Herby Masala Vadai with Tomato Mint Chutney

We are here, munching some Masala Vadai for afternoon tea. These vadai are chock-a-block full of  herbs – coriander and dill. Dill is an uncommon (but not unusual) herb in Indian cuisine, but its use here is wonderful.

The recipe is adapted from one in the book Tiffin by Rukmini Srinivas. We’ve been enjoying reading from it and now want to cook the recipes. The original includes flax seeds which is a very healthy addition, but we have left them out this time.

The recipe is very adaptable. The paste is made from urad, channa and toor dals with the herbs, onions, chilli and ginger added. I can imagine these made with slightly mashed broad beans (the Western type of broad beans), for example, or a coarse mash of peas. Finely chopped capsicums or finely grated carrots would  be a variation if you were sick of the herbs.

The Tomato Mint Chutney is delightful and pairs well with the vadai. Sometimes  I will use sweet chilli sauce, or a herby yoghurt dip, or an Indian green chutney.

A high speed blender like Vitamix is best for grinding the lentils if you don’t have an Indian grinder. Use one that has a tamper if you can, to minimise the number of times you have to scrape the sides down. One of the modern high speed food processors might also work well. Remember that you want a coarse mix, not a fine paste. Also the mix needs to be shaped into patties, so do not add water unless absolutely necessary.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Mint Vadai, Falafel, and Tattai Vadai.

Browse all of our Vadai and all of our Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Vegetable Cutlets

I simply cannot keep away from Indian snacks.

I’ve been feeding my love of these snacks by slowly reading Rukmini Srinivas’ book Tiffin, and cooking my way through the recipes. Both activities, reading and cooking, are mouth-watering. The cutlets are packed with goodness (even though they are deep fried – ssshhhhhh). They are addictively crisp on the outside and soft and textured within.

Vegetable Cutlets are very popular snacks. They are often crumb-coated and always fried or deep fried for that great crisp texture. Cutlets are best served hot with chutney or sauce.

This recipe is the one that her Appa used to make, grinding the vegetables in an old meat grinder. When my father passed away, my brother inherited his old grinder – now I wish I had kept this ancient machine. The food processor does not quite match up to the quality produced by these (but I am nostalgic with memories. Of course the food processor will work, and does a surprisingly good job.)

You MUST have these with strong coffee and the Orange-Green Chilli Relish that I published a couple of days ago. It has a refreshing burst of citrus and is a sweet-spicy sauce. You could also serve the cutlets with a green chutney, hummus, any salsa, any tomato sauce, any yoghurt dip or sauce, or any of these other dips or sauces. Also this tart cumquat jam is particularly good with them as does this Green Tomato Fry Chutney.

It’s interesting how the Indian cuisine has adopted the words cutlet and chop for vegetable based dishes – not doubt (I assume), replicating the non-veg versions of their English invaders.

Similar recipes include Masala Vadai, Falafel, the Huge Vine Leaf Pakora, and Broad Bean Vada.

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

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Tray Baked Spicy Turmeric Chickpeas | Turmeric Chickpeas Roasted with Spices

Baked chickpeas are a delicious, easy and healthy snack. You can snack on them straight from the pan, or throw them into salads, on top of pasta  or scattered over a thick wintery soup. Eat them sitting in the garden in the sunshine. Take them in your backpack on long walks. Bring them to a picnic. Take a small container to the gym. Bring in your bento box to the office for lunch. Nibble when you have the pre-dinner munchies. Or snack on them late at night while watching TV.

I first baked spicy chickpeas way back in 2008, and they have been a firm favourite in our household. But recently we made a variation of the recipe. Rather than using canned or ordinary cooked chickpeas, we have soaked and cooked the chickpeas in turmeric water. It adds a lovely colour to the chickpeas and a turmeric tang to the flavour. Turmeric chickpeas are all across the internet, and we have done a small experiment with them to test the flavours, visual appeal and health impact. If you are interested, you can read more about the wonders of Turmeric.

The recipe for Spicy Baked Chickpeas is one that works well with the Turmeric Chickpeas.

Similar recipes include Deep Fried Potato and Carrot Strings, Baked Okra in Dukkah, and Paprika Oven Chips.

Browse all of our Snacks and all of our Chickpea recipes. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Chakkotha Chaat | Herby, Spicy Pomelo Snack

Pomelo is quite underused in this country, although our S.E. Asian and Indian neighbours use it quite freely. You can find large pomelo easily in Asian supermarkets, and although they take just a little work to separate edible grapefruit-like pears from the humungously thick skin, every effort is worth it.

This recipe mixes the beautiful, pearly flesh with cooling summer ingredients and some spices. It is topped with crunchy Indian chaat toppings. Pomelo is known under many different names in India and is sometimes called grapefruit, but it is different to the more sour grapefruit variety of citrus fruit.

Pomelo really is the grandfather of citrus fruit! It pairs well with chillies, and with herbs like cilantro, mint, and basil. Tropical fruits go well too – pineapple, pawpaw, coconut raw mango and sweet mango. Try it with Spring vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and onions. It is wonderful in pasta dishes! And is delicious in salads of all kinds as well as in sorbet. And if you can’t bear to waste any part of the fruit, try candying or making marmalade with the  rind.

Be warned, this particular dish is a spicy and tangy snack. Superb! A riot of flavours.

Similar recipes include Vegetable Cutlets, Indian Pomelo Salad, Pomelo and Carrot Salad, Pomelo and Avocado Salad, and Pomelo, Green Mango and Pea Eggplant Salad.

Browse all of our Pomelo recipes, and all of our Chaat. Our Indian recipes are here and our Indian Essentials here. Or browse our Late Spring dishes.

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Crispy Corn and Onions | Indian Chaat

From Indonesia through South East Asia to Myanmar, and across to India, sweet corn is served with crispy onions. The corn is prepared in various ways, including milky creamy corn (a firm favourite) and corn that is steamed then deep fried.

With wonderfully tender corn from the local shops, we made this Indian street food style snack, tangy and spicy. It is easy to make, but the corn kernels needs to be blanched, boiled or steamed beforehand, to soften their outer skin so that they don’t pop while frying. Otherwise you will have a messy kitchen, a scared cook, and a bowl of popped corn (if you can find them after flying around the kitchen as they explode).

Similar recipes include Sweetcorn Chaat, and Poha Chaat.

Browse all of our Chaat dishes and our Sweet Corn recipes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Sweet Corn Chaat

Sweet corn season is here and the corns are tender and juicy. We made Sweet Corn Soup, and had some kernels left over, so it was a perfect time for a chaat as an afternoon snack.  This type of chaat is like an Indian version of Salsa.

In this recipe we roast the kernels in butter until they are browned or blackened, which intensifies their flavour.

This is a great dish to eat warm as the corn is buttery and beautiful. If you need to make it beforehand, bring it to room temperature before using.

This recipe is a great vehicle for using the vegetables that you have at hand, and that can be grated, shredded or chopped. Cucumber can be added, for example, and grated beetroot. I used the greens of spring onions as they were to hand and I love their taste, but you can also use the white stems.  Radish is good too, shredded, but it has quite a bite so just use a little. Cubes of boiled potato is a great addition.

Similar recipes include Crispy Corn and Onion Chaat, Channa Chaat, Borlotti Bean Chaat, and Poha Chaat.

Browse all of our Chaat dishes and our Sweet Corn recipes. Our Indian recipes are here, and Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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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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Poha with Crispy Potatoes | Batata Poha

Another recipe from my cooking sessions in India, scribbled almost illegibly as I tried to keep up with the dishes appearing in front of me. It is a simple Poha dish with potatoes. It’s also a common dish, probably because it is so very delicious and relatively cheap to make. Eaten primarily as a snack with coffee or chai, it is dish for the monsoon season – excellent in rainy weather.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Sweetcorn ChaatKanda Poha and Lemon Poha.

You can browse all of our Poha recipes and all of our Indian dishes. Our Indian Essentials are here. Or browse our Early Winter collection of recipes.

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Beetroot Vadai

These are wonderful vadai that incorporate beetroot, and are a specialty of Chetinand (an area of Tamil Nadu). They make delicious snacks,  but can also be served as an accompaniment to a meal.

Like all of India’s deep fried snacks, these are healthy-ish, meaning that they are made from wonderful, fresh and balanced ingredients, yet are deep fried. Of course, eat in moderation. If you can.

Vada are interesting food items – a compact way to get lentils, vegetables and spices into the diet. They are eaten  with a meal or as a snack during the day, grabbed from a walla on the street, or packed into tiffins to take to work or on long trips. Perfect balls of healthy ingredients that are always at hand.

Similar recipes include Broad Bean and Cabbage Kofta, Coriander Vada, and Medu Vadai.

Browse all of our Vada recipes, our Beetroot dishes, all of our Indian Snacks, and our Patties. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Achari Gobhi | Cauliflower Cooked with Pickling Spices

Achari means pickling, and achari dishes are made with the same spices that are generally used for pickling vegetables. Using mustard oil gives the cauliflower great colour and favour – grab an Indian Mustard oil at your Indian grocer, or your Supermarket might carry an Australian one. Similar to most achari dishes, amchur is used to give a delicious tang to the dish.

This is a simple sabzi dish to prepare when you feel like eating a chatpata snack.

Are you looking for other Cauliflower dishes? Try South Indian Cauliflower Soup, and Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf.

Similar recipes include Achari Mushrooms.

Browse all of our Cauliflower dishes, all Subzis, and all of our Achari dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or simply browse our Mid Winter dishes.

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