Indian Spicy Tomato Soup

My thinking about broths or stocks for soups has changed over the years. Once I regularly made vegetable stock from off-cuts and peelings, supplemented by chopped vegetables to get the right balance. I made loads of light Asian style broths and more layered all-in stocks for soups, risottos, and the like. There were miso based stocks, SE Asian coconut-curried stocks and Indian flavoured stocks. Keeping them in the freezer meant that they were always at hand.

Don’t get me wrong, I still use these regularly, but more often I use a different technique.

A new approach

No matter what, vegetable stocks are still “light” when compared to the earthy groundedness and depth of flavour of non-vegetable stocks. So, after pondering this for some time, I began to make stocks that included such treasures as bay leaves (European, Indian and/or West Indian), juniper berries, brown cardamom pods, cumin seeds or powder, coriander seeds or powder, black peppercorns and allspice berries. What a difference these made.

Miso

Again over time – some years – miso began to make an appearance in my Continue reading “Indian Spicy Tomato Soup”

Indian Horse Gram and Pomegranate Salad

Horse Gram is highly nutritious and in fact we have fallen in love with its earthy taste. We love that the lentils hold their shape even when cooked really well – it makes them so perfect for salads.

You can make herby salads with horse gram, with loads of chopped soft herbs, lemon and garlic. Or use them as a base for Wintery roasted vegetables. Mix them with feta, onion, tomato and radish. Today we make a kosumalli style salad with the lentils.

Kosumalli is usually a light and refreshing salad. This salad is great in transitional seasons or Winter, or on cooler Summer days. It is REALLY good, and we hope you enjoy it.

Read more about Horse Gram (aka Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar dishes include Sprouts and Pomegranate Kosumalli, Cucumber Kosumalli, and Sprouts Usal.

Browse all of our Horse Gram recipes and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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Muthira Upperi | Horse Gram Thoran

Horse gram is much loved in South India as a particularly healthy lentil. One easy way to cook and serve these elongated brown skinned beans is to make thoran (Upperi in Malabar). Thoran is a dish from Kerala where vegetables, lentils, beans or sprouts are sauteed with spices and perhaps coconut, for a special side dish or Indian salad style dish. There are several ways to make a  thoran with horse gram:

  • with or without coconut – either way is good. Many people prefer to add coconut as horse gram is considered a hot pulse and coconut helps to moderate the heat.
  • cooked until al dente tender, so the beans remain separated, or cooked until the beans are very tender and beginning to break down – either way is good.
  • made as a dry dish, or as a dish with a little gravy from the cooking water.

Generally we make our thorans with coconut so for variety we make this one without.

Read more about Horse Gram (aks Kulthi Bean). It is easily purchased in Indian shops.

Similar recipes include Horse Gram and Pomegranate SaladMoringa Leaf Thoran, Carrot Thoran, and Sprouts Usal.

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

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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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Tulasyadi Phanta | Herbal Drink of Tulsi and Spices

There are several recipes for Tulasyadi Phanta. This is one that is not so common – perhaps more recent as it includes lemongrass. It is a infusion that is good for colds and fevers, and also if you are exhausted from work or illness, and need to feel comforted and rested.

The infusion is made with Tulsi, the Indian holy basil, seeped with lemongrass, cloves and cinnamon.  It really is relaxing – as you sip it in the afternoon you feel your body beginning to relax and your breath deepen. It is a gorgeous way to wind down.

Similar recipes include the Ginger Tulasyadi Phanta, Teas for Good Health, and Unusual Teas, Coffees and Infusions.

Browse all of our Infusions and all of our Teas. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

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MID WINTER: Spicy INDIAN DELICIOUSNESS for Winter Warming | Seasonal Cooking

Goodness, it’s cold! Put on another jumper and enjoy these highlights from our Mid Winter classic Indian 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 Roasted Cauliflower with a Chilli Tomato Sauce, 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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Kanda Batata Poha

There is a quick and easy Batata Poha that I make – the flattened rice flakes mixed with herbs and fried potatoes, yum! This recipe is no more difficult, still quick and easy, very similar to the recipe that Tim and Saun gave me – just a few extra spices. It includes onions, steamed potatoes and peas, cashews and peanuts, coconut and warming spices. It is a light dish that is eaten for breakfast or tiffin snacks. It is perfect just with a cuppa. It can also be served for brunch, lunch or a light dinner – add some coconut chutney or a bowl of yoghurt for a quick,light and delicious meal. It can be packed into lunch boxes, taken on picnics or taken on trips as travel food. We love poha and have nearly a dozen recipes that use it.

Take note that this is made with the thick poha – poha is steamed and rolled/flattened rice – make sure that you buy poha and not puffed rice. When you visit your Indian grocery you will see that Poha comes in different thicknesses  – Nylon (very thin and crisp), Paper, Thin, Medium, Thick and Dagdi (thick and chewy). There is also poha made from red rice and brown rice as well as white rice. The thicker types are soaked before use.

Similar dishes include Lemony Poha, Poha Chaat, and Coconut-Tamarind Poha.

Browse all of our Poha recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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Beetroot, Radish and Carrot Kachumber | Beetroot Salad

We had a focus on Indian Salads last Summer, mainly varieties of Kachumber and Kosumalli/Koshambari. As the weather slipped into cooler parts of Autumn, I found myself wondering if thes were the last ones we would make until the warm weather arrives once more. Perhaps not, I thought, as I do love salads in Winter too, but they become a little heavier than the Summer versions. More lentils, grains and Winter vegetables.

It is Summer again, so time to bring you this particular salad. It is such a delightful salad, healthy and quick to make if you use a food processor. The dressing is the usual Kachumber dressing of lime juice and black pepper.

Although I use raw vegetables, but many in India like them cooked in some way. You can either saute them lightly in ghee or Indian sesame oil, or steam them just a little if that is your preference.

Similar recipes include Beetroot and Carrot Kachumber, Chopped Salad, and Cucumber, Carrot and Green Mango Koshambari.

Browse all of our Indian Salads and our Beetroot Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Beetroot, Radish and Carrot Kachumber | Beetroot Salad”