Winter Curry | Cauliflower, Turnip and Swede Subzi

Some of the quickest and really good spicy dishes from India are those that take a vegetable or two and stir fry them with a few spices. These subzi dishes are wonderful side dishes, or make a simple lunch or supper served with rice or Indian flatbread.

Many of our Winter root vegetables are not as common in India, and most uses of them take existing recipes and replace the vegetable (e.g. carrot) with turnip, swede, parsnip, etc. As the Indian diaspora settles around the world, and as European and American vegetables make greater appearances in India, this will change over time.

This recipe takes a bunch of Winter vegetables and magics them into a subzi. Turnip, Swede and Cauliflower are used. Mixed with onions and spices, it makes a curry worthy of Winter. For freshness, scatter loads of coriander on top and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Similar dishes include Okra and Onion Subzi, Kohlrabi Subzi, and Aloo Palak Subzi.

Browse our Turnip dishes, Swede recipes and our Cauliflower dishes. Our Indian dishes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore all of our Late Winter dishes.

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Collection: Kosumalli Salads

A Kosumalli is a simple spiced yet cooling salad. There are many varieties, but the most common is made by mixing soaked mung dal or channa dal with cucumber, carrot, and coconut, and tempering the salad with spices.  It is a South Indian specialty, eaten as a snack or made to accompany a meal. The crunch of the cucumber, the sweet flavour of coconut, and the tang of lemon balances the earthiness of the lentils for a deliciously flavoured and textured salad.

It is said that the dish originated in Karnataka where it is called Kosambari in Kannada. However the dish is now common across South India with many community cuisines (eg Upadi and Chettinand) have adopted it and adapted it to local tastes.

It is rather rare to have raw ingredients in South Indian cuisine. At the least, most ingredients are sautéed. There are a couple of exceptions including  Kosumalli which is closer to a Western version of a salad than Sundals and Pachadi  and Raita dishes which are often referred to as salads but differ from their Western counterparts. Although the modern preference is to use raw ingredients, in older recipes you will find that the dal is semi cooked, and the vegetables quickly sauteed.

Although made day to day in many households, Kosumalli is also made for festivals such as Navarathri and Ramanavami, and can feature at weddings.

There are many variations of Kosumalli that that differ with the vegetables being used. It can be as simple as cucumber with spices or with lentils and cucumbers. Cucumber can be replaced another vegetable, commonly carrots or sprouts. Or, as mentioned, it can be made with a combination of vegetables  (finely chopped cucumbers, plantain stem, sweetcorn, zucchini, green mango, onions, peppers, carrots, sprouts and/or tomatoes), coconut, spices and lentils.

Kosumalli makes an excellent light lunch with a bowl of yoghurt or steamed rice, or can be stirred into yoghurt to be eaten as a dip or in a similar way to raita. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or with dinner. It’s also a great tiffin dish and kid’s lunch dish.

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Milky Brinjal Chutney | Roasted Eggplant Chutney

Despite milk being abundant in India, I find it is rare to see it used in dishes that are not sweet. However I have probably seen more such recipes in the past month than I have noticed in the past decade. I wonder is that just my awareness, or is there a resurgence of popularity of these dishes.

Yoghurt is of course used extensively in savoury dishes, so why not use milk instead of yoghurt? You will find that milk gives a lighter touch and is without the sourness of yoghurt. While yoghurt is always evident in dishes, milk adds flavour without being assertive.

This is an Indian chutney from Andhra Pradesh. Eggplant is roasted and the flesh is mashed with milk that has been boiled and cooled, and then a tempering added that includes ginger and coriander leaves. It is delicious, and I recommend it with rice or part of an Indian meal.

South Indian chutneys are quite different to Western chutneys, and they also make great dips, spreads for sandwiches and wraps, and purees to accompany a meal or form a base for other ingredients.

Similar dishes include Fresh Radish Chutney, Mint and Coriander Chutney, and Green Tomato Pachadi.

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

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Hesarubele Koshambari | South Indian Mung Dal and Cucumber Salad

Koshambari (also known as Kosumali) is a lovely crunchy and refreshing salad from Karnataka in the south of India which is made in a variety of ways. While it almost always contains cucumber and mung dal or channa dal, it can also be made with carrots, sprouted lentils or green mangoes.

It is a traditional salad and it is typically served as a part of the meal during festivals, weddings and gatherings. It is also often made at home for daily meals.

The ratio of cucumber to lentils can vary with the region, the household, and the season. Some will make it and emphasise the cucumbers. Others will make it with a predominance of lentils. Other places will balance the two.

For such a simple salad, there are endless ways of making it, so much so that you could eat it at every house in a street, and every salad will taste slightly different. I tend to increase the cucumber component here in Summer where the temperatures can get up to 45C – 46C at times, and increase the lentils in the Autumn and into Winter.

Serve this Kosambari with hot Masala Chai during your tea time break or with your lunch or dinner. Generally it is served as just a couple of Tblspn or so on each plate along with the other dishes.

Similar recipes include a Collection of Kosumalli SaladsCucumber and Mung Salad, Meenakshi Ammal’s Kosumalli, and Indian Cucumber Salad.

Browse all of our Koshambari Salads, and all of our Indian Salads. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Potato Bhaji

I love the book Tiffin by Srinivas. It is a terrific read with lots of lovely food-related stories. The recipes are full flavoured and perfectly balanced. It is a book I highly recommend. I have cooked a few dishes from the book and all are exceptional.

Today’s recipe is Potato Bhaaji, a warm spicy potato dish. It can be served as a snack, entree (starter) or side dish. It is perfect with dosai.

Similar recipes include Potato Poha, Green Tomato Bhaji, and Okra Bhaji.

Browse all of our Bhaji recipes and all of our Potato dishes. You can browse all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring collection of recipes.

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Tamarind Summer Cooler

Another great Summer Cooler is made with tamarind – that sweet-sour and ubiquitous Indian souring agent. If you can find fresh tamarind, go the whole way and make your own tamarind paste – it is worth the effort.

The tamarind paste is mixed with sugar syrup and tasted to get the perfect balance of sweet and sour. In the photo, we have also used dried barberries that have soaked in the sugar syrup. Not only do they look festive, they also have a delightful sweet-sour flavour that compliments the drink very well.

It is interesting how tamarind coolers feature around the world, from the Nam Makham of Thailand to the Agua Fresca de Tamarindo from Mexico.

Similar recipes include Ginger Cooler, Pandan Cooler, and Jal Jeera.

You might like to read 40 of our Best Coolers for Summer.

Browse all of our Coolers and Indian Drinks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer recipes.

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Ezhukari Kuzhambu / Kootu | Seven Vegetables Kuzhambu | Pongal Kootu

This dish gets its name from the fact that it is prepared with 7 vegetables. It is a South Indian dish, actually a Tamil dish, which is often prepared on Thiruvathirai Day as a side dish for Thiruvadhira Kali (a sweet mung dal and rice dish made on this festival day). Although its name means seven vegetables, often nine, eleven, or even more are used! It is a blend of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavours that meld so well together, and is a perfect clean-out-the-fridge dish.

It is a dish that is also made on Thai Pongal, where it is called Pongal Kootu and as an accompaniment to Sakkarai Pongal. For this dish it is made thinner than for Thiruvathirai.

But you can also make this dish at any time – don’t keep it only for a festival dish. 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. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

I love this dish cooked just with potatoes. It is divine. Today I made it with Colacasia, Chenai Yam, Cluster Beans, Pumpkin, Potato, Ridged Gourd, and Drumstick. Delicious!

Similar dishes include Poritha Kootu, Poritha Kootu with Simple Spices, and Moringa Leaf Dal.

Browse all of our recipes for Thai Pongal. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

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South Indian Vegetable Soup

Another lovely South Indian soup from the Cook and See series of books. Vol 4 of these books is by Priya Ramkumar, Meenakshi Ammal’s granddaughter. It is simpler than the other volumes, introducing recipes of the early 2000’s  rather than the traditional fare of the 1950’s. I love the soups, as simple and easy as they are. Today’s is Vegetable Soup – vegetables are cooked till tender then coarsely mashed before being served with some cream swirled through.

Similar recipes include Indian Potato and Tomato Soup, South Indian Carrot Soup, and South Indian Green Peas Soup.

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

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Brinjal Kootu | Eggplant Kootu

Kootu is a thick, coconut-heavy dal dish, tangy with tamarind and spiced with sambar spices. Today our Kootu is made with eggplant. It is easily and quickly made by simmering the eggplant in tamarind and spices before adding the dal and coconut.

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. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Ezhukari Kuzhambu (Pongal Kootu), Elephant Yam Masiyal with Lime JuiceBrinjal Asadu, Cluster Bean Dal Kootu, and Ridged Gourd Dal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Eggplant Bean dishes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Indian Quick Daikon Radish and Onion Pickle with Turmeric, Ginger and Mustard Seed

Pickles are important to Indian food, no matter which Indian cuisine you are enjoying. Most are made using various slow-pickling methods, but there are also a few quick pickles. Perhaps considered more of a salad than a real pickle, they add a delightful tang to meals which cuts through the heat of any accompaniment. I love this dish with vadai or other deep fried snacks – the acid of the lemon or lime is a great accompaniment to snacks.

This salad uses daikon (the white radish) with onion rings and carrot, quick pickled in lemon juice and spices. Here we have added pounded mustard seeds (rather than popped in oil) to give a true mustardy taste, but you could also make a tadka of mustard seeds and add to the finished pickle.

Similar dishes include Onion Strings Quick Pickle, Green Apple Pickle, and Quince Pickle.

Browse all of our Indian pickles and all of our general Pickles.  Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or take some time to browse our Late Spring recipes.

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