Peas have been part our diet for hundreds of years and are used all over the world. Strictly speaking, green peas are not vegetables. They are part of the legume family, which consists of plants that produce pods with seeds inside. Lentils, chickpeas, beans and peanuts are also legumes. There are many varieties of peas, but here we are focusing on the humble, oft overlooked Green Pea.
Orange and hazelnut go wonderfully well together. The pairing offers a good balance of freshness and earthiness and the flavours are subtle enough to complement green beans without overpowering them.
In this recipe we use the orange slices that we dehydrated some time ago. Several slices are whizzed in a spice grinder until almost powdered. If you don’t have dried orange slices, use pieces of orange zest that have been sliced thinly.
This is based on a recipe from Ottolenghi’s first book, Ottolenghi. We like to play wild and free with his recipes, so you can check the original one here.
Nothing says Spring like green vegetables – such as asparagus, peas, broad beans, fresh herbs. Ottolenghi makes salads from only green items, and they are divine. They truly belong to Spring – green is Spring’s colour.
Despite the heat this Spring I was craving risotto, so it had to be one to celebrate the season. As luck would have it, I had some home grown broad beans and some peas in the freezer. The risotto is made in the usual way – no variations or neat tricks here. Just stirring for 18 mins for a perfect dish.
Pasta is not just a main dish – it makes beautiful salads, and also great side dishes. This one uses tiny pasta – use any of the tiny pastas, the sort that are commonly used in minestrone. The pasta is cooked then mixed with peas that have been cooked with parsley, garlic and onion. This is a fairly simple dish – there are much more fancy ways of making this, but we love this very simple version.
You can make this dish with other veggies too – tiny cubes of carrot barely cooked, sweetcorn, the youngest tiny broad beans etc.
When rice forms a major part of a cuisine then there are infinite recipes using rice. Contrast this with cuisines in which it isn’t so important. When growing up, rice was used mainly for rice pudding and an even rarer rice salad. Apart from that it was unusual to have rice with a meal. I guess my mother bought rice only when she wanted to make a pudding – whereas I keep the pantry stocked with 6 – 8 different types of rice. Sticky rice, black and/or red rice, basmati, short grain rice, risotto rice and pongal rice are fairly standard pantry items.
These days I love rice cooked with spices and a vegetable or with lentils. It forms a great addition to any meal, especially Indian meals. It is also a great way to use up any vegetables sitting at the bottom of the fridge on a Friday night – prior to doing the next week’s shopping.
Peas Pulao or Matar Pulao is a popular dish which was made especially during the cooler months in northern parts of India. It can be made in a pressure cooker or rice cooker as well. This is the second version of peas and rice – the spicing is very different in each one.
The Pea is there through all the seasons – in its pod in Spring and Summer, frozen year round. It grows up with us, from pea mashes to buttery steamed peas, from to risotto to fritters, and salads to soups. They can seem predictable and are often overlooked. But peas are incredibly versatile. Freshly podded peas are fantastic if they are eaten as soon as possible after picking; the rest of the time frozen will more than do. Peas are the ultimate vegetable, reliable, versatile and almost as good frozen as fresh.
These beautiful fritters are from Simple by Ottolenghi, and they are actually quite simple to make. A pea puree is mixed with za’atar, mint and feta, formed into fritters and fried. They can be served simply with a salad and lemon wedges, or with a yoghurt or cream based sauce for dipping. You can use any yoghurt or cream based sauce – I’ve included a sour cream and mint one below.
When we cook Ottolenghi recipes we feel free to substitute according to what is in our kitchen and pantry. In this recipe we have replaced the eggs with our usual chickpea flour based replacement for fritters – 1 Tblspn chickpea flour + 1 Tblspn cream or yoghurt + 0.25 tspn eno for each egg. We are egg-free in our kitchen. If you want to check the original recipes, you can do so in his books or in his Guardian column.
A classic Indian dish – mushrooms and peas in a tomato gravy. This recipe is a classic one but I often make it with a range of mushrooms – brown mushrooms, baby mushrooms, sliced king oyster mushrooms and even shimeji mushrooms. It gives a mix of textures and flavours.
Today I have also topped the dish with finely sliced snow peas. It adds crunch and freshness to the dish without confusing the “pea” taste.
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.
This beautiful and classic Indian dish is sauce-rich. The peas and potatoes sit in a luxurious gravy of pureed onions and tomatoes with chilli and spices. They are simmered together to produced this much loved dish from North India (especially in the Punjab and in Gujarat). Its popularity has spread and it is even adored in South India.
Each person will have their own particular version of this recipe. Some will add cream to the final dish. Some versions have no onions, some include garlic, and some recipes make a dry curry. Still others will add fenugreek leaves, black mustard seeds and/or Garam Masala.
Our recipe is relatively simple but definitely full of flavour – our favourite type of dish.
There is so much good stuff in this “almost superfood” salad that it makes you feel very healthy and conscientious indeed. Served as it is, it can be a very substantial meal – just scatter a few roasted hazelnuts and/or chunks of creamy goat’s cheese over the top, and you need nothing else.
Did you know that I grew up calling beetroot, red beet? That name seems to have disappeared in Australia, although a quick search on google confirms that at least some people, in some parts of the world, retain that name. I wonder if it came from my mother, whose family contained many German immigrants. Perhaps it is a European thing.
The star of this dish is indeed the blanched then quick-pickled beetroot, and its contrast with the slightly bitter pea shoots. Rather than the hour-long boil or bake, eating beetroot raw or quickly sauteed or blanched is a healthy and very delicious alternative. The beetroot retains a bite or crunch that adds textural layers to a dish. Everything can be prepared in advance for this salad, kept in the fridge, and combined at the last moment.
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.