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.

Continue reading “Ezhukari Kuzhambu / Kootu | Seven Vegetables Kuzhambu | Pongal Kootu”

Zuppa di Zucca | Italian Pumpkin Soup

Today’s recipe is another Pumpkin Soup. This one is Italian in origin, with  potatoes and cannellini beans. It is a beautiful and velvety soup.

Actually, I am famous amongst my friends and family  for Soupe au Potiron and it remains my favourite Pumpkin Soup! However, I also love a little variety. Make today’s recipe in very cold weather, and enjoy it with crisp crunchy bread! This recipe has been around in our Winter kitchen for many, many years, and the original inspiration came from the River Cafe Cookbook.

Similar recipes include Soupe au Potiron, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Adzuki Bean, Pumpkin and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Pumpkin recipes, and our Soup recipes Our Italian recipes are here. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Winter Roast Vegetables with Chickpeas | And a Salad of Winter Vegetables

If you are a reader of our Winter posts you know that we love to use the oven at any time of the day. It warms the kitchen, living areas and us. Plus it fills the space with the most delicious of aromas.

This is a great dish to throw into the oven on those cold days to warm the space and provide great food. Use the roasted vegetables as a side dish, or as a hot or room temperature Winter salad with a yoghurt and cumin seed dressing.

The recipe needs enough small-diced vegetables to pile into your baking dish to a depth of 5 cm, so I use a small baking dish for this one. And we are going to slow bake them for a couple of hours, so leave yourself enough time. We often make it first thing in the morning for lunch time salads.

Similar recipes include Butter Braised Turnips, Celeriac Salad, Vegetables with Indian Flavours, Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Figs, Baked Parsnips with Parmesan, and Perfect Roasted Potatoes.

Or browse all of our Baked dishes, Roasted dishes, and all of our Late Winter recipes.

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Roasted Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce and Coriander Garlic Oil

Another cold winter morning, another zero degree morning, and another excuse to turn the oven on and get the butternut pumpkin out. We classify butternut as a pumpkin although elsewhere it may be called a squash.

Simply made, this is an easy recipe – the butternut is roasted and some pumpkin seeds are toasted in the residual heat of the oven. Yoghurt is mixed with chilli sauce and some coriander is whizzed with oil – both are drizzled over the cooked pumpkin. Quick and easy. It can be made early in the morning while the coffee is brewing the porridge bubbling on the stove, and then left until lunch time.

The toasted pumpkin seeds (the green inner ones, not the hard shelled, large pumpkin seeds) are wonderful – crispy and light. Make more of them and keep some for snacking during the day.

A dish to celebrate two of Turkish cuisine’s great gifts to the world, yoghurt and chilli.

By the way, the Chilli Yoghurt Sauce in this recipe is a winner. It is simply chilli sauce mixed with yoghurt (I used one of my slow cooked chilli jams). The truth be told, I could not stop eating the left overs. It was stirred into rice, dolloped on soup, and drizzled over steamed vegetables. The last spoonful was smeared on buttery bread and eaten with delight. I really advise you to make double recipe, and keep the remainder in the fridge.

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.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta, Roast Pumpkin with Miso Sesame Dressing, and Caramelised Roast Pumpkin.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

Continue reading “Roasted Butternut with Chilli Yoghurt Sauce and Coriander Garlic Oil”

Roasted Butternut with Spices and Nigella Seeds

Roasted pumpkin is a must-have dish in Winter, and we use butternut pretty much in our kitchen. Jap is another pumpkin we like, but its availability has decreased over the last few years. Red pumpkin used to be available from a few specialty shops but sadly those have closed now.

Roasting or baking vegetables with spices always attracts our attention – we tend to do the same thing. So when Ottolenghi includes cardamom and one of his favourite seeds/spices, Nigella, we are captured. The recipe is easy and no-fuss, compared to many of his other recipes, so this is perfect for a pretty lazy Saturday morning at our place. Mid winter, the weather is sunny, but we don’t feel like rousing ourselves too much today, instead, laying around reading and listening to music. Lazily, I turn the oven on and bake the pumpkin.

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Persian Stew with Winter Vegetables

I remember when the Ottolenghi books first came out, there was some excitement (at least in this household) about the dried Iranian limes. They were difficult to find, but finally I tracked some down. I can’t recall where I found them at last, probably at a shop that had an extensive rack of spices.

These days, they are much more common (thank you, Ottolenghi), and I discovered that there are both black dried limes and the lighter coloured, beige dried limes. The dried limes impart a citrusy, smoky flavour with a slight tang to food, lifting them from ordinariness to something spicy and tangy. The flavour is bright and limey while also being earthy, funky and grounding. The black limes are slightly more smoky in flavour than the lighter coloured ones.

One of the recipes I would look at longingly in those days was the Iranian Stew, and yet, all these years later, I had not made it. Until today. And it is quite amazing. The vegetables are simmered in a broth of tomatoes, onions, herbs and dried limes, before being baked with barberries in the oven. It produces an amazing plate of vegetables with a thickened sauce and an amazing, bright, citrusy flavour.

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. In this case, track down those dried limes in Middle Eastern shops or purchase online if your local providore does not stock them.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Braised Tomatoes with Herbs, Sesame Potatoes, Vegetables with Indian Flavours, Dried Lime Tea, and Persian Tea with Rose Flowers, Lime and Persian Borage.

Browse all of our Stews and all of our Dried Lime dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

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Baked Millet with Ginger, Pumpkin and Daikon

Millet at last is getting the recognition that it deserves, its wonderful healthy properties exposed for all to see. Mind you, most natural foods are super foods in their own right – our current fascination with super foods is simply because the particular trend of the moment is to discover a new’ish ingredient from another cuisine and recognise its health properties. Turmeric. Moringa. Goji berries. Cranberries. And now, millet. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we also discovered the health benefits of, say, turnips, parsley and pepper – those things that are right here under our noses and on our kitchen benches. I love how we widen our choice of kitchen staples through learning about the essentials of other cuisines – but I do get a bit tired of food fashions. Sigh. But back to millet…

There are lots of different millet varieties, but the common one, Pearl Millet is the one that is used in this dish. Certainly, try it with others – foxtail millet, barnyard millet, finger millet. The result will be different, as they cook up differently, but just might be wonderful too. Do try it and let me know. Pearl Millet has different names in the different areas of India: Kambu (Tamil), Bajra (Hindi, Bengali, Odia and Punjabi), Sajje (Kannada), Bajri (Gujarati and Marathi) and Sajja (Telugu). This dish has Japanese style flavourings, but imagine one that subs out those flavours for Indian flavours. Stay tuned, I may just do that.

Brown rice and other whole grains such as millet, barley, oats, quinoa, spelt, rye, and teff are considered by macrobiotics to be the foods in which yin and yang are closest to being in balance, and many macrobiotic dishes are built around these grains.

This recipe has its genesis in the macrobiotic movement. Macrobiotics is not as popular any more, and its yin/yang approach to food is avoided by the mainstream cooks – they are also packed full of less common ingredients such as Chinese toasted sesame oil, seaweeds, umeboshi and tamari. But I love them – they are rustic and homely in style with flavours that are sort of Japanese, but not quite. It is a recipe that comes via a scribbled note in my pile of collected recipes.

Do try this recipe – like tray-baked meals, this one cooks away in a low oven for an hour and a half, without you having to lift a finger. Pure heaven. You don’t have to be on a macrobiotic diet to enjoy it. The millet is cooked with the mentioned macrobiotic flavours, and with daikon (white radish) and pumpkin. I always use Butternut or Jap pumpkin – they are our favourites – but any pumpkin and most squashes will work.

Similar recipes include Daikon Miso Pickles, Salad of Butternut Tataki with Udon Noodles, Barnyard Millet Kitchari, Barnyard Millet with Yoghurt, Escarole Salad with Millet, and Daikon and Pumpkin Curry.

Browse all of our Millet dishes, our Pumpkin Dishes, and all of our Daikon recipes. Or explore our Late Winter dishes.

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Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta and Tempura Lemon

Butternut Pumpkin features often in our Kitchen in Winter – roasted, in soups and mashed on its own or together with white beans or polenta, in risotto and salads, or in dals and curries. It was a joy to see that Ottolenghi uses it too, of course he does, so another recipe was completed for our project of cooking his books.

This is not a difficult dish, but it does take about 90 mins to bring it together. The pumpkin is baked, polenta is make, tempura batter is made and rested for 45 mins, the lemons are cooked, and then it all comes together. The lemon of the tempura is divine! It is exactly what the dish needs – without the warm, lemony flavours of the flesh and rind the dish falls flat. It reinforces the fact that Ottolenghi’s dishes are meant for all the ingredients to be eaten together. If, for example, there is polenta left over, add lemon juice or other tart ingredients to balance it out. Likewise the garlic that is cooked with the pumpkin – the smoky earthy flavours of the garlic are absolutely essential to the final dish.

This dish is 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.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar dishes include Polenta Crisps with Avocado and Yoghurt, Caramelised Pumpkin and Peter’s Wet Polenta and Tomato Layers.

Browse all of our Pumpkin dishes and all of our Polenta recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.
Continue reading “Butternut with Buckwheat Polenta and Tempura Lemon”

Char Grilled Butternut with Labneh and Walnut Salsa

Sometimes the simplest of dishes are just as impactful as the more complex, time consuming ones. Ottolenghi has a reputation for complex dishes with many processes and even more ingredients. That’s true, indeed, and there are some very complex dishes in his book Plenty More, the one I am cooking from at the moment. But there are others (thank goodness) that are *relatively* simple. Rather than flavours layered over and over and over in a dish, the simple contrasts and textures are enough to provide just as much impact, but in a different way.

This recipe recommends pickled walnuts, but they are difficult to find here. So we make a salsa with freshly shelled walnuts, and that is paired with the labneh and butternut pumpkin. It is a delicious combination.

As mentioned, 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.

Char-grilled squash with labneh and pickled walnut salsa: A riot of colour and flavour alike. Buy labneh, which is thick, strained yoghurt, from a providore or a Middle Eastern grocer, though it’s quite easy to make your own. Just hang natural yoghurt in muslin for a couple of days. Or use goat’s curd or a very fresh goat’s cheese instead.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Salad of Butternut Tataki with Udon Noodles, Caramelised Roasted Pumpkin, Butternut Pumpkin Cooked with Lashings of Butter, and BBQ’d Butternut.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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

Continue reading “Char Grilled Butternut with Labneh and Walnut Salsa”

Vegetables with Indian Flavours

How quirky the British can be at times, especially when it comes to all things Indian. British Indian cuisine is a food genre all to itself, with little relationship to the food of India. The famous Chicken Tikka Masala, for example, is British, not Indian. Vindaloo is a term used for any hot curry in England, not the specific and terrifyingly hot pork curry of Goa on the coast of West India, with its roots in the Portuguese occupation.

And there is another dish – Indian Ratatouille. Yes, my friends, it is a thing. Throw a few spices at a ratatouille and you have Indian Ratatouille. The French food masters must be turning in their graves.

And then Ottolenghi takes this (perhaps somewhat arrogant) British invention and makes it even more Indian – throwing out some of the the traditional vegetables, adding potatoes and okra, beans and tomatoes, and incorporating Bengali spices, tamarind and curry leaves. Has he insulted the French, the Indians and the British? Probably not, because the result is divine – let the food speak for itself, despite its name.

“A great ratatouille is one in which the vegetables interact with each other, but are still discernible from each other. The trick is to cook them just right: not over, not under.”

I cannot bring myself to call this dish Indian Ratatouille, so for me it is Vegetables with Indian Flavours. Panch Phoran is an Indian whole seed mix – it is available at Indian groceries, or you can make it yourself by mixing equal amounts of fenugreek, fennel, black mustard, nigella and cumin.

This Ottolenghi dish is 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.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Okra with Sambal and Coconut Rice, Caponata and Chargrilled Pumpkin Salad with Labneh and Walnut Salsa.

All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes. Browse all of our Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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

Continue reading “Vegetables with Indian Flavours”