Ma Karal | Sri Lankan Snake Bean Curry

At last we have a snake bean dish for you. Snake beans are generally available at Asian and Indian groceries. They are long beans, with a tougher outer layer than, say, our green beans. They are terrific in Asian and Indian dishes. Today we make a Sri Lankan curry, using Coconut Milk, Pandan and the Sri Lankan Curry Powder, Badapu Thuna Paha. If you can’t find this spice mix in your Indian and Sri Lankan groceries, and don’t want to make it, use any warming roasted curry powder (as spicy as you like – or not). At a pinch you could use Malay Curry Powder, Sambar Masala or Garam Masala.

Green Beans are a good substitute for Snake Beans if you can’t locate the longer ones.

Similar recipes include Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Sri Lankan Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, and Sri Lankan Fenugreek Kuzhambu.

Browse all of our Sri Lankan dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. All of our Bean dishes are here. Or explore our Early Spring collection of recipes.

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South Indian Baby Sweetcorn and Green Bean Soup

This is our second Baby Corn Soup; this one includes green beans for added crunch and fresh taste. It is another soup from Vol 4 of Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See, written by her daughter Priya Ramakumar. They are reminiscent of, say, 1970’s style soups – simple, no fuss, delicious. many of them (but not this one) are Anglo-Indian. I adore them – they are such a contrast to other elements of Indian cuisine.

As explained in previous posts, Soups as we know them are uncommon in India. But in South Indian, the TamBram community does make some very simple and un-spiced soups, probably influenced by the British, and perfect for using up left over odds and sods of vegetables.

Rather than being served in large bowls like we might serve a soup, it is served in small bowls, unaccompanied by crusty bread, grated cheese, olive oil for drizzling, or croutons. Actually, it is a really nice beginning to a hot and spicy meal.

Several of the soups in this volume of Cook and See show the growing love for Chinese food in India at the time that the volume of recipes was written. The nod to Chinese fare is created by a drizzle of soy sauce on top of the soup. Baby corn, after all, is associated (probably incorrectly) in many countries as being quintessential Chinese. This Indo-Chinese cuisine is very popular.

Baby corn is available at most Asian Grocery shops.

Similar recipes include South Indian Baby Corn Soup, South Indian Spring Onion Soup, and South Indian Cauliflower Soup.

Or browse all of our Indian Soups here, and all of Meenakshi Ammal’s dishes. Our Indian Recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini

Feekeh! No longer an ingredient that we need to travel across town to buy.  With several Afghan shops closeby in my new neighbourhood, those sorts of ingredients now go on the weekly shopping list. Oh, the joy!

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More, one of my fav of his books. Beans are cooked and mixed with walnuts, then drizzled with a minty-tahini dressing. The dressing is what ranch dressing would taste like if it spent a few months traipsing through the Middle East, so they say.

Yotham advises beans of the best quality for this dish. He also says that the walnuts can be omitted, but we are loving them so much this season, so they are definitely in. They provide a texture in this salad that is otherwise missing.

Similar recipes include Cyprian Grain Salad with Freekeh.

For Green Beans, try Five Bean Glorious Salad, and Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal.

Browse all of our Green Bean recipes and all of our Freekeh dishes. Our Ottolenghi recipes are here. Or explore our Mid Winter collection of recipes.

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Sri Lankan Okra Curry

Oh the joy of Okra, and in this dish they are quickly cooked so remain crisp and crunchy. They say that okra is good for your brain cells, so eat as many as you can! We have focused on okra recently, so there will be an ever increasing set of recipes for you to choose from.

You can also make this dish with asparagus or broccoli.

Look for okra in your local Asian and Indian shops, even Asian-owned green grocers. You will get them more cost-effectively there – about 25% of the price you might pay elsewhere.

Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. Then try Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Okra with Onions Subzi, Ladyfingers Masala, Okra Stuffed with OnionsWarm Salad of Charred Okra, and Okra with Mustard Oil.

What about other Sri Lankan dishes? Try Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry, Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Crunchy Crackers, and Sakkarai Pongal.

Or browse all of our Okra recipes, and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Or explore our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials here. Alternatively, explore our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.

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Fennel, Potato and Tomato Salad with Garlicky Mayo

After years of not using mayonnaise in my salads (I don’t eat eggs so don’t make my own and don’t love it enough to purchase it), I whipped up my Mother’s very retro eggless mayo that she always made with a can of condensed milk, white vinegar and mustard (or other flavouring).

Now we have a couple of salads that use mayo – A Quick Tomato Salad with Mustardy Mayo, and today’s salad which is sort of a wild variation on Salade Niçoise. Salade Nicoise is a salad that originated in the French city of Nice. It is traditionally made of tomatoes, olives, and other accompaniments, dressed with olive oil, or in later years, mayonnaise. This is a variation on that theme that I quite love.

Are you after other Tomato Salads? Try Artichoke Hearts and Feta Salad with Tomatoes, Tomato Salad with Balsamic and Majoram, and Tomato Salad with Parsley Oil.

Or perhaps Fennel Salads? Try Fennel Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, Fennel Salad with Fresh Prunes, and Nashi Pear, Celery and Fennel Salad with Panch Phoron Crunch.

Or are you after just Salads? Try Onion Salad with Sesame Oil, Green Salad with Chickpeas, Preserved Lemon and Feta, and Vermicelli and Green Mango Salad.

Why not browse all of our Tomato Salads, indeed explore all of our Salads. Or simple spend some time with out Mid Autumn Recipes.

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Sampangi Pitlai

We are working through the different types of Poritha Kuzhambu, where the spice paste is fried in ghee before being ground. There are Poritha Kuzhambus, Poritha Koottu and Pitlai, Gothsu and Masiyal. They can be with and without tamarind, stuffed full of vegetables or just one or two.

This is our second Pitlai, Sampangi, which traditionally has drumsticks as part of the vegetable mix, with 3 or 4 others. The spice mix used in this recipe differs from the first Pitlai recipe – it does not include coriander or channa dal (Bengal Gram), but does include peppercorns. The chillies are ground in the paste rather than left whole in the tadka. I have been explaining to some people recently how subtle differences from recipe to recipe results in a different dish, and the taste difference is remarkable IF we allow our tastebuds the time to register. This isn’t so common in our society, we eat so fast, but in India these differences are important. The other key difference in this recipe is the variety of vegetables, as many as 4 can be used in this dish, rather than 1 or 2.

Are you looking for similar recipes? You must definitely try this Pitlai, and Amaranth Greens Soup/Pitlai, as well as Onion Kothsu with Tamarind and Dal Tadka.

Are you looking for other Pitlai recipes? They are here. And browse other Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Koottu dishes.

Explore all of our Kuzhambu recipes here and all of our Sambar dishes. You might like to browse our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials. Or simple take some time to check out our Early Autumn collection.

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Pitlai | Toor Dal with Vegetables

Pitlai is a South Indian recipe using some basic vegetables and cooked in a coconut-based gravy with specific spices that have been fried in ghee. It sits close to Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu, but the spice mix varies from these.

South India adores its rice, and so the different cuisines of the South include a huge range of gravy-like dishes that are ladled over warm rice to be mixed and enjoyed. It makes sense, right? Rasam, Sambar, Kuzhambu, Kootu etc are the most common. Pitlai sits in that group too, and some will say it is a type of Sambar and others will say it is a type of Kuzhambu. Meenakshi Ammal sits her Pitlai recipes within her Poritha Kuzhambu and Poritha Kootu section – those with a fried spice mix/ paste. The dish varies slightly from any of the above – in consistency, spices used, and the vegetables that are added – bitter gourd and eggplant are definite favourites. Like the other Poritha dishes, it is the ground paste of spices, the coconut, and the predominance of lentils, that serve to thicken the dish. A tiny amount of rice flour can help if needed.

Pitlai includes coriander and Bengal Gram in its coconut-based spice paste, and this is the difference from the Poritha Kootu and Poritha Kuzhambu pastes. As I say about South Indian dishes – change out one spice and the dish has a different name, a different way of eating, a different time of day to eat it and different vegetables to include in it. 🙂

Pitlai is made all over South India and each region will have its own interpretation of the dish. This is a recipe from the Tamil Brahmin Cuisine.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder, Simple Poritha Kuzhambu, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kuzhambu with Chilli and Cumin,  and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth Leaves.

Are you looking for other Kuzhambu? Try Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai, and Tomato Kuzhambu.

Why not have a look at all our Kuzhambu dishes, and all Kootu. All of the Sambar dishes are here. Browse the Meenakshi Ammal recipes. Or take some time to explore our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Malaysian Lemak-Style Vegetables | Vegetables in a Coconut-Curry Broth

Enjoy the flavours of Malaysia with this easy vegetable dish.

Fresh, crunchy and health-giving, a bowl of stir-fried vegetables enriched with a deeply flavoured Coconut Curry broth is a wonderful lunch or light dinner – even an evening snack. A Food Bowl, straight from the source, without following any current food fashion.

You might like to also try : How to Make a Bowl Salad, or some tofu recipes – How to Use Deep Fried Tofu, Tofu Stacks with Spinach, or Marinated Tofu.

How about some other Vegetable Curries? Avial is stunning, or try a Mushroom Curry, Chilli Cabbage, adyfingers Masala, and Olan.

Or explore some spicy soups – Tomato Rasam, Pepper Rasam or Indian Dal Soup.

Please browse other Malaysian recipes, and S. E. Asian recipes. All Tofu recipes are here. You might like to explore our easy Early Spring recipes.

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Glorious Five Bean Salad

In this up-and-down weather at the moment, one day 38C, the next down to 20C, Summer trying to heat up but seemingly running out of fuel. We need to vary our food according to weather – when H O T , we do very very cooling dishes, when it cools we look for a little more substance.

Just right for the cooler Summer days is a Five Bean Salad – the beans add substance but it is still a salad, full of the tang of lemon and olive oil, Summery full of parsley.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Pan Fried Broad Beans with Tomatoes and Thyme, Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Some more Salads for you – we have so many! Try a Simple but Delicious Chickpea Salad, Easy White Bean Salad, Sprouted White Pea Sundal and Fava Bean Puree with Dill.

You might like to explore our recipes for Chickpeas, Cannellini Beans, Kidney Beans, Green Beans and Broad Beans. All of our Salads are here and here. Or browse our easy Early Summer dishes.

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Green Bean and Carrot Poriyal with Mung Dal and Coconut

Poriyals, from Tamil Nadu, and Thorans, from Kerala in India, are quick dishes where vegetables are stirfried with spices and coconut, turning ordinary vegetables into something amazing. They can form part of a meal, or can be eaten alone with roti or chapatti.

Similar recipes include Green Beans with Freekeh, Walnuts and Tahini, Sweet Potato Poriyal, Spinach and Sweetcorn Bhurji, and Carrot Thengai Poriyal.

Browse our Thoran and Poriyal recipes, our Beans recipes, and our other Fry recipes.  Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore all of the Early Autumn recipes.

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Avial | Aviyal | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce | From Kerala, India

Avial is a gentle dish from Kerala, made with vegetables and coconut.

Avial is a gentle dish from Kerala. It is a thick mixture of vegetables and coconut, seasoned with coconut oil and curry leaves. In essence, the vegetables are boiled or steamed and then dressed with the coconut-cumin-yoghurt sauce. Each family’s sauce is different from the next family’s. In our recipe today we are using cumin in the sauce.

Avial is considered an essential part of the Sadya, the Keralite vegetarian feast. It is commonly made with elephant yam, plantain, pumpkin, carrots, beans, Eggplant, cucumber, drumsticks and snake gourd. Carrots and beans are recent but delicious introduction. Bitter gourd can be included in some regions also.

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Bean Paruppu Usili | Green Bean Paruppu Puttu | Green Beans with Lentil Crumble

This is a wonderful, textural dish, a perfect compliment to an Indian meal, or a snack on its own.

This Usili is from Meenakshi Ammal’s second volume of Cook and See. In Meenakshi Ammal’s book it is called Paruppu Puttu, or scrambled lentils. Usili (or usli)  also means scrambled – confusing for us at times, but different states, regions, towns, even families in India will hold different traditions, not the least in the naming of dishes. Just part of the wonderful rich tapestry which is India. There is more information on lentil crumble types here.

This lentil crumble recipe is made with beans, but you can also use other vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, grated carrot, banana flower, other types of beans such as cluster beans or broad beans, or indeed, without any vegetable at all.

You might also like Dhal Puttu, or Carrot Curry with Coconut Lentil Crumble. Or explore our Indian dishes here and here. All lentil crumbles are here. Other Winter recipes can be found here and here.

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Seasoned Sambar, Method One

A classic, traditional Sambar, from Meenakshi Ammal.

A treat that you can give yourself is a wonderful South Indian Sambar, a South Indian soupy spicy dish, generally served over rice or with dosa.

This recipe is interpreted from the doyenne of South Indian cooking, S. Meenakshi Ammal. Her books, Cook and See (in four parts) are a goldmine of traditional South Indian cooking. Sometimes hard to interpret for the novice non-Indian cook, her recipes take a bit of detective work, planning, thinking, rewriting, and discussing. But if you are serious about real and traditional Indian food, these books are a treasure.

You can read more about Sambars and their characteristics here.

Are you looking for other Sambar recipes? Try Sundakkai Sambar, and Moru Sambar.

For Meenakshi Ammal’s other Sambars, try her different ways of making this dish – Method Two, Method Three and Method Four. Each is delicious!

Browse all of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes, and all of our Indian recipes. Or eat seasonally and explore our collection of Early Spring dishes.

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