Today’s recipe is another Green Tomato dish to add to our collection. Green tomatoes are generally available from Late Spring or Early Summer into Autumn, if you can find a green grocer who stocks them. This dish is a quick, spicy stir fry using just the tomatoes with onions and spices.
We are so in love with our long stranded saffron from Saffron Only. With our delivery we also received several recipe cards including the recipe for this rice dish which has also been mentioned by an Irani work colleague. As beautiful soft barberries are available at the local Afghan shop, the recipe was added to our must-cook list.
The recipe simmers long grained rice until al dente, then steams it on a bed of potatoes or pita bread (optional) until the bottom is crispy and the rice is perfectly cooked. It is then served with saffron water, the toasted barberries, almonds and pistachios.
Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large shrub that has yellow flowers and red or blue-black berries. The berries, rich in vitamin C, have a distinct sharp acid flavour. The country in which they are used the most is Iran where they are used in rice pilafs.. Due to their inherent sour flavor, they are often cooked with sugar before being added to rice. Iranian markets sell barberry dried. In Russia they are sometimes used in jams and extract from them is a common flavouring for soft drinks and candies/sweets. They are rarely used in Europe in modern times. (Thanks wikipedia.)
I notice that Ottolenghi has a similar recipe on his website. I mention it only as we have an Ottolenghi Project happening, cooking from his book Plenty More. You can check his recipe out, but I like this one better. 🙂
Barberries are also such a beautiful colour that they make a great garnish to any rice dish or salad.
Browse all of our Saffron dishes and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
Continue reading “Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios”
Green tomatoes have a sturdiness that red tomatoes don’t have. This means that they will not collapse in dishes the way a red tomato will do, and so they can be used in Indian dishes as a vegetable rather than a sauce. We are so lucky that our Green Grocer stocks them, and they are plentiful in Summer and into Autumn.
In this dish, the tartness of the green tomatoes pairs well with the sweetness of the jaggery, and dal is added to the tadka for a crunchy textural element. The spices are freshly roasted to bring out their flavour. Pair the dish with rice or roti, or serve as an accompaniment to your dal-rice.
Sometimes we just need to throw something together quickly. This is your recipe for a rice side dish, or a snack if you will – ideal for Spring time when young broad beans are around, or at other times using frozen, peeled broad beans from your Middle Eastern of Afghani Grocer. Grab your dill from there too – they have simply the best, largest, freshest bunches of dill, far better than the limp branch or two we get from Supermarkets. (If you buy your frozen broad beans from the supermarket, it is likely that you will have to peel the individual beans once they are blanched. The ones from a Middle Eastern shop will save you quite a bit of time.)
Looking for an alternative to chips for late night snacks or to serve with vegetarian BBQs? This is the recipe for you. Rather than cooking as chips, the potatoes here are cubed and roasted with garlic and capsicums in a traditional Lebanese and Syrian dish. Ottolenghi shares it in his book Plenty More. I like to add eggplants as well – the texture of these is a great contrast to the crispy potatoes and the sweet capsicums. I have also added some curry leaf powder, but this is entirely optional. I like it it because it pairs so well with chilli powder and chilli flakes.
Make curry leaf powder by grinding dried curry leaves. If you have access to fresh leaves, toast them in a dry pan until crispy, then grind. If you’ve purchased dried leaves, grind them as they are.
We are fascinated with using vine leaves for cooking. While everyone is familiar with dolmades, there are quite a number of dishes that are complemented by the flavour and aroma of the grape vine leaves.
This recipe is sort of a lazy man’s dolmades – a rice mixture baked in layers with vine leaves, and encrusted with vine leaves. It comes out as a pie, and is cut into wedges to be served with lemon and pomegranate molasses. The rice is herby, nutty, and slightly sweet from the currants. Some Middle Eastern flavours there. The recipe comes together easily, tastes great, and can be eaten warm or cold. It is an excellent contribution to a table of mezze.
A delightfully quick okra dish where okra is sauteed with turmeric and other spices and mixed with yoghurt. There are a lot of dishes originating in India that combine okra and yoghurt in some way. It is such a special pairing. This is another recipe that celebrates that combination.
It is a really quick dish. By the time you have the yoghurt ready, the okra have nearly finished cooking. This time I have used the tiny Egyptian Okra that I get from my local Afghan grocery, no bigger than a thumb nail, and I use them whole. If using the larger okra, halve them lengthwise.
This is a delightful Moroccan Salad, simple to make and delicious to eat. Oranges and dates are both special in Morocco, and this brings them together in a vivid salad plate for the centre of the table. The dressing is one with spices – cinnamon, fennel, pepper, garlic – and orange blossom water to boost the orange flavour.
The recipe is one of Ottolenghi’s salads that is herb based (see Ettie’s Salad and Celery and Lemon Salad, from Plenty More, for example). Salads based on herbs are common from Afghanistan right around to Israel and Palestine, and through the Mediterranean across to the coast of Africa. Some are very simple – Irani Herbs with Radishes and Salt (no dressing), for example, and the Turkish Bowl of Herbs with a simple dressing. Then there is an Orange Salad, just with a simple dressing. This one is more complex and Ottolenghi has combined several of those simpler salads into one, very delicious, salad.
I read this heartfelt ode to Chai this morning.
Chai is relevant in any situation.
Guests are coming, make chai
Headache, make chai
Very far away, make chai
Death is coming, make chai
Make ginger chai – with ginger
Rain is coming – Make chai with Pakora
Do not get the blues – Make fennel chai
Make chai to avoid doing nothing !!
Some rhythm is probably lost in translation, but I get the point and love the little poem. How important chai is to everyday life in India. So, we have a different chai for you today – one with liquorice root. There is generally some on hand to make Yogi Chai, so when I saw a simple version of that chai using only liquorice, I leapt into action. It made a delightful afternoon Chai on the first cool day after a string of 40C (105F) days.
Liquorice is generally regarded as more as a medicinal herb than a flavoursome one in India, but if you love it as I do, there is nothing to stop you making this tea at any time. Otherwise, it is used to relieve sore throats, dry coughs or acidity in the stomach.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continue reading “Mungarai Keerai Sambar | Drumstick Leaves Sambar”