Chilli Leaves with Peas

It was news to me that chilli leaves could be eaten, and now I rue all of those chilli plants over the decades that could have also provided the occasional green dish as well. Chilli leaves are a little earthy, a little bitter, and not at all hot. They are vibrant green when they are cooked – hence they are often included in Thai Green Curry Paste to enhance the colour without adding more green chillies.

My Asian green grocer had these in stock today, so a luscious bunch of large leaves that could not be avoided. She recommended soup, but in fact different countries use them in very different ways – from salads with soy sauce and sesame seeds (blanch the leaves first), to stir fried with garlic, to steamed with tofu. They also go well with noodles, topped with some crispy fried garlic and onion.

I have to thank my Asian green grocer – since I moved into this area we have a number of greens now available to us that were difficult to source or unknown to us previously – tamarind leaves, betel leaves, mustard leaves, amaranth leaves and chilli leaves are the ones that are now part of our kitchen.

Chilli leaves are used from Korea down through Asia and India to Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and other parts of SE Asia. They are not an everyday green, but common enough. Here we cook them in a very simple Indian dish with peas and spices. You can make it in under 10 mins.

Similar dishes include Steamed Mustard Greens with Sambal, Simple Greens for Every Meal, and Chinese Greens with Garlic and Sesame.

Browse all of our Chilli Leaf recipes and all of our stir fries. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Spring recipes.

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Dum Aloo | Kashmiri Potatoes in Spicy Yoghurt Sauce

There are two main versions of Aloo Dum – the Kashmiri version, and a Punjabi version which is generally less spicy than the Kashmiri version.

Dum style cooking is a slow cooking style which allows the ingredients to cook in their own juices and any added sauce. When the lid of the pot is sealed to prevent any steam from escaping it is called dum pukht – dum meaning breathe in and pukht meaning to cook. Dum lets the dish breathe in or steam slowly in its own juices, absorbing the delicate flavour of the spices and herbs. You can still see large cooking pots that are sealed with dough or cloth to trap the steam, cooking the vegetables or rice until tender. It is used most commonly when cooking biryani, and is a technique that is more than 400 years old.

Traditionally only a handful of Indian spices were used for flavour, but with time many more ingredients were added to suit different taste preferences. The dough seal is only opened once the dish was ready to serve to retain maximum flavour. A heavy bottomed clay pot is said to work the best as it releases heat slowly (maintaining the temperature inside) and prevents the fire from burning the bottom of the dish.

While Dum dishes were cooked over open fires with coals added to the top of the pot, today the oven provides a way of maintaining a low heat, and a pot can be sealed with kitchen foil if a dough seal is out of the question. On a stove top a heat diffuser can be used to keep the heat low so that longer cooking is possible. This allows greater infusion of the flavours into the potatoes.

As usual, my recipe for Aloo Dum is one of the simpler ones, home-cooking style, but with extraordinary flavours. You may have Greek or French clay pots, or lovely Indian terracotta ones. I lost my Indian pots when I shifted (they break easily) so sometimes I will use a Chinese clay pot for dishes such as this. The advantage is that it comes with a lid that can be easily sealed with foil, although the sealing isn’t strictly necessary these days for this dish.

Most of the times it is brought directly to the table and then the lid is opened. The result is dramatic, with the rich aroma that comes with the escaping steam is always considered an important part of the experience of a Dum cooked dish. They say that Dum cooking takes years to perfect. The good news is that every trial dish, while not perfect, is jolly jolly good. Just cook with deep respect for the ancient technique, with patience, with love, and with home-made garam masala.

This dish is a little different to those you might see elsewhere. It is Kashmiri rather than from other parts of India. It’s sauce is yoghurt based and does not include onions or tomatoes. Cashews are not added. It it is simply yoghurt and spices, very traditional. The potatoes are first deep fried. This gives them a lovely brown colour and also a crisp coating that prevents them falling apart when they are cooking in the yoghurt sauce.  The crispness is lost during cooking in the sauce and they become beautifully infused and soft. Before frying, the potatoes are pricked all over to allow the infusion of flavours.

Similar dishes include Aloo in Aloo, Potato with Onions, and Aloo Gobi.

Browse all of our Potato Curries and all of our Potato dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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

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Whole Okra with Onions, Garlic and Turmeric | Pyaaz Waali Bhindi Subzi

This must be such a healthy dish, with the goodness of okra combined with heaps of garlic and some health-giving turmeric. The okra is cooked whole, steamed gently, until cooked and tender. The dish is served as a dry curry with lots of onion s and coriander leaves to garnish.

We have had a focus on okra for the past 12 months or so, and this is our latest dish in the series. The recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey.

Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Try it in Sambar, and in Moar Kuzhambu. And make Greek Okra in Tomatoes and Olive Oil.

Browse all of our Okra dishes, and all of our Indian dishes. Have a look at the Madhur Jaffrey dishes we have made. And explore our Late Autumn dishes.

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Cluster Bean Dal Kootu | Kothavarangai Paruppu Kootu

Cluster Beans are similar to green beans except smaller, flatter, crunchier, tougher, and slightly but nicely bitter in taste. They have quite a distinctive taste. In Australia it is rare to find them fresh, even though they are grown here. They must all be exported. But frozen cluster beans are common in any Indian grocery.

Cluster beans are also known as Gawar Ki Phalli or Gaur in Hindi and Marathi, and Kothavarangai in Tamil.

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 Ridge Gourd Dal, Sambar, and Aviyal.

Browse all of our Cluster Bean recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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Spinach Bhaji | Spinach Stir Fried with Ginger and Spices

Greens are another vegetable that are cooked so wonderfully in India. With many varieties grown locally in all regions, often the Indian cook has a choice of a couple of dozen different greens to cook. Pity us, with our small choice in our green grocers. Half a dozen varieties if we are very lucky, and only 3 or 4 varieties used commonly.

Use spinach for this recipe. It is a dry dish flavoured with mustard seeds, chilli and a grating of nutmeg. Nice! You can also make this dish with just the stems of spinach if you have them left over and are looking for something to do with them. I am all for no-waste.

Are you looking for similar dishes? Try Spinach Thoran and Spinach Poriyal.

Browse all of our Bhaji dishes, and all of our Spinach dishes. Our Indian recipes are here. Or explore our Early Winter dishes.

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Bhindi Bhaji | Stir Fried Okra

This recipe for Okra is another simple, stir fried one that combines the okra with cumin and green chillies for a great afternoon snack, or as a side dish for a larger meal.

It is an easy recipe, one that you can cook in under 30 mins, perhaps under 20 if you are organised. These are the best recipe, don’t you agree? I know you will enjoy this one. Wonderful flavours.

Are you after other Okra dishes? Try Sri Lankan Okra Curry, Stir Fried Okra with Sesame Seeds, and Spicy Dried Okra.

Browse all of our other Okra recipes, and explore our Indian dishes. Or take some time to explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Aloo in Aloo | Potatoes cooked in a Spicy Potato-Tomato Gravy

I am not sure if it is that we love potatoes or if it is that Indian treatment of potatoes is the best on this planet, but we do have a small obsession with Indian potato dishes at the moment. Here is another one – and it is really interesting.

In a way that you doubt would work, a gravy is made from mashed potato, tomatoes and chillies, and then more potato is cooked in that gravy, with spices. It is a delicious dish, perfect with chapati or paratha.

Similar dishes include Dum Aloo, Potato Pallya, Potato Subzi, and Milkman Potatoes.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and all of our Potato Curries. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring recipes.

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

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Aloo Hing Jeera | Potatoes with Cumin

Of course, practice, perseverance and knowledge builds skill. This week I have been looking back as some recipes that I made all those decades ago when I began learning about Indian food. I’ve been cooking many of them again, and the results are almost terrifyingly different. A dish I thought was very basic, this recipe for Aloo Hing Jeera, I had marked as “subtly spiced, needs onions, better the next day, add green chilli and ginger.” That observation was not especially incorrect, according to my Western-trained palate at the time.

The same dish, made today, is beautiful, spiced well, the gravy is amazing and the texture of the potatoes with the spices is what I have come to expect of Indian food. My tastes have changed, I have experienced more widely, I have read widely and spoken to people both here and throughout India about food. AND, I have cooked and cooked and cooked Indian dishes. All shows in the difference between this dish and the one I made nearly 20 years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

Similar dishes include Aloo in Aloo, Sesame Potatoes, Aloo Bhindi, and Saag Aloo.

Browse all of our Potato dishes and our Indian recipes. All of our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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

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Aloo Do Pyaja | Potatoes with Onions | An Indian Home Cooked Recipe

While the current fashion of food photography and food videos has been helpful to many home cooks, especially when cooking unfamiliar dishes, it has done a great disservice to home cooking. The requirement for everything to be instagram-worthy has meant that the rustic dishes without visual appeal are sidelined and instagrammed out of existence. It’s a pity. More than that, it is a shame.

Moreover, the word Peasant as attached to food is beginning to be seen as derogatory. I have never thought of “Peasant food” as been anything “less than”. I think of it as extraordinary food being produced without the influence of fashion and with local and common ingredients. My real favourite sort of food. Isn’t it what we strive for at home – cost effective and flavoursome food with local ingredients?

I am often amazed by the simplicity of Indian home cooked dishes, and how much flavour can be put into a couple of ingredients with a couple of spices. These sorts of dishes, so simple, so easy, are rarely seen on social media. I hope you enjoy this one. This is a simple recipe – not the best looking, made with minimal ingredients, but very very tasty. Serve with some Indian bread as an afternoon snack or as part of a meal.

By the way, Do Pyaja (also spelt Pyaza) means double the onions or lots of onions. There are many recipes for this dish, from the Punjab through to Rajasthan. Some have peas or a dose of cream, for example, a more complex spice mix, and it can be a wet or dry curry. But I adore this recipe for its simplicity. It is real home cooking.

Similar recipes include Aloo Hing Jeera (Potatoes with Cumin), Sesame Potatoes, Saag Aloo, and Potato Subzi.

You might also like to browse all of our Potato recipes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Check out our easy Late Winter recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Potato Pallya | Potato Puttu | Indian Mashed Potato

Hooray for Indian food, and for its immense variety. And wouldn’t you know it, mashed potato has an Indian twist, and we are adding it to our different potato mashes:

We have TWO versions of the mash for you today. We have been making the first one FOREVER, and the original recipe comes from Nilgiri’s, the iconic Sydney Indian Restaurant. Traditionally this recipe from Karnataka is semi-mashed or coarsely mashed and still retains the texture of cubed potatoes. It is a great filling for dosa, but it can be made as a side dish in Indian or even Western style meals. It goes well with rice, roti and poori.

The second one is from Tamil Nadu, and has the same style but different ingredients.  It is a Puttu style dish – a peeled and mashed vegetable, tempered with spices, green chillies and onion. This Potato Puttu includes coconut and goes well with rice, sambar, rasam, kootu and kuzhambu, especially puli kuzhambu.

Similar recipes include Aloo Do Payaja (Potatoes with Onions), Sesame Potatoes, Aloo Bhindi, and Saag Aloo.

All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Winter recipes.

The first recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. It is cross posted on our sister site, Heat in the Kitchen. It appears there as part of the Retro Recipes series of recipes which documents our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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

Continue reading “Potato Pallya | Potato Puttu | Indian Mashed Potato”