As they bake, they have a lovely woody, grapevine aroma.

Similar recipes include Burghul Dolmas, Grape Vine Leaf Powder, Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, and Mushrooms Baked in Vine Leaves.

Browse our Turkish dishes and all of our Vine Leaf recipes. All of our Yoghurt dishes are here. Or explore our other Early Summer recipes.

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